Eyes That See

Did anyone notice? Following the death of the Patriarch, the Great One, a friend of God, Abraham, the land was devastated by a severe famine. Isaac, the Promised Son of the Great One, "went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar." (Genesis 26:1)


As the Almighty, God could have sustained Isaac anywhere. As the Son of Promise, there was no place where Isaac could not have lived and survived. Indeed, God could provide for him even in famine. Therefore, it is important to note where God directs Isaac to live.

"Then the LORD appeared to him and said: 'Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.'" (Genesis 26:2-3)

Isaac is instructed to stay clear of Egypt, and more specifically to dwell in Gerar. Despite Abraham visiting the land, and it being the land where Isaac's descendants would eventually descend and become a nation, Egypt is off limits. Isaac is told "dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you ..." (Genesis 26:2) Thus, the land in which Isaac dwells becomes a focal point.

"So Isaac dwelt in the land of Gerar." (Genesis 26:6)

Abimelech, the king of the Philistines and ruler of the land, seemed agreeable to Isaac settling the land, however, Isaac's instruction to Rebekah that she not reveal to anyone that she was his wife, seems to indicate that Isaac had some serious concerns. Isaac sensed that the men of that place did not fear God, therefore, he reasoned that they would readily kill him because Rebekah his wife was "beautiful to behold" (Genesis 26:7). Isaac's genuine concern indicates that Abimelech's welcome may have been more politically motivated, and less likely to have been a decision based on God's Kingdom and His righteousness.

From Abimelech's perspective, Isaac was living in the land as a consequence of Abimelech's own generosity. After all, there was a famine and many people were relying on the king's benevolence and support. Accordingly, Abimelech did not see or understand who it was, the Son of Promise, that dwelt in the land. Abimelech did not understand that the reason why Isaac was living in the land was because of his relationship to God, and the fulfilment of His purposes.

Note, some similarities between Isaac's dwelling in the land and Israel's return to the land, today. Both Isaac and Israel came to dwell in the land from a crisis. Isaac from famine; Israel from World War II. Both Isaac and Israel, the Jewish people today, are the Sons of Promise. Furthermore, both the leader of the nation in Isaac's day, and the leaders of the community of nations today fail to recognize the importance of the Son of Promise living in the land. Just as Abimelech was indifferent to God's purposes through Isaac, so too, the nations today toward the Jewish people who have returned to the Promised Land.

"Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him." (Genesis 26:12)

Note, in the midst of a severe famine the Son of Promise sows and reaps one hundred times more. Clearly blessed, it is as if the land was waiting for Isaac to settle in the land, and to sow, in order to bring forth an abundance. Likewise, note the transformation of the land in which Israel dwells today. Never before, while the land was under non-Jewish occupation, has the land produced as it is producing today. Only since and because the Jewish people have taken possession of the land. Certainly, the State of Israel is reaping "a hundredfold".  And just as "... the LORD blessed him" (Isaac), so too, the LORD is blessing His people, today.

"The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him." (Genesis 26:13-14)

The Philistine response to Isaac's survival is noteworthy, because the nations today have responded to the State of Israel in the same way. Rather than rejoicing with Isaac's prospering despite the famine, the Philistines chose to envy him. So too, the nations today, rather than rejoicing with Israel's survival and prospering today, the nations are keen to dismiss Israel's achievements and are quick to impose unjust restrictions. Like the Philistines, the nations are envying the Son of Promise.

These are important days for Israel. May there be many whose eyes are open and who seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness.

Mark Warren