Journeys Through the Word
“At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”
(19) Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water.
(20) But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”).
(21) Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”).
(22) Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”
(23) From there Isaac moved to Beersheba,
(24) where the LORD appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” He said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of My promise to Abraham, My servant.”
(25) Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the LORD. He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well.
Thoughts along the road:
It seems that Isaac had a very difficult time finding a place where he and his household could dwell without issues over water. They needed water for all of life’s daily needs. They needed water for their livestock. But, it seemed that no matter where they dug a well, someone else claimed the water rights. It sounds a bit like an old western movie, only there were no guns, gunslingers, or barbed wire involved.
So, Isaac kept moving on until, finally, they dug a well and no one was argumentative or hostile over it. That did not end his migration, however, he moved one more to Beersheba and the Lord greeted him in a dream the very night he arrived.
The Lord took the time to reassure Isaac that he was with him, that he should not be afraid, and restated the promises that he had made to his father, Abraham. In response, Isaac built an altar there, set up camp, and dug another well.
He was finally in the place he belonged. He was with the Lord.
Where to go from here:
We will often have troubles similar to Isaac trying to find our place in the world. Very rarely will someone move through life settled and stationary in one place. It’s nice when it happens, I guess. It is certainly not something that has ever happened in my life. I could count all the places I have lived even if I used all my fingers and my toes. My family moved a fair amount when I was young. After high school, I had an abortive attempt at college and then went into the Navy. I moved, on average, every year and a half for the nine years I was enlisted. That continued after my discharge and right up until we bought a house in 2001 and lived there for fifteen years. We now live in another town and have no expectation that we can stay in the place we are at beyond the length of our current lease.
My point with all of that is that lots of things can cause us to move from one place to another, but one thing that needs to stay constant is our relationship with the Lord. Isaac had developed a relationship with the Lord from observing his father. He continued that relationship as a two-way relationship as evidenced by verse twenty-four above. Keeping the Lord in mind when considering a move is not something that we always do. It’s pretty much an add-on after the fact. When we moved this last time, I spent time researching churches before we moved. I wanted to make sure that we would have a solid church home wherever we landed. God honored that and we now live in our new town and are members of a fantastic local body that has embraced us and allowed up to feel free to participate in the ministries of the church.
The next time you have to move, whether you are moving homes or just changing jobs, make God a partner in that process. While not explicitly stated in today’s selection, we can see God’s hand in guiding Isaac to the place God wanted him to be. Don’t you want that for your life too?