“There was a famine in the land, besides the former famine” (Genesis 26:1, ESV). Now if you’re a farmer and your whole sustenance depends on crops, you don’t want to hear that there was a famine in the land. Nor do you want to hear “. . . besides the former famine.”
This is what Isaac was facing. His father had been through a famine and now he was going through a second famine. He probably had memories of how difficult the first one had been and there was concern in his heart.
The Bible says something interesting: “And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring 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 26:1-5, ESV).
A key word in verse 5 is obeyed. Abraham obeyed the Lord and so did Isaac. In fact, Isaac here was gloriously obedient to God. I want to say this as clearly and simply as I can—when you obey God, the result is His blessing. You are saved by grace and yet you are called by God to be an obedient people.
When you take a step of faith and say, “God, this is hard. I’m not sure I can do this, but I’m going to obey,” then the windows of heaven will open to you.
No matter what God asks you to do, obey Him. If He tells you to give, obey Him. If He tells you to go, obey Him. Don’t live by what you want to do; live by what God wants you to do and you will find blessing coming to you, on you and around you.