“Dealing with Contentions in the Midst of Blessings”

Photo: Pixabay/ThePixelman

“And Abimelech said unto Issac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we,” Genesis 26:16

Oh, how wonderful we feel when God opens the windows of heaven and pours out blessings into our lives, Micah 3:10. It feels good! And, it doesn’t matter if the blessing is material, physical, spiritual or emotional, if there is something that God wants to do that is special for us, we take joy in receiving from the goodness of our heavenly Father.

One of my favorite verses that keeps me in check and reminds me of just how awesome He is in this area is Matthew 7:9-11. In the verses before these Jesus is teaching His disciples a few of life’s lessons. He just assured them of the “ask, seek, and knock” principle of prayer. Then, to make sure they understood how much the heavenly Father cares He further explains, “Or what man of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

God knows how to give good gifts! The problem with that is everybody is not going to like you for it. Everyone is not going to be on your side. There will be one, if not more, that will be standing in the corner, grimacing every time God decides to shower you with some of His goodness. It’s sad but true!

Human nature can get almost primal in this area. If you throw a bone to a pack of hungry dogs, what will happen? Only one dog will actually catch the bone, but the others will be on a continual mission to take it from him because they want it for themselves. They’re hungry for it. They want to be fed, too. It’s not fair that the one got the blessing and the rest didn’t. And so, another dog will try to latch onto it to yank and pull it away from the original owner. Another also steps in and tries to get it from the previous two. And on, and on it goes. Until one is successful to lie hold of it and run to safety.

I’ve seen this play out with seagulls also. You throw a piece of bread out for one and suddenly there are what seem to be a hundred gulls thinking they can all survive off of that one piece. They swoop down to grab the bread and try to fly away with the prize, only another has his eye on it and does the same. It becomes a never-ending circle of desire and wants that moves to the contentions of, “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” Swoop! It’s mine!

The same scenario played out for Isaac. God was keeping His promise that He made to Abraham and his son was reaping the rewards of it. God had truly blessed Isaac. “Then Isaac sowed in the land and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants…” (Genesis 26:12-14).

He was blessed! But, the remainder of verse 14 clearly states that not everyone was happy about it. It says, “And the Philistines envied him.” They then put into motion a plan to try to hold down his blessings. “For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth,” (Genesis 26:15). As they stopped up the wells their hope was to stop the blessings.

Afterwards, the king of the Philistines, Abimelech, just out and out told him, “We don’t want you here anymore – get out!” If they can’t stop the blessings then they don’t want to be around you while God is blessing. Why? Because it hurts to see some receive and some don’t. Humanity doesn’t like it like that, unless, of course, they are the ones on the receiving end of it.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ve been on both sides of this fence: the side of being blessed and the side of watching others get blessed. Oftentimes, I didn’t always understand, but that’s just the way it was. Like it or not, I have to believe in God’s sovereignty over it all. Did it always register right away? Um, no. For I am human also and don’t always see things as God does. (If I’m going to write about it, I have to be totally honest about it.)

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that as God moves on our behalf to elevate us and bless us, that contentions can arise. What do we do then? First and foremost, is to trust God. After being kicked out, Isaac went from one well to another, there was always a fight with someone about it. Isaac could’ve gotten ticked off, but he kept trying to find where God was leading. Just because you are blessed by God doesn’t mean you can settle anywhere. You have to be where God wants you in order to continue to grow in Him. That requires trust.

Eventually, Genesis 26:22 tells us, “And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not…  For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” If one keeps following the leading of God, God, in turn, will put you in a place where the gifts and blessings He has given you will thrive. You are not going to just flourish anywhere. You have to be where He can ensure your growth.

If that weren’t enough, God made those that hated Isaac to be at peace with him. “We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee… let us make a covenant with thee,” (Genesis 26:28). They came to him. They sought him out to seek reconciliation. How did it all end? Very good, I might say. “And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace,” (Genesis 26:30-31). All grudges and animosity were gone and peace entered in.

The Bible says, “the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water,” (Genesis 26:32). This was refreshment for the body and soul after dealing with such contentions. I think that means he was finally where God wanted him to be, in mind, body and spirit. The water didn’t come until the covenant for peace was made.

