- The Washington Times - Monday, May 28, 2001

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Lucius M. Dalton at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in the District of Columbia.

Every once in while you still find wells that used to provide water. My first experience was at Grandma and Grandaddys house. Theyd go out to a cinder-block well with a cranking mechanism to take the bucket down and then up with the water.
I thank God for modern technology. We can turn a knob and get running water. This water is a great blessing for we cannot cook, clean or live without it. The same was true for Isaac in our reading from Genesis [26: 12-22] this morning.
Isaac settled by a well of fresh water in the land of Gerar. God told Isaac that He would keep the promise given to Abraham to provide "as many descendents as there are stars in the sky." We read that "the Lord blessed" him and he prospered. "And the Philistines envied him."
I came to the conclusion some time ago that the Lord doesnt want anybody just to be making it month to month, working ourselves to death just to make ends meet or to have a few pennies in our pockets. If we do what the Lord commands us to do, give our money, time, spiritual gifts and talents to Him, the Lord will bless us with comfort. And that blessing can be measured by worldly standards. And this was the case with Isaac.
You know what happens when someone prospers. First, others get jealous. The Philistines got so jealous that they filled with earth the wells that Abraham had dug. They were saying to Isaac, "Leave our country." Isaac realized it was easier to dig new wells in hard ground than to clean out the others.
Many times, when God sends blessing, other folks can get mad. Like Isaac, at such times we should move on. We should understand this about blessings. Once again Isaac is blessed with water, but then a quarrel breaks out between his shepherds and the Philistines, who said, "The water is ours." So Isaac moved on to another well, and they were jealous again.
We should all be happy when someone else is blessed, but not everyone is happy at the prospering of others. There are folks who will be upset because the Lord blessed you. Some will have the audacity to start an argument, to sow confusion. They will try to get you to blow your cool. "Ive been working all my life, and Ive never gotten what you have." They will ask, "Where did you get that idea? How did you get that job? How did you buy that house? You must think you are better than us." Well, if the Philistines got jealous, that was their problem, not Isaacs.
If someone can stop being jealous, the Lord can bless them with something, too. What do we do in the face of jealousy and argumentation? Isaac moved away. Even though the water was his, he just moved away. There comes a time in all of our lives, when those around us want to sow argument and confusion, and we should just move on.
The Lord cant prosper where there is rivalry, ungodly competition or messy arguments. The Lord does everything in decency and in order. When you are confronted by jealous folks, people who are talking a lot of negative stuff, just move away. Isaac went on to dig yet another well, where there was room. He called it Rehoboth, which means freedom. God is the source of all our blessings. Our jobs. Our spouse. Our health and even your trip to the Bahamas.
When I think of Rehoboth, I think of our soldiers who fought and who died for our freedom, and especially the black soldiers. And when they returned, they werent treated like heroes, but as second-class citizens. The word freedom keeps ringing in my ears. We live in the best country in this world. They put their lives on the line for us all. There was finally room in the land for Isaac. And he said, "We shall be fruitful in the land."

Next week: a sermon by the Rev. Robert W. Wagner at Grace Brethren Church in Owings, Md.


Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Lucius M. Dalton at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in the District of Columbia.


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