June, 1999

DO NOT GO DOWN TO EGYPT FOR HELP
TRUST GOD AND STAY WHERE HE WANTS YOU TO BE

by ALADE AGBABIAKA


(Message given December 13,1998 at Living Word/Omega Message, Mahomet, Illinois)

       Praise the Lord. It is a pleasure to be with you and I thank God for the opportunity of having a time with you in fellowship.

       Yesterday, God helped us to look at certain issues. I just want to go back to something that we read in Hebrews, because really that makes the whole essence of the seriousness of our work obvious and very plain. Hebrews 3:14, which we read yesterday, says. "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end."

       The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:12 that we should work out our salvation with "fear and trembling.". Praise the Lord! I have a burden and the burden which I have is to share the little things that the Lord has laid upon my heart, part of which I feel concerns our having a consistency in our walk with Him, and not allowing the things that are coming our way in these days to interfere with the business of God.

       Many things are coming. The good things are coming, the grace of God is coming. The strength of God is available to as many as ask Him. There is, however, like our sister was sharing, the enemy. He comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. Amen. He comes to take away our confidence; to take away our focus; to take away the essence of our calling in Christ. Amen. He comes to dilute the seriousness of our calling and election in God. So, we are enjoined (in Hebrews 3:13) to exhort one another daily while it is yet day. Amen? Lest any of us should be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Praise the Lord.

       I would like us to look this morning at Genesis 26. We are going to look at the story there, which I believe tells a story of our walk with God, and I believe there are certain things the Lord has laid in my heart to share with us, even from this passage.

       We would start from Verse 1. It says, "And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."

       Praise the Lord. These verses begin by telling us of a famine in the land, and of course, you know what famine is. No food! Everything is dry. There is nothing to feed on.

       We were looking yesterday at the opposite of walking with the understanding of the Spirit. We saw [from Isaiah 11:1-4] that the opposite is when you walk by the seeing of the eyes and by the hearing of the ears. He said, "…he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove by the hearing of his ears."

       This is the story of Isaac, and a time of famine, and how he was moving down to Egypt and had come as far as Gerar, [and the account of how the Lord spoke to him there and told him not to go to Egypt for help, but to stay in Gerar. It is a figure as to some of our own situations and of how the Lord deals with us.] In famine, when there is no food, what you see is hunger. Isn't’t that so? You see desperation; you see the need for survival. You see it staring you in the face. You hear voices that say, "Look! You have to help yourself. You have to move! You have to run there. You have to go here; you have to go there!" You see, we can be in this type of situation that Isaac was in, and it is like, "Well, don’t go down to Egypt. Maybe you could find help in Egypt, but the Word of God says, ‘Stay in Gerar!’" Amen? Stay in Gerar. Do not move to Egypt.

       However, you start wondering, and you say, "I can see help in Egypt. I can see things coming from Egypt. I see a lot of activity in Egypt." But the Bible says to stay in Gerar. Gerar probably does not have anything that you would see. The famine is telling you that there isn't’t much there. There is dryness, as compared to what you would get in Egypt, but we want to be led by the Spirit of God. Amen?

       The Lord speaks to Isaac and says, "Isaac, stay in Gerar!" Praise the Lord! "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father."

       We are talking about God giving confidence by the word of an oath, a vow that He makes in the beginning. And here you are, you are moving in the outworking of God’s word in your life, and you come to that point of combat—of dispute, controversies, contentions—the place that you might typify as Gerar.

       There are so many unanswered questions, and God’s Word begins to come again. Amen? If you refuse to listen to it, and if you allow what you see—the famine and the plagues and all the dryness—if you see that, as opposed to what God is saying, then you forget that God has in fact told you that "I am going to see you through." Praise the name of the Lord!

       For many of us, it is like that. I do not know about here. Maybe you are better off here, but for many of us back home in Nigeria, it is like that. You here have been believing God for something. You have been trusting God, "Oh, it must come!" and you have been looking and you have been counting your time. Then I come in here and I look, and, "Are you sure I can really get this thing here?" You know, you start to wonder if you have really heard from God, when in fact God has spoken to you. Maybe many years back, the Lord has ministered to your heart, and said, "I am going to keep My word." But you come to the place of dispute. You come to the place of confusion.

       Who causes that confusion? It is, of course, our good friend, Satan. He puts a lot of doubt in your heart, and you begin to wonder, "Can I really stay in this Gerar? This dry place! Can I really believe God here, or should I move down to Egypt?" Praise the name of the Lord! "Do I move down to Egypt where there are a lot of cucumbers. Where there is a lot of garlic, a lot of food, you know; because they stored it for so many years, and so it does not really matter—in season or out of season, there is food. Why do I punish myself?" Praise the Lord!

       Well, we are going to see what happened. In Verse 6, the Bible says, "And Isaac dwelt in Gerar." Thank God for the obedience of Isaac. Thank God for the obedience of Isaac. "Lord, make me like Isaac, where, in search for abundance and in search for fruitfulness, with all the liabilities and responsibilities I have, I can still listen to the voice of God. Let me close my eyes to what I see and what I pass through, and let me hear the voice and obey God, and believe God, and hold fast that confidence." Praise the Lord!

       Because, you see, it is a journey. For you and I, our walk with God—it is a journey. We are moving from one point, and we are moving to the ultimate—which is the promise. That is why the issue of holding fast this confidence becomes very important. Because it is not how well you started—it is good to start well, it is good to move on well—but you must continue steadfast to the end! Amen?

       It is so unfortunate and it is so painful, that you go probably seventy-five percent, and you have just twenty-five per cent of the journey to go, but you begin to wonder, "Have I really heard from God? Is this wise? Have I not been punishing myself? Look at the famine, it is coming, and it is getting so intense. Why do I have to struggle any more? Why don’t I just move down to Egypt?" Praise the name of the Lord.

       I would like us to look at, and maybe to try a definition of "Egypt." Most of the time when we talk about Egypt, we say, "Egypt speaks about the times when I was a sinner. It speaks about when I did not know God." But, we will try to see what Egypt really is. I agree, Egypt is the time [when we were sinners], but let us look at Romans 14, and there we will probably see what Egypt is; and then we will look at a few things from God’s word about going to Egypt, and then we will continue with Genesis 26.

