Genesis, Typically Considered. Chapter 26

Genesis 26  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 14
We have here a different phase of the relation of the Church and the world. No longer returning into Egypt in the famine, but to sojourn in the land promised, and God be with him—the obedience of Abram securing blessing in the seed. But the associate power of evil within its borders—the power of the world, and its resource in the trials and difficulties-the famine in which he found himself-and here again the unity and identification of the wife is denied, though their intercourse (His kindness to her) makes it evident that she was so. But here the power of the world is made to show favor to Isaac and his wife; for the Lord was with him to bless him sojourning in the land in obedience to the Lord's directions. Therefore though weak and failing in faith-for he drew towards the world in dwelling in Gerar, which never became actually Israel, but the evil was presented on the world's part-though he sinned, he denied not, did not give up his wife. Blessing was upon him manifestly from the Lord, and worldly power ruined him-that which was in the land, but was not of the seed of God, and they stopped the wells—would not allow the drinking places of the seed of God, though they had digged them; Isaac recedes, having first met contention and then hatred, and giving way—at last, room—that they might be fruitful; and then he returns to the place, where Abraham had fixed the mark of his portion-the well that he digged for himself—the utter border of Israel.
In this sense, though when come again in power, Israel should have it all, yet then Isaac had no business in Gerarhe was to sojourn in this land, but then he had no occasion to go into the place of what was of the world (and the world in controversy with Israel about the borders of their land) where he is brought into fear, contention and hatred, through their envy; but he has, in such case, only to recede where the mark of God, given of old to faith, will be the place of renewed blessing, as given to the father of the faithful. And there, upon the blessing of God, the hostile world, which just before drove him out, now seeks his favor and alliance; in a word, we have the direction to the resurrection Church—its conduct, still clinging to the world—within its borders—the world jealous of its blessing—contending—hating—and the Church giving way—yields all to it—comes into the border of the promise, where God blesses it. Then the world is glad to come and own that the Lord is with it—humbly submitting itself to him, whom it now owns is now "the blessed of the Lord"—the world never owned this while the Church was within its borders, but ruined it—the same day, the Lord gave them that water, fresh digged, which had been to Abraham the seal and occasion of the testimony of what belonged to himself; and where he had called on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God, who had now shown a fulfilling of His faithfulness and mercy in this name—it is an instructive picture.