Saturday, November 16, 2019

2019.11.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 21:22-34

Questions from the Scripture text: Who come and speak to Abraham (Genesis 21:22)? What have they noticed? What do they ask him to do in Genesis 21:23? How does Abraham answer at first (Genesis 21:24)? But what does Abraham want cleared up first (Genesis 21:25)? How does Abimelech answer (Genesis 21:26)? What does Abraham give to Abimelech as a sign of covenanting (Genesis 21:27)? From these, what does Abraham set apart (Genesis 21:28)? What does Abimelech ask (Genesis 21:29)? To what does Abraham say that the seven ewe lambs are a witness (Genesis 21:30)? What does he call the place (Genesis 21:31)? What had they done when all was said and done (Genesis 21:32)? Where do Abimelech and Phicol go? What does Abraham plant there (Genesis 21:33)? Then what does he do? Where does he stay and for how long (Genesis 21:34)?
Apparently, Abimelech’s last encounter with Abraham has left quite the impression upon him. Perhaps, it was not so much God appearing to him and announcing, “you are a dead man” as it was the effect for him and the people of Gerar, when Abraham prayed for them.

His opening line certainly accentuates this positive, “God is with you in all that you do.” Even those who want nothing to do with the God who blesses us yet desire to receive from the blessing of our God!

There’s just one problem with Abimelech’s request: he wants Abraham to deal with him according to the khessed that he has shown Abraham, but his men have actually taken by violence (indicated in the word “seized” in Genesis 21:25) a well that Abraham had dug (Genesis 21:30).

It is as if Abraham is saying, “No, what you need me to do is not to treat you according to your khessed to me, but according to God’s khessed to me.”

And it is important that Abraham proceeds to go the extra mile to be gracious. Abimelech had previously given Abraham “sheep and cattle and slaves” as a testimony that Sarah was rightfully Abraham’s. Now, even though the well is rightfully Abraham’s, it is Abraham who gives to Abimelech the sheep and cattle (he leaves off the slaves).

In fact, the well of swearing “Beersheba,” is also the well of seven “Beersheba” (the words for swearing and seven have the same root characters in Hebrew)—a reference to seven ewe lambs from the livestock that Abraham gives to Abimelech. These are perhaps the animals slaughtered in the “cutting” of the covenant at the beginning of Genesis 21:32.

Humanly speaking, even though Abraham keeps the well where he is (Abimelech has no need of it, since he is returning to Gerar), he is the generous benefactor in this covenant. The lesser (Abimelech) is being blessed by the greater (Abraham).

But, Abraham recognizes that the true Benefactor of all is “Yahweh, the Everlasting God.” That day, he plants a tree that will outlast all of them—a reminder that it is God who provides the well, and the water of it, and the sheep, and the cattle, and the seven ewe lambs, and the great Lamb who will atone for all of the sin of all who believe in Him! He is concerned not only to make that testimony to his own generation, but to leave behind that testimony about God for the generations that are yet to come.

When you deal with others, do they know you to be trusting a God who is all powerful, and perfectly righteous? Are you careful to be generous with them, and do you stir up faith in Him by worship? Do you consider not only the testimony that you are making to your current generation, but what you are leaving behind unto other generations?
What opportunities do you have in your life right now to be generous to others?
Suggested songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or TPH438 “I Love to Tell the Story”

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