       When we talk of going down to Egypt, we obviously are not speaking of you taking a plane (maybe Egypt Air from New York), and you going to the land of the Pharaohs. We are not looking at the physical thing now, but we are looking at some spiritual states, where you move from where God has put you, and you go back to the place where God had delivered you from. Praise the name of the Lord!

       Most times, the first thing that crosses our mind as we talk about spiritual Egypt, is that it represents the time when we were sinners in the world, and when we did not know Christ. But, as a child that God has called, God begins to cause you to walk, and the demands of God for us become even higher. We do not really need to fall so far back into the world for us to be going back to Egypt. Praise the name of the Lord.

       So, there are different levels in which we look at Egypt. Maybe you are saved today. Maybe God just called you out, and you got born again today. Then you would look at Egypt as being yesterday, when you were a sinner. However, you see, you have probably stayed a little longer in this thing, and then you say, "Well, Egypt is gone! So, every other thing is not Egypt." But, that is not true. Wherever we are different from what God wants us to be, it is Egypt. It might look good. For somebody else, it might be accepted by God, but if God has not called you to be there, and you are there, you are in Egypt! Praise the name of the Lord.

       Let us look at Romans 14:23, so maybe we can elaborate on that. It says, "…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Praise the Lord! So, whatever I do, without holding on, and without trusting and believing God for what I am doing, is as good as sin. It may look so well, it may look so convincing, and it may look so persuasive, but as long as it is not done in faith, as long as it is not done because the Spirit of God has ministered to my heart, but it is done because I am walking by the seeing of my eyes and by the hearing of my ears—I am walking in sin! Praise the name of the Lord.

       So, you see, God’s demands for us are getting higher, friends. It is getting a lot higher! You know, maybe initially, you would say, "Well, if I go to the nightclub, then I have gone into sin. If I do something like that then I have gone into sin." However, God may say to you, "Stay here," or, "Don’t do that." It may be as little as, "Don’t drink coffee." It may be as little as God saying to you, "Do not utter a word," and yet you utter it. You are not doing it in faith, and that is sin. That is sin.

       It may have results. To you it may look like it is fine. We can imagine what would have happened to Isaac if Isaac had moved down to Egypt. He probably may have gotten a lot of abundance. Maybe he fed his family and said, "Yes, after all, if I don’t do it, I will be worse than an infidel. I have to feed my family! I have to do this, I have to survive—I can’t die!" But, you see, if he did it without faith, without trusting God, then he was walking in sin. Praise the name of the Lord.

       Let us look at Isaiah 31. You see, God knows where we are. God knows that where we are might be dry. God knows that there might be famine, but God says, "Stay where I have called you, where I have put you." You see, here is the problem that man has. You see, we are always struggling with God. We are always wrestling with God, because there are other senses that are trying to work within us, trying to convince us and trying to make us see why we should rationalize our situations, and as it were, help God a little. But, God does not need our help, does He? He needs our hearts! He needs obedient hearts. Praise the Lord.

       Isaiah 31:1, "Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for help..." Let me rephrase that: "Woe unto them that seek help outside of faith." Amen? "Woe unto them that go not in the Spirit, but in their own imagination; that go out in their own imagination for help." It may appear very hard, it may appear very insensitive to say, "Do not go anywhere if you need help! Just stay where God wants you to be!" But, that is the word of God, and you see, this walk with God must cost us something. It must cost us our freedom to do what we think we can do, or to go where we think we can go. God says, "Do not go to where I have not called you, to go there for help." Praise the name of the Lord!

       It does not matter how intense that situation might be. It does not matter how desperate your own timing might be, you must submit yourself to God’s timing. Because he makes "every thing beautiful in his time." You may say, "Oh, I mean, I am so used to this. I am so used to that." Yes, but maybe God is saying, "Hold on, there is a time that you will get what you are used to," but let it be in God’s time."

       It says, "Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord." Do you know why they are trusting in the horses and in the chariots? It is because the chariots are many. It is not really because God is bringing help through those chariots and through the horses. God may still use the horses, and He may still use the chariots, but let that help come from God! Let my trust in those chariots and horses in Egypt not come because I think they are many, or because I can see with the eyes! "I can see! It is convincing! The horses are many, the chariots are many, so I can always have one to ride on and go out of the problem, or go into liberty."

       "…and in horsemen, because they are very strong." So, basically, the man who is trusting in these horses and trusting in these chariots, he is walking by the "seeing of his eyes." He is looking at the strength of the horsemen, and saying, "Yes, they are strong! Yes, I can see! Oh this man is strong! This man is able to deliver me!" He is walking by sight!

       There is a very serious word there, at the very beginning of this verse. He said, "Woe." Woe is not blessed. Amen? I think it is the opposite of blessed, isn’t it? He said "Woe…" It is a curse.

       So, if I am trusting in the arm of my flesh, if I am staying where I know I am not supposed to be, then I am walking in sin. I am in Egypt, and no matter how convincing I can see the horsemen and the chariots, I have not placed myself where God wants me to be, and I have not walked in obedience. Then there is a check; there is a warning that God is saying to us, that we are not to put our trust in the horses, the chariots, and the horsemen of Egypt. Praise the name of the Lord!

       You see, at times, maybe you come into a need, or you come into the place where probably the Lord is causing the people to seek Him, and it does not look too convincing that there is lot of action going on there. It does not look like there is provision here, and you begin to wonder, "Can any help come out of this place? Alleluiah! Can there be anything that can solve my problem here?" But, you see, I do not want my problems to be solved by man, I want my problems to be solved by God! Praise the Lord!

       God is raising up a people in this time that can and will truly depend upon Him. I want to be in that company, and I pray that you will be in that company too, in Jesus’ name. He is able to do it; He is able to make a way where there is none. He makes a way in the wilderness. That is the God that we serve. He is able to do it!

       It might not look convincing sometimes, and we might say, "God, are You sure You know what You are doing?" At times, our sisters go through a lot of problems. I do not know about here, but back home in Nigeria there is so much pressure on those that are single. So much pressure comes upon them, and it is like, "Are you sure? Look! Look!" The parents and the relations come and they begin to count your age. Then they start to compare you, and they say, "You know your friend? You were classmates. You know, she has two children now!" You know? And they come again, and they say, "Are you sure you understand? It does not really matter. After all, this person also got married to an unbeliever. It does not matter! Are you sure you are not being too fussy about this thing?" Praise the Lord. And they, you know, are reminding you, "You can see that you are not getting any younger!"

