Are You Ready to Come Home?
God says, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
When famine struck, Isaac moved his family to Gerar, an area occupied by the Philistines. Even though God protected Isaac there and increased his economic worth a hundredfold, Isaac was not living where God wanted him to live. Therefore, God began to nudge him back to the place of blessing.
First, the Philistines envied Isaac’s prosperity and harassed him by stopping up the wells his herdsmen used to water the flocks. Then the local ruler, Abimelech, urged Isaac to leave. Isaac moved—but just a little. Trouble followed him, first to a place he named Esek which means “dispute,” then to Sitnah which means “opposition.”
Finally Isaac moved back to the place where Abraham had lived—near Hebron and Beersheba. God appeared to him there and reconfirmed the covenant. “I am with you, I will bless you, and I will increase your descendants,” God assured him (Gen. 26:24). Isaac remained in Beersheba the rest of his life—about eighty years.
At first glance, Genesis 26 appears to be a simple narrative of mundane events in Isaac’s life. However, its spiritual implications are profound: If we’ve wandered from the place of God’s blessing, He may use opposition and disputes to nudge us home.
Because Isaac sensed God’s peace when he was back where he belonged, he named the place Rehoboth, which means “roomy.” He said, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land” (v. 22).
William J. Kirkpatrick wrote the lyrics and music to “Lord, I’m Coming Home.” For over 100 years, this song has been used at the end of evangelistic services to woo wayward people to the place of God’s blessing:
Coming home, coming home
Never more to roam
Open wide Thine arms of love
Lord, I’m coming home.
Are you feeling cramped? Has conflict with others complicated your life? Have you wandered from the place of God’s blessing? Is He trying to get your attention by making you uncomfortable? Then learn a lesson from Isaac: let God nudge you home.
Luke 15 tells the story of another man who needed to come home. How did his father receive him? What does this suggest about God’s attitude toward wayward children who finally come home to Him?
What were God’s promises to the exiles from Judah in Jeremiah 24:6-7 and 29:10-14? What blessings would they receive when they came home to the Promised Land?
According to John 15:5-7, where is our “place of blessing”? What are the benefits of abiding there?
To read more about Kirkpatrick and the lyrics to “Lord, I’m Coming Home” go to http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/l/c/o/lcomingh.htm
Denise K. Loock