There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you.” (Genesis 26:1-3)
If God told Isaac not to go down to Egypt, that would imply Isaac may have been planning to do just that. Like his father before him (and presumably with many others) the famine provoked him to turn to the place that held the promise of provision. But remember the consequences of Abram’s journey into Egypt — Hagar and ultimately Ishmael.
Rabbinical commentary teaches that when Isaac was placed on the altar by Abraham, he became tantamount to a burnt offering. Just as such an offering could not be removed from the Temple Courtyard, so was Isaac forbidden from leaving the sacred soil of Canaan. God had a different plan for Isaac and, thus, the Almighty didn’t want him to repeat certain steps — one might even say, mistakes — made by his father. Therefore, Isaac was instructed to dwell in Gerar where he will blessed.
When certain situations arise in our life there are those logical and time-tested steps that we can take in response to those situations, like going to Egypt in time of famine. Yet, there are those times in our life when our Father wishes for us to abandon the norm and to depend upon Him for answers and provision. He doesn’t want us to become dependent upon our own strength or the abilities of others but to trust Him for all things. As Solomon said:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Today, let us allow Him to direct our path instead of assuming we should do as we have always done. It might be that, by following His lead instead of our own wisdom, we are being saved from ending up with a Hagar in our life.
Blessings and Shalom,