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Is Suffering Gain?

Genesis 26:1-4,6-7,12-17 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham... So Isaac lived in Gerar. When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful”...  Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

Today's chapter has a lot more than just the few verses I've selected and I sometimes wonder if we should draw more from it but there will be a time for that in the future. After Abraham and Sarah's journey, we are now journeying with Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob.

Amazing how true the statement is that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree! Isaac says to the Philistines the very same thing his father Abraham said to them that their wives were their sisters.

They were operating in fear instead of in faith and it is only by God's grace that they were spared. We read later that Abimelech discovers the truth, is angry again, and prohibits anyone in the land from touching Rebekah.

Because Isaac does not go down to Egypt but stays in the land God promised to bless him in, he is now blessed with abundance of everything, so much so that Abimelech requests him to leave the land and Isaac then moves to the valley of Gerar and settles there.

As we read this passage, we can see the pain of lying, the fruit of obedience and the nature of God. What probably surprises us is why God permits suffering in our lives when we willingly follow Him?

In Genesis 25, we note that Rebekah is barren and only through prayer does God bless them with twins. Today we see that Isaac was troubled by the famine and had to move to find pasture for his herds and shelter for his family.

He is forced to live among people who are sinful and wicked in their ways and when he prospers he is forced to move home again to avoid conflict. What is God saying to us through all this suffering?

Clearly in Isaac's life, God shows us that He rewards obedience but we also can see that the suffering in Isaac's life became a blessing and testimony to the people around. Later, Abimelech and his generals come to Isaac to draw a treaty to live in peace because they witness God's hand upon Isaac.

When we move from living in the moment to living in the eternity of God's will, we stop fretting about our difficult situations and begin to focus our attention on God's amazing love and our problems fade away.

When in the boat rocked by the storm, the disciples were fearful for their lives, Jesus simply commanded the storm to ease and it did. Jesus is not just above everything but wants us to live in His peace and trust Him to take us beyond for His glory, regardless of the situations in our lives.

Every hurdle in our lives is an opportunity for us to testify about the God we serve who is beyond everything. Can you stop stressing about the issues in your life and start focussing on the one who gave up His life to show you He is above it all and loves you beyond anything you can imagine?

Are you an Isaac who obeyed God and was blessed or and Esau who followed his heart and was cursed?

In His Loving Service,


Mark 4:38-40 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

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