God blessed Isaac in the land that he had told him to live in. He became rich, and then he became very wealthy. God is not an enemy of wealth or the wealthy. In fact, Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds us, “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth…” But Isaac’s faith was never in his crops or stocks or wells, but in God.
I love the story in Genesis 26 of Isaac digging one well after another, only to have the men of Gerar contend and quarrel with him over who owned the wells. Isaac set to work re-digging the wells his father had dug and the Philistines had filled in. Each well his men dug was challenged or seized by the herdsmen of Gerar, and Isaac simply moved on and dug another. Finally he moved far enough away that the well was not contested, so he named it Rehobeth, which means “broad places.” God has given me room. Derek Kidner writes, “His labor on the lost wells, the contesting of his early gains, the timely reliefs and encouragements, and the eventual reward of his tenacity make a story which still speaks to the man (or woman) of God engaged in the same struggle.”
I also love the character that we see here in Isaac. The confidence he had that his life and his work were in the Lord’s hands gave him the strength not to fight the men or even resent the struggles and the opposition. He was able to simply trust that it was part of God’s plan, and that God would give him a broad place after he patiently and peacefully walked through the narrow ones.
I call that divine grit. Grit that comes not from self-reliance but from faith that rests solidly on the promises of God. We see it in Isaac, and we will see it even more in Jacob, and even more in Joseph. Divine grit is not just a patriarch thing. It’s a man of God thing. It’s a woman of God thing.