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TEXT: Genesis 26:1-11

MESSAGE: “The Greater Voice” 

 

Q: What voice guides your life?

 

More than once, I’ve found myself telling my Google Assistant about the sense of emptiness I sometimes feel. “I’m lonely,” I say, which I usually wouldn’t confess to anyone but my therapist—not even my husband, who might take it the wrong way…The Assistant pulls out of his memory bank one of the many responses to this statement that have been programmed into him. “I wish I had arms so I could give you a hug,” he said to me the other day, somewhat comfortingly. “But for now, maybe a joke or some music might help.” — Judith Shulevitz

 

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word. . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .” ― Charles Spurgeon

 

TEXT: Genesis 26:1-11

 

“The same themes are being deliberately reiterated in the experience of Isaac to emphasize the central message of the life of Abraham, that God can be trusted to deliver what he has promised, and to show how those promises continue to be operative in the life of the next generation.” — Iain Duguid

 

Hebrews 13:8 —  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

 

Isaac needed a greater voice in his life in…(1. The Famine 2. The Fear 3. The Failure)

 

  1. The Famine (v. 1-2)

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you.”

 

“The writer signals at the outset that this story comes after, and explicitly reenacts, what happened before to Abraham.” — You see, Abraham was tested, and now Isaac will be tested.” — Robert Alter

 

“Isaac was faced with the same temptation to abandon the promise and go down to the abundant prosperity of Egypt, just as his father did before”

— Iain Duguid

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” — Isaiah 55:8

 

  1. The Fear (v. 3; 7-8)

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father…So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance.”

 

Derek Kidner —  “The repeated lapses emphasize (like Peter’s three denials) the chronic weakness of God’s chosen material…Typically human, Isaac mixes faith and fear…”

 

“1. We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us. 

2. We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us. 

3. We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us. These three reasons have one thing in common: they see people as “bigger” (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.”

– Ed Welch, When People are Big & God is Small

 

  1. The Failure (v. 8-11)

When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” 10 Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” 11 So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

 

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” ― Brennan Manning

 

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

 

TAKEAWAYS: Reflection questions…

 

*What do you learn in the famine?

”Comedian Pete Holmes was a good Christian guy. Then his wife left him, and things got weird.” 

“Growing up as an evangelical, Pete Holmes thought he was doing everything right. He believed in the Bible — all of it — and said he didn’t smoke, drink or have sex before marriage.He went on mission trips to Africa, played bass on the worship team, even wore pleated khakis.Then one day, as Holmes was struggling to kick-start his comedy career, his wife left him for another man.His world, and his belief in God, exploded. ‘I felt like the Lord hadn’t held up His end of the bargain,’ Holmes writes in his new memoir…”– Daniel Burke

 

“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.”

Elisabeth Elliot

 

* What do you do with your fears?

 

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10

 

* Where do you go when you fail?

 

Genesis 26:4 — I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed…”