Don?t go down to Egypt
Read Genesis 26, the whole chapter, carefully.
Notice that Isaac had good reason to go down to Egypt. God had an even better one from advising him not to venture there.
Now there was a famine in the land - besides the earlier famine of Abraham?s time - and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you.
For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." So Isaac stayed in Gerar. Gen 26:1-6 NIV
Isaac stayed in Gerar because God told him to.
God is interested in the detail of your life. He knows the future better than you do. He is able to determine the best route for your life.
Egypt in the days of Isaac was a land of wealth. It was richly blessed with the abundance of water from the river Nile protecting it from the famine that lack of rain so often brought the other lands. Besides all this, it was a land that worshipped many gods and none of these were the real one. Nevertheless, the only reason why it was wrong for Isaac to head that way was because God did not want him too.
There are times when it seems the easiest way out of a hard situation is to make for Egypt ? walking away from the right place to a convenient one.
Staying in the right place does not mean all will be easy.
There is a time of sowing.
Sowing in the land
Notice the first thing that Isaac did (Genesis 26:12 - 14).
What does sowing mean to us?
Read Matthew 6:1-18.
You will notice 3 things God tells us to do.
This is one of the ways we can sow. However, make sure you wrap all these things in obedience. Be faithful to the things God has called you to do.
I believe this is a year of sowing.
- To some people this will mean paying more attention to the family God has blessed you with ? your children, spouse.
- To others it will mean focusing on developing the gifts and talents He has endowed on us.
- To some it will mean putting efforts into getting our attitude and godly living right.
- And yet to others it will mean being subject to the authority God has placed over us ? even when the authority is not to our liking.
Disputes and opposition
Sowing never means a time of inactivity.
Isaac went about digging the wells his father had dug in the past (Genesis 26:18-19).
His first effort was thwarted (Genesis 26:20). The name Isaac gave the well means ?dispute?.
How many times have your flesh, mind, friends (whatever) disputed the right things you were doing and put you off in the process?
When you allow dispute to stop you from doing what is right you wave goodbye to the fruitfulness that would have come if you had persisted. Dispute is an enemy we are equipped to overcome.
The second well Isaac dug he called opposition (Genesis 26:20). Opposition is a product of walking in the right direction. It is something we should expect to meet at some time during our sowing period and more than occasionally afterwards.
Lets not spiritualise this too much. It can come to you at work simply because you decide to do your job in the right way. It can raise its ugly head at home or even growl at you in the church.
Opposition can take your attention away from the right thing and cause you to settle in the wrong place. Avoid it like the plague. Forgiveness, forbearing and a healthy dose of wisdom will help you overcome it.
Isaac dug a third well and look at the result.
He moved on from there and dug another well, and no-one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, "Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land."
From there he went up to Beersheba. That night the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham." Gen 26:22-24 (NIV)
If Isaac had stopped at the dispute or embraced the opposition he would have never met his full potential. His persistence led to his abundance.
Egypt would have been the easy route for him to take.
God told him to stay and look what he had to go through before realising his reward.
Pay attention to the things that God has put on your heart. Do not let anything distract you from doing what is right.
This is the way to avoid famine. Don?t go down to Egypt.
I am sure you know what I mean.