• Rev. Mark Tews

Just Keep Digging

“That night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.’” (Genesis 26:24).

On Saturday, May 21, 1927, a New York paper contained an expert’s elaborate demonstration of the impossibility of flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The funny thing is, the headline across the top of the first page of that same paper declared in gigantic letters: “LINDBERG HAS ARRIVED!” Underneath that was an article describing the first transcontinental flight by Charles Lindberg. With experts saying it couldn’t be done, Charles Lindberg did it – he flew across the Atlantic Ocean.

There will always be critics who say it can’t be done. There will always be those who oppose and fight you. That doesn’t need to stop you from doing what you know God has called you to do. What do you do, as people of faith, when opposition comes? What do you do when critics try to shut you down? What do you do when detractors try to thwart or discredit what God wants to do through you? I invite you to turn to Genesis 26, where Isaac faces opposition from the Philistines.

Isaac sowed seed in the land and the LORD blessed him with a hundredfold harvest. A normal yield in a good year was 25 to 50-fold. Isaac reaped 100-fold and gained more and more until he became very wealthy, so the Philistines envied him. (Genesis 26:12–14). Those were days of drought and famine (Genesis 26:1). The Philistines tried to starve Isaac out of existence and Abimelek said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” (Genesis 26:16).

So, Isaac departed and encamped in the Valley of Gerar. He dug the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham, his father, which the Philistines had filled up with dirt after the death of Abraham. He gave them the names that his father had given them. Instead of fearing or fighting, Isaac simply moved on and reopened the wells his father had dug years before. Then he went on and dug another well. Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found a well of spring water, otherwise known as a well of “living water.” This was an artesian well with running water, a very valuable and important find, especially in the midst of a drought.

The herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So, he called the well “Esek,” which means “contention” or “dispute.” Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that as well, so he called it “Sitnah,” which means “enmity” or “opposition.” (Genesis 26:17–21). Actually, the name “Satan” comes from the word “Sitnah,” for Satan is the adversary. He is the hostile opposition to every believer. But not even Satan can stop God’s people from accomplishing God’s will in their own lives.

Isaac moved again and dug another well and they did not quarrel over it. So, he called it “Rehoboth,” which means “room.” He said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” (Genesis 26:22). With absolute confidence and no fear Isaac just moved on and dug another well until the Philistines finally gave up and let him have his space. I like the way Paul Overstreet put it in a song several years ago. I think he had this account of Isaac in mind when he wrote it. See what you think:

Ike had a blessing from the Lord up above, gave him a beautiful woman to love, a place to live, some land to farm, two good legs and two good arms. The Devil came sneaking around one night, decided he would do a little evil to Ike. Figured he hit ole Ike where it hurts so he filled up all Ike’s wells with dirt. Ike went out to get his morning drink, got a dip full of dirt and his heart did sink he knew it was the Devil so he said with a grin God blessed me once, He can do it again, so when the rains don’t fall, and the crops all fail, and the cow ain’t putting any milk in the pail, don’t sit around waiting for a check in the mail, just pick up your shovel and dig another well, pick up your shovel and dig another well.

That’s what Isaac did, and that’s what we need to do when opposition comes. You don’t have to fear or fight back or get frustrated. Just pick up your shovel and dig another well. Even when the resources are scarce.Even when critics oppose you. Even when the enemy tries to shut you down. By faith, just keep on going. By faith FEAR NOT, by faith persevere.