Move On! Lessons about Life, Dirt and Restoration
It’s time we reflect and make sense of some things that have gone down in our past. Not that I have any special insight to the trials through which you have persevered, but I have a feeling that what transpires in an unassuming chapter of Genesis might well bring to light the whys and the what to do now revelation we all so desperately need.
So, find your story in the interesting weaving of a man named Isaac, God’s blessing upon his life, a king named Abimelech, and seven wells.
Isaac lived in Gerar, land under the control of the Philistines, for God declared to Isaac, “Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham you father” (Genesis 26:3).
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants” (Genesis 26:12-13).
Did you catch that repetitive word?
Life Lesson # 1
Blessing follows obedience.
The Philistines saw the obvious blessing of the Lord upon Isaac and they envied him. As a result, the Philistine king, Abimelech, told Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we” (Genesis 26:16).
Life Lesson #2
The people closest to you may envy your success and drive you away instead of celebrating the favor of God WITH you.
What happened next requires us to hit the pause button. Isaac departed and settled in the Valley of Gerar, but the wells his father dug had been filled in with dirt by the Philistines after Abraham died. Isaac “dug again the wells of water… he called them by the names which his father had called them” (Genesis 26:18).
Life Lesson #3
There are life-giving sources established by those who came before you, but something or someone stopped them from flowing. You have to open them up to let the essence of life flow.
Years ago I did the Breaking Free Bible study by Beth Moore and was challenged by the exercise to list the evidences of faith in Jesus that were taught to me by my parents when I was growing up. I closed my eyes and pleaded with God to show me something. Surely something was there that pointed me to Christ. Then I remembered that song! There was a song that my mom taught me about spiritual warfare- a very happy song that dealt simply with the truth of the enemy’s attempt to discourage you, but letting the “Sonshine in” will enable you to overcome.
Another spiritual marker from my childhood came from the discovery of my dad on his knees in prayer and brokenness. As a little girl, you only see your daddy as invincible, so this sight was burned upon my mind. I asked him in that moment what was wrong, and he said in a distraught voice while still keeping his face toward the floor, “The enemy has gotten ahold of me.”
Like Isaac, I have found wells that need to flow again. I unstopped them and gave them the names they once had:
- Spiritual Warfare Is Real and Worship Through the Battle Is Key
- Repentance Leads to Restoration
Life Lesson #4
You have naming rights! Continue the names of those things that deserve preservation. Rename those things that the enemy meant for evil, because in the kingdom of God, everything has redeeming value.
Isaac dug another well, but the herdsmen of Gerar argued with him, saying, “The water is ours” (Genesis 26:20). He named the well Esek, meaning dispute. Isaac dug another well, but the herdsmen again laid claim to it. He named it Sitnah because of their hostility. The third new well he dug brought no response of dispute, so Isaac named it Rehoboth, meaning wide, open spaces. You just have to love the prophetic declaration he made: “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land” (Genesis 26:22).
Life Lesson #5
Don’t give up! You’re one well away from seeing the plan of God clearly. Perseverance always brings you into wide, open spaces where vision is clear.
Life Lesson #6
Speak over your future with confidence of God’s goodness to you.
Isaac journeyed to Beesheba, “and the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake'” (Genesis 26:24).
Life Lesson #7
God’s promises are irrevocable and He wants to reveal them to you.
Isaac believed the word of the Lord spoken to him. He prepared for the multiplication by digging yet another well!
Life Lesson #8
Faith requires you to take action on the word of the Lord.
Remember ole’ Abimelech who told Isaac to move on? Well, he came to his senses and realized it’s better to partner with someone successful than to drive him away. He went to Issac to request a treaty stating his people and Isaac’s people will live amicably in the land. The men feasted, made an oath, and Isaac sent Abimelech and his entourage away in peace. Restoration is a beautiful thing. Oh, and Isaac’s servants dug a well and reported that same day to him, “We have found water” (Genesis 26:32). Isaac named the well Shebah, meaning oath or seven.
Seven wells dot the journey Isaac leads us on, and they enable us to evaluate the past, act in the present and speak over the future. Seven is a number of completion- did you know that? Things are considered perfect or complete when the total is seven. Isaac demonstrates this accurately through the act of restoration. I believe God wants to do the same for you. He wants you to make peace with your past. The ability to move on does not come from covering the past with dirt; it comes from dealing with it: bringing forth the life-producing elements that deserve to be maintained, and also renaming those incidences that should have destroyed you had it not been for the mighty hand of your Deliverer. If I were to write a Rename Your Past Guide, I might include some suggestions such as: But God, Redemption, He Saves, New Creation, Restored, God Knows Me, Deliverance, Mighty to Save, Sweet Forgiveness, Blessed Grace… just to name a few! You and I could go on and on because the truth is, what the enemy meant for evil, God turned for good.
He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me (Psalm 18:19).