THE WELLS OF ISAAC Part One ESEK

THE WELLS OF ISAAC

PART ONE

ESEK

WELL OF CONTENTION

“And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley,
and found there a well of springing water.
And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen,
saying, The water is ours:
and he called the name of the well Esek;
because they strove with him”
GENESIS 26:19-20

Within the life and the journey of God’s people come trials of various magnitudes. Isaac had now moved from his father’s tent into his own land and experiences. Just prior to this Isaac had set his sights on the former wells that his father had dug. This is the natural thing to do but in the journey of every believer there must come a time for NEW WELLS to be dug; new experiences and new enemies must be faced. The new things in God are found in leaving the former. As Isaac dug new wells he found not only a well of water but a spring that flowed on its own accord. How good are God’s ways and provisions!

It would be all well (no pun intended) and good if the story had ended there. The wells in those days were extremely laborious to dig and the ability to find water was rather hit and miss. Even though he found such a wonderful resource of water we see the enemies of God coming to steal this precious thing from Isaac and his company. Isaac is now confronted with the truth that there is an ever present enemy who would seek to cause us to contend and strive for these gracious provisions. As it was with Isaac so it is with all who walk in the faith and the way of Abraham.

The name of the city where this first episode took place is Gerar which comes from the root word in the original language meaning to “turn back, to tarry or fear” (such is their intended purpose upon our lives). Gerar was an ancient city built and inhabited by the exiled Philistines* of that day. Throughout most of the history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) they were consistent in their opposition to God’s purposes. At times our enemies seek to bring weariness and discouragement into our lives through the medium of strife and conflict. Our enemies in this day are not natural but spiritual and so we need the spiritual weapons and armor (2 Corinthians 10:4 and Ephesians 6:13-16) to battle and gain the victory. Isaac called the name of the well “Esek”, meaning strife and contention. Sadly, in our own lives, we have times when it is much too easy to get involved with the contention and the heat of the situation. The outcome of such a choice usually results in long-lasting and bitter feelings that can take many years to work through. Timothy was entreated of Paul to not be found striving with the people of God.

“…the servant of the Lord must not strive”
2 Timothy 2:24

Isaac’s response to the men of Gerar was to simply remove himself from the point of contention and go and dig another well. This may sound simple but, speaking from experience, the heart is easily drawn into the fray and the consequences are sure to follow…the lessons and the discipline of His Ways. These are all combined with the teaching of the scriptures to bring us to the place of maturity and wisdom.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works”
2 TIMOTHY 3:17

Truth is not truth until it becomes our own. Contention is a good school master and teacher for in it we discover our own lack of graces and His provisions and patience. There is no way to avoid the strife and contentions of this world and, sadly, in God’s House. Paul spoke of these things in his day; not as a surprising thing but as a thing of necessity for our learning and progress.

“For there must be also heresies* among you,
that they which are approved may be made manifest among you”
1 CORINTHIANS 11:19

Ω

The spheres God brings us into are not meant to teach us something
but to make us something”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

* NOTE:
Philistine in the original language means to “roll or wallow in self-pity”. It speaks of the ministration of the enemy to wear down, discourage and dishearten the people of God. As in the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Israel they were ever present and seeking to oppose God’s people and their progress; so also in ours.

* NOTE: (as used in this scripture) G139. αἵρεσις hairesis; gen. haireseōs, fem. noun from haireō (G138), to choose, select. Heresy, a form of religious worship, discipline, or opinion (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5; 28:22; 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2 Pet. 2:1). In contrast to schisma (G4978), schism which is an actual tearing apart, hairesis may represent a divergent opinion but still be part of a whole. One can hold different views than the majority and remain in the same body, but he is a heretic (hairetikos [G141]). However, when he tears himself away (schizō [G4977]), then he is schismatic. Heresy may lead to schism which is when actual tearing off and separation occur. (THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY DICTIONARY: NEW TESTAMENT)

Brian Troxel

Peace WITH God & The Peace OF God

Peace WITH God & The Peace OF God

PEACE

“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
Romans 5:1

Peace is the fruit of Righteousness; the greater the depth of righteousness the greater will be the depth of that Peace. In the life of every believer we are to know by faith we have (present tense) Peace with God. This peace was secured by the precious Lamb of God’s supreme offering of Himself for us on Calvary. Not only is this an historic fact it is an eternal truth upon which we can stand even in the face of our own personal failures and defeats. It is by this eternal truth that we meet the accusation of the enemy with the power of this declaration. It is a Peace settled in heaven by the guarantor of our salvation. May HE ever be praised! This is the starting place from which we begin our journey in Him.

