Jumping on the Bandwagon
“Jumping on the Bandwagon,” the Cambridge Dictionary defines the phrase as, “to join an activity that has become popular or to change your opinion to one that has become very popular so that you can share in its success.”
This concept is used heavily in sports, especially with super, hardcore fans. They will blame current converts to a particular sports team as “jumping on the bandwagon.” These current fans want to share in the success of a winning team.
Of course, other fans are willing to go down with the ship. They will never abandon their team no matter how long it has been since they had a winning season.
Loyal – not a band wagoner
I have been a Baltimore Orioles fan and a Washington Redskins fan since growing up here in southcentral Pennsylvania
Even though I spent the last two years of high school in Alabama and did not return to Pennsylvania until I was 40 years old, I have never stopped being a fan of those two sports teams
Following a particular player
Over the years, I have followed certain players no matter what team they have played for
A couple of players have shown such great character and have stood up for their faith in Jesus Christ that I have followed the teams they have played for
Kurt Warner is one of those players – I watched the St. Louis Rams play, because Kurt Warner was their quarterback, and when he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, I watched them play
Albert Pujols is another player that I have followed from team-to-team – he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, then the Los Angeles Angels, and is back with the St. Louis Cardinals
Had Tim Tebow played longer in the NFL, I would have followed him no matter what team he played for
You could say that I am on the Warner, Pujols, Tebow bandwagons
All of us are probably loyal to something or someone
Some of us are loyal to a certain brand or team
John Deere, CAT, Massey-Ferguson, etc. (tractors)
Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc. (trucks)
Apple or Android (phones)
Mac or PC (computers)
Marvel or DC (comics)
Star Wars or Star Trek (futuristic space fantasy)
Penguins/Pirates/Steelers or Flyers/Phillies/Eagles (PA sports teams)
Mary Kay, Estee Lauder, L’Oréal, Maybelline, Revlon, Covergirl, Clinique, etc. (makeup)
Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Vera Bradley, etc. (handbags)
Most of us remain loyal, but there are times that we may choose to “jump on the bandwagon”
Spiritual (teaching or pastor)
We will see today that Abimelech, after sending Isaac away, realizes that God is blessing him. Abimelech, and his two companions, track Isaac down in order to make a treaty with him. They wanted to be included in what God was doing for Isaac. They wanted to “jump on the bandwagon” of God’s blessing. What the author wants us to understand from this section of Scripture is that . . .
BIG IDEA – God’s blessing on us can draw others to Him.
GOD (Genesis 26:26-35)
Request (vv. 26-31)
We have to look back at what Pastor Marc shared last week to understand the context
Isaac had moved approximately three times and his servants had dug at least three wells and reopened other wells that Abraham had dug
Isaac had been in conflict with the people of Gerar during that time (they kept claiming ownership of the wells his servants had dug)
After digging the Rehoboth well, he went up from the Valley of Gerar to Beersheba
The Lord appeared to him and confirmed the promise he had made to Abraham
Three things happened there:
Isaac built an altar and worshiped the Lord
Isaac pitched his tent and began to live there
Isaac’s servants dug a well
After all this had taken place, we see Abimelech coming for a visit
Abimelech traveled about 20 miles from Gerar to Beersheba to see Isaac
He brought two people with him
His name means “possession”
He was Abimelech’s “companion, confidential friend”
His name means “strong”
He was the chief captain of the army of the Philistines in Gerar
So, Abimelech has brought is main civilian officer and his main military officer with him [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, ,Chapters 18-50, 206]
Why have you come to me?
Their visit confuses Isaac, because of how he was sent away
The NIV translates it as they were hostile to him
Most other Bible translations, translate the Hebrew as hate/hated
We know that Abimelech sent Isaac away because he had become too powerful for them
We also know that every time he moved and dug wells, that the people of Gerar mistreated him by claiming ownership of the wells that his servants had dug
Isaac obviously interpreted their actions as hating him or being hostile towards him
As we will see with Abimelech’s response, he did not interpret it the same way
Abimelech’s response shows that God’s blessing on us can draw others to Him.