       Or maybe you are a brother and you do not have a job, and you come home…. Thank God for our wives, thank God for the sisters, but sometimes she will come in and she will say, "Are you sure? Are you sure about this prayer that you are praying? Are you sure? You know, there is no food on the table here!" I do not know about how it is here. Maybe it is easier here, but it happens back home and I am sure it does here too. We all, at different points, come to areas of famine. Praise the Lord! Dryness! There is some lack, there is something that you would love to have but it is not there! It is like the door is blocked! It is not flowing!

       So, that period could be very trying. It is in that time that the agent of your sight, the agent of your intellect, and all the various agents are competing for your attention. The financial agents are there, telling you about the situation of your bank account and all that; and there is that temptation to say, "Well, what do I do?"

       At times, it may even be our children. You look and say, "Oh well, they need something like this, they need something like that," and, "They are not having enough." Let us be careful. These are things that come in these times to try to sway us away from our focus. Praise the name of the Lord!

       At times, it may be the fact that we do not even have children. Maybe you have been married for many years, and it is like, you keep wondering, "Why are we not having the fruit of the womb? WHY?" You come and there has been prayer for you, but you say, "Oh, I don’t know…" because you are concerned as to whether the strength is there in the prayer. IT’S NOT! Praise the Lord! We are going to pray powerfully, but it is not the strength of the prayer, it is the grace of God. Amen? There is a time, you see, but God must of a necessity fulfill His Own plan and program for your life, and our own time is not God’s time.

       Most times we are in a hurry, and we say, "God, I cannot wait anymore! God! Time’s up! Time’s up! I am running to Egypt! I am going to where I can seek help and get it. I can see it! Oh, it happened to that; it happened to this." We begin to look for rapid results.

       It is one thing that is plaguing the Church at this time, friends. I believe that God is giving me a liberty to share it with you. I have seen it happen to us back home. I have seen fine brethren, people who have carried this thing for so long, and it gets to a point—something comes, and it begins to shake them. Praise the Lord. But, you see, we need to speak to ourselves daily, because we know that this is the agent that has been sent for this time to weaken the hands of the saints. Praise the Lord.

       If it is not in your finances, it is in your health. If it is not in your health, it is in your job. If you just think of your own situation, I am sure that there is one area or the other where you are going through some pressure at this time; and it is like, "Are you sure? Are you sure that I should really believe and consider what God told me before." God told you! No man told you! God spoke to you. You heard God! But, you see, you are now at Gerar. You are in the place of dispute, the place of contention, and you are saying, "Well, Egypt is not very far from here. Egypt is nearby. I mean, there is help in Egypt. The news is very good, there are good reports of how results are coming out in Egypt. Why don’t I just move a little bit, and this problem will be solved." And God is saying, "Remember the vow that I made with you." Praise the name of the Lord.

       We are still in Isaiah 31, [and in Verse 1 we read before of those who go down to Egypt for help, and depend on horses and trust in chariots], "because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong...." That is the world, right? "…BUT THEY LOOK NOT UNTO THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, NEITHER SEEK THE LORD!" Praise the name of the Lord. Many of us are coming to that point. We are not looking to "the Holy One of Israel," but we are looking at the convincing reasons why we should run to Egypt—staying away from where God wants us to be! Staying anywhere else but where God wants us to be!

       We see the horsemen—they are many. We see the chariots, we see the horsemen—they are strong! We say, "YES! THIS IS WHAT I WANT!" We want to be convinced by the things we see, but God is saying, "Let us release our faith. Let us seek the Holy One of Israel. LET US PUT OUR TRUST IN HIM!"

       You know it was Habakkuk, who said, "Even though the fig tree will not blossom…." You know? "Let the worst of the situations come, but I will put my trust in the Lord!" Praise the name of the Lord. Can we truly say that? I believe God is challenging us. It is time for us to begin to say that. It is time, because, indeed, help will come from the Lord. God, however, must of a necessity test our hearts, and most times when we are standing in that place of conflict, God is like waiting to see how much trust we can put in Him.

       Let us go on. Isaiah 31, and Verse 2, "Yet, he also is wise, and will bring evil and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. Now, the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together."

       Praise the Lord. Did you understand that? That is a very powerful prophecy. If you are trusting in anything but the Lord, when the Lord shall stretch forth His hand, both the person who is helping you, and you who are receiving the help, it says you shall fail—you will fall together. It is a terrible word. I would rather fall on the side of God.

       You see, most of the times we want to drop it. We want to quit, and we run! But, it says that you may have, as it were, a temporary and immediate relief, but a time will come when the Lord will say, "Now I am stretching My hand to bless the people. I am stretching My hand to fulfill My Word." He says, "You who have your own help, independent of God—the person who helped you and you who received the help, you both will fail!" I do not want to belong to that company. Praise the name of the Lord.

 

       Let our confidence stay. Let us hold our confidence. It does not matter what the present situation is. What matters is the ultimate point that we are looking unto.

       In that transitional period, it is so shaky. It is so terrible for us, but God is able to give us grace. If there is a will in our hearts to press on and to follow on to know the Lord, He is able to see us through! Praise the name of the Lord. Alleluiah.

       Let us read on. Verse 4, "For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof."

       Amen. Let us look at it again. "…Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice…." Now that shows you the picture of how nothing will move or stop God when it is the time to get you out of that situation. Nothing will stop God! Amen? Because it says, "…so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof." Church, let us not be discouraged. Let us not be moved. Let us not be agitated. Let us not come to points where we begin to now struggle between Gerar and Egypt. No! Let the issue be resolved in our hearts. [To say like the three Hebrews in Daniel who were to be thrown into the fiery furnace for their faith], "Even if God will not help us, we shall not declare for you, Satan!" Alleluiah! We need to come to that point! We need to come to that point where we draw a line, and we say, "Satan, I have no business with you! I have my business with God, and even if God does not save me, I will not go to you for help!"

       Let us be proud of what we are, and where we are in Christ. We have no apologies to anyone. We do not have to be apologetic for our situations. At times, it looks like we get apologetic, "Oh, this brother’s prayer has not been answered," and we begin to carry a guilt trip. Why? Our God is greater than that! It says, "Like the lion will roar for the young one when the shepherds are coming, He will not be afraid." It says that this is how God will come down to save you when it is time, and I am encouraged! It gives me strength. It keeps me going, because I KNOW that there is a time when God shall vindicate you! There is a time when God shall set you free from that situation in which you find yourself. Do not go faster than Him. Amen? Amen.

