Today’s blog is about a menace that is affecting both church and society at large – hostility. We live in times where religious extremism accompanied with loss of lives and properties is handled with kid gloves; family conflicts/domestic violence trends on social media for a while, and life goes on as usual; miscreants are revered in politics; hostage-taking has become the new business in town etc . The thing is, hostility has been around the block since the days of our patriarchs and will not be ending anytime soon. The big question is: what can we do individually and collectively as Christians to prevail over this evil? Well, let’s go back to the very beginning; perhaps we might learn a lesson or two from Isaac’s experience.
“Isaac asked them, why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?” (NIV) – Genesis 26:27.
Let’s back it up with the background story for better understanding: Isaac went to Gerar (supposedly, a land of his blessing); God confirmed to him that he was in the right place and promised him divine presence and the Blessing. So, naturally he obeyed God and lived there. Hardly had he settled down when trouble began. First off, the men of Gerar wanted his most prized possession – his wife, Rebekah. Secondly, his means of livelihood/income/finance (Well) was stopped out of envy. Isaac was into livestock farming and water was an indispensable commodity in his business, hence the need for wells to ensure steady water supply. Thirdly, they ejected him from the land – the very land where God had commanded him to dwell. In a bid not to totally depart from the “place of blessing”, he moved on to the valley but hostility remained; he was once again resisted and this time, they took what was legally his (Gen26:20). Isaac was finally forced to vacate Gerar.
How did Isaac survive? Let’s see:
- He ensured he was in the right place at the right time. Gerar was the center of God’s will for him. As a believer, find out the city or country where God wants you to live in; don’t follow the crowd to ‘Egypt’. That a place is bubbling with civilization does not mean you have His approval to live there. Take it up a notch, find out the specific area he wants you to stay in the chosen city. E.g the children of Israel lived in Goshen, a specific area in Egypt – Gen 45:10.
- Be conscious of divine presence. God’s presence creates an enabling environment to prosper amidst hostility. Remember, one of the things God promised Isaac was divine presence. Divine presence will guarantee your escape from destruction. When God is with you, you’ll always have a check/prompt in your spirit when danger beckons. Let His instructions be your escape plan.
- Refuse to operate on the same level with Satan or respond according to the flesh. Hostility is satanic and inhumane; it doesn’t matter if it’s being perpetuated by a religious sect. Understand that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. Each time they sort a dispute with Isaac, he refused to strive or respond according to the flesh; he always moved away. Child of God, if you have to relocate from a hostile environment/situation, please do. This might sound drastic, especially if you’re to relocate from your land of birth or leave familiar environs/friends. Personal safety is very important. Let wisdom lead, for wisdom is more profitable to direct.
- Isaac was resolute about moving forward and prospering. The more they attacked him, the more he sowed, discovered new sources of income – well, expanded, grew, pushed forward/progressed, and became great.We are of a genre that don’t cower easily! I chuckle each time people think they can (by their actions) stop the spread of the gospel or the prosperity of a covenant child of God; that’s like ramming into a truckload of wet sand.
- Walk in love and never lose your identity; paraphrased- be a Christian! Isaac repaid their hostility with good. He showed hospitality when the people of the land came for treaty. As a believer, your greatest weapon is to walk in love towards those who mistreat you, whether they deserve it or not. Love has all the appearance of weakness but is one of the greatest forces available to you. It’s okay to speak out against evil but sometimes, wailing, ranting or protesting may not suffice. Understand that hostility is spiritual and should be dealt with as such.
- Prevail in prayers. There was no record of Isaac praying but we know that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much – James 5:16. We prevail over wickedness through prayers. No power can successfully stand against prayers.
Isaac was a carrier of the Blessing and so are we as believers in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:29). Having the Blessing did not stop hostility but situations were forced to succumb to him at the end. Whether you’re experiencing hostility in your country, business or home, always remember that situations, powers and nations submit to us when we take our rightful place as Christians and walk in the consciousness of who we are. You can prevail over hostility!
*InHim series coming soon*!