Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Isaac's Forgiveness Brought Peace

By Mary Vee

Genesis 26:1-22

Isaac's family settled in their new home in Gerar. Moving to this city seemed like a good choice especially since his father lived there during a famine as well.

Still, Isaac wondered if he made the right choice. Maybe we should move to Egypt instead. He walked out to the open fields nearby to ask God what he should do.

Although Isaac spent many evenings praying to God before this night, he didn't expect what would happen next.

This time "the Lord appeared to him and said: 'Don't go to Egypt. Live in this land and I will be with you and bless you. I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give them all these lands; and through your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. I am doing this because your father, Abraham, obeyed My voice and kept My commandments."

Isaac returned to his new home happily knowing he made the right choice!

His family immediately plowed fields and planted seeds.

Gentle rains watered the ground. The right amount of sunshine strengthened the plants.

Isaac grabbed Rebekah's hand and ran with her to the fields. "Look! Look what God is giving us."

Rebekah giggled. She gently touched one of the plants. "Oh, Isaac. God is blessing you."

At the end of the summer Isaac, Jacob, and Esau worked with the servants many days to harvest the crops.

After supper on the last day Isaac rubbed his back. "The last of the harvest is in."

Rebekah rubbed his shoulders. "You've worked hard, my husband. God has blessed you since we moved here."

Several cattle mooed from the other side of the field.

Isaac laughed. "Do you realize how many calves were born to our cows this year?" He took a sip of water. "Not only calves but a large number of lambs were born to our ewes as well!"

He picked up a stick and stoked the fire. "When we moved here we barely had enough to survive a season. Now look what God has given us."

The Philistines in the land also noticed how wealthy Isaac became. They grew jealous and angry.

They met together to think of a plan to get rid of Isaac and his family. "Let's kill their animals," one shouted. "Let's kidnap their servants," said another.

One man stood and waved his arms to get their attention. "If we hurt them, we'll get in trouble with King Abimelech. I say let's fill in their wells. If they can't get water, they'll have to leave."

All the Philistines at the meeting agreed. That night they crept to Isaac's wells and filled them in with dirt.

The next day Isaac went before the King. "Look what your people have done."

"Go away, Isaac. You've become too strong and rich for us."

Sadly Isaac moved his family outside the city to a place in a nearby valley. His servants dug a new well that gave plenty of water.

But Philistine shepherds ran to the new well. "That's ours. You can't use the water. Go away."

Isaac's herdsmen came to him. "The Philistines stole our well. We came to get more men to fight them."

Isaac shook his head, "God has blessed us before and He'll bless us again. Don't fight. Dig a new well."

Once again the Philistine herdsmen stole Isaac's well. His herdsmen raised their staff in anger. "We'll fight them this time. They took our well. We spent hours digging for clean water."

Isaac sighed. "You want to fight over a well? No. We'll move further away from the city. God will give us a place to live peaceably."

Finally, after the fourth well had been dug, the Philistines left Isaac alone. He gave thanks to God saying "the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."

Sometimes we have to forgive time and time again before troubles end. The apostle Peter once asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive?" Do you know Jesus' answer? Click the comment button to tell me.

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