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Shiver Me Timbers

The blessing of stability.

Genesis 26:6–11 (ESV)

So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

Seriously? Must we go through the “She’s my sister,” routine again? This family sure has a lot of issues.

Except that this time, it’s different. The truth is that this is a crazy-dangerous neighborhood.

Notice the line, “One of the people might easily have lain with your wife.” Easily? Doesn’t sex need to be consensual? Maybe Isaac’s fear that they would kill him for his wife isn’t all that far-fetched.

That speaks volumes about Isaac’s willingness to stay where God told him to stay. Even with the LORD’s specific promises, Isaac is anything but comfortable with this place.

Still, he stays, and God protects him though Abimelech. Notice that Abimelech’s declaration protects both Rebekah and Isaac. That confirms that Isaac’s fear is legit.

Gerar has all the safety and stability of a pirate ship.

One of the greatest things about living in America is something we take for granted—stability. Everything will still be here tomorrow—our homes, our jobs, electricity, the schools.

There are exceptions (e.g., tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes) but they’re extraordinary events, not the norm. And even when natural disasters strike, help shows up. Our civilization has our back.

But few people around the world have it as good. Some nations are so unstable that people die every day trying to escape. Much of the world is overrun by chaos and evil. So, what should we pray for?

The persecuted church? Sure. For the safety of our missionaries? Of course. For God to bring an end to these horrors? Always.

But what’s the point? God could end these nightmares in an instant. Why doesn’t He?

There’s something mysterious in all this, something that glorifies Him, and it’s beyond our understanding. The challenges of life (especially the challenges of following Christ) are supposed to be there.

So, obey His command to pray. It’s the secret sauce of life in Christ, even if we don’t understand it all.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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