Questions for Littles: Who come and speak to Abraham (v22)? What is the first thing that they say? What do they ask Abraham to swear that he will do (v23)? What does Abraham say that he will do in v24? But then what does Abraham do in v25? What reason does Abimelech give for not having done something about his servants’ taking Abraham’s well (v26)? What does Abraham give to Abimelech in v27? Did he owe Abimelech these things? What is he making with Abimelech? What does Abraham do with seven other ewe lambs (v28)? Who asks about the lambs (v29)? What does Abraham say Abimelech must do with them (v30)? To what do they witness? When Abimelech and Phichol leave, what does Abraham do (v33)? What does Abraham call Yahweh here? What does v34 tell us that Abraham did, and for how long?In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we see how the Lord continued to preserve the line of the Messiah, even when Abraham was a stranger in a strange land.
Part of how the Lord did this was through Abraham’s own respectful but careful dealings with the wicked who currently possessed the land. Yes, the Lord had said that He would punish the Canaanites for their sins, but that wasn’t Abraham’s job.
Abraham’s job was to live at peace, without compromise, and to provide well for his own. He deals shrewdly, re-possessing his well. But he also deals respectfully, making the covenant, and giving covenant gifts.
When all is said and done, Abraham now has some recognized sojourner status in the land. And he plants a tree that has enough longevity that when his descendants return from Egypt, that tree would still be there.
Abraham was looking forward beyond his death to forever-blessings from God. After all, it is one thing to be in covenant with a Philistine king (more like a mayor of a Philistine city-state). It is a different thing altogether to be in covenant with the “everlasting God” who provides for and protects us.
After Abimelech and Phichol take off, the real business begins: Abraham worships.
So, let us learn to interact well with our neighbors, and since it is the Lord who provides for and protects us, let us never forget Him but rather make it the main business of our lives to worship!
With whom do you need to be interacting wisely, as part of the Lord’s care for you?Suggested songs: ARP7A “O Lord My God, I Take Refuge” or HB112 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”