When God blesses there will sometimes be contentions to deal with from others. But, we too, have a responsibility in the midst to try to go as God leads us and to still keep the peace.

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God Has a Better Plan | The Place of Your Own Blessings

How often in our lives do we spend extra time and energies wasted by digging around in the wrong stuff?  With seemingly very little direction many wander from one avenue of life to another.  It’s time for God’s people to settle in a place of their own.  God has a blessing in store for His people, but they have to dig where He is leading them.  They have to find their own well where God can enlarge their territory.

Due to a famine in the land, God instructed Isaac to not go to Egypt but to stay where He tells him (Gen. 26:2); “in this land,” (Gen. 26:3) where the blessings were promised through Abraham.  But, the blessings of the Lord upon him caused the people to not want him in that particular region of the land any longer (Gen. 26:12-16).

Issac knew the disappointment of searching for something in life and not have it to pan out the way he envisioned. After the people of the nation wanted him to depart from them he went back to the old wells his father previously dug and tried to set up shop there.  He even ventured into trying to dig new wells, but no matter what he did he was met with quarrelsome people who didn’t want him there and they made no bones about it.  They fought and disagreed over property rights until the pressure mounted for Isaac that he moved away from that particular area, although he was still in the land God instructed him.

Venturing to remove himself from the people and their contentious attitudes, Isaac finally came to a place where he was able to dig a well without digging for problems.  He was finally in a place where he could enjoy the blessings of the Lord with peace and prosperity.

Through it all, God had a better plan for him.  God will sometimes prohibit us from settling in the familiar (he wanted to dwell at Abraham’s old wells) because He has a new place for you to go to unearth your own blessings, to dig your own wells, to dream your own dreams, to renew a covenant relationship with you personally.  Only when we become invested in God on our own will we be able to see God work in our lives as He did for those who came before us. It wasn’t enough for Isaac to lean on what his father Abraham previously accomplished.  God had a better plan for Isaac and Isaac had to learn to trust God and have faith on his own.  He was still under the same covenant as Abraham who was promised to inherit the land, but God was going to bless Isaac in His own way in that land.

Why go through all of this trouble, you may ask?  Because, as hinted at before, one’s faith has to be in God for themselves.  We will never know what God can do for us and through us if we never allow ourselves to experience a time of dependency on Him.  It is alright for Isaac to hold on to the blessings God promised to Abraham (because those blessings were still very valid for him), but he also needed to know God in an individual, relational way to be a carrier of this covenant.  He needed to know it is not what his father previously dug that will give him a place in the land, but it is the God who his father served and had faith in, He is the one that will make room for him there, thereby upholding what He previously promised to his father.  The promise may have been initiated on Abraham’s faith, but Isaac had to recognize the sovereignty of God’s hand and plan in it all as well, and that in the end, anything he had or accomplished will be because of the LORD who gave him his own blessing under that same covenant promise.  And, when God blesses, He makes it fruitful and abounding.  He will give room for expansion and growth.

Sometimes when we venture out into new territory and we hit up against fighting and disagreements, it could be because God doesn’t want us to settle in that particular area.  We may be still in the land that was promised, but some areas are not going to foster our growth the way God wants us to grow.  Some places of familiarity will actually hinder our spiritual progress rather than nurture it.  In some places, there may be people or situations God doesn’t want us to be around because they just always look to start trouble.  Isaac only found peace and knew he had come to the point of his own place of being blessed when he realized it was God who led him there and opened up the opportunity for space there.  “And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, ‘For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land,'” (Gen. 26:22; NKJV).

All contentions we face and all disagreements we face aren’t bad.  They can actually be a propelling place to get us moving and stop settling where God doesn’t see us growing.  If God has a better plan for you, He will put you in a place where you can stretch out beyond your wildest dreams; where you can go beyond what you previously thought you could.  He will put you in a place where you can dig your own wells, unearth your own blessings, and prosper in Him.  He told Isaac, ‘”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.” So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well,’ (Gen. 26:24-26; NKJV).  After God spoke to him he knew he was where God wanted him to be; he knew he had arrived at the place of his own blessings.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Dealing with Contentions in the Midst of Blessings”

Photo: Pixabay/ThePixelman

“And Abimelech said unto Issac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we,” Genesis 26:16

Oh, how wonderful we feel when God opens the windows of heaven and pours out blessings into our lives, Micah 3:10. It feels good! And, it doesn’t matter if the blessing is material, physical, spiritual or emotional, if there is something that God wants to do that is special for us, we take joy in receiving from the goodness of our heavenly Father.