       "As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it." Praise the Lord! "As birds flying," the Bible says, "so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem." He will defend Jerusalem, He will deliver it; He will pass over it, and He will preserve it.

       It goes on in Verse 6, "Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin. Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem."

       You see, the Assyrian will fall, "…not of a mighty man." Amen? Not by might! Assyrians are always those that stand against the people of God, but God is telling you that this Assyrian will fall, not by a mighty man, and it will not be the sword of a mean man that shall devour him, but it is God that shall do it! The battle is the Lord’s! Your problem is God’s! In fact, God is more bothered about His name and His reputation than you! Praise the Lord!

       Most times, we are so bothered. It is like, "How do we explain why God has not done this?" You do not need to explain it! Praise the Lord! You just need to know and believe God, that He has His time and He will do it, and begin to rejoice! You have asked Him, you have committed it into His hands, you have trusted Him—begin to bless God! Praise the name of the Lord!

       The enemy has brought agitation to the Church at this time, making us to worry about so many things. Making us to analyze, to become so analytical—we are so quick to count our delay. We are so quick to see why we are not where we are supposed to be, but we are not quick to put our trust in God. However, God is turning it around, and I believe that we shall never be the same again. Praise the name of the Lord!

       Let us go back to Genesis 26 and let us look at Isaac. This was the man who obeyed God, as we saw in Verse 6 where it says, "And Isaac dwelt in Gerar." Now, as we look at this story, we probably would begin to see ourselves in that place of Isaac, taking a journey, passing through the testings, passing through the trials. As we pass through it, we remember the word the Lord has given to us. He gives us a word, but He did not say that challenges would not come. Amen? When the challenges come, let us see how God wants us and expects us to respond to them.

       Let us go to Verse 7, "And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon."

       You see here one of those human failings. Amen? Isaac makes a good breakthrough. He believes God and he stays in the place of dispute, the place of contention; but he now wants to begin to use his mind to solve the problem. The God who told you to stay in Gerar is able to deliver you. Do not begin to try to work out the ways, or how you can explain away your situation so that you can be protected. It is God Who will protect you! Amen?

       Verse 8, "And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time…" No matter how long, if it is you who are preparing your own safety—it will catch up with you. The time will be up, and this is what happened here with Isaac. "And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her."

       Isaac has now come out with it, so he is back to square one. Amen? What he was trying to hide has now been exposed. Do you see the futility of trying to work in your own energy? You see, when he came in the beginning, he felt, "Oh, if I do this, they will kill me. I will die." So, when someone would ask him if that was his wife, he would say, "No, Rebekah is my sister." He was trying to work out his own safety, his own security, in his own way. God allowed him for a long time to get along with it, as it were. "Oh, yeah, I am achieving results. It was because I was smart. It was because I was able to tell them that, that is why I have not been killed." Then God allowed Him now to defend himself. Of course, he that helps you and you that are being helped, God says, "You will fall together."

       However, we thank God for the mercies of God, for we will go on to read of how He brings Isaac up again. You know, just like most of us, we may have fallen once, we may have fallen a second time, but God is saying this morning that He wants to pick us up again. Praise the Lord! It is not the mistakes that we have made that matter, but it is the sincerity of our hearts, to repent, to turn away from those mistakes, and to do it right this time with God.

       So, this is Isaac. Isaac now comes and says, "Lest I die for her, that was my reason." Verse 10, "And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us. And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."

       Praise the Lord! Now, what he was afraid of—God has turned it around, and Isaac has now seen that God is able to protect him and deliver him from the hand of the enemy, even in the place of warfare. Amen? It is the same situation that we are in. There are so many forces that wrestle against us. The Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. You cannot understand the extent of the warfare, so you had better not try to begin to work it out for God. You do not even know where it starts, nor where it ends! So, just believe God! Let it look foolish to your eyes. Let it look foolish in the eyes of man, because they are walking by the seeing of the eyes, but let it be that you look wise before God, by following on according to God’s commandments. Then, once we do that, God must of a necessity fulfill His word that He will prove Himself strong on the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him. Praise the name of the Lord!

       So, the Isaac who tried to help himself now discovers that he has to fall back on God to help him. And, of course, he did not die. Abimelech now turns around, speaks to the people, and says, "Any man that touches this woman shall be put to death!" God will fight our wars for us, in Jesus’ name.

       Verse 12, "Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him." Do you see here the result of obedience? If you are where God wants you to be, no matter the physical conditions and the natural circumstances, God must fulfill His Word. In the midst of famine in that land, God blessed Isaac. I tell you, Isaac could have gone to Egypt, and not received the blessing that he got in the place where God wanted him to be, and that is Gerar.

       That is a lesson for me. It is a lesson for you. Let us be where God wants us to be. It does not matter about the next person. That person may be where God wants him to be, but I want to be where God wants me to be. Amen? Let us be individualistic about these things. Most times, we follow the crowd. "Oh, he is here! Oh, I must run there!" Where is God saying you should be? Amen? Where is God saying you should be? It does not matter. It might be your brother, it might be your friend, and it might be your mother. You see, that may be where God wants her to be. I am not condemning it, but that is not where God wants me to be. "God, where do You want me to be?"

       Let us walk by the leading of the Spirit, and there will be no fights, no agitations. I keep telling the people, "Look, you do not need to fight with people." Many times, people call me to come, by the grace of God, and share a few things here and there. And I go. I have no problem with people. I have no problem where you are, but I just have to be where God wants me to be. If we begin to adopt that attitude, then there is no problem. We do not have to fight with anybody! I do not have to disagree with you. You are where you want to be, but I cannot be where you want to be, or where you are, unless God ministers to my heart that this is where I should be. I will stay where God wants me to be.

       As a church, we must grow up and come to that level. Every man must be able to stand before God, and be able to know what God wants him to do. We read from Jeremiah 31:31 last night, and we saw that God wants to make a new covenant with you and I. He wants to teach you and I to know God. To know Him! He says in Verse 34 of Jeremiah 32, "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD:"

       But, you see, these days there are a lot of subterranean teachings. There is a lot of influence, one man to the other. But, let us grow up, church! Let us grow up. From the least of us, let us take God by the challenge. Let us say, "God, I want to know You. I want to know You. Speak to me. You can speak to me." If God spoke to Samuel, God can speak to you. "Speak to me. Show me!"