Abimelech and his people wanted to share in the success that Isaac was experiencing through God’s blessing
They also wanted to make sure they were not in opposition with Isaac and his God
They clearly recognized that the Lord was with Isaac
Last week we saw that Isaac planted crops and in the same year those crops produced a hundredfold (that was clearly the hand of God blessing Isaac)
We also saw last week that every time Isaac’s servants dug a well, they found water (those statistics are staggering) and on one occasion they found a well of fresh/flowing water
God’s promise to bless Isaac was being fulfilled
PRINCIPLE #1 – God is glorified when others recognize His blessing in our lives.
Abimelech recognized that the Lord was the One who had blessed Isaac
It was God’s supernatural power at work that caught Abimelech’s attention
It was not anything that Isaac did in his own strength
Do our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors recognize the blessing of God in our lives?
It may or may not be supernatural
Are we sharing with those individuals what God is doing in our lives and how He has provided for us?
God’s blessing on us can draw others to Him
I have purposefully used the word “can,” because God’s blessing on us does not always draw others to Him
Some people will not acknowledge or recognize that God is the One who is blessing us, because if they acknowledged that, they would have to acknowledge that He exists and they are unwilling to do that
Abimelech was drawn to Isaac because of God’s blessing on him
We are not told that Abimelech believed in God and began to follow Him
I am reminded of Luke’s narrative about Simon the Sorcerer, who was drawn to Philip, Peter, and John because of the God’s blessing on them that was manifested through great signs and miracles and the receiving of the Holy Spirit
Read Acts 8:9-24
Hopefully, Simon’s response was a genuine act of repentance and he became a true disciple of Jesus Christ with a heart that was right before God
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Share with my family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors how God has blessed me.
Because God had blessed Isaac and he had become very powerful, Abimelech and his people wanted to be sure they were on his side – they wanted to be included in Isaac’s success
They were asking for a peace treaty between Isaac’s people and Abimelech’s people
Even though Abimelech was the king of the Philistines in Gerar, he was humbly coming to Isaac to ask for a peace treaty
“He [Abimelech] is presenting his case from a position not of strength but of vulnerability.” [Hamilton, 207]
Abimelech was seeking a sworn agreement a treaty that would protect them from any harm
Abimelech reminds Isaac that he had given orders to his people not to molest Isaac or Rebekah
He also tells Isaac that they always treated him well and sent him away in peace
Notice that Abimelech did not interpret what happened between his herdsman and Isaac’s herdsman as being hostile or hateful
Pastor Marc mentioned last week, that it appears as though Isaac moved away from the disputed wells, without a fight, until he dug a well and no one tried to claim ownership of it
Perhaps Abimelech took Isaac’s actions as leaving in peace, even though there were disputes over the wells
It is amazing how two people can look at the same situation and interpret it differently
This just goes to show us how important open communication is
Without communicating clearly, we always run the risk of misinterpreting the intentions or actions of others
The Lord used this passage this week to remind me that there was a situation that I probably misinterpreted, because of the lack of clear communication
The other party probably misinterpreted my actions also, but we never came together and talked it out
The Holy Spirit prompted me about this situation quite a few months ago while walking the dog in the orchard, and as a result I sent cards in the mail apologizing for my failure in the situation
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is prompting you about a situation where you have misinterpreted the intentions, actions, or communication from another person
As I think about our theme this year of loving one another, maybe you need to contact that person and open up the lines of communication, so that any misunderstanding can be resolved
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting about resolving a situation I have misinterpreted.
Abimelech has asked for a sworn agreement, a peace treaty with Isaac, but how will Isaac respond?
Sealing the deal
Isaac prepared a feast for them
“Typical of ancient treaties, a shared meal by the two participants, even between superior and inferior parties, confirmed a pact (v. 30; cp. 31:46, 54; Exod 24:11; Deut 26:17). Isaac provided the covenant meal as the host, exhibiting his good will (e.g., 18:5; 19:3; 24:31, 54) and also perhaps his superiority (cp. 2 Sam 3:20).” [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 414]
The next morning they swear an oath to each other
The peace treaty is done!
PRINCIPLE #2 – God is able to make our enemies live at peace with us, when our ways are pleasing to Him.
Proverbs 16:7, When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.
