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
for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a
great number of servants.
So the Philistines envied him.
Before we look at the method of reaping a hundredfold, let's
take a closer look at the man. God is more interested in the
person than what he can produce.
Isaac was the
only son of Abraham by his wife Sarah. God promised to make
Abraham's descendants a great nation. But this child of promise
(Galatians 4:22-23) took a long time from the promise to the
delivery. The waiting period was almost 25 years from Genesis 12 to
born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 (Genesis 17:17;
21:5). Both of them had already passed the age of childbearing.
Therefore, both of them laughed when they heard they would have a
son in their old age (Genesis 17:17-19; 18:9-15). This explained why
God named their son Isaac, which means "to laugh" (Genesis 17:19).
True enough, Isaac brought great joy to his parents and his
community. There was laughter in the house.
On the eighth
day after his birth, Isaac was circumcised as God had commanded
Abraham (Genesis 21:4). The Book of Acts told us about this
significant event. Isaac was the first baby to receive circumcision
on the eighth day (Acts 7:8). As he grew, his remarkable presence as
Abraham's rightful heir brought him into direct conflict with
Ishmael, Abraham's son by Sarah's handmaid Hagar. As Abraham and his
family were celebrating in a great feast on the day that Isaac was
weaned, Ishmael was scoffing. This strained the family relationship
that eventually caused Sarah to send away Hagar and Ishmael. God
comforted Abraham by telling him that Ishmael would also become the
father of a great nation (Genesis 21:8-21).
birthright was an important portion of his life. He was the first of
the elect to receive God's blessing by birthright (Romans 9:7). To
inherit the covenant that God had made with his father, Abraham, was
of far greater value than to inherit property or material goods.
Isaac's life gave evidence of God's favor. His circumcision was a
sign of the covenant with God. God's favor toward him was also
evident by sending away first Ishmael (Genesis 21:14), and later the
sons of Abraham's concubines (Genesis 25:6). Therefore, Isaac
inherited all that Abraham had, including the blessing of God.
But to take
on this Abrahamic covenant was not a simple task. Isaac had to be
placed on the altar before he could carry on the covenant. When
Isaac was a young man, God tested Abraham's faith by commanding him
to sacrifice Isaac as an offering. When Abraham placed Isaac upon
the altar, an angel appeared, stopping Abraham from sacrificing
Isaac. God provided a ram in place of Isaac. This event showed
clearly that Isaac was God's choice to carry on the covenant
Rebekah when he was 40 years old. She became Isaac's wife when God
directed one of Abraham's servants to her. Isaac loved Rebekah.
Rebekah was a comfort to him after his mother's death (Genesis
her mother-in-law and Rachel her future daughter-in-law, Rebekah was
also barren. Isaac pleaded with the LORD, and the LORD granted his
plea (Genesis 25:20-21). In all three generations, from Abraham to
Isaac to Jacob, the children of promise were born as a result of
divine answers to prayers. Their wives were barren but became
fruitful with just a touch of the Master's hand.
married for 20 years, when Isaac was 60, God gave him his twin sons,
Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:24-26). As Abraham died at a good old age
of 175 (Genesis 25:7-8), he would have lived to see his grandsons
grew to the age of 15.
Isaac was 75
years old when Abraham died. He then became the patriarch of the
community. Interestingly enough, Abraham also became a patriarch at
the same age of 75, when he left Haran, and went to the land of
Canaan (Genesis 12:4-5). But that was a hundred years earlier.
character of Isaac was an example for us to follow:
He was a
man who submitted to his father even if it would cost him
everything, including his life. Isaac did not resist when he
was placed on the altar to be sacrificed.
He was a
man who put his trust in God to provide his every need.
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it
on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a
knife, and the two of them went together.
spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he
said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and
the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb
for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.
Then they came to the place of which God had told him.
built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he
bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the
He was a
man who spent time with God.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in
the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there,
the camels were coming.
He was a
man who loved his wife.
Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he
took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.
So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
He was a
man of peace.
But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen,
saying, "The water is ours." So he called the name of the
well Esek, because they quarreled with him. Then they dug
another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he
called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug
another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he
called its name Rehoboth, because he said, "For now the LORD
has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
He was a
man of prayer and faith.
So he built an altar there and called on the name
of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there
Isaac's servants dug a well.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning
things to come.
The story of Isaac reaping a hundredfold in a single
year began with a famine. Due to a famine in the land, Isaac and his
family moved to Gerar (Genesis 26:1). As in the days of his father
Abraham, and later in the days of his son Jacob, Isaac also faced a
time of famine. In both cases of Abraham and Jacob, they went down
to Egypt to find food and shelter. But in the case of Isaac, God
appeared to him and said:
"Do not go
down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.
Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless
you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands,
and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your
father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars
of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and
in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My
commandments, My statutes, and My laws." (Genesis 26:2-5)
Egypt had great
storehouses to stock up huge supplies of grain. The Pharaoh had
enough grain to sell to the people in times of famine. Those, who
had no money, could also eat by becoming his slaves. In telling
Isaac not to go down to Egypt, God was testing him whether he
trusted in Him or in Pharaoh.
Isaac trusted in
the LORD. He obeyed Him by remaining in Gerar. Abimelech, the king
of the Philistines, was reigning in Gerar. Interestingly, Abraham
had also gone to seek relief from a king in Gerar many years
earlier. The king was also named Abimelech (Genesis 20:1-2). But
that occurred before the birth of Isaac. It was a long time ago.
Therefore, the "Abimelech" of Gerar in Abraham's time and the
"Abimelech" of Gerar in Isaac's time might be two different persons.
Maybe one was the father, and the other the son. Some scholars said
that Abimelech was a title rather than a name. It was a common title
of the Philistine kings, like Pharaoh was the common title of the
When Abraham went
to Gerar, he called Sarah his sister in order to protect his own
life. And history repeated itself. His son, Isaac, also used the
same tactic. The reason he gave was the same as his father. Isaac
was fearful that he might be killed because of his beautiful wife
(Genesis 26:7). In fact, Isaac's claim might be technically correct.
Rebekah was his first cousin before she became his wife. In the
language of his days, the meaning of "sister" could also refer to
cousins. But it was not upfront or transparent.
After Isaac had
been there in Gerar for a long time, Abimelech looked out a window
and saw Isaac hugging and kissing Rebekah. The truth was out, and
the lie was exposed! Abimelech called him in and said, "Rebekah must
be your wife! Why did you say she is your sister?" (Genesis 26:8-9).
Isaac, just as his predecessor had reproved Abraham: "Don't you know
what you've done? If someone had slept with her, you would have made
our whole nation guilty!" Then Abimelech warned his people that
anyone who touched Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death (Genesis
26:10-11). This was the degree of favor that God had bestowed upon
While in Gerar,
Isaac sowed in that land. It was the time of famine. Food was scarce
and precious. All of the grains could have become food to fill the
hungry stomachs. But Isaac chose the premium quality grains, and
sowed them as seeds into the dry and barren soil. Isaac was sowing
seeds in the place of famine! Those seeds could have dried up and
died because of the poor soil conditions, the bad weather and no
rain. That could be a disaster if God did not send the heavenly
rain. The LORD blessed him. He gave Isaac rain! In the same year,
Isaac reaped a hundredfold of what he had sowed!
This was the first
time that the Bible introduced the concept of sowing and reaping.
The patriarchs were nomadic people, and herding was their
occupation. But herein we could see that they could also be very
In the Parable of
the Sower, Jesus said:
But others fell
on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold,
some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:8)
Isaac was achieving
a hundredfold return! That's receiving 10000% profits! But how could
this be? In the Parable of the Sower, the ground had to be very good
in order to reap an hundredfold. But the ground in the land of
famine was not good. The soil was dry and infertile. I believe the
answer could be found in Matthew 19:29-30:
who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or
mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake,
shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But
many who are first will be last, and the last first.
When we sacrifice
to the LORD by giving up our very best, even those things that are
very dear to us, we will definitely gain bountifully! These precious
seeds could have also become food for Isaac, his wife and two sons,
and the members of his community. But Isaac sowed them into the
soil! That was sacrifice - faith in action! He just did his part,
trusting God to do His part! By sowing this sacrifice, Isaac was
co-laboring with the LORD! And God gave him the increase - a great
and abundant harvest!
In the Gospel of
Matthew, there was an account of a woman who came to Jesus, having
an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil. She poured it
unreservedly on His head as He sat at the table. But when His
disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For
this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the
But when Jesus was
aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she
has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always,
but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on
My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever
this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has
done will also be told as a memorial to her." (Matthew
The life of our
LORD Jesus was also sowed for our salvation. He died so that we
could live! Jesus said:
assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into
the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it
produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and
he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal
life." (John 12:24-25)
And the life
of Jesus did not go to waste. He arose! His life had brought forth
new life, and is still bringing forth new lives, and will be
bringing forth many more new lives! Billions and billions of new
lives in Christ!
this principle of sacrifice. In his younger days, he almost died as
his father was commanded to offer him up as a sacrifice to God. He
knew what it meant to be totally yielded to God! And the LORD
blessed Isaac. Isaac began to prosper, and continued prospering
until he became very prosperous. He waxed great, and went forward,
and grew until he became very great. He had possession of flocks and
herds, and great store of servants (Genesis 26:13-14).
