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Gen 26:1-11 reminds us clearly of human fallibility and sin, but it also shows us the faithfulness of God. Even though Isaac showed little faith in God at this point, not believing that God would or could protect him, God remained faithful to him. Paul tells Timothy this is a characteristic of God: ‘if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.’ (2 Tim 2:13)

God’s faithfulness to us remains the bedrock and foundation of our lives. It’s the thing that gives hope to us, even when we are finally honest and face our fickle, sinful natures. Nehemiah, writing at a time when the Israelites had been exiled from their land because of their disobedience and sinfulness, said, ‘In all that has happened to us, You have remained righteous; You have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.’ (Neh 9:33) We don’t have to despair, no matter how bad the situation is, because we serve a faithful God. We can be mindful of His unfailing love and live in reliance on His faithfulness (Ps 26:3); we can also ask Him by His Spirit to grow faithfulness in our lives, so that we can reflect His nature.

Ultimately, God’s faithfulness is the only thing that can help the leopard to change its spots so we don’t have to live by the mantra Here we go again!’ God’s faithfulness gives us access to a new way of living and allows us to hope even when life feels hopeless. We need not despair, even when we sin and mess up as Isaac did, because we serve a faithful God who gives us a new start and new blessings.