Genesis 26:21,22—Then they dug another well and quarreled over that one also, so he named it Hostility. He moved from there and dug another, and they did not quarrel over it. He named it Open Spaces and said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”
The Philistines inhabited the land of Canaan and because water was precious in that arid region there was competition over who controlled it. In the passage above, Isaac, the son of Abraham could not escape quarreling with Philistine herdsmen who, envious of his wealth, claimed any wells Isaac’s servants dug up as their own. They should have been thankful for more sources of water. Instead, by their hostile actions, they were sending a message to Isaac—“Get out of our land.”
Isaac, through Abraham, was promised by God to inherit the very land in which he was living (See 15:18-21). He could have complained to God about the unfairness of his situation. He could have told the Philistines he was living on terrain God promised him and therefore to leave him alone. He could have fought them. Isaac chose another course of action. He moved east until he reached open, uncontested spaces. There, free of hostility, he and his family flourished.
So often when we stand on moral high ground we do not do well with hostility. We are infuriated when people treat us poorly. We find it absurd that we should suffer when we have done nothing wrong. We let our “rights” dictate our actions. Yet, faith is not always fashioned for fighting. Sometimes we reveal more trust in God by avoiding conflict. Sometimes we just need to move to open spaces. If we trust in God’s sovereignty, our timetable for settling, agenda for peace, priorities and aspirations become nested in His will and not our own.
Perhaps you are blessed with a great job and a new boss comes in with a different style of leadership. He wants his own team and treats you with disdain. How easy it would be to protest to the Lord. “Father, I have done nothing wrong. Get rid of this immoral leader or change him to be like the last one!” If you engage in hostility God may let you lose because it was not His intent that you stand up for yourself. He may want you to find open spaces—to trust Him enough to move on to something better He has planned for you. Never fight unless God gives you the leading, strength and peace to do so.
When Isaac arrived in Beer-sheba, which means Well of the Oath, or Seven Wells, God appeared to him at night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your offspring because of My servant Abraham” (vs.24). May the same be true for you as you walk in submission to His perfect leading! He is with you. He will bless you.
The most common equivalent to Pharisaism today is moralism, the curse of Christian witness in the public square. Moralism operates in a characteristic way. First, it removes grace from the discussion in question. Then it reduces the whole issue to the moral dimension. Next it rationalizes its own sense of superiority by using moral judgment as a weapon to attack others. In the end it reinforces both sin and hostility to God, who—alas—is blamed for the moralism dispensed in his name.—Os Guinness in The Call
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)