Today we begin Genesis Chapter 26.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Bible, click here.
When reading Genesis chapter 26, I imagine the first word that pops into our minds is “Dejavu” as we witness an exact repeat of what happened with Abraham a couple of chapters earlier.
Although we are dealing with a different cast of characters, the events, location, and insecurities that plague the main characters are all the same.
Again, there is a famine.
Again, the protagonist, in this case Isaac, attempts to go to Egypt in order to survive.
Again, just as happened with Abraham, Isaac lies to the Abimelech about his wife.
Isaac’s clan prospers and again a scuttle arises between Isaac and the Abimelech’s herdsmen.
So we see from the Bible that history is cyclical and repeats itself.
It should also be noted that the timing of events in this chapter occurred BEFORE chapter 25.
In other words, the events in Chapter 26 occurred BEFORE Isaac and Rebecca gave birth to Jacob and Esau.
The Abimelech would have known that Isaac and Rebecca were married if they had had children with them and there is zero mention of Jacob and Esau.
Notice in the above paragraph, I added “the” in front of the word Abimelech.
This is deliberate because as I mentioned before, “Abimelech” is a title.
It is not a person’s name.
It would be the same thing as me saying “The President”.
Again, a direct literal translation of Abimelech would be “My Father is King”.
This would have been a different Abimelech from the one Abraham encountered.
So why in a time of famine would Isaac take his family and tribe to the city where the king resided?
Because it was common knowledge that it was near the king’s dwelling quarters where food rations were stored.
There would have been huge warehouses stored with grain.
At this period in history, the taxes the king collected came in the form of grain.
Verse 2 tells us that God appeared to Isaac and made it clear that he was NOT to leave Canaan where he was presently residing and head down to Egypt.
Obviously God would not have said this if Isaac had not already been contemplating such a move, probably in remembrance of what his father Abraham did when a similar famine struck in the past.
Not going to Egypt would have been a difficult decision for Isaac.
Canaan was hostile territory and he had a large number of flocks and herds to oversee.
To decide to stay in a region that was fast running out of food could have spelled the end of Isaac’s clan.
This would have been a big faith decision for him.
Obviously, there is a major life application principle at work here.
When God asks us to step out in faith, we cannot let present circumstances deter us from making a decision.
In fact, in order to test and strengthen our faith, I don’t think God will ever make it easy for us.
If He did, it wouldn’t be a test of faith then would it?