Abraham had 318
male servants in his household (Genesis 14:14). By conservatively
including the women and children, the entourage of Abraham might
have numbered more than 1000. As Isaac was the heir to Abraham, he
also inherited all the servants of Abraham besides all the flocks
and herds. As the years went by, Isaac's household had grown to be
considerably great (Genesis 26:14).
became jealous of Isaac as he had a large number of sheep, goats and
servants. As a result, they stopped up the wells that Abraham's
servants had dug by filling them with earth. Finally, Abimelech said
to Isaac, "I want you to leave our country. You have become too
powerful to stay here."
As Isaac was a man
of peace, he left peacefully, and settled in the Valley of Gerar.
While he was there, he dug again those wells that the Philistines
had stopped up. Isaac called each of the wells by the same names
that Abraham had given to them (Genesis 26:18). Isaac respected his
father, he did not give new names to ancient landmarks!
While his servants
were digging in the valley, they found a well of running water. But
the shepherds in the Gerar Valley quarreled with Isaac's shepherds,
and claimed that the water belonged to them. So the well was named
Esek (which literally means Quarrel), because they had quarreled
with Isaac. Peacefully, Isaac withdrew and moved on.
dug another well, and the shepherds also quarreled about it. So that
well was named Sitnah (which literally means Enmity). And peacefully
he moved from there and dug another well. This time around, there
was no quarreling. So Isaac named the well Rehoboth (which means
Spaciousness), because he said, "For now the LORD has made room for
us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
Isaac had a
magnanimous heart! Like his father Abraham, he was willing to let
others to have the first choice. When Lot chose for himself all the
plain of Jordan, Lot journeyed east. To prevent any more strife,
Abraham journeyed west, and dwelt in the land of Canaan (Genesis
David had also experienced and enjoyed the spacious place that God
had provided for him during his times of trouble:
me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your love,
for You saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Isaac was not a
quarrelsome man. He knew that God had something better for him. As a
result, he did not hold on to things too tightly. If others wanted
the wells of running water that he had dug, he simply gave them up.
There must be something better, something more marvellous. In due
time, even his enemies would become his friends. In Genesis
26:23-33, there was an account of how Abimelech, the king of the
Philistines, eventually came to Isaac to make peace with him.
Isaac went up from
the Valley of Gerar to Beersheba. And the LORD appeared to him the
same night and said,
"I am the God
of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I
will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant
Abraham's sake." (Genesis 26:24)
So Isaac built an
altar there, and called on the name of the LORD. He pitched his tent
there. And Isaac's servants dug a well there. Then Abimelech came to
him from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the
commander of his army. And Isaac said to them, "Why have you come to
me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?"
But they said, "We
have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, "Let
there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make
a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have not
touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have
sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.""
So Isaac received
them graciously and made them a feast, and they ate and drank. Then
they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another.
After which, Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in
peace. It came to pass the same day that Isaac's servants came and
told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, "We
have found water." So he called it Shebah (which literally means
Oath or Seven). Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba (which
literally means Well of the Oath or Well of the Seven) to this day.
Isaac had enough
men to demand his rights, and fight against the Philistines. But he
knew that the battle belonged to the LORD. He also knew the
principle in Job 1:21:
"Naked I came
from my mother's womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD."
In all the
unpleasant things that had happened to Isaac, he did not strive or
quarrel. He had witnessed the hundredfold blessing of the LORD. Life
can reproduce itself! It is not dependant on circumstances. Even in
the time of death, barrenness and famine, God is able to bring forth
a bountiful harvest! There is life in every seed and in every grain!
From within life, life bursts forth into new life! And this life is
the life flowing from God!
To reap a
hundredfold, we must follow the example of Isaac, and also our LORD
Jesus Christ. We must do so because a famine is coming:
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD,
"That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the LORD." (Amos 8:11)
God had already given us the seed. What is this seed?
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said:
Now the parable is this: The seed
is the Word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who
hear; then the devil comes and takes away the Word out of their
hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on
the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the Word with
joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time
of temptation fall away. And the ones that fell among thorns are
those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with
cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to
maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those
who, having heard the Word with a noble and good heart, keep it
and bear fruit with patience. (Luke 8:11-15)
Keeping His Word, and bearing fruit:
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Please read also: Of More Noble Character