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The beginning of Isaac's spiritual warfare, like that of his father before him, affords large occasion for the exercise of faith. A famine prevails in Canaan: God directs the Patriarch what to do: Covenant promises are renewed: Isaac, through distrust and fear, denies that Rebekah is his wife, by calling her his sister: the consequence of this follows in a suitable punishment: after this Isaac prospers in worldly substance: God appears to him: his son Esau marries two Hittite women which occasions great grief to Isaac and Rebekah. These are the principal things noticed in this chapter.
Genesis 12:10 . Gerar, a place to the north-east of Egypt. Reader! observe how extraordinary are the trials of faith. The very land which was the glory of all lands, is visited by famine: and in the country to which God promised a fullness of blessings, there is first a want even of bread. Such are the exercises of grace.
Psalms 37:3 ; Genesis 12:10
Very sweet are the renewals of divine assurances. My brother! if you know what it is, as one of old did, against hope to believe in hope, you will know also how to walk by faith and not by sight, Genesis 22:16-18 .
So did Abraham. Genesis 20:5 . See also Genesis 12:13 . Reader! do not hastily pass over this verse; but remark, in the perusal, the weakness of the patriarch's faith. Was it not enough that the Lord had appeared unto him, had assured him of his remembrance, of his covenant engagements, and that he would bless him: nay, that his dwelling in Gerar was by the express command of God. Could Isaac doubt of God's protection after this, and could he suppose that he would want means effectually to secure the chastity of his wife, so that he must descend to the pitiful conduct of dissembling? Alas! what do we see in this history of Isaac, but another evidence of what our poor faithless and unbelieving nature is, in the midst of all God's assurances of his love.
That is a sweet promise Isaiah 65:18 ; Psalms 112:1-3
This was contrary to their covenant. Genesis 21:25
Living Waters Song of Solomon 4:15
Esek means contention
Sitnah means hatred
Rehoboth means roomy. Psalms 4:1 .
Beersheba a city to the south of Canaan.
Gen_12:2; Gen_15:1-8; Gen_17:6-7 .
See how faithful men in all places, desire to erect, and leave behind them their testimonies to God's faithfulness. Genesis 12:7 ; Genesis 13:18 etc.
Sheba means an oath, Beer the well; hence Beersheba, the well of the oath.
Hebrews 12:16 ; Deuteronomy 7:3
Let no true believer in Jesus ever be discouraged by the trials he meets with, since the faithful in all ages have been so exercised. The Apostle makes this an evidence of the Christian character, that no man should be moved by these afflictions, since (saith he) ye yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. Oh! it is sweet to see divine wisdom, and divine faithfulness, in all appointments concerning us; and to be able to say of everyone of them, as Paul did, I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. But how very gracious is God amidst all the chequered circumstances of life, in famine, and in fullness, to renew to his people the unalterable assurances of his Covenant love in Christ Jesus! Reader! may it be your happiness and mine, to live upon this when all the supplies of creature cisterns be dried up; and like David, rejoice in that God hath made with us an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; and let this be all our salvation, and all our desire, although he make it not to grow.
I would have the Reader, methinks, (as I desire myself) to seek grace from the Lord, to profit by what this Chapter relates of the weakness of Isaac's faith, respecting the safety of his wife, and of his own life. Had he only considered, poor man, the faithfulness of that God who had promised him his assured favor and protection; there was nothing in the circumstances of his situation to have given him a real cause of fear. But consulting with flesh and blood, and not laying hold of God's promises, his trust in the Lord gave way, and he fell into temptation, sin, and unbelief. Reader! let you and I mark it down among the memorandums of our hearts, that such will be the sure result in every believer's experience, when not upheld by divine strength, but left to the weakness of his own mind. Let you and I therefore pray with the apostle, that we may be strengthened with all might according to his glorious power, who is the alone strength of his people; for then, and not otherwise, shall we be able to act faith upon God's promises, unto all patience and longsuffering, with joyfulness.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16