Genesis 26:1-5  Famine in the Land

            Gen. 26:1 "And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." 

            As children of God, trials are always a part of our lives.  Isaac was no exception.  A famine in that day placed peoples' lives in danger.  The decision you made had better be the right decision or you and your family could starve to death.  Isaac did that which is right.  He followed the direction of the LORD: "And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee;"  If you recall, Abraham had had some dealings with this Abimelech, king of the Philistines.  Abimelech proved himself to be a king that feared the Lord.  The Lord always knows what is best for us.  He will always send us to the best place for us.  He has the answers for us in the midst of our trials.  As we will see later, The Lord was indeed with Isaac and did indeed bless Isaac in the land that he sojourned according to the direction of the Lord.

            The covenant promise of the LORD passed in this passage from Abraham to Isaac: "for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."  The LORD had previously made these promises to Abraham.  Now the torch is passed unto his son Isaac.  However, the LORD points out to Isaac that the promises were not made to Isaac based on his merit, but because of Abraham's obedience to the voice, charge, commandments, statues, and laws of God.  God passed this great covenant promise on to Isaac by grace through the obedience of another.  Likewise, the covenant promises of the covenant of redemption are passed along to the elect family of God not because of their obedience, but because of the obedience of Jesus Christ.  It is strictly by the grace of God through Christ's obedience that we are called into spiritual life, justified by the blood of Jesus and that we will be raised and fashioned like the glorious body of Christ in the resurrection. 


Gen. 26:6-11 "She is my sister."

            Gen. 26:6 "And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: 7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon. 8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. 9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. 10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us. 11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death." 

            No matter what our background may have been or what we may have heard others say, we all have to experience growth in faith if we are to become the kind of disciples that we ought to become.  Isaac had Abraham for his father.  The scriptures tell us that Abraham is the father of the faithful.  That is he is the example that we should follow in our faithful walk.  Abraham, no doubt, told Isaac many of the experiences of the Lord's dealings with him and the many deliverances he had from the Lord.  Isaac had been privy to the experiences of the faithful servant who had been blessed to find a wife (Rebekah) for Isaac.  Yet, now, Isaac is called upon to trust in the Lord and go to the land the LORD showed him.  He had the promise that the LORD would bless him and be with him in that land.  Isaac believes God and goes to the land, but then does not believe God about the promise of the LORD being with him and blessing him! 

            We know that Isaac showed doubt because when the men of the place asked him of Rebekah, "he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon."  If Isaac had trusted in the promises of God, he would not have feared to say that Rebekah was his wife.  Yet, his fleshly doubt led to his lie about Rebekah being his sister.  Moreover, this showed that Isaac had not yet reached the point of being the kind of husband that he ought to have been.  A husband should be willing to die for his wife: Eph. 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for itů"  Christ died for the church; therefore, a faithful husband should be willing to give his life for his bride. 

            Another lesson taught us in this passage is that parents set examples for their children and often the children follow those examples even if they are bad examples.  Abraham and Sarah had done this same thing about telling a lie about their marital state twice.  Now Isaac and Rebekah have followed their example.  We should be very careful about the type of examples we set for our children.

            "And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife."  We can be sure that sooner or later our lies will be discovered.  Abimelech looked out of his window and saw Isaac sporting with Rebekah his wife.  This sporting was a sexual flirtation that husbands do with their wives, not with their sisters.  Abimelech had been warned and chastened of the Lord for his looking upon Sarah and had learned his lesson well.  He had made no such advances to Rebekah and rebuked Isaac and Rebekah for their foolish actions: "And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.  And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.  And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."  At this point in time, Abimelech proved himself to be more faithful that Isaac.  However, that would change. 

            In this, the LORD proved his faithfulness to his promises even though Isaac had not fully trusted in the LORD.  The Lord is gracious towards his people.