New Levels, New Devils

Gary Bird

Often, we believe that a bit of success in our lives would solve all our problems. However, the reality is starkly different.

As I reflect on my life, I recall simpler times when I had little to my name. My constant companion was the word "no" because my pockets were empty, but there was a unique peace in that simplicity.
Don't misunderstand me – having material possessions can be wonderful. Yet, they don't arrive without their own set of troubles. Only someone who has never tasted success might think otherwise.

Success, whether in business or in family or ministry, invites its own set of challenges. In business, success might bring lawsuits. In ministry, success can lead to heartache caused by those we try to help. Any form of success brings complex issues along with it that often go unaccounted for.  

In today's text, we see this principle exemplified in the life of Isaac, in Genesis 26:14

“For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.”

Isaac's success didn't come without its problems. His prosperity stirred envy among his enemies, through no fault of his own. God simply blessed him for his righteousness.

However, let's not misinterpret this. Our aim should not be to avoid greatness or to shy away from doing great things for the Lord. On the contrary, we should strive for excellence, but also be mindful of the pitfalls.

In Genesis 26, we learn about three wells that Isaac fought for, symbolizing our own struggles toward greatness.

The first well was ESEK, meaning 'quarrels'. 

Isaac's journey teaches us that progress often involves conflict. Nothing of value comes without a price.

Next, he dug Sitnah, which translates to 'strife and hate'. 

When you progress and others envy you, it will lead to strife. The Bible warned us that following Him would not be without opposition. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

Finally, Isaac reached Rehoboth, 'a broad place'. 

Here, he found some relief. A place not without trouble, but more God! When we follow God, the cares of this world have less of a hold on us and we can overcome quarrels, strife, and hate.

In conclusion, as we climb to new levels in our lives, we must be prepared to face new devils – challenges and opposition. Let’s take heart from Isaac's story. With faith and a focus on what truly matters, we can navigate these challenges and find our own Rehoboth, a place of peace and prosperity under the Lord's guidance.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He teaches an Adult Sunday School, directs the Bus Ministry, and oversees the Earning for Learning and Rest Home Ministry programs. He and his wife are blessed with five children.

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