Obedience & Favor. Those two words sum up these two chapters in Genesis. Abraham has died – and now Issac is positioned to carry on The Blessing that the Lord promised to his father. The covenant that God cut with Abraham is in effect for Issac as well.

But there is a famine in the land.

Genesis 26:1 says that the famine was not the famine spoken of in chapter 12 – but a new, severe famine. (The word famine means – among other things – “a severe shortage”). Then in verses 2-5 we see the Lord gives direction to his favored family, now led by Issac. As in all things – Issac had a choice. Obey God and continue to operate under the Blessing, or disobey Him and remove yourself from Favor. In verse 6 we are told of Issac’s decision; “So Issac stayed in Gerar.” (exactly like God told him to!).

Now Issac wasn’t perfect – he made the same sort of mistakes that his father made when he tried to protect himself under his own strength. This could have backfired – yet the Lord was gracious with him (like He was with Abraham). In the end, Issac obeyed the Lord – followed His instructions – and it was good for him. We see in verse 12 that he is reaping 100 times in harvest DURING A FAMINE! That is how it is with the Lord – obedience brings plenty, protection, provision in all things. Issac is just another example. In the middle of one of the worst famines the area had ever seen – this Kingdom Man – Issac actually increased.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.” – Deut 28:1-2 (This hasn’t changed!).

But – as in obedience… disobedience will remove us from this place of Blessing as well! Notice what happens in chapter 27 of Genesis. Esau is the elder of Issac’s children – and therefore the rightful heir of a double portion of the estate then his younger brother Jacob. But Jacob listens to his mother and tricks Issac into blessing him with the Firstborn Blessing.

What was wrong here? Not only did Jacob deceive his father, he also stole from his brother. That is not how the Blessing works! This is the perfect example of “making the weak arm of flesh your strength” (Jer. 17:5). Jacob made the choice to listen to his mother and attempt to gain the Blessing by his own strength, power and cunning instead of trusting in the Lord to provide for him.

What was the result of this? As we shall see, because of Jacob’s decision – he will be at odds with his brother Esau for many years. This family feud would go on to cost countless lives throughout succeeding centuries. The descendants of Esau (the Amalekites) would grow to become ruthless enemies of Israel – as well it would be the Edomites who would be instrumental in not only attempting to break the family line of Jesus by almost killing King David (1 Sam 21-22) – but again trying the same thing through king Herod and his edict against the 2-yr old boys at the time of Jesus. (Matt 2:16).

Obedience brings Blessing. But when we choose instead to disobey the Lord and try to achieve the Blessing on our own strength we only create more problems – many more problems – which can affect those who come generations after us.

Choose Obedience – and you will increase even in the midst of a famine!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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