What Does Rehoboth Mean? (Genesis 26:22)

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Anyone who has ever had to deal with adversity in life knows that some of the hardest days come after the battle is over.

Maybe we’re struggling with a friendship that’s gone haywire. Maybe it’s a health condition that consistently ails us. Maybe our financial situation is such a mess we think it’ll take years before we can unravel it all (if ever).

If that’s the case, you probably know a little about how Isaac felt.

Like his father, Isaac dealt with two issues: increasing wealth and increasing envy from his contemporaries. The first is a fantastic blessing from God, but the second is the inevitable human consequences that come as a result.

Also like his father, the argument rests around control of wells (Genesis 21:25) — more of a commentary on the preciousness of water in ancient Israel than anything else.

Regardless, Isaac deals with several rounds of battling over water. Twice in five verses, Isaac digs a well, only to have someone else come in and “claim” it for himself. 

Isaac does the right thing — moving further away to avoid further hostility and possibly bloodshed. When he builds the third well, though, he names it Rehoboth, for, as he says, “Finally, God has made room for us and we will be fruitful in the land.”

When I read that verse, I notice a sense of exasperation in his voice. He’s tired, fed up from running, alone and isolated in a foreign land that keeps him surrounded by people from a different culture.

It’s right at that moment that God appears. 

He comes to Isaac in a dream and tells him “not to fear,” for just as He was with his father Abraham, so He will also be with Isaac. He will be blessed, his descendants will multiply, and it won’t be because of Isaac, but because of the promise He made to Abraham.

One of the major themes of Scripture is that of God keeping His promises. When He tells someone He’ll do something, He does it. No matter how bad it may look on the outside.

This is where reality clashes with perception for Isaac. He looked at the seizure of two wells and thought he was being pushed out. Finally, he thinks, we have a tiny amount of wiggle room that God has created for us in the corner of the world.

The truth is that God has always had room for us. It doesn’t matter what you are or where you came from. Because of God’s promise through Christ, God always has room for you at His table. You don’t have to worry about having a sliver of Heaven — God’s created a place just for you.

Will we take Him up on His offer?