       Keep a sincere heart. Do not go to God with your pre-formed and preset mind, and say, "God speak to me." God will not speak to you, because He knows your mind is set. But go to God in the sincerity of your heart. Open your heart and say, "God, tell me what you want me to know." God must of a necessity tell you. He says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine..." (John 7:17). Amen? Therefore, if my desire and my resolution is to do the will of God, the burden now shifts to God, to show me the doctrine. Praise the Lord.

       You know, that quote is from John 7:17, and the first time I saw that scripture, it challenged me a lot. Can we look at it? It gave me so much confidence to realize that the responsibility of knowing this way is not so much on me, but it is more on God. Amen? John 7:17, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Now, when it says, "If any man will do His will…" does this mean here that He wants you to walk out the will of God? No. It is saying that He wants your heart. He wants the preparedness of your heart to do His will. That is what He is saying in these words, "If any man will do His will!" So say, "God, I will do Your will. I am ready to do Your will." If you are ready to do the will of God, you have shifted the burden to God to explain this doctrine to you, to walk out this matter, to settle the controversy. You have shifted it to God. You should no longer begin to go to planning to see how you can settle the controversy. It is not necessary. God will do it! Praise the Lord!

       If you are a sister and you are not married or whatever, and there is that pressure, and people are pressurizing you, do not allow anybody to shake you from where God has placed you. God will visit you in His own time! HE WILL DO IT! He has done it over and over again. He is not a partial God. He will do it!

       You do not need to run. Some people say, "Oh, you see, if I go to that place, there are many more that are single over there," or, "Look at this place, most of the people are married. I will go over there where I can get fast results." These are the agents that come to you, and if you have them going through your mind, then you are walking by the seeing of the eyes! You are walking by the seeing of the eyes, and BE CAREFUL! Be careful! You might be going to Egypt for help, and God is saying that when the time shall come, both the helper and you who receive help, you shall fall together. That will be your portion, in Jesus’ name.

       STAY WHERE YOU ARE! GOD IS ABLE! God is able to fulfill His word concerning you. Praise the Lord! He is able to fulfill His word.

       …Then, you get some brethren that have been here in this place, and they say, "I have been here but I have not gotten a job. I do not have a business, but if I go somewhere else [things will be better for me]. Even the people in that place, there are many of them, they will give me this business, or the other." You are not in this thing because you are looking for business! You must settle it within your heart: WHY ARE YOU SEEKING GOD? Once you settle it within your heart, you see, these other things will come. They will come, but that is not the main issue. It is, "Let me seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." Once we begin to tune ourselves to that fact, this issue of lack of confidence, lack of security—God must deliver us from it. Praise the name of the Lord!

       Let us go back to Genesis 26. I believe there are a few things that the Lord still would like us to look at in that passage. Let us start reading at Verse 13, "And the man (Isaac) 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: and the Philistines envied him." Amen. You know, where we are today is not where we were five years ago. You might not believe it, but there has been progress. Amen? You might not believe it. You might look at yourself and say, "I am still my old self," but there has been prosperity, both in the Spirit and even in the natural. Amen?

       Moreover, you see, one thing that comes with growth, is that the enemy wakes up from sleep, and says, "Oh, I used to operate with this man, 34. Let me increase my intensity to 75." You see, when the devil begins to attack you more, it means that your strength and your oppression of the devil has also increased. Praise the Lord! So, the prosperity of Isaac was directly proportionate with the rising up of the enemy against him. There is no way around it. As God blesses us, the enemy must raise his hand against us. You cannot run away from it.

       It is the price that you have to pay. But, you see, the assurance is that God has given us the victory. Even before the battle, during the battle, and after the battle—we are sure of victory. But, if you say, because there is contention and because the Philistines have risen, "God has left us," then you do not understand how God works! Praise the Lord! HE MUST ALLOW IT! But it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where it says that there is no temptation that shall come to us that is not common to man, and for every temptation He will make a way of escape.

       So as you are growing, and as God is blessing you and causing fruitfulness to come, the enemy is agitated! He sees the end! He knows the end, too! He knows that, "The way these people are going, if I do not begin to hit them, they are going to get out of hand." After all, it was Abimelech who allowed Isaac to stay in Gerar and who told his people not to hurt him, but all of a sudden, prosperity is coming. Prosperity starts coming to Isaac, and the same people who have been supporting him, the enemy begins to use them, and he begins to agitate, and to try to block you. "Hey, I did not know this person would move this far. I thought he was one of those who was saying, ‘I am insignificant. A small, little, believing Christian.’ Now he wants to become an overcomer! Who is he? He is too ambitious!"

       So, the enemy begins to try to limit you. He begins to try to hold you back! You begin to come into a different realm of warfare. Do not lose hope. Do not despair—if you are there, looking that way or thinking that way, then you probably wanted God to allow you to be a chicken believer! BUT, GOD WANTS YOU TO BE AN OVERCOMER! God must allow contentions to come, to train you. To prepare you! So that eventually, when you look back, you will truly fulfill the word of God that says, "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony!" (Revelation 12:11).

       What is your testimony if you do not have the challenge? What is your testimony if you do not have the victory? If your children come, what will you tell them? You say, "Well, you know, I never faced this." Then you cannot be a father! A father must be able to have something that he can pass on to his children, and the thing that God wants us to have to pass on is our testimony. Our testimonies of how God has seen us through trials, seen us through testings, and seen us through challenges. Praise the name of the Lord!

       So, when challenges come, know that you have just entered the training school of God. Do not begin now to excuse yourself from the training school, and say, "I have to now sign off, because, God—we did not bargain for this!" God, of course, bargained for it. But, you see, He says He will give you victory through HIMSELF—not through your running to the "chariots" or the "horsemen" of Egypt. Praise the Lord!

       So now, this is Isaac. God had told him that He will bless him, and now he begins to see the fulfillment of this word to him, and all of sudden, resistance begins to come. "God, have You forgotten what You told me? God, are You drawing back on Your word? Why is resistance coming, when You told me You would bless me?" You know? And you begin to have second thoughts. But God is faithful! Amen? Let us run on.

       Verse 15, "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. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we." Amen? You see, the opposition is now getting intense. The full meaning of Gerar, "the place of dispute," is now fulfilling itself. God says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, and just as God is prospering you then the wrestling begins to come. It is because you are now standing in the "place of contention."

