Re-Digging the Old Wells
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Isaiah 54:2-3; Genesis 26: 1, 15-18
Sunday 16th March 2014
From the message titled 'Breaking the Cycle of Pain' last week, we noticed a famine that occurred in the lifetime of Abraham recurring in Isaac's. By inference, we can conclude that life happens in cycles and seasons. For Isaac to experience the enlargement that eventually ensued in his life and reverse the cycle of famine, he had to plant a seed during that drought. Hence, he started a new cycle of blessing. Furthermore, we agreed that everything God wants to perpetuate on earth starts in a seed form.
The events in Isaac's lifetime was a foreshadow of what Jesus would come to do on earth. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus became a curse for us, taking our place on the cross; hence we can enforce the blessings of the finished work of Christ in our everyday lives. Your part is to (i) walk in the consciousness of the work of Christ, and (ii) enforce your already given victory.
I have titled today's message, 'Re-digging the Old Wells'. From the account recorded in our foundation scriptures, the Philistines filled up the wells dug by Abraham's servants shortly after Abraham died. Soon after Isaac realised this, he decided to re-dig those wells and put them back to use. I declare that everything the devil has stolen from you is restored in Jesus name (Amen). This is your day of recovery and restoration.
Our God is a generational God. There are several references in scriptures that allude to this fact. Conversely, God desires that our lives become a channel of flowing blessings to the next generation. Your life wasn't designed as a reservoir of God's blessings. Words like 'descendants', 'your seed', 'your generation' are found in several passages in scriptures. Genesis 12:7 records God's promise to Abraham: 'Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.' Also see Genesis 22:18 and Genesis 50:23.
Besides, God's purpose extends beyond a generation. The enlargement that He is bringing our way goes beyond our lifetime. If you have envisioned enlargement just for your years here on earth, then you may have missed the whole point. It must never be forgotten that our lives are simply a launching pad for the coming generation. Hence, you cannot afford to fail, as this puts the next generation at a disadvantage. True enlargement must not end with us; rather it should empower the next generation and put them at a good starting point.
Taking another look at our foundation scripture, Abraham had left the numerous wells dug in his lifetime as an inheritance for Isaac his son; but the Philistines decided to fill up those wells and deprive him of the wealth that was rightfully his. I declare that everything that the devil has stolen or deprived you of from your family is restored to you in Jesus name. The reason why the enemy has been trying to stop you is simply because he is afraid of you. There is something amazing in your future that he intends to deprive you of, but in the name of Jesus he will not succeed.
Each generation must pass on a legacy. This is how the book of Proverbs puts it: 'A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children' (Proverbs 13:22). The strength of each generation is rooted in the legacy passed on by the previous generation. In other words, there is a heritage with which one generation must enrich the next generation. However, the reality of this statement in our days is non-existent. There is a disconnection between the old and the new. The enemy is working round the clock to ensure that the situation remains like this – He wants you to be disconnected from your inheritance and history.
Undoubtedly, a generation that is ignorant of its history will wander around. We must be fully aware of where we are coming from – and engage with the values and rich heritage embedded in our history. Psalm 145:4 says: 'One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts'. There needs to be a connection between the old and the new.
The old must provide the strength that the new requires in order to flourish. The new generation must start from where the old finishes - and this was Abraham's intention when he dug those wells, but the Philistines decided to intercept this transfer. Today, we re-dig every filled well in Jesus name. God desires that we pass every blessing upon us to the next generation.
