SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

January 13, 2016

Genesis 21:25-34, 22:1

  1. Verses 25-27. In contrast to Abraham's previous fear of Abimelech, we now see him boldly standing up to this powerful king. His walk with God has matured him and given him a greater fear of God. This should be true for every follower of Christ. Do you fear God more than man? In this section, Abraham brings up the matter of the well that Abimelech's servants had seized from him. They made peace and immediately Abraham starts complaining. But he's not justified because if he lets that issue fester, pretty soon the whole peace treaty will go up in smoke. So he has to mention it even though it might have been easier to overlook it. Many of us shy away from this kind of open confrontation. We'd rather just look the other way when problems come. When you don't deal with relational problems, the price for solving those problems always goes up. It never goes down. The truth may hurt but it is always more satisfying in the end. Abraham and Abimelech also show great patience with one another. Peacemaking requires patience because attitudes don’t change overnight. In this case, both Abimelech and Abraham had to learn to live together despite their differences.

  2. Verses 28-30. In their last conflict, it was Abimelech that modeled generosity (20:14-16). Here, Abraham returns the favor in a small way. It is his way of saying, “I want to do my part to restore peace. I want to dwell in harmony. “This little gesture made a big difference. Small gestures can have big results.

  3. Verses 31-34. “Beersheba" means both “well of seven" and “well of the oath." Beersheba, one of the more important sites throughout Old Testament times, became Abraham's possession. So he planted a tree there. By planting a tree Abraham indicated his determination to stay in that region. Tamarisk trees were long-lived and evergreen. The tree was meant to be a lasting landmark to God’s provision and a focal point of Abraham's worship. It served as an appropriate symbol of the enduring grace of the faithful God. After planting the tree, Abraham "called on the name of the Lord.” This is a phrase that suggests worship. In honor of the Lord, Abraham called on "the Everlasting God.” The Hebrew phrase El Olam is only used here (21:33). This name stresses God's everlasting nature. God's promises and covenant are everlasting because God Himself is eternal. Abraham has now found God to be what He claimed earlier to be, a shield to him (cf. 21:22; 15:1). He, further, seems to be growing in his conception of God; He is now the Everlasting God. The last three verses tell of the positive results of this peace treaty: 1. Abimelech and his men returned home (21:32). 2. Abraham worshipped God in Beersheba (21:33). 3. Abraham lived in peace for a long time (21:34). Abraham now owned a small part of the land God had promised him. By granting Abraham rights to a well, Abimelech had made it possible for Abraham to live there permanently and had acknowledged his legal right, at least to water. In other words, after so many delays the promises of land and descendants at last seem on their way to fulfillment. God encourages us when we are moving in the direction of inheriting the promises. We ought to take notice when small things happen to us that take a step towards inheriting what we know to be God's will for our lives. God is still alive. He still gives us affirmations of His will. Gradually, Abraham is establishing roots in the land--digging wells and planting trees. Additionally, as relationships are established with the peoples in the land, the blessing is taking root (12:2-3). Finally, the relationship with God is taking root as land and family becomes established.

  4. Chapter 22. “Sometime later, God tested Abraham," that is, after the events of chapters 12 through 21. This phrase looks back over Abraham's pilgrimage of faith. During these years, Abraham encountered several tests; some he passed and others he failed. Abraham was quite human, like you and me. Yet, despite a mixture of success and failure, God sought to mature Abraham and use his life powerfully. Maybe you have had your share of success, but you've also experienced some failure along the way. You need to know today that God has not discarded you, nor is He finished with you. In fact, He wants to take you to your next spiritual level. He does this through tests. While this new trial of faith hit Abraham suddenly, it also was the culmination of years of God's dealings with him. Abraham's life was a process of God stripping him of all that he clung to, until finally he held to God alone. God's first command was for Abraham to leave his country, his relatives, and his father's house (12:1). Over the years, God stripped Abraham of his schemes and efforts to help bring about God's promises. This reached an apex when Abraham painfully sent away Hagar and Ishmael. Perhaps Abraham thought that separating from Ishmael was the final test of his life. After that came the peaceful years in Beersheba. He rejoiced as young Isaac, the son of the promise, grew to manhood. The old man must have often looked fondly on the boy and given thanks to God. What a shock when God said suddenly, “I want you to offer Isaac as a burnt offering!" But it was the next step in the process of ultimate surrender to God. James lets us know that God was testing Abraham so his faith could be "perfected” before men (Jas 2:22). The word "perfect" means complete or mature. Persevering through tests and being obedient to God made Abraham's faith visible to an on looking world. God tested Abraham in order to give him an opportunity to display his true character. Every test God brings into your life is an opportunity for you to shine and advance to another spiritual grade level. This ought to excite you. Even if spiritual tests are difficult, they have a wonderful purpose: to make you more like Christ so the world can see God's greatness revealed in you (Prov 17:3; Jas 1:2-4, 12-14; 1 Pet 1:6-7). We need to be aware that Abraham had walked with God for about 35 years before God tested him in this most severe way. God did not give him this severe test until He knew Abraham was equipped for it. One of the great things about God is that He does not give us tests we cannot pass. His tests come when we are prepared. Furthermore, He supplies an extra measure of grace to help us through times of testing (1 Cor 10:13).

click here to select another lesson