THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

July 31, 2019

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

In Genesis chapter 26 we read about Isaac living in Gerar where there were Philistines living. Isaac sowed in that land and in that year reaped a hundredfold. God blessed him, and he became great, and continued to become rich until he was very wealthy. He acquired livestock of sheep and cattle, as well as numerous servants. The Philistines envied him.

All of the wells that his father, Abraham, had were filled and stopped up with dirt by the Philistines. King Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away, for you are much more powerful than we are."

So Isaac departed from that area and camped in the Valley of Gerar and dwelled there. He dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham -- for the Philistines had stopped them up after Abraham's death. He gave the wells the same names that his father had given them.

Then Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found a well of living water there. But the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's shepherds saying, "This water is ours!" So Isaac named the well Quarrel, because they quarreled with him.

Isaac dug another well and they quarreled over it, too, so he named it Accusation.

Then he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he named it Wide Spaces and said, "Because now God has created wide spaces for us and we will be fruitful in the land."

Abraham had worked hard to dig wells so that his family, servants, crops, and servants could have plenty of water. After his death, instead of using those wells themselves, the Philistines filled them back in with dirt. Why would they do that? Why not use them so that they didn't have to dig wells elsewhere themselves? In fact, there had been a great famine in the land, so water would have been very precious and they could have used those wells to meet their own needs. Instead, they chose to fill them in with dirt.

Isaac found those wells that his father had worked hard to dig out years ago and diligently labored to clean them out and unstop them so that he could use them once again. He was a wealthy man and had a lot of animals and servants to take care of, and had need of those wells of water.

Then in the valley where he had moved to, his servants dug and found a well of fresh water. But there were other shepherds who had their flocks in that same valley and they began to quarrel with Isaac's shepherds, declaring that the newly dug well was theirs. Had they worked to dig out the well? No! Scripture doesn't even say that they had helped Isaac's servants labor to find that supply of fresh water. They watched someone else do all of the work, then moved in and wanted the rights to that well after they saw that it was filled with water. Isaac named that well Quarrel, because those shepherds quarreled with him over it.

What does Isaac do? He goes and digs another well. Do the shepherds leave him alone? No! Here they come wanting to take over that well, too. It wasn't enough that they had already taken what Isaac and his servants had worked hard at digging the first time; they wanted this well, as well. So they start another quarrel and making accusations about this water being theirs, so Isaac named the well Accusation.

A third time, Isaac moved to another area of that valley and he and his men dug yet a third well. This time he was left alone, so he named the well Wide Open Spaces. He knew that this was where he was supposed to dwell, for God had given him room there to be fruitful and multiply.

Have you ever worked and labored for something, then once you had it, someone came along and felt like they had the rights to it? For example, suppose you worked hard at getting a degree, then spent years building a career and using your knowledge to advance in a company. After many years of doing so, the company hires someone much younger than you who doesn't have the education that you do, nor do they have the years of experience; yet they feel entitled to getting the same amount of pay and the same benefits as you have. They don't think that they should have to put in their time advancing, but feel that they know just as much (or more) than those older than them and are just as capable of doing the same level of work, so should start out on equal ground. Many times, they are the ones who end up getting the promotions; and sometimes the seasoned experienced employees are made to feel as if they are insignificant and have very little value. Yet, anytime the younger employees run into a problem or can't figure something out or have issues with a customer or something is beyond their experience, what do they do? They call upon those who have the experience and skills to come help them; or else they just turn the job over to that person so they don't have to deal with it themselves.

Your "well" may be a relationship that you have invested in and worked hard at building; then someone comes along and tries to take over ownership or destroy it.

Perhaps your "well" is your children's relationship with God. You were godly parents, trained them up in the ways of the Lord, prayed with them and over them; yet, as adults they chose to turn aside from their faith. It seems as if the spiritual wells that you dug in their lives have been filled with various things until they have very little or no room for the Living Water, who is Jesus.

