Don’t you just hate it when you do all the work and somebody else gets the rewards and the glory? It happens in work life for most people, and it certainly happened over and over again for Isaac. His servants had spent great time and effort searching and digging wells; they’d just get one ready and the Philistines would snatch it off them. Abimelech their king could see that Isaac was rather too rich and powerful to make and enemy, so bound him into a treaty (Genesis 26 v 19 – 30). Isaac wasn’t stupid – he must have known Abimelech was rather more conniving than friendly, but he wasn’t one to look for trouble, and agreed to it.
The very same day, as soon as Abimelech had taken his leave, Isaac’s servants came to tell him they had found another well site. This was the big one! Good news indeed. And this time, Abimelech could not turn round before the ink was dry on their agreement, and try any nasty tricks. God’s compensation was well worth waiting for!
But life is full of ups and downs. The bad news comes through of Esau’s marriages. Knowing the trouble his own father had gone to, to secure the godly lineage by finding a suitable wife for himself, Isaac was grieved. These were two pagan Canaanite women; Isaac must have known his son’s weaknesses, and was painfully aware that he would not be able to maintain his own worship of the one true God with the pull of not just one, but two such wives. I wonder too if Isaac hadn’t, up till now, hoped that this favoured elder son would prove the prophecy wrong and come out on top after all. That hope must have died with the news of Esau’s marriages. His wayward son was not going to make good. The full realization caused deep grief for both Isaac and Rebekah.
We should never underestimate the grief parents today suffer when their kids go off the tracks. And young parents should never underestimate just how much wisdom, effort and prayer needs to go into the upbringing of their little ones. Church families need to recognize, support and minister to these two groups of people. Who do you know in either of these groups? Is there more that can be done in terms of prayer or practical support?
Life is full of ups and downs – over all sorts of issues. As a church family, we do need to be looking out for each other. We may or may not have lots of wealth and resources, but we do have each other. Through bad times or good, we all need that.