Wells are very important – they provide water, and water is essential to life – giving life to humanity, livestock and vegetation. In ancient times, cities and nations have battled for wells. If you owned a well in Abraham's day, you were considered rich. Wells symbolise wealth, refreshing, renewal and rejuvenation. Conversely, if you look closely at the history of our nation, you will notice that the enemy has stopped up some of the 'wells' that our forefathers dug. Wells dug by David Livingstone, Charles Spurgeon, and John Wesley; where are those wells today? Where are the values of Christianity in our nation today? Wells dug by Mary Slessor, John Newton, the writer of the popular hymn 'Amazing grace', John Wycliffe, John Bunyan, John Knox and William Wilberforce, but where are those wells today? These wells have been filled with all kinds of rubble, that it seems all reference to these spiritual milestones have been erased from our national memorial. The devil came along to stop up all the wells. The wells dug by Florence Nightingale, Thomas Sydenham, Lord Shaftesbury, the Clapham sect, John Howard, William Booth, William Tyndale, Arthur Guinness and much more. These were wells dug with the view of passing this on to our generation. These wells are barely in existence now, let alone giving us the opportunity to drink from these wells.
These wells have now been stopped by the enemy with liberalism, lewdness, drunkenness, drugs, corruption, religious tolerance, new ageism, same-sex marriage. True enlargement begins when we re-dig the wells dug by our forefathers. Joel 2:23 reads: 'Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you-- the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month'. God doesn't want us to live only by the latter rain. He wants us to enjoy the blessings, both old and new. This is what true enlargement is all about – enjoying the blessings passed on to us along with the blessings of our present days.
The story of Isaac is a message to us today, to re-dig the old wells of our forefathers. To experience true enlargement, we must connect with our heritage. A generation that disconnects from its heritage will not go very far, for there is a measure of our heritage that we need to take with us into the future. The secret of our success is embedded in connecting with our legacy.
It is time to re-dig these wells. The wells dug in the days of Abraham – the father of faith; in the days of Moses – the wells of intimacy with God; in the days of Joshua – the wells of servant leadership, courage and boldness; in the days of Caleb – the wells of a different spirit and total commitment to God; in the days of David – the wells of man after God's own heart; in the days of Solomon – the wells of building for the glory of God. What about the wells dug in the days of Esther? The wells of selflessness; the wells dug in the days of Nehemiah – the wells of rebuilding the temple; in the days of Elijah – the wells of boldness and power. And the wells dug in the days of the apostles? The wells of unity, of proclamation of the gospel, and of signs and wonders.
It's time to re-dig the wells of faith, the wells of healing, holiness, of matrimony between a man and a woman, miracles, outpouring of the Spirit, prayers, prosperity, revival, righteousness, social engagement and true worship and the word of God. It's time to stand up and push back the attack of the enemy against our inheritance.
It's time to begin to see those signs and wonders that we have read about in the bible in our days. We need the power and the glory of God in our generation. We must emulate the example of Isaac by re-digging the wells of our fathers and renaming our values by their rightful names.
As I round up today, let me leave you with the well of Abraham which you must re-dig. Abraham's well symbolises two things: obedience and faith.
The well of obedience: We read in Genesis 22 of Abraham's journey to Mount Moriah in obedience to God's command to offer his son as a sacrifice. Many a time, when God requests for a sacrifice from us, He is simply testing us. We must be careful that we do not begin struggling with giving back to God what He has placed in your care. That is a sign that such a gift has become an idol in our lives. Any time God calls, our simple answer should be 'Yes, Lord'. The bible records that Abraham rose early to obey God, with the only son he waited on God for, for 25 years.
The well of faith: In Romans 4:17-20, we read Apostle Paul’s testimony about the unwavering faith of Abraham, who believed God despite the circumstances that looked contrary to what God had promised him. Verse 19 and 20 reads: ‘And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God’. Abraham passed on this legacy to us, and we must re-dig the well of faith. Jesus summed it up this way in Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
So how do we re-dig the wells?
From Genesis 26:15, we read again: ‘Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth.’
The word ‘stopped up’ is from a Hebrew word meaning ‘to hide’. The first thing Isaac did was to look for and discover where the hidden wells were located. Conversely, we must stir up our desire to connect with the legacies of our fathers of faith and begin to live in the realities of signs and wonders, prayers.
The second word in verse 15 - filled them with earth, refers to humanistic ideas and self-centredness, that relegates God to the background. As beneficiaries of the faith of our forefathers, our conduct henceforth must align with God’s standard, if indeed we are determined to re-dig the wells of old.
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