Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. GOD REPEATS HIS LESSONS that they may make the deeper impression. The intention of the record is to preserve a certain line of Divine guidance. Isaac trod in the footsteps of Abraham. We have Isaac's wells, oaths, feast, Shebah - all following close upon those of the preceding generation.
II. The SAME PRESERVATION OF THE COVENANT RACE in the midst of heathens confirms that covenant. The same lesson of special providential protection and blessing is thus repeated and enforced. Again the same contrast of man's infirmity with God's unchangeableness. The perversity of the fleshly-minded man forming a marriage connection with heathen people, and bringing grief of mind to his parents, reveals the distinctness of the world from the kingdom of God. - R.
Matthew 5:39; 1 Corinthians 6:7). But we may also observe a typical significance. Wells, fountains, sources of "living water" (Isaiah 12:3; Zechariah 13:1) connected with spiritual blessings (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:4 with John 4:14, and John 7:39).
I. ISAAC DIGGED, to find "the gift of God" (common. Eastern name for water). The gift is from God alone (Isaiah 44:3; Zechariah 12:10). His will to bless appears through the whole Bible - in the first formation of man, and in care for the salvation of sinners (Luke 19:10). But many, though thirsty, do not seek living water. They have not peace. Separation from God brings unrest (Isaiah 57:20). But the cause is not believed, and the way of comfort not loved. Many try all ways to find peace except the right one. They will follow preachers, or take up systems, or join associations. But Christ's word is "Come unto me." Again, many will not dig; content merely to wish. God who bestows the gift has appointed means (Matthew 11:12). These do not really desire a work of grace in their souls. Want to be made safe, not to be renewed; to be delivered from fear, but not disturbed just now. Hence do not search their Bibles (Psalm 119:130), or pray for the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 37:9), or care for the salvation of others (1 John 3:17). It is God's will we should dig. He may send a blessing unsought. But usually he works through means. The Bible, prayer, the Lord's table, Christian converse, Christian work (Proverbs 11:25), all are as wells, means for getting the water of life; nothing in themselves, yet made effectual where the blessing is desired.
II. HINDRANCES. Let none expect to possess wells of salvation without. They form the trial of faith (1 Peter 1:7). From those who love not God. A Christian member of a worldly family, or cast among careless associates, meets many hindrances. They may be open or veiled; in opposition or in mistaken kindness. And time for prayer is intruded on, and work for God is hindered, and a constant opposing influence is felt to chill the love of God. Or the hindrance may be from within. In prayer the mind overpowered by intrusive thoughts; besetting sins constantly gaining the victory; our spirits not in harmony with the "still small voice." Remember it is God's will through trial to give victory (1 Corinthians 10:13). Amalek fought against Israel (Exodus 17.) as the herdsmen strove against Isaac, but the way of victory was the same in both instances - trust and perseverance.
III. DIGGED ANOTHER WELL (Galatians 6:9). Will the Lord fail his people though surrounded by hindrances? Is some means of grace debarred? Is some line of Christian work, some way of Christian progress, closed against thee? Dig another well. Seek and pray for other channels in which to consecrate thy life. Perhaps the real foe hindering thee was self-will, and God has helped thee to put down self. Jesus cried, "Come unto me and drink." Whatever be the well, he is the source of its spring. Make it clear to your own heart that you are pressing to him. Tell God that it is indeed so. Then in some form or other the prayer, "Spring up, O well," shall have an abundant answer. - M.