What do we know of Isaac? He was the promised son of Abraham and Sarah in their old age. He was to be sacrificed by Abraham, but God intervened and provided a ram. He married Rebecca whom God selected and was the father of paternal twins Esau and Jacob. He was tricked into granting the first-born blessing to Jacob instead of Esau. In each of these significant events Issac was a participant rather than the initiator.
Isaac was a well digger, like his father, who had dug wells all around the area of 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 did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.’ So Isaac stayed in Gerar.” (Gen. 26: 2-6).
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, ” ‘Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.’ So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham. Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “‘he water is ours!’ So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled 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.’ Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well. That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, ‘We’ve found water!”‘He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.”(Gen. 26: 12-33).
It is a very good thing to be in line with God’s promise and purpose. There is a distinct lack of readily accessible water in the middle east. Restoring his father’s wells and digging many more surely must have been of the blessing of God. The Philistines were jealous of Isaac and they envied his water sources and attempted to destroy them. Here we see one great attribute of Issac, when disputes arose he left without argument or retaliation. He had received God’s promise of blessing. Perhaps Issac had learned that his efforts and striving were not necessary when God is working in your life.
Isaac is one of the patriarchs and referenced in, “the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob”. Just as Solomon prospered by God’s promise to his father David, so Issac prospered by God’s promise. This is our promise through Yeshua. “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: ‘At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.’ Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Rom. 9: 6-16).
The next time you think you are unloved and unworthy, and you resolve to be more religious and more pious in your efforts to be good, remember, Issac, surrender yourself to the power of God’s promise, and dig some wells to the glory of God.