The Footsteps of a Father


By Mark Bishop

We have heard poems, songs, and sermons on the importance of father’s footsteps, but have we considered the child trying to fill those shoes? Do we, as fathers, make strides so long, and prints so big, that those behind us feel it is impossible to live up to the task? When your father is renowned in his field, where do you go from there?

Can you imagine being the son of Bill Gates, Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffet, or Michael Jordan? What if Michael Jordan’s son wanted to play tennis? Or piano? Is it possible that when the bar is set so high, that anything short gains little or no recognition? To be honest, I think I’ve only heard of one son from this list of household names. His accomplishments are only a shadow of his father’s greatness. Could it be that we keep raising the bar, and have raised a generation that think their only claim to fame will be to set up a new bar, in a different arena, with different rules?

Think about following the footsteps of Abraham, Noah, or David. Abraham was a man of faith, a man with a promise from God. Isaac was his promised son, but it was his grandson Jacob who fulfilled the promise with twelve sons. It was Jacob who wrestled with an angel and had his name changed to Israel. It was Jacob who had a well named after him—which is odd when in ninety percent of the Scriptures I read about Isaac, he was at a well.

Isaac had a fairly boring life outside of his marriage and death. His story reads much like we feel. We get a crowd at the wedding and the funeral, and not much interaction in between. I’m sure comments were made about Isaac. “He’s no Abraham.” He didn’t have a stage on the mountain to prove his faith. He was not known as “the father of many nations?’ He didn’t have a visitation with Melchizedek or get a name change. Isaac didn’t get the recognition of his father, nor was he father of the twelve tribes as his son Israel, yet he played a major role in God’s plan for Israel.

You don’t have to be an Abraham or Jacob to be part of God’s plan. Isaac must have been in line and on target with God’s will. His life wasn’t glamorous, he never conquered any great cities, he never slayed any giants, or defeated any kings; but he was faithful, and for that God rewarded him.

God promised to guide Isaac to the place where he should dwell. Little did Isaac realize that God was going to lead him back to the place of His promise and presence. To a large degree, it was by means of adversity and opposition.

On the surface, opposition seemed like the last thing Isaac experienced. Staying in Gerar after Abimelech had confronted him, Isaac harvested a bumper crop:

“Now Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him” (Genesis 26:12-14).

In spite of Isaac’s deception, God poured out His blessings upon him.
Isaac was rather threatening, not only because of his prosperity and power, but also because of his father Abraham:

“Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth” (Genesis 26:15).
Digging a well was considered a claim of ownership of the land on which it was located. It enabled a man to dwell there and sustain herds. Rather than recognize this claim, the Philistines sought to wipe it out by filling the wells dug by Abraham. Their desire to overthrow any claim on their land was so intense they would rather fill a well—an asset of great value in such an arid land— than allow the claim to remain unchallenged.

The sentiments of the Philistines were expressed in Abimelech’s terse suggestion that Isaac depart from Gerar (verse 16). Rather than fight for possession of this property, Isaac retreated. The meek would inherit this land, but in God’s good time.

It would seem that Isaac had developed a strategy determining where he was to sojourn. Essentially, Isaac refused to stay where there was conflict and hostility. Being a man with many animals, he must be where water was available in abundance. He not only re-opened the wells once dug by his father, but he dug other wells also. If a well was dug that produced water, and use of this well was not disputed, Isaac was inclined to stay there.

Isaac, like us, had a plan to fulfill. Let us keep walking in our Father’s footsteps. Let us plant and harvest, unstop the wells of our fathers, and keep the Spirit flowing in revival. Our evangelists are in the fields daily, planting the Word of God and praying for the harvest. Keep walking.

The above article, “The Footsteps Of a Father,” is written by Mark Bishop. The article was excerpted from Apostolic Witness, June 2014.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.