Like father

Another food shortage occurred, but God told Isaac not to go to Egypt as his father had done. “Instead,” God said, “settle in the land I will show you.” And God echoed the details of the promise he had given to Abraham.

Isaac took his family and settled in Gerar. When the men noticed the alluring Rebekah, Isaac lied for the same reason his father had before him. “She’s my sister,” he’d say.

When Isaac had been living there for a long time as an alien, Abimelech, the Philistine king who had been deceived by Abraham in the past, was peering through his window when he saw Isaac caressing Rebekah. He called for Isaac and said, “Obviously, Rebekah is your wife. Why’d you tell everyone she was your sister?”

“I thought I’d be killed, so someone else could have her.”

“What have you done? One of my citizens could have easily taken her into his bed, and you would have forced guilt on us!”

Abimelech remembered the oath of loyalty he had made with Abraham, so he made a blanket decree: “Anyone who touches Isaac or his wife Rebekah, will be executed.”

Inspiration: Genesis 26

Loyalty points

King Abimelech and his army commander Phicol came to Abraham for a little chat.

“It’s obvious God is always watching over you,” the king said, then added, “Promise me, in the presence of your God, that you’ll never betray me or my family line. After all, I’ve been loyal friend.”

“I promise,” Abraham answered, “but I should make you aware of a dispute over one of my water wells. Your servants seem to think it’s yours.”

Abimelech answered, “This is the first I’m hearing of it. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It wasn’t a big deal.” Abraham brought Abimelech sheep and oxen, and they promised they’d be loyal to one another. Then Abraham took seven female lambs and set them apart from the rest of the fold.

“What are these for?” Abimelech asked.

“These seven lambs are given in exchange for your word that I dug the disputed well.”

They named that place “Beersheba,” Well of the Oath. After they sealed their promise, Abimelech and his commander went back to the land of the Philistines.

Abraham remained there awhile and planted a salt cedar near the well. There he spent some one-on-one time with God, and afterward, he surveyed the land of the Philistines.

Inspiration: Genesis 21