Abraham Plants a Tree

Image result for tamarisk tree and abraham's well

I enjoy sharing little insights that God gives me when I am meditating on His word. This is one of those.

In the small fellowship that I Pastor, we are going through the book of Genesis… chapter by chapter… verse by verse. I love studying God’s word in this manner… it is called exegesis teaching.

This week we were in Genesis 21. And as the chapter is closing out… in Vs. 33 we read: Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.

I have been to Beersheba. It is hot and it is dry with the landscape being very much like Texas, where I live. So this tree would have provided shade relief from the sun to whoever was under it. But, I asked God… why did Abraham plant this tree? It is the only place in scripture where Abraham is mentioned planting anything. He was a shepherd of flocks and not a farmer, after all.

To understand Genesis 21:33… you need to read chapters 20 and 21. In these two chapters, Abraham is caught lying to a king (for the second time); he has seen his promised son Isaac born, but then told by Sarah and God to banish Ishmael his first born, and then he has made a peace covenant with his neighbors in Canaan.

God had kept his promises to Abraham; Abraham’s life is filled with blessings and he wants people around him to recognize that his blessed life is not of his own making… but bestowed upon him by His loving Creator… in spite of his faults and failings. But why not build an altar and sacrifice to God in worship as we have seen him do so often in his life? Why plant the tree?

I believe that Abraham planted the tamarisk tree as a memorial to his re-commitment to El Ôlām, the Everlasting God… something that would be a constant reminder and something that would stand the test of time… before the LORD.

And so we see this dear old saint… call on the name of the LORD and plant a tamarisk tree… it reminds me, that when you love God… I mean really love God… in an intimate way….

It is not enough to sing the same worship songs as everyone else… it is not enough to go through the motions of worship as so many do…

A lover of God finds a way to draw nearer to their Creator… some way to plant a tree and say… “LORD, this is for You.”

A lover of God… of the Lord Jesus… a lover of the Holy Spirit of Christ… will find a way to break the alabaster vial so to speak… as we see in Mark 14: 3 where we read… While He (Jesus) was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head…

We believe this is Mary… that is mentioned by name in John 12:3… between these two verses… we see Jesus, effectuating or completely fulfilling the old testament law… and in the process… turning the High Society Jewish Establishment on their ear…

I mean… He is here eating with a formally dead man… Lazarus- by the law he would have been unclean… and having this meal at the house of Simon the leper… the house and the man would have been unclean… he was probably miraculously healed of this disease, and was throwing a thank-you meal for Jesus…

But by the law, this home and man were probably still outcasts of the Jewish society… and here is our Lord… just having a great time of fellowship with them…

And in the midst of all the festivities… Mary is overcome with love and adoration for her savior.

And by pouring this perfume or pure nard- this very precious perfume… it is almost as if she is saying… “here is my “dowry” a bit of a gift from your bride, Your church to You our Groom… until You return for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”

And that I believe is what a lover of God… does… like Abraham planting a tamarisk tree and Mary pouring oil over the Lord… a lover of God finds fresh, intimate expressions that others may or may not see…

And here with Abraham… he discovered the “Everlasting God” … a new aspect of God’s nature… a fresh revelation of our Lord, if you would… that those who truly love the LORD will understand.

True adoration involves a docile or submissive heart, an assent and agreement to God’s sovereignty over our lives, a constant posture of humility before Him, and gifts of love offered in homage… such as our time… our material wealth… our physical gifts- such as singing… and music… and being Christlike to those we encounter… among other things.

So, my encouragement to you is read and study your Bible. Ask why… and allow God to show you why… And then, in love and adoration worship Him!

Ichabod

Since moving away from the Pacific Northwest a few years ago, where Irene and I led a beautiful Bible study in our home… I have been able to maintain that Bible study via the internet. We are currently studying the Prophetic book of Ezekiel… and last week we completed chapter ten.

It is a very difficult book to study… because God, through the prophet Ezekiel has been showing, very vividly, just how evil Jerusalem and the land with its people had become. They were so depraved, perverted and idolatrous that the priests and the leaders of the nation were actually worshipping and performing pagan practices in the temple itself.

Studying this, brought a name to my attention: Ichabod

Ichabod is mentioned in the first Book of Samuel as the son of Phinehas, a perverted priest at the Jewish Tabernacle of Shiloh, who was born on the day that the Israelites’ Ark of God was taken into Philistine captivity… because of their disloyalty to God… and his name means: the glory has departed from Israel.

And in Ezekiel’s day… as Jerusalem and the land is about to go into complete Babylonian captivity due to the evil hearts and wickedness of the people… God’s chosen people… we read in Ezekiel 10:18… That the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.

Ichabod.

God didn’t want to go. He was disinvited. The people in a very real sense “kicked Him out.” And God, being the perfect gentleman, will not stay where He is not welcomed… and so… Ichabod.

Are you a Christian… and do you feel like you have not heard from the Lord in a while? Are you in a desert place in your life, spiritually speaking? Then perhaps you are experiencing a bit of Ichabod… the glory of the Lord has departed.

If you are feeling that way… search yourself. Is there compromise in your walk with the Lord? Are you trying to hide secret sin in your life?

If you are… God already knows these things- there is no secret sin from Him. But the wonderful, freeing news is this: in order to have the glory of the Lord to return into your life… you need only confess that sin… and repent (turn away) from that sin and ask forgiveness. Jesus will forgive you- it is what He wants to do… you just need to ask for that forgiveness.

By doing that… you are inviting the Lord back into your life… and He is faithful. You will hear from Him again… He will be working again in your life. He promises us that. Amen.