HE came that we might have life, abundant life. That Life begins with the declaration that we are His children and because of that we have peace WITH GOD. May the Lord open our eyes to the glorious reality that HE IS COME that we may go on in HIM to have the peace OF GOD!

“And let the peace of God rule* in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful”
COLOSSIANS 3:15

Here we see that this peace OF God is to rule in our hearts. It is a peace that rules and reigns within the concourse of our everyday life. It is to govern our conduct within the scope of our daily lives. It is to teach us the more perfect way of God. We are to walk in that Peace to such an extent that we recognize when we lose or trouble that Peace we are missing God on some point of action. The fruit of the righteousness of God in our lives is peace and when that peace is disturbed we can be sure that we are stepping out of His way to walk in our own. Peace is found in walking in His Way. The Way of Peace is mentioned in the scriptures as a path wherein we must walk to know of its reality. The Good News is that HE is come to guide our feet into the Way of Peace.

“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace
LUKE 1:79

“And the way of peace have they not known…”
Romans 3:17

I know in my own experience that I have, without a doubt, peace with God and after forty years of walking with Him it is an unshakeable truth. But my heart longs for continued growth in the knowing of the peace of GOD that passes ALL UNDERSTANDING and is available to all who come to God by Christ Jesus. This PEACE OF GOD is of such a nature that nothing can affect its power, no outside circumstance nor any principality or power can disrupt its dominion in our lives. It is a peace that can only be known in the SON by the HOLY SPIRIT.

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”
Romans 14:17

May we not grow weary and may our hearts desire for Him to propel us into the depths of this covenant relationship with our God. For it is HIS good pleasure to brings us into to the full knowing of the Son wherein we discover the fullness of HIS righteousness by the which we know the fullness of the PEACE of GOD.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you”
MATTHEW 6:33

Ω

* βραβεύω brabeuō; fut. brabeuso. To be a brabeus, an umpire, director or arbiter in the public Greek games. In the NT, to rule, govern, and metaphorically to prevail, abound. Used intrans. (Col. 3:15, “the peace of God rule in your hearts”).

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – Part 4 – Quiet Waters

PSALM 23

PART FOUR

QUIET WATERS

“He leadeth me beside the still waters…”
PSALM 23:2

Here again we see the relationship between the Shepherd and His sheep, it is one of leading and being lead. We are also reminded that the heart of the ONE that leads us is motivated in binging us to places of rest and peace. We read in the New Testament of one of the criteria of the Great Day of Judgement is that God Himself will separate between the sheep and the goats. Many will say Lord, Lord in that day but it is in the crucible of daily life in our following HIM wheresoever HE goes that we reveal whether we are in truth sheep. Goats do not follow they insist on their own way and have no inherent ability to follow because that is their nature. Nature determines relationship not teaching.

In this particular Psalm we see Him leading us beside still waters (or in the actual Hebrew “Waters of Stillness”). He is ever at work in our lives to bring stillness to the waters of our heart that in all circumstances we may be found resting in HIS Love for us. It is here in the still waters that we are able to see HIS Face most clearly for quiet waters reflect the heavens with a beauty and preciseness that troubled waters will never be able to convey.

“As in water face answereth to face,
so the heart of man to man”
PROVERBS 27:19

It is when we are quiet and at rest that HE most clearly reveals HIS heart and purpose to us. We read of the men and women throughout the Old and New Testament that knew HIM as their Rock, their high tower, their refuge and resting place revealed a quality of character that can only come from relationship and trust. Troubled and bitter waters can only minister strife, anger and resentment because what a person is will be revealed in the waters that flow from their heart.

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth
blessing and cursing. My brethren,
these things ought not so to be.
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place
sweet water and bitter?
JAMES 3:11

This is such a penetrating question and one that we need to guard in reference to the words of our own heart. If we are being lead of HIM over time the waters that flow from our hearts will be filled with the depth of HIS wisdom that flow from a heart that is at rest in God Himself. A man at rest with God reveals HIS way, HIS truth and HIS life at all times. It is to such an end that we pray that HE would continually lead us, that we would faithfully follow and that HE would receive all the glory and praise for HIS goodness and mercy endures forever. AMEN.

