Middle Years: World Bordering
Isaac as a Type. In ch. 22 Isaac is a picture of the Lord Going to the cross. In ch.24 he is a picture of the exalted Christ to whom the bride is gathered. But in ch.26 Isaac is not a picture of the Lord Jesus, but a picture of the believer. We find that God blesses Isaac even though Isaac poorly answers to God’s call. This is often true of us as well… a border dweller.
The philistines were those who occupied the place of blessing, but had no right to it. The philistines had not gone through the Red sea, a picture of the death of Christ.
Isaac and Abimelech (26:1-5)
1 And there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine which had been in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech the king of the Philistines, to Gerar. v.1 Gerar was not in Egypt, but it was the very south of Canaan (Gen. 10:19). it speaks of a position that is not “in the world” but on the edge, a dangerous position. In the same place that Abraham denied his wife, Isaac does the same… this alone shows that gerar was a dangerous place.
2 And Jehovah appeared to him and said, Go not down to Egypt: dwell in the land that I shall tell thee of. v.2 it may be that isaac planned to go into egypt because of this verse. the lord stop him from going as far as abraham had.
3 Sojourn in this land; and I will be with thee and bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries; and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father. v.3 “this land” refers to the land of Canaan. The lord appears to stop Isaac from going further south.
4 And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and unto thy seed will I give all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves — v.4 “as the stars of heaven‘ He does not add “as the dust of the earth” as he did to Jacob (Gen. 28:14). that is because Jacob is seen as the father of Israel, while Isaac typifyies Christ as risen and glorified, and as the bridegroom of the heavenly assembly. “thy seed” speaks of Christ, not his many descendants (see Gal. 3:16).
5 because that Abraham hearkened to my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. v.5 This was never stated as a condition to Abraham, but is said after he had lived his life. It shows the sovereignty of God.
Isaac in Gerar (26:6-16)
6 And Isaac dwelt at Gerar. v.6 rather than go north toward hebron, he says on the border.
7 And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, She is my sister; for he feared to say, my wife, saying to himself, Lest the men of the place slay me on account of Rebecca — because she was fair in countenance. v.7 Sometimes they used the word “sister” for cousin – so it wasn’t a complete lie. However, he didn’t confess his closest relationship with her. Sometimes we deny our true relationship with the lord because we are afraid of reproach. He fails as a type of Christ… The Lord Jesus will never deny His relationship with the church, though she may sadly at times deny in practice her relationship to Him.
8 And it came to pass when he had been there some time, that Abimelech the king of the Philistines looked out of the window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was dallying with Rebecca his wife. v.8 Different than with sarah, In this case Rebekah is not brought into Abimelech’s court. In the same way, our true relationship with Christ can ever be indefinitely concealed, if we are truly saved.
9 Then Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, she is certainly thy wife; and how saidst thou, She is my sister? and Isaac said to him, Because I said, Lest I die on account of her. vv.9-10 fear motivated isaac. If she had really been just his sister, then she was up for grabs. He would have been unfair to the Philistines. The world in a sense has a righteous rebuke for a Christian who isnt honest about why he doesn’t do this or that. They may think we are cold, or self-sufficent, or unkind for not running with them. We need to be honest, or reproach is brought to the name of Christ.
10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done to us? But a little and one of the people might have lain with thy wife, and thou wouldest have brought a trespass on us. v.10 The world doesn’t want fellowship with someone belonging to Christ. Honesty on the part of the Christian clears the air for both the Christian and the world.
11 And Abimelech charged all the people, saying, He that touches this man or his wife shall certainly be put to death. v.11 In view of this, how foolish had been Isaac’s fear.
12 And Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a hundredfold; and Jehovah blessed him. v.12 we can never judge that a person’s condition is right because of prosperous circumstances. there is a great difference between the Lord’s fellowship and His material blessing. one-hundred-fold – an absolutely maximum yield.
13 And the man became great, and he became continually greater, until he was very great. 14 And he had possessions of flocks, and possessions of herds, and a great number of servants; and the Philistines envied him. v.14 the Philistines picture the mere formalism of Christian religion, without its living power. They don’t understand the source of the Christian’s spiritual resources, and become spiritually envious.
15 And all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped them and filled them with earth. v.15 what did the philistines use to plug the wells? Earth. Worldly wisdom brought into the things of God. Earthly pleasures and cares displace the word of God so far as they are concerned.
16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, Go from us; for thou art become much mightier than we. v.16 Isaac’s prosperity is now a threat to the Philistines. In the beginning Isaac was afraid of them, at the end they are afraid of him.
Redigging wells (26:17-22)
17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his camp in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and that the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham; and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. v.18 Every generation has to go through the exercise of making the truth of God our own. The truth of God is not new – “once delivered to the saints”. Salvation is free (Rom. 3:24), but the truth will cost you much (Prov. 23:23). in v.19 Isaac dug his own wells, but here he begins with the wells his father had dug. It is a good idea to read good ministry first, uncover the old wells. Isaac calls them by the same names that Abraham had given them. When we are privileged to recover a certain truth, we shouldn’t think that we have done something great or original… it was still the truth before we discovered it… we have nothing to boast of.
19 And Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. v.19 he progresses to dig his own well. this is a necessary step. Notice that the well is “springing”, which John tells us is a picture of the Spirit of God.
20 But the shepherds of Gerar strove with Isaac’s shepherds, saying, The water is ours. And he called the name of the well Esek, because they had quarrelled with him. 21 And they dug another well, and they strove for that also; and he called the name of it Sitnah. 22 And he removed thence and dug another well; and they did not strive for that. And he called the name of it Rehoboth, and said, For now Jehovah has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
Covenant with God (26:23-25)
23 And he went up thence to Beer-sheba. 24 And Jehovah appeared to him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake. v.24 It is not until Isaac leaves the Philistines behind that the Lord appears to him.
25 And he built an altar there, and called upon the name of Jehovah. And he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
Covenant with Abimelech (26:26-33)
26 And Abimelech, and Ahuzzath his friend, and Phichol the captain of his host, went to him from Gerar. 27 And Isaac said to them, Why are ye come to me, seeing ye hate me, and have driven me away from you? 28 And they said, We saw certainly that Jehovah is with thee; and we said, Let there be then an oath between us — between us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee, 29 that thou wilt do us no wrong, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done to thee nothing but good, and have let thee go in peace; thou art now blessed of Jehovah. 30 And he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 And they rose early in the morning, and swore one to another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. 32 And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well that they had dug, and said to him, We have found water. 33 And he called it Shebah; therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day.
Esau finds wives (26:34-35)
34 And Esau was forty years old, when he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basmath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and to Rebecca.