One of my favorite verses that keeps me in check and reminds me of just how awesome He is in this area is Matthew 7:9-11. In the verses before these Jesus is teaching His disciples a few of life’s lessons. He just assured them of the “ask, seek, and knock” principle of prayer. Then, to make sure they understood how much the heavenly Father cares He further explains, “Or what man of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

God knows how to give good gifts! The problem with that is everybody is not going to like you for it. Everyone is not going to be on your side. There will be one, if not more, that will be standing in the corner, grimacing every time God decides to shower you with some of His goodness. It’s sad but true!

Human nature can get almost primal in this area. If you throw a bone to a pack of hungry dogs, what will happen? Only one dog will actually catch the bone, but the others will be on a continual mission to take it from him because they want it for themselves. They’re hungry for it. They want to be fed, too. It’s not fair that the one got the blessing and the rest didn’t. And so, another dog will try to latch onto it to yank and pull it away from the original owner. Another also steps in and tries to get it from the previous two. And on, and on it goes. Until one is successful to lie hold of it and run to safety.

I’ve seen this play out with seagulls also. You throw a piece of bread out for one and suddenly there are what seem to be a hundred gulls thinking they can all survive off of that one piece. They swoop down to grab the bread and try to fly away with the prize, only another has his eye on it and does the same. It becomes a never-ending circle of desire and wants that moves to the contentions of, “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” Swoop! It’s mine!

The same scenario played out for Isaac. God was keeping His promise that He made to Abraham and his son was reaping the rewards of it. God had truly blessed Isaac. “Then Isaac sowed in the land and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants…” (Genesis 26:12-14).

He was blessed! But, the remainder of verse 14 clearly states that not everyone was happy about it. It says, “And the Philistines envied him.” They then put into motion a plan to try to hold down his blessings. “For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth,” (Genesis 26:15). As they stopped up the wells their hope was to stop the blessings.

Afterwards, the king of the Philistines, Abimelech, just out and out told him, “We don’t want you here anymore – get out!” If they can’t stop the blessings then they don’t want to be around you while God is blessing. Why? Because it hurts to see some receive and some don’t. Humanity doesn’t like it like that, unless, of course, they are the ones on the receiving end of it.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ve been on both sides of this fence: the side of being blessed and the side of watching others get blessed. Oftentimes, I didn’t always understand, but that’s just the way it was. Like it or not, I have to believe in God’s sovereignty over it all. Did it always register right away? Um, no. For I am human also and don’t always see things as God does. (If I’m going to write about it, I have to be totally honest about it.)

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that as God moves on our behalf to elevate us and bless us, that contentions can arise. What do we do then? First and foremost, is to trust God. After being kicked out, Isaac went from one well to another, there was always a fight with someone about it. Isaac could’ve gotten ticked off, but he kept trying to find where God was leading. Just because you are blessed by God doesn’t mean you can settle anywhere. You have to be where God wants you in order to continue to grow in Him. That requires trust.

Eventually, Genesis 26:22 tells us, “And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not…  For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” If one keeps following the leading of God, God in turn will put you in a place where the gifts and blessings He has given you will thrive. You are not going to just flourish anywhere. You have to be where He can ensure your growth.

If that weren’t enough, God made those that hated Isaac to be at peace with him. “We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee… let us make a covenant with thee,” (Genesis 26:28). They came to him. They sought him out to seek reconciliation. How did it all end? Very good, I might say. “And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace,” (Genesis 26:30-31). All grudges and animosity were gone and peace entered in.

The Bible says, “the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water,” (Genesis 26:32). This was refreshment for the body and soul after dealing with such contentions. I think that means he was finally where God wanted him to be, in mind, body and spirit. The water didn’t come until the covenant for peace was made.

When God blesses there will sometimes be contentions to deal with from others. But, we too, have a responsibility in the midst to try to go as God leads us and to still keep the peace.

“Grow Much?”

quote_7

 . . . Expand Your Horizon!

“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory,” 1 Chronicles 4:10, NKJV

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