Isaac was experiencing the blessing of the Lord, because his ways were pleasing to the Lord
When the Lord confirmed that the Abrahamic covenant was extended to Isaac (Gen. 26:3-6) if he obeyed the Lord, Isaac did just that
While it is not stated directly, my guess is that Isaac kept the Lord’s requirements, His commands, decrees, and laws, just like his father, Abraham, had done
He was living a life pleasing to the Lord, which resulted in Abimelech and he living in peace with each other
Are you currently in conflict with someone?
Do you want to live at peace with that person?
Have you done some soul searching to make sure you are living a life pleasing to the Lord?
Is there an area that you need to sacrifice before the Lord?
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Examine my life to make sure it is pleasing to the Lord, so I can live at peace with my enemies.
When we live a life that pleasing to the Lord we will experience His blessing in our lives, which can draw others to Him.
Isaac peacefully sends them on their way
Isaac treats them the opposite of how he was treated
“Abimelech ‘drove’ Isaac from Gerar; Isaac, ‘sends’ Abimelech back to Gerar in peace.” [Hamilton, 208]
Something extraordinary happens the same day that the oath is sworn
Reward (vv. 32-33)
We saw in Genesis 26:25 that Isaac had built an altar, pitched his tent, and his servants dug a well
Their labor was not in vain, because they found water
God had blessed Isaac once again
Isaac named the well Shibah (shib-aw’/shiv-ah’)
The name of the well means “an oath”
Isaac was obviously connecting the peace treaty with Abimelech and the finding of water by naming the well Shibah
“The passage implies that the new well was not a coincidence but a signal of the Lord’s blessing. The man could now rest comfortably in the land, knowing that his neighbors had been pacified and that provisions abounded.” [Mathews, 414]
Beersheba (be-ayr’ sheh’-bah/beh-air’ sheh-vah)
We were told in Genesis 26:23 that Isaac had gone up to Beersheba
The name of the town closest to the well of Shibah was Beersheba
Verse 33 concludes the narrative about Isaac and Abimelech, but the next two verses are a transition from this narrative to the narrative about Jacob getting Isaac’s blessing
Reject (vv. 34-35)
When Esau was 40 years old he married two Hittite women
Judith (yeh-ho-deeth’/yeah-who-deeth’) [“Jewess”/”praised”], daughter of Beeri (be-ay-ree’/bay-a-ree’) [“my well”]
Basemath (bos-math’) [“spice”], daughter of Elon (ay-lone’) [”terebinth or mighty”]
We see that Esau’s heart was with the world instead of with God [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 175]
Esau had not jumped on the bandwagon of God’s blessing through his grandfather and father
He was his own man, determined to make his own way
“Sarna has suggested that the placement of these two verses here reinforces the unworthiness of Esau to be his father’s heir. Esau’s errors are threefold. He has contracted the marriage himself, thus bypassing his parents; he married exogamously (marrying outside the tribe, family, clan, or other social unit) rather than endogamously (marrying within a specific group as required by custom or law); he has gone against the honor of his clan group by intermarrying with the native women.” [Hamilton, 210]
Esau was rejecting everything he had been taught growing up
Others were not drawn to the Lord through Esau’s life, because he was not living a life pleasing to the Lord – he was not receiving the Lord’s blessing
Isaac and Rebekah’s heartache
It is presumed that the source of grief that Isaac and Rebekah were experiencing was related to the fact that the two women were Hittites and part of the Canaanite people [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Genesis, 435]
These women were from a pagan culture, which means that they were probably not following the Lord, but were wrapped up in idol worship
Abraham made his chief servant swear an oath not to get a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites, but from his own people (Gen. 24:2-5)
Deuteronomy 7:1-4, When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations – the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.
All of this prepares us for the narrative found in Genesis 27 and the beginning of 28
Do others recognize God’s blessing in your life?
Is the Holy Spirit prompting you to resolve a situation that you may have misinterpreted?
Is your life pleasing to the Lord?
We need to make sure that we are recognizing God’s blessing in the life of our church
Perhaps we have misinterpreted a situation at church and need to open up a conversation with leadership
Is the corporate life at Idaville Church pleasing to the Lord?
I want to encourage us today to “jump on the bandwagon” of God’s blessing by living a life that is pleasing to Him.