Its the time of year when most people review their lives over the past twelve months and they make decisions about things they want to change. We decide to start working out, we decide to try and reconnect with people, we decide to try and become a better version of ourselves. Sadly, we rarely achieve the resolutions we set and end up 12 months from now reviewing the same subjects. Why is it that we take this journey? I believe we have a sense that there is more for us. We want to see our lives thriving and we take this time as an opportunity to try and plan for that to happen. So why do we so often struggle with these resolutions and changes? I believe it is because so often we are relying on ourselves and on our own strength. It is because of the frailty of our human nature that we often fail in these attempts. So how do we endeavor to reach for that "more" that we sense? How do we have a thriving life? Perhaps it is not in the changes ahead but rather in the promises of what is behind. Instead of looking to the future perhaps we need to look to the past. If we revisit God's original intent for us we will find the strength that we are seeking to have the life abundant for which we long.
I was reading recently in Genesis 26 and what I found really made me sit back and consider how I approach changes in my own life. This passage details the life of Isaac and how the blessing that he was given as a heritage from His father followed him and because of it he prospered. It wasn't because of efforts on Isaac's part but rather the favor that God had spoken as a covenant blessing over his family. As many people who farm or garden know planting does not ensure a successful harvest and yet Isaac's crops and flocks thrived in abundance.
Genesis 26: 12-22 says:
"12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” 17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
Even when the Philistines were envious and tried to cause him to struggle God's blessings followed him. They even poured dirt into the wells so that his flocks would not have water. They tried to get him to move away from them because they feared his powerful status. They were attempting to cut off the blessings from his past and to diminish his future. Isaac could have done many things in response. He could have waged war, he could have taken like action against the wells of the Philistines but instead he re-digs the wells that his father had originally dug; cleaning out the dirt and rock the Philistines had placed in them. Over and over we see Issac move from place to place and each time he digs he finds a good well. The blessing that God spoke over his family from the beginning follows him.
We see God's continued blessing in verse 23-24 it says "From there he went up to Beersheba. 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.”
What stands out to me here is that over and over Isaac doesn't rely on his own strength, abilities or nature. He chooses to embrace the God of His father and to walk in relationship with God. It says in verse 25 that he built an altar because He had met with God. This is a covenant act to serve as a physical mark that Isaac had partnered with God in that place. He looked back to God's words of love and blessing over his family and he received that blessing for himself and because of it he prospered. In fact even his enemies,the Philistines, later came to him to make covenant with him and to seek to become his ally.
It was because Isaac, when looking for how to move forward, took the time to first look back and to align with what God had said from the beginning. What has God spoken to you that maybe has been set aside? What wells of blessing exist in your past that have been filled in with the dirt and soil that comes from life? What sources of blessing have been cut off and still lie below the surface. These things are not gone we just need to re-dig these wells. As we face a new year and consider where our lives are headed perhaps we need to return to what God has originally said to us. His entire desire since the Garden of Eden was to have relationship with us. Just like He met with Isaac He longs to meet with each of us and to establish His strength in us to live the life He meant us to have.
John 10: 10 gives us the simple truth: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
What wells are in your life that need to be re-dug so the blessings of abundant life can flow? Wells of promise, wells of hope, wells of faith? Don't allow these blessings to remain covered over by the enemy's attempts to steal your blessings, steal your relationship with a God who loves you or to steal the abundance that He wants to give you.