Isaac—To Obey or Not to Obey, To Walk in Faith or in Fear?

Genesis 26:1–29, There was a famine in the land. At the well of Lachai-roi (or “the well of the Living One seeing me,” Gen 24:62), Isaac was fruitful. There he met his wife while in communion with YHVH (Gen 24:62–64). Isaac also dwelt there for 20 years, and there he entreated YHVH because of Rebekah’s barrenness (Gen 25:21), and YHVH answered Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah gave birth to twins (Gen 25:22). 

But because of famine in the land, Isaac felt compelled to leave Canaan to seek relief in Egypt following the earlier footsteps of his father, Abraham. At this point, we must ask ourselves whether it is wise for the saint to rely on “Egypt” (a metaphor for the world) for their physical sustenance instead of trusting YHVH and believing that where he has planted us and blessed us is where we should stay? 

Evidently, YHVH didn’t want Isaac to go down to Egpty, for while en route to that land, he gracefully redirected Isaac stay in Canaan and to sojourn in Gerar (temporarily), where he would continue to bless him and his posterity (Gen 26:2–4). 

Isaac obeyed YHVH—more or less. Isaac ended up in Gerar located on the border between Canaan and Egypt and dwelt there a long time and not temporarily as YHVH had instructed him (Gen 26:6, 8). Instead of fully obeying YHVH, it was as if Isaac was hedging his bet between faith and fear, between Canaan, the land of promise, and Egypt, the land of comfort for the flesh man. How often do we halt between two opinions and compromise between YHVH’s will and our own in matters where he has given us clear direction? 

This place of spiritual indecision and weakness put Isaac in a compromising situation (Gen 26:7). He felt compelled to lie about his wife, thus repeating the sin of his father (Gen 20:1–2). Compromised obedience puts us in compromising situations where in order to “save our skin” we often have to compromise our values. 

Though Isaac was out of YHVH’s will, YHVH was still faithful to keep his promises that he had made to Isaac earlier (Gen 26:3–4). Isaac was blessed one hundred fold in his wealth (Gen 26:12–14). 

Despite YHVH’s blessings, Isaac’s labors were not without difficulty and opposition from an enemy who was intent upon stealing the water wells that were rightfully his (Gen 26:12–15). 

In the arid regions of the Holy Land, wells are essential for survival and prosperity. Wells are a spiritual metaphor for salvation, life, abundance and truth—things the enemy is intent on taking from us (in this light, consider Isa 12:3; 55:1–3; Ps 36:9; John 4:7–14; 7:37–39; 10:10). Don’t let the enemy steal from you that which YHVH has given to you.


1 thought on “Isaac—To Obey or Not to Obey, To Walk in Faith or in Fear?

  1. When I read in Genesis 26:15 how the Philistines filled the wells with dirt (wells=water, man=made from dirt, interesting) I thought that was a devilish things to do, then I recalled that “ish” means man as in Danish, Irish, English etc., so devil-ish? Well-a deep subject 🙂

Share your thoughts...