Because of famine similar to what occurred in Abraham's day, Isaac went to Abimelech king of Philistines (Gen. 26:1). It's tempting to seek human ways to meet physical needs instead of trusting God.
Lord told Isaac to avoid going to Egypt, but live where He could bless him and his descendants while establishing the same oath He swore to Abraham. God reviewed His promise to Isaac that through his descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed because Abraham obeyed Him, kept His charge, His commandments, His statutes and His laws (Gen. 26:2-6). Promises given to you by God impact your physical and spiritual descendants. Every detail in the Law and Prophets should be applied to every aspect of life, including the eight cultural spheres.
Instead of trusting God's promise, Isaac lied saying his wife was his sister when asked about her identity. He was afraid the men would kill him because of his beautiful wife. Abimelech warned his people about their possible guilt in this matter, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death” (Gen. 26:7-11). God's promises protect you from harm, even from the government.
Isaac sowed in the land and reaped 100-fold in the same year. The Lord blessed him with great possessions of flocks, herds and great household, which the Philistines envied. All the wells Abraham’s servants dug were filled with earth by the Philistines. Isaac settled in Gerar, but kept moving because the Philistine herdsmen quarreled with Isaac’s since he was too powerful for them. After Isaac dug the stopped up wells, they found well of flowing water. They quarreled again with the Philistines until the Lord made room for them (Gen. 26:12-22). Faithful sowing and intelligent investment mixed with hard work can result in financial prosperity. Others will envy your progress and try to bring you down to their level.
In the midst of discouragement, the Lord appeared to Isaac, “I am God of your father Abraham; do not fear for I am with you, I will bless you , and multiply your descendants for sake of My servant Abraham." So he built an altar, called upon the name of the Lord, pitched his tent and Isaac’s servants dug a well (Gen. 26:23-25). Isaac integrated his life instead of separating it between secular and sacred.
The Lord's working in Isaac's life motivated Abimelech to make a covenant so no harm would come to him. The same day, Isaac's servants dug a well and found water again (Gen. 26:26-33). God blesses people who trust and obey His promises even as they interact with those outside, including government.
Isaac's life in this passage shows how God is interested in all of life--not only your spiritual lives, but emotional, physical, mental and even your career. In Matt. 5:17-19, we learn that Christ came not to abolish or destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill and accomplish everything He desires. When you break or disobey a commandment like Isaac when he lied about his wife, the world becomes confused. Who is this God you worship? Abimelech's spirit was deeply exercised.
In my ministry, I work with government and social service leaders in Lincoln, NE. They ask, "How can we get the church mobilized to help those devastated by generations of poverty and wrong choices?" Budgets cuts are driving this interest. Will members in the church of Jesus Christ trust and obey God's law instead of focusing solely on their own self-interest?
What area in your life is God calling you to trust and obey so people outside can get a glimpse of our awesome God?