My maternal grandfather was a wheat farmer. He grew other things and had some animals too, but I mostly remember the wheat crops.
After grandad passed, my mother and her sisters discovered some letters in his belongings where he was discussing why his wheat had such exceptional quality even though it failed to produce as much yield as other farmers in the area.
Turns out my grandfather was an organic farmer. He refused to spray chemicals on his land crops while also practicing crop rotation to improve the soil quality.
I have also been told that my grandfather received many offers for his land over the years, but he refused to sell it even after he could no longer farm the land himself after having a heart attack. Instead, he rented out his land to an approved farmer that would maintain the same practices he had. This was his way of continuing his farming career and providing for his family.
Why am I sharing about my grandad’s farming?
How is it related to Genesis 26:12-13?
And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, 13 and the man became rich and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. (Gen 26:12-13 ESV)
These two verses immediately follow a situation that revealed Isaac had lied to the men of Gerar, including Abimelech, the king. Abimelech confronted Isaac and then extended mercy by providing land and protection for Isaac and his family. (See Gen 26:6-11 and last week’s post.)
Now, in verse twelve, we are told Isaac planted crops in the land that Abimelech had provided.
We do not know if Isaac had farming experience prior to this verse, yet what he planted yielded an unusual abundance.
What reason is provided at the end of verse twelve for why Isaac’s crops yielded a hundredfold?
What did the Lord instruct Isaac to do in Gen 26:2?
List the Lord’s promises to Isaac in Gen 26:3-4.
Why did the Lord make these promises? (See Gen 26:5.)
What did Isaac do in response to the Lord in Gen 26:6?
Isaac obeyed the Lord’s instruction to stay in Gerar. Even though the Lord had promised to bless him, he lied about his wife. After Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech discovered Isaac’s lie. (See Gen 26:8.)
Why do you think God delayed the abundant blessings until after Abimelech had confronted and then extended mercy to Isaac?
What does this delay in receiving promises from God reveal about Isaac while he waited for the promises to materialize?
How might the timing of the unusually immense harvest of the crops from God have changed Isaac’s relationship with God?
Consider the following verse:
You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deu 8:18 ESV)
Does this part of Isaac’s storyline support Deu 8:18? Why or why not?
Why does God bless someone with the power to get wealth?
The famine announced in Gen 26:1 highlights the immense blessing of a hundredfold harvest yield as God’s power over the world He created. It also shows us that how we behave reveals our level of trust in God.
If Isaac had fully trusted in God’s promises, he would not have lied about his relationship with Rebekah to the men of Gerar. It is no mistake that the abundance of blessings came only after Abimelech discovered Isaac’s deception and confronted him about it.
Which is more important in this storyline, the abundant blessings Isaac received, or Isaac being held accountable for his lie and trusting God? Why? (See Ex 20:16)
Did you ever receive an extension of mercy after lying about something? How did your relationship with those lied to change? Did your relationship with God change?
Consider the following verses:
And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. (Deu 28:2 ESV)
A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. (Pro 28:20 ESV)
Make a list of all the blessings you have received from God.
Consider the following verses:
And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ (Act 13:32 ESV)
For what purpose do you believe God has blessed you?
Make a list of the promises you are still waiting to receive from God.
Why do you think God is delaying your receipt of these promises?
How can your behavior, while you wait to receive God’s promises, provide an opportunity for you to share your faith with those around you?
Is there anything you need to change in your behavior while you wait to receive God’s promises?
Back to my Grandad story
Reading about Isaac becoming a farmer made me think about my grandfather and his incredible example of faithful patience in his own farming career.
I am told his expressed desire for holding onto the farmland after he could not physically work it himself was that it was to provide for his wife if he outlived her.
After my grandad passed, my grandmother continued to manage the property in the way he had well into her nineties. Only once the income from renting the property became less than what selling the property could provide for her did she choose to sell it to someone else.
Grandad’s plans served him and my grandmother well. His example of staying in the field he knew best (pun intended) was a way to provide blessings to his family. His example blessed all of us.
My grandad’s desire to provide blessings for his wife and family makes me not only thankful for him, but even more so for God’s desire to provide abundance to us. After all, God provided my grandad’s example for me and my family to learn from.
Yes, sometimes God allows tough times in our lives like famine (Isaac) or heart attacks (my grandad). God allows or even sends tough times, not because He is mean, but because he wants to not only strengthen us but to provide for us and those around us in ways that reveal His creative and abundant power.
Share in the comments an example of how God has revealed His creative and abundant power in your life.