Esau, like some people today, thought only of his immediate desire (he was hungry), rather than considering the future consequences of giving in to his appetite.
Jacob used no manipulation, trickery or deceit in obtaining this birthright. His request did, however, reveal Esau’s fickle, fleshy, and immature character, which rendered him unqualified and undeserving.
We learn from this that we can’t allow our feelings and appetites to rule us. Our emotions and physical needs must not become our masters. Otherwise, just like Esau, those Christians who fail to control their appetites will likely not fulfill their desired destinies or inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21; see also Romans 8:6).
Famine: No Match for the Blessing of God
“And there was a famine in the land…” (Genesis 26:1)
In Genesis 26, when Isaac found himself in the midst of a famine, the Lord appeared to him and warned him not to go down to Egypt, but to stay put and keep trusting in His provision for him and his family.
How often are we tempted to give up and move on when we experience a ‘famine’ in our circumstances? But we should move only if God says to move and stay if He commands us to stay.
The Bible promises that God is well able to provide in a famine or drought when we continue to trust in Him:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7, 8)
Sometimes we need to stay, by God’s grace, in a difficult place and trust God.
In the book of Ruth, Naomi’s husband rode off with his family to Moab during a famine. He and his sons died in Moab.
Contrast this with Boaz, who rode out the famine in the Promised Land. When Naomi returned to Israel, destitute and bitter, she and her Moabite daughter-in-law found their kinsman redeemer, Boaz, blessed and prospering!
In all decisions–whether to move ahead or to stay put–we need to hear God’s voice. Do we believe that the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is leading and guiding us as we seek Him?
Sowing in Faith and Digging Wells
“Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.” (Genesis 26:12)
Isaac sowed in faith in the Land during a famine, and the Lord blessed him a hundred fold. He became a man of great wealth and possessions, so much so that the Philistines envied him.
The Philistines strove with Isaac over the first well, saying ‘The water is ours.’
Isaac called the name of the first well Esek, which means strife or quarreling. The related word, osek (same root word, different vowel) means oppression, exploitation, extortion; to oppress, subjugate, extort, exploit or mistreat.
There is nothing quite so effective as strife for putting a damper on our peace, joy, and the free flow of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in our life. Strife and corrupt communication grieves God’s Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-32).
Then, like now, anti-Semitism is in large measure, fueled by envy over the prosperity that many Jewish people enjoy because God has blessed them.
When the Philistines stopped up all the wells that Isaac’s father Abraham had dug, Isaac’s servants found another well.
The Philistines also fought for the second well, which was therefore, named ‘Sitnah’ (hatred). This word is also related to ‘satan,’ the name for the enemy, adversary, and accuser.
Finally, after walking away from the well of ‘Sitnah’ also, another well was dug and this time, they found a place of shalom, for the Philistines did not strive with them at this well. And so they called the place R’hovot.
This name, also a city in Israel, comes from the word Rachav, which means wide or broad space.
“For now the Lord has made a broad space for us, and we shall be fruitful in the Land.” (Genesis 26:22)
Like Isaac, the Lord will make room for us so that we may be fruitful, but we mustn’t linger at the wells of Esek (strife) and Sitnah (hatred).
Strife and hatred are polluting influences and are two of Satan’s most effective agents at stopping the living water that should flow from our inner being.
“We saw clearly that the Lord was with you: so we said, Let there be an oath between us and you, and let us make an agreement with you.” (Genesis 26:28)
Once Isaac was walking in the supernatural blessing and favor of God in the midst of a famine, the Philistines came seeking him.
How did they see that the Lord was with Isaac? They saw God’s supernatural provision and blessing on his life!
Isaac and his former enemies enjoyed a feast together, and they departed from him in peace (Genesis 26:31).
Isaac was faithful to sow in the famine, and to walk away from strife and hatred. In the end, he came to a place of peace and prosperity.
What a lesson for us! We will reap a harvest of peace and blessing when we are faithful to sow in season and out of season, and to steer clear of strife and hatred.