       I tell you, if you look at the Church, that is where we are now. There is a lot of contention in the Church today. It is coming from all angles. It might not be obvious, but it is there! It is coming inside the Church, because the enemy wants us to struggle and he wants to take away that which God has given us! But the Bible (in Jude 1:3) says that we should contend earnestly for the faith that was once given to the saints. There is a place for contention! There is a place for STANDING YOUR GROUND! There is a place for saying, like we sang, "If I perish, I perish." If I die, I die. The spirit of Esther must come upon the Church; and the spirit of Ruth that says, "Look, do not persuade me. Do not persuade me to go back, I am following you. Your God will be my God! Your people will be my people. We have crossed the bridge, we have burned the bridges, and there is no going back! There is no going back!"

       You see, your circumstances work to convince you why you should go back. But, let us be like Ruth. Let us be like Esther. Let us say, "Well, God, there is no turning back. If you want me to die in the hands of the Philistines, let me die. But, I know that You will deliver me." And if we have that confidence, friends, let us be encouraged. Let us walk through the challenges that come, whether in our personal situations, whether in our family situations, whether in the church here, or wherever! Let us pass through it with confidence, holding fast the confidence which we started with, carrying on until we see the promise! Praise the Lord. Alleluiah.

       So then, in Verse 17, it says, "And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there." You see, he moved from that point because of the Philistines. Abimelech said, "Go," and so he moved! He moved from that point, but he did not leave Gerar.

       He could have had an excuse, and said, "God, thank You! Now I can go to Egypt. After You have blessed me, now I can move to Egypt." He said, "No, I will still obey the word of God. I will still stay there." Do not begin to run away from where God has planted you because contentions have come. That is not the determining factor for you to go out of the will of God. STAY THERE! The contention will meet you, but God will give you the victory. So, Isaac insisted, and he stayed in Gerar.

       Now, we read earlier in Verse 15 that the Philistines had filled with earth the wells that Abraham, Isaac’s father, had dug. I see wells as speaking of ministries, life. In John, Chapter 4, Jesus was talking to the woman at the well, and it says, "If you drink of Me, you will never thirst again." Amen? And He went on, and He said, "If any man will drink out of Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

       Now, the Bible tells us that when this man started receiving prosperity, in the place where God had put him, the Philistines (that is the enemy, a type of Satan and his agents) started blocking the wells until there would be nothing to drink from anymore, trying to create a situation of dryness where there was no spiritual endowment. Blocking the wells with carnality—earth! Isaac’s response was, "No! Let us go on!"

       Beginning with Verse 18, it says, "And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them."

       Praise the Lord! It does not matter. If the enemy wants to block the wells with carnality, we shall continue to seek God, and continue to press on to God—in prayer, in contention in prayer, in the Word of God. WE SHALL NOT GIVE UP! Those wells must be opened again! Praise the Lord! The fountains of life that used to flow forth in our midst will come again, because God said that He will restore the years that the enemy, the locust, the palmerworm, has eaten. That is the Word of God.

       So, it does not matter if it is blocked up. "God, You said that You will restore, and You will bring back! Oh, it used to be like this. Oh, it used to be like that." Fine, let us begin to seek God that He might restore unto us a hundred-fold of everything that the enemy has stolen. Because, the enemy has ravaged the Church! I am not saying it to glorify the devil, but I am saying it to begin to prepare us for war, and to know that it is time for us to put our hands together again, and to begin to dig again. We want to get to the fountain of life again. If carnality has entered into us—malice, bitterness, and all kinds of things that are the works of the flesh—let us begin to dig again. Let us begin to seek God again for the fountain of life, for righteousness and for the fruit of the Spirit that will come forth in love and in meekness! We can do it again!

       It does not matter. Maybe right now you are seeing that the wells have been blocked and you cannot flow anymore. You cannot love anymore, you cannot relate anymore, and the anointing is dry! We can seek God again! We can do it! We can, each one of us, begin to resolve in our hearts, "Let us do it again. Let that old anointing—those old-time blessings, the visitations of God—let them be restored to the house again!"

       I tell you, once we have done this, that we have even agreed amongst ourselves, this is the first point, and it means we have taken one positive step forward. Then, the fact that we are now conscious that the enemy had come in to block these wells, makes it difficult for the enemy to come in again and block the ones that we are trying to dig again. Praise the Lord!

       So, let us go on. Verse 19, "And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water." So, they did not give up, but they dug until there was water again. They did not run away from Gerar, and say, "God, thank You. That was a nice time we had there, but the devil came and spoiled it," and "Oh, now it is history." So you would begin to tell your children, "Oh, in those days, we used to have fine fellowship, but, you see, the devil just came into our midst and scattered us."

       It should not be history! In fact, the history should be that this is the part that comes at the beginning of your testimony of God’s faithfulness. When you are telling the history, you are saying, "You know, it was like that, but we thank God, the church came together. We prayed, and God brought back and God confounded the enemy!" THAT IS HOW THE STORY SHOULD END! The story should not end with the first part. "Oh, you see, the enemy just came, brought carnality, we all fought ourselves, and we just walked away." No, God has not given you defeat. God has given you victory. Praise the Lord!

       God has given the Church victory. We are not a people that draw back unto perdition, but we are of them that press on to the saving of the soul! The enemy cannot be greater than us! The more we see the intensity of the enemy coming against us, the more we should go on our knees, and resolve in our hearts that this work must go on! Praise the Lord.

       According to God’s Word, there is a time when contention must come. I cannot see a man of God in the Bible who did not meet contention. I cannot see it. Tell me one. Is it Daniel? Tell me. It is Moses? Is it Nehemiah? Who is it that has not met contention? It must come! So, when it begins to come, you know that God is saying that it is time to rise up. It is time to begin to dig the wells again. It is time to begin to press on to know God again. Let the fountains of water come again.

       Every man has a role in this business. It is not a matter of, "Oh, I do not know what the elders are doing…." You have a role! In Ecclesiastes 9, it says that there was a city, and a great King came against the city to destroy it, and it was by one little man that the city was saved, and yet, that nobody remembered that man. Amen?

