…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.” – Gen. 26:22 NIV
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The king and the people of Gerar must have left a huge impression of themselves with Abraham and his family because just as Abraham had lived in Gerar where Abimelech was king and had to present Sarah his wife as a sister to save his life (Gen. 20;1-7), his son Isaac also had to live in Gerar under the same king and similarly had to present his wife Rebecca as his sister to save his life from these potential wife snatchers – Gen. 26:1-6. The sojourn of Abraham was despite this, generally prosperous as he was blessed with many sheep and cattle (Gen. 20:14-15) and that of Isaac was no different either as he became so prosperous that Abimelech and his people became scared and had to advise that they move on from amongst them – Gen. 26:12-15.
The advise of Abimelech to Isaac came because of the success he had achieved in Gerar and he had to move to the valley of Gerar. Suddenly, the success that ordinarily should have brought security and settled life became the reason for his social destabilization and his being seen as a threat to his host. The Christian today should learn from this event that happened to Isaac that there is nothing nouvelle about that success bringing more problems or attacks from previously friendly neighbours, friends and/or family members. That success can take you from the mountain to the valley of life and you will need to make the best of that situation. It is completely erroneous to believe that success in life is what brings peace of mind and rest from life battles as it may just be the beginning of new and greater battles. Rather than make a big issue out of such experiences, you are better off planning on how to manage your success with the accompanying life battles and for whoever is pleading in prayer to the Lord for any form of success, the wisest thing to do is to ask for wisdom to manage the new and stronger opposition that will most likely come with the answered prayer.
Isaac was probably ready for this new challenge. New because it was famine that chased him from his fatherland to Gerar, just as it happened in the time of his father ( Gen. 26:1) but success replaced it with hostility from previously friendly hosts and neighbours and relocated him to the valley of life. A major consequence of this destabilization was the lack of water in the new location. Whether taken literally or proverbially, water remains a key essential for life and it was definitely not a challenge for him and his family members when they were in Gerar. Like several challenges of life, overcoming this was not easy.
The first consequence of this social destabilization brought on him by his success can be considered positive as he had the opportunity to resuscitate the old but profitable business ventures (wells) that his father Abraham had started (dug) but which collapsed after the death of his father and retained their old identities as given by his father, Abraham. – Gen. 26:18. He probably would have seen this as a positive effect as that meant increased prosperity.
However, attempts to further expand and establish himself, success wise, in that environment proved an invitation for more life battles. It seemed all the people in the locality were doing was to watch him start the businesses and nurture it, and as soon as it starts showing some signs of success, they came to forcefully acquire it. This was the case on two occasions where he had to give in to the forceful acquisition efforts of his thriving businesses, by the local people (Gen. 26:19-21) but he persevered until he got to his Rehoboth, where he sensed the Lord had given him room so he could flourish – Gen. 26:22-24. Convinced about this, he decided to finally settle in Beersheba, a location approximately 28km from Gerar where the Almighty God confirmed to him, His intention to bless him and he, in appreciation built an altar for the Lord – Gen. 26:23-24.
Christians need to realise that more success means more challenges and until they arrive at their Rehoboth, there can be no rest of the type they desire. There is no need to waste precious time wallowing in self pity and all those “they are envying me” or “they are jealous of my success” feelings. There will likely be no peace, the type they desire until they get to Rehoboth. Something needs to move the Christian to Rehoboth and it could as well be all those actions of previously friendly people that are considered negative but definitely not those self pity reactions.
Christians need to have a positive disposition to every situation by trying to see the inherent advantage in them.
Christians need not struggle to keep hold of anything in a do-or-die manner. Move on from situations that are turning out to be life threatening just as Isaac was willing to leave all those already thriving businesses for the people in Gerar. It could be that, as he came back to resuscitate the ones his father built and the Philistines blocked, his children may also be positioned in the future to take back those businesses that the people of Gerar, in this case the opposition or the enemies believe they have taken.
Those successes may be desirable but they may not be able to grant the deserved rest from all struggles like it happened to the Almighty God himself on the 7th day (Gen. 2:2), and also to King David (2Sam. 7:1) and to King Solomon – 1Kg. 5:4. There may always be the need to continue to persevere until one arrives at Rehoboth. May God get us all there in Jesus name. Amen