Market Place Ministry
Issac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold,
because the LORD blessed him."
"Isaac built an altar there and called on ( proclaimed) the name of the LORD."
"All nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham (and ultimately Jesus) obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands…. "So Isaac stayed in Gerar (and obeyed the Lord by doing so). God made a unilateral, unconditional covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:12-17) and ultimately through Jesus, and Isaac and all believers get to participate in it. Our salvation is secure but our reward and blessing is conditional upon our obedience. If we choose not to obey (as believers) we lose the blessing both now and eternally but God's purposes will not be thwarted – He will raise up someone else to carry it on. (See Esther 4:14; 1 Cor. 3:10-15)
In verses 7-11 we see Isaac repeat the sin of his father – he lied about his wife being his sister. Yet in this case it was a bigger lie because Sarah was Abraham's half sister. Later when Abimelech saw Isaac caressing ("sporting with") with Rebekah he realized that Isaac had lied to him and rebuked him and exhibited more righteousness than the man of God. The word for caressing or sporting is a word-play on the name of Isaac (laughter) as Isaac made light of or sport of God's purpose for him to be a blessing and witness to the nations. Surely Isaac heard of his father's lapse of faith and lies about Sarah (Abraham did it 2 times – ch. 12 and 20). Warning: Little donkeys (children) have big ears. Isaac did what his daddy did. More is caught than taught.
Market place ministry- "Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him." They not only envied him, they opposed him by stopping up the wells he dug and Abimelech drove him out of the area. But to Isaac's credit he did not retaliate but trusted God and kept on digging wells and the Lord kept on blessing him. And Isaac gave the Lord the credit: "Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD." This was a public testimony to the one true God and, as we see later, led them to want peace with him (and maybe even God). Hopefully as we are blessed by God and show our gratitude to Him, those around us our "neighbors" will want "peace with God" through Jesus Christ. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."(Rom. 5:1)
Yet we must be careful here. This is probably one of the verses prosperity preachers use to teach people to "blab it and grab it or name it and claim it." But narrative literature is not a promise from God. We see from the wisdom literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) in the Bible that there are no formulas for material or temporal blessings from God even in the Old Testament. Job is the best (or worst) example. Psalm 73 speaks of how the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper in this life but look at their end: "till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny." As believers we are to put our trust in heavenly rewards more than temporal blessings. God can and does bless us materially and we are called to give Him all the credit for it as a public witness to our unsaved friends as Isaac did by building an altar. But He may choose not to for His higher purposes and if we trust and obey Him anyhow it is for our eternal good. As the chart shows, it is how we respond to both blessings and trials that shapes our souls for eternity – and ultimately that's all that matters. God is more concerned about our attitude before Him (our inner character) than our outward work for Him as Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:1-7 "If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." (The Msg.)
The Old Testament focused on temporal and material blessings from God based on obedience: fruit of the vine, health, children, peace versus war, etc. (Deut. 28:1-14); but the New Testament focuses on spiritual and eternal blessings for obedience: the fruit of the Spirit. (John 15:1-10; Matt 6:19-34)
"Meanwhile, Abimelech had come to him from Gerar, "We saw clearly that the LORD was with you. Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they left him in peace." The theme of table fellowship to ratify a peaceful relationship is seen throughout Scripture even when Moses and the elders drank and ate with God: "Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! (Ex. 24:9-11 NLT) But a much better covenant is the one our Lord Jesus made with us through His body and blood which we celebrate at the Lord's Supper to remember Him and our eternal covenant with him. "As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take this and eat it, for this is my body." And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, "Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words-I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom."(Matt. 26 26-29)
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
What did the Lord say to you through this message?
Scripture says our salvation is secure but our eternal rewards are based upon our obedience (the quality of our work). Are you motivated by eternal rewards to obey the Lord? See 1 Cor. 3:10-15.
See Gen. 26:7-11 as Isaac repeats the sin of his father and lies about his wife being his sister. The word for caressing or sporting is a word-play on the name of Isaac (laughter) as Isaac made light of or sport of God's purpose for him to be a blessing and witness to the nations. We can make light of our faith among unbelievers and hurt our testimony for the Lord. Where do you see Christians doing this and how can we avoid trivializing our faith in Jesus?
Market place ministry – Isaac built a public altar and proclaimed the name of the Lord in a pagan world. How can we do this today and witness to the Lord through our work each week?
God is more concerned about our attitude before Him (our inner character) than our outward work for Him or temporal blessings from Him as Paul says in 1 Cor. 13. The New Testament focuses on spiritual and eternal blessings for obedience, the fruit of the Spirit. (John 15:1-10; Matt 6:19-34) What are some things we can do to make the huge paradigm shift to desiring eternal and spiritual blessings more than temporary, material blessings? How did the chart speak to you about this?
Scripture memory verse: "If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." (1 Cor. 13:1-7 The Msg.)