       Can we look at it? It is in Ecclesiastes 9:15. You may be that person that would save even the people of God in this time. It is all-comers’ event. Amen? It is an all-comers’ contention. It is not a contention in the flesh. Most times, we want to do it in the flesh. Most times we want to say, "It has to be done this way," but instead let us do it in the Spirit. Let us do it in love. Let us do it trusting God, and knowing that God wants to set us free.

       Let us begin in Verse 14. "There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man." Amen?

       God was teaching us last night about the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, in the fear of God [See Isaiah 11:1-3]. That is the wisdom that will be used in this time to defeat the king (the god of this world) and to save the city. The king has besieged the city! The Church has come under attack, but let every one of us be like that poor wise man, and let us begin to ask God for wisdom. Not our own understanding, or our own ways of how to solve it, but the wisdom of God that comes by "the fear of God." It says [in Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10], "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."

       We fear God! We do not want to offend God! We do not want to run contrary to God! We want to do it in God’s way, so we say, "God, I am going to save the city, but I will do it according to Your Word. I will do it in the fear of God, so that I will stand without blame." Amen? That is very important, for if you do not do it in the fear of God, then you have blame, and there is offense, and the Bible says, "Let there be no offense within you, so that the ministry be not blamed." Amen?

       So, you must pray, "God, make me free from offense in this matter, but give me a ministry that will save this city." And God is willing. The same God Who is quickening in us His Word, He is sending us His Word, and He has given the grace in His Word for us to be able to accomplish the purpose for which God is quickening us.

       It is not drama that we are doing! You know? One day, I was in fellowship, and God started ministering certain things to me. I said, "God, I know as a lawyer, it is easy to talk. I know as a lawyer, we are used to talking, but God, help us in these days. Let us not speak words into the air. Let us speak words that come by the prompting of Your Spirit, and let the words fulfill the purpose for which You are sending it."

       I do not know why God this weekend is making this the focus of the burden that I will share with you, but I believe that God knows why He is doing it. I believe that God is preparing your hearts, so that you are able to rise up in the Spirit and to respond! Not to me, because I am not going to be here after tomorrow and soon I will be out of the country, but to respond to God! God has called you for a purpose in this place, and if the king has besieged the city, let the poor wise man begin to apply the wisdom of God and the fear of God to deliver that city. Praise the Lord.

       So, the Bible tells us in Verse 20, "And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is our’s: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him." Amen?

      

       Esek means, "to strive." So, you see, when we begin to press on, we shall meet contention; and we will see in this story how the contention will come in different stages.

       With Isaac’s first well, comes the first contention. The herdsmen of Gerar contended, and he said, "Well, I am going to call this well Esek." At least he had made progress; he had dug one well. Isn’t that so? Let us make progress! Anywhere we make the progress, and the contention comes, we know that we are pressing on; we are exercising ourselves in that which God has called us unto and we are not drawing back.

       In Verse 21, the Bible tells us, "And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah." Sitnah, again, means "contention and strife." So, you are still pressing on, you are still saying, "No! We are going to build. We are not going to draw back." Nevertheless, contentions will come. The enemy will try to put all kinds of stumbling blocks in our way, but that does not mean that we are not going to where God wants us to go. For us to be able to do that, we must have a focus. We must know what we are seeing. That is why we must see Jesus. We must press on "Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith." We will be satisfied with nothing short of the ultimate! Praise the Lord!

       We do not begin to say, "Well, Lord, I tried. I was in Gerar and You prospered me. At least I have tried to dig two wells, and I have been frustrated. Well, I should just move to Egypt. After all, Egypt is beckoning on me. They are ready to put me in high places in Moses’ seat. Why am I struggling here?" "Stay in that place of contention, for your reward will be great," saith the Lord. Amen.

       So, the Bible tells us in Verse 22, "And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not…" Alleluiah! A time will come! A time will come when even the devil—God must give you victory. Where you are now, you will not be there forever! As you exercise yourself in warfare, as you exercise yourself in this contention, you are putting the intensity on the enemy. You are hitting the nail. You are hitting it.

       I was sharing with a brother yesterday, I said, "Let us continue to pray about certain things, the Kenyan situation, and all that. Because, each time we pray, we are hitting one heavy nail on the foundation of the enemy. Each time we pray, we are hitting it. It may take one year, it may take two years, but one day we will just hear the good news, ‘Hey, the people have been set free! Oh, they are all out there. They are seeking God!’ Alleluiah! Let us not give up! Let us keep knocking the nail. Let us keep knocking it. It is breaking! The foundation is breaking! The strength of Satan is loosening! You may not see it, because you should not walk by the seeing of the eyes, you see, and you should not go by the hearing of the ears."

       It is like in those days in Nigeria when there was war. We had this civil war, and there was Biafra, which was the rebel nation. The time did come when Nigeria had captured all their cities, you see, but they had one very powerful radio on a land rover, and there was a man going around confusing the people with what he was saying. He was going all around the place saying "Biafra, [we are winning], we have captured this place and we have captured that place," and the people were confused because he was deceiving them. The reality of the situation was that Biafra had been captured, but he was going around making propaganda on the radio, and then making people to feel that, "Oh, Biafra is still victorious." You see, if we walk by the hearing of the ears, and even by the seeing of the eyes, we will not know the victories that God is doing in the Spirit, and we will get confused, and we will say, "Well, I thought God had given us victory. How come we are hearing that this thing is still prospering." Leave those things that you hear, leave those things that you see. Press on. Believe in God.

       The foundation must be broken, because it is not of God. Anything that is not of God cannot stand the people of God. We must continue to press on, in love, knowing that it is our responsibility to pull ourselves together again. It is our responsibility to gather together, in love!

       No matter how dear my mother is to me—I may not agree with her on certain things, but I want her to be part of me. You know what I mean? And we must do that. The love must be there, but the resolution must be there too that this situation must be saved. Alleluiah.

       We shall do it, void of offense before man and before God, because at the end of the day, we shall all gather again. And it shall be glorious! Praise the Lord! There shall be unity of the faith. We shall come to the perfect man again, and that is the ultimate! We shall come, and we will begin to look, and say, "Oh, thank God for those times. Thank God for these times. Thank God for my brethren. Thank God for holding forth for me. Thank God for standing by me, even in times of trials." Let it be said concerning us, that we were not fair-weather friends. Amen? That we stood on the side of God, and we stood and we pressed on, and at the end of the day, God had victory. Praise the Lord!

