Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt;
live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land,
and I will be with you and bless you” (Genesis 26:2-3, NKJV).
Sometimes as believers we find ourselves in really hard situations. Hopefully at that point we focus on seeking God for direction. “Lord, is this from You? Do You want me here, or should I go somewhere else?” God is fine with that kind of honest questioning. Where we get into trouble is when we whine, “God, where are You? Can’t You see how I’m suffering? I thought You loved me! How could You let me end up in such an awful place?” And then we begin to entertain thoughts about returning to Egypt—to the life we had before God rescued us and translated us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son.
God’s words to Isaac are appropriate to us today, particularly when we are in a tough place with no natural means of escape. Though the Lord may or may not change our circumstances in response to our pleas, He will certainly say to us, “Do not go down to Egypt. Don’t seek relief from your problems by turning back to the world. The kingdom of darkness holds nothing for you. You must stand fast where I have placed you. Keep your eyes on Me, and I will be with you and bless you.”
The amazing lesson here is that even though Isaac listened to God and did not go down to Egypt, he still wasn’t a model of virtue. In an effort to save his own skin, he lied and had his wife lie too. Yet, though Isaac wasn’t faithful, God was. Why? Verse 24 gives us the answer: “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” All Isaac had to do was to remain where God had placed him and NOT return to Egypt. Even then God didn’t bless Isaac because of Isaac’s good behavior (or lack thereof), but rather because God had made a promise—and God always keeps His promises. We know this is true because people living around Isaac said to him in verse 28, “We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you.”
God’s blessing on Isaac was obvious to the people around him. If we want visible blessing in our life—blessings not just of material goods but rather of strength of character, peace under pressure, joy in the midst of sorrow—then we must obey God and not “go down to Egypt” looking for answers to our problems. Instead we must stand where God has planted us and trust Him to carry us through. If we will do that, He will be faithful to keep His Word and to bless us beyond anything we can ask or think or imagine.