Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

God Will Make Room for You!

By Dennis Pollock

Of the three Hebrew patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Isaac is the one who gets the least press. In the book of Genesis many chapters are devoted to Abraham's amazing life and walk with God. Likewise, many more chapters are devoted to the adventures of Jacob, his wives, and his twelve sons. But comparatively little is written of Isaac. He seemed to lead a less dramatic life, minded his own business and finished his years as an old man of 180, living longer than his father Abraham and his son Jacob. Perhaps his relatively non-eventful life, with lower stress, might have been a boon to his health!


One of the stories the Bible does relate about Isaac has to do with wells. Isaac was a wealthy man by middle eastern standards. We are not left to wonder about the reason for this. The Scriptures declare: Then Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous” (Genesis 26:12-13). With all this prosperity, Isaac became responsible for all kinds of people: workers, slaves, maids, herdsmen, wives, and children. Wherever he went he traveled as a company of people, about the equivalent of a small village.


One of the greatest needs of people in those days was water, which has always been a prized commodity in that region of the world. If you were in a land that had natural springs, rivers, or creeks, you were in good shape. But if not, you would need to do what people have been doing for thousands of years, which is to dig a well. Well-digging is not too much of a problem in today's world, as long as you have the money. Digging crews can come out with their enormous, high-powered drills and hit water in a day or two. But in those days, wells had to be dug by hand, and without the equipment to detect water, it was sort of guesswork. Maybe after a lot of digging and many days of labor you would hit water, or maybe you never would. But if and when you did hit water, and the water was fit to drink, you had a real prize.


Isaac Digs a Well

Isaac had plenty of men at his disposal, so whenever he planned to settle for a while, he would have them dig a well. But it did not always turn out so great. The Bible tells us:


Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them. Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek (meaning quarrel), because they quarreled with him (Genesis 26:19-20).


Apparently, some of the local shepherds or herdsmen found it presumptuous of Isaac's men to claim this well for themselves, even though they had dug it, since it was on land they had long considered their own domain. The men of the community claimed it for themselves, and Isaac had no desire to start a war over it. Instead, he allowed the locals to enjoy the well his own men had dug, and his group moved to another place. When they reached a convenient spot, they did precisely what they had done before – they dug another well. But once again the men of that place protested that the well was theirs by right, apparently feeling that since they had lived in that region from birth, no strangers should be able to come in and take their water. Isaac again found himself in the position of either fighting with the locals for the right to the well his men had dug or moving on. And as before, he moved on. It would appear that Isaac was a man of peace with very little aggressiveness in his nature.


God Makes Room


Coming to a new place Isaac tried again. He instructed his men to dig yet another well. But things went differently. They found water as before, but this time no one contested with him about the well. Perhaps Isaac had wised up and dug this well in a more isolated spot where there were few neighbors nearby to become jealous over the new source of water. The well produced refreshing water, and no one challenged them. Isaac and his company were no doubt relieved to finally succeed both in producing a functioning well and being able to keep it for themselves. Isaac named the well Rehoboth,” which means spaciousness,” and declared: Now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land” (Genesis 26:22).


I have always been impressed with that phrase: the LORD has made room for us…” After two unsuccessful attempts to situate himself and his large family and workers in a watered, comfortable land, finally he accomplished his goal. But although Isaac's men had done a lot of digging with those three wells, still he gave glory to God. Achieving his goal, he fully recognized that God had truly made it possible for his family to be able to enjoy the well and live in the land – God had made room for him.”


It is a simple story, and many times we read over it quickly and think little about it. Isaac was finally able to enjoy his well and find some rest. A nice story, but hardly earth-shattering! But I believe there is a significant truth here that we would do well to see. One obvious question arising from this story is this: with a man as clearly called, blessed, and led by God as Isaac was, why didn't the Lord simply lead Isaac to the right place in the beginning? Why make the man go through two failures before hitting upon the one location where there would be no challenges, where Isaac and his entourage could live peacefully and enjoy fresh water?


