Eternity Daily Bible Study

The Life Of Abraham


Number:574

Verses: Genesis 21:22-34

Topic: The Everlasting God

Date: 11th April 2006

 

Genesis 21:22-34 MKJV And it happened at that time, Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, God is with you in all that you do.  (23)  Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son. Do to me according to the kindness that I have sworn to you, and to the land in which you have lived.  (24)  And Abraham said, I will swear.  (25)  And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.  (26)  And Abimelech said, I do not know who has done this thing, neither did you tell me, neither have I even heard of it, except today.  (27)  And Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and both of them made a covenant.  (28)  And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.  (29)  And Abimelech said to Abraham, What are these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves?  (30)  And he said, For you shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, so that they may be a witness to me that I have dug this well.  (31)  This is why he called that place Beer-sheba, because they swore, both of them, there.  (32)  So they made a covenant at Beer-sheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, rose up. And they returned to the land of the Philistines.  (33)  And Abraham planted a tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of Jehovah, the everlasting God.  (34)  And Abraham lived in the Philistines' land many days.

 

This is an official treaty between the Philistines and their army, and Abraham and his forces. It gives Abraham some independence in the land and freedom from marauding Philistine forces and it gives Abimelech and the Philistines political security from a possible takeover by Abraham who had become very powerful and wealthy.

 

The Philistines recognize God's supernatural intervention on the behalf of Abraham and tremble at it. “Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, God is with you in all that you do.”  As we have seen with earlier devotionals Abraham had humbled the major political powers of his day including Pharaoh and the kings of Assyria and Babylon. Abraham had done this because of divine favour and so by now had a definite 'mystique” about him – a someone who could not be oppressed or defeated, as someone that the whole Ancient Near East was forced to respect!

 

The peace treaty of mutual friendship is signed and sealed by Abraham trading large herds of animals in return for peace and secure borders. During the negotiations Abraham brings forth his case about a disputed well that had been seized by the Philistines. In those days this could have led to war, but the dispute was settled amicably and the well returned to Abraham. This was the famous well of Beer-sheba.

 

After the peace treaty was signed Abraham was finally at rest in the land that God had given him – with no-one to disturb him. He had wells and livestock and a peace treaty with his powerful neighbor, Isaac was born and the scene was set for a peaceful existence and indeed it was such!  He dwelt in the land of the Philistines “many days”.

The continuity of this peaceful and prosperous life is reflected in two things that Abraham does. Firstly, he plants a tree! The tree symbolizes continuous growth and a confidence that he would be around to see the tree grow, develop and bear fruit. It is saying “I will be in this place a long time, my nomadic days are over, this will not be a six month or two year stint. I will be here until this tree grows up.” The translation of the word for “tree” is a bit uncertain but it may have been a grove of tamarisk trees.

 

The second things Abraham does is establish a pattern of worship: “he called on the name of Jehovah, the everlasting God.” This is the God of eternity, of constancy, of faithful lovingkindness and abiding grace. This is a God who does not vanish into the air, like a demon, or fade away like a spirit of the times, but who abides, century after century and who watches over covenants and treaties, and a God who is faithful to all His promises.

 

God is there “from age to age” and does not vary or change. He is the only absolute constant in the entire Universe and everything flows from Him. Heaven and earth may pass away but His words abide forever. James puts it this way:

 

James 1:17 MKJV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.

 

And Malachi prophesies:

 

Malachi 3:6 MKJV For I am Jehovah, I change not. Because of this you sons of Jacob are not destroyed.

 

God is not fickle or immature!  His purposes stand through the ages and His Word can always be relied upon. Even today we can see how ancient Bible prophecies have both come true and are coming true!

 

Because God is everlasting He can bestow everlasting life on all who call upon His name. His gospel is as true now as it was in the days when Jesus walked the earth!

 

Hebrews 13:8 HCSB Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

The everlasting God can give us an everlasting and stable peace in our hearts and in our lives. He can bring us to the place of rest and peace as He did for Abraham at the end of his wanderings. The word that God spoke to Abraham was now becoming full and breaking forth into obvious reality. It was the same God that spoke so many years ago, that Abraham called on now towards the end of his journey.

 

God is consistent despite our inconsistencies!  God is with us all our days and will be still with us when we leave the body and go to be with Him.

 

Blessings,

 

John Edmiston (johned@aibi.ph)

 

 

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