This is my take on the sermon for 10/2/22. That may seem like a strange title for a blog post about Genesis 26, but that’s what caught my attention right away.
Callouses can make things easier, but it takes time and hard work to build them. Our pastor talked about building callouses as a drummer and how that made it easier to play. In the same way, callouses make it so much easier to play guitar. When I first started playing acoustic guitar, I could only play about 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Now that my callouses are built, I can play for hours at a time.
How does this relate to the Bible? When we don’t have the energy to take the next step, we don’t feel God moving, it’s the callouses we’ve developed that allow us to go on. From experience we know that God is there because he has always been faithful.
A living faith has calloused hands.
Our scripture for this sermon comes from Genesis 26. Let’s take a look…
11 So Abimelech gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”Gen. 26 11-16
Isaac had told them that Rebekah was his sister because she was so beautiful that he feared they would kill him. When Abimelech saw them together from his window, he realized they were married. So he actually helped protect Isaac from the Philistines by ordering them to leave them alone. Abimelech was not a godly man. God used a politician to protect Isaac and to fulfill a promise.
As God blessed Isaac and all that he touched, whether his herds or his crops, he became a rich man. Finally Abimelech told him to move on.
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.Gen. 26:17-18
Where Isaac decided to live, the circumstances he was in directed the decisions he made. The neighbors determined when he moved on. This happened several times. He dug wells and had water, but the neighbors were crazy.
But at one point, Isaac began to get direction from God. Rehoboth was the place Isaac found peace. Even though Isaac had done the work to build the wells it was the blessings from God that brought it about. Even though there were no crazy neighbors and they had a well dug, Isaac decided to move on to Beersheba.
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.Gen. 26:23-25
God promises to bless Isaac because of what his father had done. At this point Isaac hadn’t even acknowledged that this is his god. But when Isaac finally understands that God will cover your sins when you belong to him, he builds an altar and worships his God.
Beersheba has a special place in Isaac’s history. When God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac and provided a ram for the sacrifice, Abraham took Isaac to Beersheba, the promised land. Isaac had come full circle.
What do we do with this? Seek God and get to know him. Make your altar and pray to him. He wants to teach you.
Don’t give up on God who has never given up on you. His promises won’t fail. There’s nothing you can do to change God’s faithfulness.
So here’s your take away from this sermon:
- Hang on — persevere through discouragement. Keep digging.
- Let go — The oppositions you’ve faced in life aren’t thinking about you. When Abimelech wanted Isaac to move on, he didn’t fight him on it. Sometimes we have to face that God wants us to move on because he’s got something new for us.
- Give credit where credit’s due. God’s commitment to us is better than our commitment to him. We can count on God. We can do so much more when we make our will his will.
Your perseverance through the tough times allow you to go on because you have developed faith that God will be there even though you don’t see him. Callouses you’ve built through repetition over time provide the faith you need to go on. The energy you need to face the struggle. Even when you falter he’ll be there to catch you.