Process of Elimination


The principle we see here is the reality that God often requires his children to go through a process of elimination before they finally are able to inherit the blessings and rest God has ordained for them. Yes, it would certainly be easier for Isaac to go straight to the place where he could enjoy a well without being challenged, and it would certainly be easier for us to move directly and speedily toward our places of blessings, success, and fruitfulness, but it is rarely God's pattern.


Normally God leads us in what appear to be meandering ways as we make our way slowly and with occasional stumbles toward our destiny in Christ. Along the way will be failures, starts and stops, mistakes, and frustrations. Yes, God could help us to avoid all of these, but it is not His way. And since we know that God's ways are always best, we must conclude that it is usually best for us to experience these frustrations, rather than to succeed the first time around in every effort and endeavor.


Before David could become king of Israel, he must first spend years leading a rag-tag group of men around in the wilderness, running for his life from King Saul and later living with Israel's arch enemies, the Philistines. Before Moses could lead Israel, he must run for his life from Pharaoh, and live forty quiet, rather frustrating years as a simple shepherd, hardly the kind of life a man with Moses' powerful personality and intense ambition could have appreciated. Moses must find out for himself that killing Egyptians one at a time with his bare hands was not God's prescribed means for liberating Israel; he must come to the place where failures, frustrations, and delays had so humbled him, that when God's time for his role as leader of God's people arrived, Moses could be accurately described as "the meekest man on earth."


God's Way Not Always a Straight Line


Sometimes we suppose that after we are saved, Jesus will lead us in such a powerful way, and with such crystal-clear guidance, that we will never make another mistake, never stumble, and never experience setbacks again. We will be so led by the Holy Spirit that we will go directly from point A to point B in a perfectly straight line – no setbacks, no mistakes, and no obstacles. And then from point B to point C, and then to point D, always in straight lines. We wrongfully suppose that this is the way Spirit-filled and Spirit-led men and women live their lives.


But it is not so. The Bible tells us that it is through faith and patience” that we inherit God's promises, and the idea of patience strongly suggests that there will be delays, setbacks, and disappointments. Sometimes, like Isaac, wells we have dug that showed such tremendous promise will end up a bust, and we will have to humbly move on and try again. In the Book of Acts we read this of Paul and his evangelistic team as they sought the will of God about where next to minister:


Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:6-10).


It is nice to learn that finally Paul and his group heard from the Holy Spirit and were given specific guidance to go to Macedonia, but why did God allow them to try those two other places first, and then stop them? Why not give that dream at the beginning and save them the trouble? Again, the answer must inevitably be that it is through faith and patience that we inherit God's promises, and that we gain God's wisdom, and hear God's voice, and learn God's will.


Don't Be Too Surprised…!


The moral of this story is that we should not be surprised or overly disappointed when we make efforts to do the work of God or to obtain answers to prayer or attempt to lay hold of blessings only to discover that it just isn't going to work out. As promising as this blessing or this ministry or this well” seemed to be at the beginning, this wasn't really the blessing or the ministry or the well God had for us. And once the Lord makes this clear, it would be foolish to keep on digging or start fighting or keep on knocking on a door that God has closed and double-locked. Better, like Isaac, to move on and dig another well. If we persevere in faith, eventually God will make room for us. In Jesus, God has made room for us!


All Isaac's wells and all of our blessings are but symbols for God's greatest blessing, His greatest source of life-giving water, which is Jesus Christ. So often, before finding Jesus, we stumbled from one well to another, only to discover that they had no refreshing water in them. They were dry as dust. We may have tried positive thinking or meditation or the seven secrets of success or vainly attempted to build up our self-esteem, and still there was no satisfying water. Jesus announced, He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). As we read the story of Isaac we learn that Isaac did not stay in this area the rest of his life. He moved on and no doubt dug other wells. But when we discover the Fountain of Living Waters we never need to move on. Jesus is the one Well who eternally satisfies.




For a full listing of all articles, written and audio, go to our Devo Catalog Page.



        For inspirational devos, bios of Christian leaders, free downloads, and the latest SOGM news:
Sign up to receive E-newsletter

Your donations are needed and greatly appreciated!



Just for you!

Missions Outreach

A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring video clips and pics from our recent mission in Nigeria in Oct/Nov, 2019.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.