       The things that we wrestle with are not flesh and blood, so if I have a problem with Pete, it is not Pete and I having a problem. It is a spirit! It is the devil trying to frustrate things! So, if I identify that, I leave Pete alone, and I begin to hit the enemy. And I tell you, when I hit the enemy—someday you will just see all men are set free. Praise the Lord. Because, when you scatter it in the realm of the spirit, there is no foundation again. There is no strength again in the natural for Satan to continue to harass us. I believe that God will do it. Praise the name of the Lord!

       Let us read on, for the Bible tells us that after Isaac had dug this well, that "…he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. And he went up from thence to Beersheba. And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake."

       Now, remember, God spoke this to him when God first told him to stay in Gerar (Verses 1-6), and He was now reminding him of this promise. Now, God did not remind Isaac of the promise until Isaac had faced two or three serious contentions. Amen? Maybe you are passing through your second contention, and you have not heard God remind you of what He said. God is still going to remind you. He is still going to renew His vow to you. You be faithful! A time will come when God will say, "Yes, I spoke to you ten years ago, and I am speaking to you now."

 

       You say, "But, God, when that king was besieging the city, why didn’t You tell me then?" God is watching you. He wants to see whether truly you trust Him. God does not have to be waking you up every day, saying, "Look, Burt, this is what I told you, now see this…." God will not tell you too often. He will tell you at strategic points, because He is also training you to believe Him. Praise the Lord.

       You do not keep waiting, like Balaam, to keep going back to, "What did God say? What did God say?" We cannot keep going back and saying, "God, repeat what You said, so I don’t go to Egypt." You cannot dare God. You cannot blackmail God. If God has told you, BELIEVE GOD, AND HOLD FAST YOUR CONFIDENCE! God will allow you to pass through contentions, and in His own time He will come to you and renew His vow to you. But, even if He does not, our attitude should be, "God, I will hold on to the first one You gave me, and I will run with it."

       So, we see here, He now comes to Isaac and renews His promise to him. I can imagine how Isaac felt. Verse 25, "And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well." So, you see, Isaac was so encouraged, "Oh, thank God! Thank God!" But, you see, that was coming like a reward for faithfulness, a reward for consistency. God will reward our consistency, in Jesus’ name.

       The Bible says in 1 John 3:2, that right now, it does not appear what we shall be. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." You know? You do not know where you are and you are wondering, "What is happening? People are sick here. Have we raised the dead here before? What is happening? Nothing is happening!" Meanwhile, we are hearing stories, ‘Oh, it is happening over here; it is happening there….’ "

 

       It says, "Be still and know that I am God." A time will come when you will see God. You will see Him as He is. Have that hope in you, and let it purify you. Let it stay your heart, and know that a time will surely come. Amen?

       Now, God assures Isaac, and in Verse 25, Isaac builds an altar and he calls upon the name of the Lord. Then in Verse 26, "Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them. Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD."

       The enemy will acknowledge that you are the blessed of the Lord. The Bible says [in Proverbs 16:7], "When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." So, don’t you worry about that; do not be in a hurry to get to where God is still taking you. Continue steadfast and faithful to God. A time will come when even your enemy will come and say, "Now I know God is with you." Praise the Lord! "Now I know that the God that you serve is faithful and has blessed you."

       So, do not despair, friends. Do not despair. Press on! Press on! Press on! Press on to the saving of the soul! There is an ultimate point we are getting to, and we shall get there, because God’s Word is settled! It is yea and amen! It says that the gates of hell shall not prevail against this Church, so the enemy has no choice in the matter.

       The only thing he can do is to play with our minds: "Did God tell you? Are you sure you are one of those that God can use?" That is why we need our minds to be renewed. "Renew my mind, oh Lord, that I might know why You have called me, and I might know what You have put in me, and where You are taking me to, so that the enemy will not play over my mind again."

 

       Satan has no other place that he can defeat you except in the realm of your mind—to make you to doubt God. To make you to fall into that place where you begin to wonder whether God can do it, and then you now fall out of favor with God. That is the only way that the enemy can do it, and to frustrate this work. If we are a people determined in our heart that, "This is the strategy of Satan—we shall not fall into it," then we will not allow our minds to be bogged down and we will not allow discouragement. We will not allow the things that we see to begin to make us draw back. Instead, it will even make us to be more committed, more intense in the battle, knowing that we have gotten to the point where we must press on! Praise the Lord!

       So, the Bible says in Verse 30, "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. And it came to pass 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. And he called it She-bah: therefore the name of the city is Be-er-she-ba unto this day."

       Amen. Be-er-she-ba means "the well of an oath." But, you see, the truth of the matter is that we are not told here again that the enemy, or the herdsmen, came to strive with them again. It will get to a point where we shall hit Satan below the belt. We shall hit him below the belt, and this controversy will be settled forever. Praise the name of the Lord.

       Let us look at Hebrews 4. Burt read that last night and I would just want to read it to encourage us, even as we round off. Let us begin reading at Verse 1. He says, "Let us therefore fear" You know, what this is saying here, it is not a message that should excite us, rather it should be a message that should make us say, "Ah, so there is for us a responsibility." When it says, "Let us therefore fear…" it is not speaking of the kind of fear that brings torment, but it is the kind that is, "Let us be cautious! Let us now gather ourselves." It is saying, "Be careful now. Do not run away in carelessness or in complacency."

       It is saying in this verse that we need to be conscious of the fact that we may lose something if we do not do something. "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." So, there is a risk! There is a risk of us missing the promise of God. It is not because God is not faithful, but because we may not have been sensitive to the trappings and the tricks of the devil.

       But the Bible is saying, and God is saying, "Let us reconsider, so that we do not lose that promise." By reason of what? Verse 2, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them, but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Amen? Praise the Lord!

       You see, unbelief is a very terrible thing. What is unbelief? Contempt! Despising the Word of God! Doubting the Word of God. It is the opposite of faith. It may have meant so much to you, there may have been a quickening in your heart this morning, but the enemy might want to bring doubt into your heart. "Can these things be?" "No, this man is just talking his own."

       We are all adults here—men! One of us, alone, can put to flight a thousand! Amen? If the least of us here would put our hand upon the mouth of the dangerous snake, the asp, it says it will not hurt us. If truly we stand in persuasion today, that there is something that we need to hold fast unto, and we hold it—God has given us victory and the devil shall not take it away. Praise the name of the Lord.

Part 7 - What Is Our Focus?