Ω

“See in the meantime
that your faith brings forth obedience,

and God in due time
will cause it to bring forth peace”

John Owen

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – Part 3 – REST –

PSALM 23

PART THREE

REST

“He maketh me to lie down
in green pastures…”
PSALM 23:1

Rest is a state of heart that is not dependent upon location or circumstance. Here we see the great “mover” of men causing us to lie down in the rich provisions of His care. How little we realize that some of the great curses of sin are restlessness, anxiety and worry. It is in following the Great Shepherd of our souls that we find a grace ever moving us to places of rest and repose in the assurance that He cares and watches over us. “He maketh” (causes us) to lie down and so we find that peace that passes understanding. A peace that is not as the world gives, dependent upon circumstances, but a peace that is found in HIM as we follow wherever HE leads. Rest and peace are the result of a relationship with the Great Shepherd.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”
MATTHEW 11:29

It is in being yoked with HIM that we learn of HIM. Bible schools, teachings, meetings and other activities alone will never cause us to KNOW HIM. It is in learning of HIM that we discover that meekness and humility is the “condition” of a heart that finds rest and repose in HIS infinite life. Let us not be discouraged in the WAY for we read here that “HE MAKETH” us to lie down. HE is ever with us to search out and lead us to discover that peace and rest in HIM rather than other things.

“the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey,
TO SEARCH OUT A RESTING PLACE FOR THEM”
NUMBERS 10:33

When we insist on our own way, our own righteousness and our own provisions we forfeit the very rest that we so desperately crave. This rest is reserved for those who are able to submit to the wisdom and way of our Shepherd. We read in the New Covenant of ONE that IS COME to shine forth as the Child of the MOST HIGH GOD for the purpose of…

“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace”
LUKE 1:79

How we need to see that REST is the fruit of being in the WAY, of allowing HIM to guide our feet INTO THE WAY of Peace. May the Lord stir us anew to be found ever in HIS WAY, to be where HE LEADS and GUIDES us to the green pastures of His provision.

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 PART 2 – I Shall Not Want –

PSALM 23

PART TWO

“I SHALL NOT WANT…”
PSALM 23:1

“Want” is not, for most of us, a concept with which we are familiar. We live in a land blessed with abundance. While in other parts of the world there is great want and need for the necessities of life, we here see a great want for the EXCESSES of life. When we truly believe that the Lord is our Shepherd and that HE provides our needs we should be free from the lust of things externally and internally. We should be finding rest in HIS PROVISIONS and HIS GREAT PROVIDENCES. So many of us work day and night to pay for the excesses; things that are far from being necessities. “We have to make a living” is our excuse when in reality we have sold ourselves into a life of servitude for the “things” that this world has to offer. We are not talking here of some religious vow of poverty; we are speaking of a contentment in the LORD our Shepherd. We are talking of a freedom from the passion for “things” that would entice and burden us with a life of debt to this world. Our lifestyle should not enslave us but rather free us to serve our God.

I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that is free to follow and serve our Great Shepherd. I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that is free from the lusts, passions and entanglements of this world. I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that has found peace in knowing that HE is our provider; that HE really is all that we need. It is a freedom from the pressure of this world to have and hold more. For in truth those things can have a hold on us. WE ARE ALWAYS THE SERVANT OF THAT WHICH OUR HEART DESIRES. That is why Jesus says….

“Take heed and beware of covetousness,
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”
LUKE 12:15

Covetousness is a condition of the heart. It steals the affections of our heart with great subtlety, slowly causing our focus to change; the reason that we do something is altered from that which is good and necessary to that which satisfies a lust or a desire. A contented life in this world is the result of seeking, desiring and living within the provision and way of the Lord our Shepherd. As we, in the spirit of thankfulness and praise, make our requests known unto HIM we begin to discover the WAY of HIS PEACE in our lives. It is a battle to keep our eyes focused on the ONE who is OUR PROVISION and our God. We are reminded in John’s Gospel…

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passéth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”
I JOHN 2:15

I SHALL NOT WANT is the fruit of a life that is finding its contentment in the LIFE and PROVISION of THE LORD OUR SHEPHERD. May we daily seek this life of simplicity and rest. To abide in the Love OF the Father is to be free from the love of the World. This freedom is found as we displace one love with a GREATER LOVE. Religion is always seeking to do things that appear spiritual and we often hear the scripture misquoted “…I must decrease, He must increase…” The truth is “HE MUST INCREASE, I must decrease…”

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel