THE WELLS OF CONTENTION AND HATRED
No sooner had Isaac’s herdsman dug out one of the wells than the people of the land began to strive with them saying the water was theirs. “And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him” (Genesis 26:20). Isaac named the well Esek, which means strife or contention.
In the life of the Christian the devil does not want you to find living water, so he will immediately attempt to stop its flow by bringing you into contention with someone. James, the Lord’s half brother, wrote about strife, saying, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). James understood that when the door of contention is opened, it will lead to hurtful and destructive conditions. In Isaac’s situation this was proven to be true, for when they attempted to dig another well, even greater strife arose.
“And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah” (Genesis 26:21). When you study the names of both these wells, you see that Esek literally means contention, while Sitnah means hostility or, even stronger, hatred. When you combine the two, you get a deadly combination. If contention is not dealt with in the early stages, it can easily turn into hatred. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:15 that if a man hates his brother, he’s a murderer and does not have eternal life abiding in him. What a tragedy when people have served the Lord for years and then finally walk away from God because their hearts become hardened. If you allow hatred to develop towards others God has no alternative but to declare you to be a murderer. Just think about it! These are the only two things the devil needs to begin stopping the supply of life which God has given you in Christ. This is exactly what this message is about; exposing Satan before you are embittered by contention that turns into hatred. By God’s grace, we will move away from these wells, we will move away from strife and contention, and allow the Lord to heal every wounded heart.
REHOBOTH – THERE IS ROOM
“And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land” (Genesis 26:22). Isaac and his herdsman dug yet another well and called it Rehoboth, which means room. They did not allow the strife they experienced to turn their focus away from the wells of Abraham.
In the same way you need to believe there is room for all of us in God’s kingdom! His covenant with His Son has opened the way for everyone who believes on Christ to have a place in this kingdom. There is room for all people at the cross no matter what age, race, or nationality. And when you become His child, He enlarges your heart to love all of His people even those who wounded you. He will make enough room in your heart to overlook the willful and hurtful transgressions of others. Whereas, you could not do this before you came to Christ. But now, like Abraham who prayed for King Abimelech and blessed him, you are going to be able to pray for others, “God bless you, God bless your family, God bless your home, God bless your children, and God forgive you as He has forgiven me.”
In the gospel of John chapter four, Jesus gives us this same principle by loving and forgiving someone who would be considered as an outsider or even as an enemy. When He came to Jacob’s Well in Samaria, Jesus sat down and asked a woman of religious and cultural mixture for a drink. If a Jew, other than Christ had met that woman at the well, she would have been ignored and shunned because of her background, let alone her gender. Jesus did not allow anything to alter his deliberate treatment of her as being someone created and loved by God. That day she was given living water from God Himself.
If you want to continue to experience the same fullness as the woman at the well, you have to start by forgiving those the world says should be your enemy. You offer love and forgiveness, whether it is accepted or not. The moment you do, it will be as though you have dug out all the dirt from the old wells of Abraham, and living water will begin to flow again. Just think of the impact you would have in the workplace if you forgive a co-worker who had wounded you. Think how everyone on the job would marvel that you would actually reach out to this hurtful person and offer friendship to them again.
Do you want to make the world marvel? Start talking to the very people who have turned their back on you and at this point may intensely dislike you. Speak to people you know need God’s grace. And just like the name of the last well Isaac opened and named Rehoboth, the Lord will make room for you and you shall be fruitful in a land regarded as barren and useless. Hallelujah!
If Abraham truly had a grave marker and the epitaph on his headstone had read “Abraham – The Father of Faith: All the nations of the earth are blessed because of you.” I have no doubt that the epitaph on Isaac’s gravestone would have read: “Isaac – The son of Abraham and Sarah: Everything God promised to my father I have proven to be true.”
Today, beloved, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is also our God, He is our Jehovah Jireh, He is our Rehoboth, and the kingdom of His Son, Jesus Christ, rules and reigns in our lives. Praise God!