History indeed repeats itself. In Chapter Twenty Six, Isaac experiences famine, just as his father Abraham did. God issues the same covenant to Isaac, that he had promised to Abraham. Even the generational sin of deception repeats itself when Isaac, like his father, is willing to risk his wife’s honor in order to save himself. Good thing Abimelech #1 (from Abraham’s day) and Abimelech #2 (from Isaac’s) seem to value the purity of marriage more than Isaac or his father did. Sad.
History also repeats itself as Isaac follows Abraham’s footsteps, searching for the place where God wants him to settle. But again and again, he faces dispute over the wells he digs and is forced to move on.
Here’s what I notice.
The roadblocks he encounters due to circumstance are what ultimately force him to the place where God wants him. He can’t find a well without conflict, so he keeps moving. It’s inconvenient and must have caused doubt and fatigue. Still, these roadblocks aren’t punishment. They aren’t telling him to give up and go home. They are simply letting him know that he hasn’t arrived yet.
Finally Isaac comes full-circle, to the place where he and his father went, just after coming down Mount Moriah (the place where Abraham was instructed to take Isaac as a sacrifice…and where Isaac was spared because of his father’s faithfulness). Beersheba.
It’s interesting. As Isaac went along his way, the first thing he does in each location is dig a well. The first thing he does is seek physical provision. Until he gets to Beersheba. Something must feel different here because, instead of digging a well, he builds an altar. Instead of seeking physical sustenance, he seeks God. He worships God. And then, he digs a well. What was once his first priority, has become his last. And God honors it.
How many times have I used roadblocks as an excuse to complain…or even give up. God has a plan for me that is perfect. It may not be perfectly comfortable, but it is still perfect. And he uses uncomfortable circumstances to keep me moving, to prompt me to seek him, and to ultimately get me to the “place” he wants me. Roadblocks let me know that I haven’t arrived yet.
God, remind me to build my altar first. Instead of seeking physical and emotional comfort, may I seek you…worship you…and find favor with you.