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Keep On Digging And Moving!

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Genesis 26:12-22

12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him.

13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;

14 for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.

15 Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth.

16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

17 Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.

19 Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there.

20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him.

21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah.

22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

Much has happened in Abrahams life since last we looked on him After saying goodbye to yesterday, Abraham has another encounter with God. This time God takes him on a walk to Mt Moriah where God tests Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. We covered this story in our Bible Study last Wednesday Catch it on the Union Facebook page, Union Baptist Church Zanesville, OH.
After that encounter with God, Abraham loses Sarah, buys a plot of ground to bury her; finds a wife for Isaac, Rebekah by name, among his family in Mesopotamia; remarries to Keturah and has 6 more children, mind you he is well over 100 years old at this point; and finally at the “good old age” of 175 he dies and is gathered to his people. His two sons Isaac and Ishmael bury him with Sarah at Machpelah.
Now the narrative shifts from Abraham to Isaac. Genesis 25:11 says that God blessed Isaac and that he lives at Beer Lahai Roi. This is also where God spoke to Hagar after she ran away from Sarai. He prays for his wife and she conceives and has twins, Esau and Jacob. There is controversy because the Bible says that Jacob favored Esau, and Rebekah favored Jacob. More about that at a later time.
A famine hits the land just like what happened in Abaham’s time. God warns Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to dwell in the land, so Isaac goes to Abimelech and the people or Philistia and dwells there. He lies about his relationship with Rebekah, just like his daddy, gets rich and prosperous in the land, just like his daddy, and gets kicked out of Philistia, just like his daddy. He heads back to familiar territory, re-digging the wells that Abraham dug. Here is where we want to put in for our message this morning. Verse 18 tells us that Isaac re dug the wells that his father dug because the Philistines plugged them up after Abraham died. They respected Abraham enough to leave the wells alone while he was alive, but when he died that respect went out the window. they were willing to destroy a resource that they themselves used because they did not want to see Isaac prosper. People will hurt themselves trying to hurt you a little worse. The question is, What do you do when folk are arguing about your wells? What do you do when people plug up the wells that your family dug, that your daddy established for refreshment and life? You do like Isaac did: you keep digging and moving!
Note what the end of verse 18 says: “He called them by the names which his father called them.” Apparently, the Philistines began to rename the wells to erase any claim that Abrahams descendants may have on them.
Isaac did not retaliate against them, or talk about them, or wish them ill. He simply redug the wells and called them by the names that his father gave them.
In other words he restored their usefulness and identified them according to their original purpose.
The culture we live in wants to rename you and change or plug up your purpose. We have to be as tenacious as Isaac and re-dig and rename the wells.
When they say our children are not as bright or somehow disadvantaged, instead of accepting their assessment, re-dig the wells of our spiritual and collective soul nourishment, and rename them.
When they look at our young Black boys and say that they are pre-disposed to violence, we got to rename them.
When they look at our girls and say that they are hyper-sexualized and overly aggressive, or too emotional, we’ve got to rename them.
When they say that STEM education is beyond them we’ve got to rename them
We must remind our children of the rich heritage that they are born into.
Re mind them that they are descendants of kings and queens.
Remind them that their forefathers built cities and empires well before those who became our oppressors crawled out of caves and grass huts;
Remind them that WE invented mathematics, science; remind them we were the first structural engineers; we mined gold and silver and precious jewels centuries before them.
We sailed the oceans before Christopher Columbus.
Remind them that We built this country with our blood, sweat and tears.
And, remind them that all the time that we faced oppression, all the time we faced hopelessness and despair, all the time, we faced threats, and roadblocks and high hurdles, WE kept digging, WE kept Renaming, and WE kept moving on!
Well let me move on to the end of this. Note that while they were recovering the old wells, Isaacs servants dug new wells in the valley of Gerar.
The old wells were fine, but moving into new territory requires new wells. You can’t succeed in new places if you don’t have new wells.
The Bible tells us that the herdsman of Gerar argued with them over the first new well, so Isaac moved on and dug another well, and the herdsman fussed about that, so he moved on again. Isaac named those two wells “Argument” and “Hostility” He moved on because he did not have time for either, and neither do we.
As we move in the destiny God has for us, we do not have time to engage with those who want to argue and act “wise and other-wise” (that’s a DJ Washingtonism right there!). I see another principle here: let them claim victory in the little battles, because ultimately you’re going to win the war!
I know that God will win the day because of what he did for Isaac.
After the argument and hostility, they came to another place and dug a well. This time there was no argument or hostility.
Isaac called the place Rehoboth which means “open space” or room.
Listen, God made room for Isaac. He made a space for him and his family to thrive and God can do the same thing for you and I.
Isaac said, “At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” (verse 22)
There is room for you. There is room for me. the song says,
Plenty good room, plenty good room, plenty good room in my Father's kingdom, Plenty good room, plenty good room, just choose your seat and sit down.
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