Genesis 26:1-5 (NIVUK)
1 Now there was a famine in the land – besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time – and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar.
2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.
3 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.
4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring[a] all nations on earth will be blessed,[b]
5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.’
Another famine and once again eyes turned to Egypt as the food store of the region. We can guess that Isaac had gone to king Abimelek looking for food but we know with certainty that his intention was to take his family and household to Egypt. Few of us would disagree that it was the logical and responsible thing to do given the circumstances. However, once again we find that God is not ruled by circumstances or by human logic, and that his call to faith sometimes flies in the face of all human sense. So it is here, we find that the Lord appears to Isaac, calls him to obedience and faith and confirms all the blessings he had promised to Abraham. The key to this lies in verse 3, and gives us our theme for coming days. “Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you.” Isaac is called to trust God and demonstrate it by his obedience, but the promise is “I will be with you.”
We cannot see as God sees, it is just impossible for us. We see the immediate circumstances, we assess the dangers and make our decisions based on our experience and reasoning. As in everything else though our knowledge is limited and our reasoning is sometimes flawed. In another sense we do not reckon on the power of God to do what we consider impossible, we are limited very much by our experience. Here, despite the evidence of his eyes, and the concerns of his heart no doubt, Isaac was called to believe God and do the opposite to what logic commanded and in return he was given the assurance that whatever was, to him, the unknown future he would not walk alone and in the end his little family would become a great people and a descendent would be a blessing to the entire world.
The circumstances we face and the trials we may encounter change from day to day and week to week and we are not all given the experience or the promises Abraham and Isaac received. That said we ought to have greater confidence because we see God’s plan fulfilled from this side of Calvary, and we have the promise of Jesus, “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Whatever life may throw up, whatever challenges you face as Christian that promise is sure, you’ll never walk alone!