“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.” — Genesis 21:33-34
The problem with planting trees is we will stay around to watch them grow! The text implies this was the case with Abraham. He planted a grove, or tamarisk tree, and stayed in the land of the Philistines for many days.
People put great value on permanence.
The old proverb insists that a rolling stone gathers no moss. But we Christians are not called to gather moss. And we are not called to sojourn.
The faithful, like Abraham are called to travel. We are pilgrims. But sometimes we put our roots too deep in a passing world!
The significance of this tree for us this morning is this: Travellers do not plant trees in foreign lands.
I wonder if like those trees, our own roots in this passing world are too deep.
Is it time to move on?
Pilgrims quite simply do not stay in one place. There are places to go, things to see, and most of all promises to obtain.
As Abraham sat by his tree, faraway places beckoned to him. They were not exotic locations offered by travel agencies. They were places of appointment with the plans and purposes of Almighty God.
1. Moriah Beckoned!
This was the place of sacrifice.
We like to hear about God leading into blessings. But sometimes He may lead us into sacrifice.
In the next two verses God called Abraham to travel to the land of Moriah. The purpose: to offer a sacrifice – and that sacrifice was his only son Isaac.
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” — Genesis 22:1-2
We know the outcome of the story. But Abraham didn’t.
The birth of his child, Isaac, was a miracle. And now he was being asked to go to the land of Moriah and offer his only son – his miracle – on the altar!
Sometimes we must leave the comfort of the groves, and face the horror of sacrifice in the land of Moriah.
When the test is over Abraham returns to his grove.
“So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.” — Genesis 22:19
2. Hebron Beckoned!
This was the place of suffering.
We like to hear testimonies of God’s leading into joy, but sometimes He may lead into sorrow.
In the next chapter there is a funeral in Canaan. Abraham’s beloved wife, Sarah, dies and is buried in Canaan.
“And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.” — Genesis 23:1-2
As I read the story of Abraham the other day, I cried. I was so sad for this man of God.
Sometimes we must lose a loved one here to keep our focus on Heaven.
Have you lost a loved one, dear friend? A godly and beloved partner? Don’t allow it to defeat you. Make it a milestone – and let it mark your progress towards the promises.
He ran with you.
She ran with you.
Do not fail them now. Stay in the race!