Monday, November 18, 2019

2019.11.18 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)? 
Those who are outside the church often have little or no access to God’s Word. This was not entirely the case with Abimelech. He had a very vivid experience with God’s Word, “You are a dead man!” (Genesis 20:3). And it was in the wake of this that God identified Abraham as His spokesperson, with whom He had a special relationship (Genesis 20:7).

It’s been a few years now. Isaac has been born and now weaned, and Abimelech has had opportunity to observe that “God is with you in all that you do” (Genesis 21:22). What had Abimelech seen? Well, perhaps he had seen God’s material blessing upon Abraham. But he has also certainly seen that Abraham fears God in such a way that he keeps all of his solemn promises (Genesis 21:23).

This, of course, is a bit of a change from Abimelech’s earlier experience of Abraham’s character—when Abraham’s lie had just about led them all into sin against God. But, there has been more time to observe, and this is the conclusion that he has drawn. “God is with you in all that you do.”

This brings up an important question about how you see your life: when it comes down to not only your earthly wellbeing, but also your spiritual being, is your first great hope that God will be with you in all that you do? And then, when He does grant you to grow in faith and hope and love that produces worship and obedience and service, is it your conclusion about yourself  that God is with you in all that you do? Because if that is not the dynamic of your own life, as considered in your own mind, how can you expect that to be true of unbelievers?

And we can see the fruit of such faith-founded godliness in Abraham’s interaction in this chapter. When he continues to use the disputed well, he wishes it to be known clearly that he is not going back on their covenant. Even at the cost of the sheep and oxen—including the seven ewe lambs—Abraham makes sure that his ownership of the well is clear.

Finally, when Abimelech and Phicol have gone in Genesis 21:32, we can see the place of faith from which comes Abraham’s willingness to deal with such integrity. He plants a long-lasting memorial tree in confidence in God’s Word to him, and offers worship to the everlasting God (Genesis 21:33). His integrity with others has sprung from this faith in the Lord. Is it so with you?
What unbelievers observe your faith and character? What are they learning about God?
Suggested Songs: ARP15 “Within Your Tent” or TPH475 “Who Trusts in God, a Strong Abode”

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