There are many things that can fill up the wells in our lives that either our parents or we ourselves have dug. Then we diligently work hard at re-digging those wells so that the Living Water can flow freely once again, only to have quarrels or accusations rise their ugly head. Honestly, when that happens, most times we feel as if we have the right to fight back. We end up either entering into the quarrel ourselves, which solves nothing in the end; or we take the accusations made against us, personally, and become defensive, which generally ends up leading to bitterness and unforgiveness.

Yet, what if we acted as Isaac did, and just keep digging out those wells and kept right on going until we get to that place of green pastures and still waters? Instead of staying where the quarrels and accusations are, we move on and put those things behind us. We continue looking forward instead of behind us, until we dig that one well and the accusations and quarrels are no more. Then we say, "Okay! This is the place where God will bring increase in my life and bless me!"

I want to clarify something: Often we think that our quarrels and accusations are coming from people and that our fight is with others. The words may come forth from the mouths of individuals, but the truth is, our fight isn't with people.

We are told in Ephesians 6:10-11 who we are actually doing battle with. "Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

It is the schemes of the devil, often using others to serve his purpose, that fills in our wells that we or our godly fathers worked diligently to build. It is spiritual forces of wickedness and worldly forces of darkness that are at work trying to cause quarrels and accusations against those wells in our lives that are filled with Living Water. Satan doesn't want our lives to be filled with Jesus, who is our Living Water! He certainly doesn't want us to be overflowing with Living Water. A little trickle may not overly concern the devil; but honestly, his goal is to completely stop our wells up.

Look at this story of the wells of Abraham and Isaac. Dirt may have been used to fill in those wells that had been dug by Abraham so that they were no longer useable. But what happened when Isaac worked to dig them out again? Was the water gone that had once filled them up? No! When Isaac dug them out once again, there was that fresh water flowing that he could use to drink from and use to share with others so that their thirst was quenched and they could thrive.

Never think that there is an area in your life or the life of a loved one... or whoever... that is so plugged up that it can never be useable again. Jesus, the Living Water, is still there in that area just waiting for us to get rid of whatever is blocking Him from springing up inside so that He can fill us to overflowing once again. And Jesus not only wants to fill up every area of our life with Living Water, but wants to give us an abundance that we can share with others so that they never have to thirst again and can thrive!

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

This is a great story of restoration. It is also a story of meekness. The king of the Philistines told Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are mightier than we." Did Isaac say, "No, I don't think so. You're right; I am mightier, so deal with it." No. He left instead. That was a very meek and humble action. There is no mention of what his family said about moving, but if it were in modern times, there would probably be a lot of bickering, and demands to stay.

Later, he had many wells re-dug. That can't be a quick process, but there is no mention of how long it took. There also isn't any mention how long he got to use the water before the local herdsmen started arguing over the water rights. But once again, when they started arguing, he didn't force himself or his will over the herdsmen. A man the king of the powerful Philistines described as "mightier than we", simply pulled up stakes, and moved his entire family, servants, flocks, etc. to another part of the valley. Twice! I'm sure by this point, I would have wanted to turn Rambo on them, and say, "No more!". But Isaac was meek and humble, and kept moving till God appeared to him again. He didn't move again, after that.

The king of the Philistines came to visit Isaac after that, and asked for a peace treaty. He acknowledged and respected Isaac because he had been so blessed by God. It might have been difficult to turn, and walk away from the homes he had built. But it turned into a great demonstration to the king that Isaac's God (our God) blessed Isaac for it all.

It might have been many years before Isaac saw the change in Abimelech's heart. But it did happen. We may not always see the results of our humility or obedience, but it is good.

ON THE MENEWE:

Brownies

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 stick butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9-inch banking pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until done.

Double recipe for a 9x13-inch pan. Ovens may vary baking time, don't over-bake.

Adding black walnuts to this recipe is also very good in this recipe.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Church Bulletin Bloopers:

Glory to God to all and peas to his people on earth.

If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check and drip in the collection basket.

The sign-up sheet for anyone wishing to be water baptized on the table in the foyer.

If you choose to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred.

It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. - Corrie ten Boom

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org