TITLE: “Only After We Endure Trials at the ALTAR” 11/23/2020
“And there was a famine in the land…and Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee…I will make they seed multiply as stars of heaven…thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: And the men of the place asked him of his wife, and he said,” She is my sister…for fear that the men of the place should kill me and take Rebekah for their wife”…But Abimelech charged all his people not to touch his wife or be put to death…Then Isaac sowed in the land and received in the same year an hundredfold blessing…and grew until he became very great…and the Philistines envied him…and filled up with dirt all his wells (inherited from his father Abraham who was wealthy)…And the Lord appeared unto 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 for my servant Abraham’s sake. And Isaac builded an ALTAR there and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there:the servants digged a well called Rehoboth (i.e. enlargement) and that same day, they found water” Genesis 26 KJV
In the Bible, an altar symbolizes God’s Table; a sacred place to offer one’s self, sacrifices, gifts and worship up to God. In the earliest times, alters were built out of earth or stone and no tool could be used. Altars were erected by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses (Gen 12:7; 26:25; 33:20; Ex 17:15). Nowadays, the altar can be a place for non-sacrificial rites such as weddings and communions. This lesson is to emphasize Isaac and his reasoning to build an altar that should enrich our spiritual life. Isaac was a quiet man; only six chapters in Genesis speak of him. He would rather pack up and leave rather than confront his enemies. He spent most his life in Canaan, brought there by his father and patriarch Abraham.
Chapter 26 of Genesis alerts us that there is a Canaan famine so he decides to leave and go get help from the Philistines. When we move, we should seek prayer at our altar to confer the will of God. God blesses Isaac there for Abraham’s sake. We’re blessed today because of Jesus’ sake. The safest place in the world is in the will of God. We should ask, What can I get out of this vs. How can I get out of this? Out of fear, Isaac lies stating that his wife is his sister threatening the lives others. The wanting to run and temptation to lie should sound familiar because his father did the same in Gen 12. True Faith is tested either by temptations within us or trials or tests around us.(1 Cor 10:13). The bible tells us that God’s will is that we learn lessons to move us toward truth and salvation.
While in Gerar, Isaac is truly blessed but then the Philistines became to hate him for his wealth and started to fill all his wells with dirt. Here comes the trials. But the Lord comes to us with His assuring Word just in time. No need for us to be afraid. Of all the wells the enemy filled, Isaac got his enlarged well (Rehobath). God does “overflow” his children! In response to God’s gracious Word of promise, Isaac built an altar and worshipped the Lord. We must understand and depend upon God’s wells of spiritual life which are: Word of God, Prayer, Faith, Sacrifice, Service, Worship and the Powerful Power of the Spirit! “Understanding is a wellspring of life to those that have it” Prov 16