REHOBOTH – a Hebrew word meaning broad places, wide open space, room enough, enlargement.
Isaac was the promised son of Abraham and Sarah. He grew up hearing his father’s stories about God’s faithfulness in the midst of impossible circumstances. When he became an adult, Isaac faced his own series of adversities and had to learn to trust God for himself.
The 26th chapter of Genesis tells us that during Isaac’s time there was a famine in the land. Looking for pasture for his flocks and food for his family, Isaac went down to a place called Gerar, in the land of the Philistines. The Lord appeared to him there and gave him specific instructions. He was told not to go down to Egypt but instead to stay where he was. Obviously, Isaac had been thinking about going to Egypt - hoping for better conditions than he was experiencing. But God interrupted his plans and told him to stay put. With those instructions, God added a profound promise:
The Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you… I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven…” (Genesis 26:2-3 NASB)
Though Isaac heard from the Lord, obeyed the Lord, and had a promise from God, he still had to walk through a frustrating season in his life. Have you felt like that in your own life? Perhaps you are sure you heard God’s direction and you obeyed it - yet nothing seems to be working. Have you wondered if you were doing something wrong? Be encouraged - even God’s man Isaac faced similar situations before he entered a season of blessing and fruitfulness. But that season did come!
In Isaac’s case, he stayed in Gerar as he was instructed by God. At first, things started looking up, just as the Lord had promised.
Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy. (Genesis 26:12-13 NASB)
But immediately there came a problem with the neighbors – the Philistines. According to Genesis 26:14 - the Philistines envied him. Can you imagine that in the middle of famine conditions while everyone else had no harvest - Isaac reaped a hundredfold of what he had sown? A spirit of envy gripped the Philistines when they saw Isaac’s supernatural success. This led to some retaliatory actions intended to make Isaac’s life miserable.
Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham, his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. (Genesis 26: 15 NASB)
Access to water is an absolute necessity in an arid climate and in an agrarian society. Knowing this, the Philistines intentionally tried to frustrate Isaac at every turn by clogging up his wells. Finally, the local king of the Philistines commanded Isaac to leave the area.
Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” (Genesis 26:16)
Here was yet another frustration for Isaac. He was forced to pack up his entire encampment, move his family and all his livestock and abandon his farming efforts that had been so supernaturally productive.
Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar (Genesis 26:17) and settled his family there. But his season of frustration was not over yet. He immediately started re-digging the wells that his father Abraham had dug there many years before. But herdsmen in the area rushed in and claimed the water to be theirs, even though Isaac’s servants were the ones who had dug the well. Have you ever experienced someone taking credit for your hard work? If so, you are in good company.
So he named the well Esek, (contention) because they contended with him. (Genesis 26:20)
Isaac graciously moved on and re-dug another of his father Abraham’s wells in that same valley. After this one produced water, the local herdsmen once again swooped in to claim the water for themselves. I can just imagine Isaac shaking his head and saying, “Really guys? You weren’t even here when the hard work was being done!” …they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah (hostility). (Genesis 26:21)
Despite all the frustrations that Isaac experienced in this season, he did not give up. He still had God’s promise - Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you… And Isaac was determined to see that promise fulfilled. He did not shake his fist at heaven and question God’s integrity with an angry, “Where are the blessings you promised?” Instead, he just kept pushing through in the area he was sent to by God and he knew God would manifest that promise at just the right time. And that is exactly what happened next:
Abandoning that well, he dug again, and the local residents finally left him alone. So he called it Rehoboth - “The Well of Room Enough for Us at Last!” “For now at last,” he said, “the Lord has made room for us and we shall thrive.” (Gen 26:22 TLB)
God has a “Rehoboth” for you. It is a place that has room enough for you to prosper, flourish, be successful, blessed and fruitful. If you are in a season that has been marked by nothing but FRUSTRATION, lift up your head and look beyond your current circumstance.
Isaac had to keep looking out beyond the place of his frustration. You will need to do the same. You will get nowhere by looking down at your current condition and repeatedly describing it to God, yourself and others. God knows exactly where you are and how you feel about it. Declaring how bad things are will not attract God’s help. He is looking for the heart that trusts in Him.
The Lord wants you to stand in faith and confidence in HIS GOODNESS – knowing in your heart that God will turn things around and lead you to the REHOBOTH that He has for you. To do so, you will need to remind yourself and God that you believe what He has said and that you are confident He will do it.
I want to encourage you to make this faith declaration over your current situation and maintain a faith-filled expectation in your heart that you will see it come to pass:
“The Lord has made room for us and we shall thrive!”
God really does have a “Rehoboth” for you.