This Thirsty World
A daily devotion for June 23rd
22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, "God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you."
24 Abraham said, "I swear it."
25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized. 26 But Abimelech said, "I don't know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today."
27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelech asked Abraham, "What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?"
30 He replied, "Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well."
31 So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there.
32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.
Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. (Genesis 21:33)
Here is old Abraham just planting a tree and living by his well. Why are we told this? It is symbolic of what is taking place in his heart and life. The tree immediately brings to mind Psalm 1, which says the man of God will be like a tree planted by rivers of living water, bringing forth its fruit in season. Here is a life that is fruitful, that is concerned about those immediately around and is pouring out blessing into their lives and hearts.
Abraham calls on the name of Jehovah, the Eternal God. If the church desires to do anything to help this poor, blind, bleeding, struggling world in which we live, it will only be as Christian people rediscover what it means to live daily in the strength, the power, the purpose, and the glory of calling upon the Eternal God. This is what writes joy in our hearts, joy that the world is so vainly seeking to find. Abraham found joy, and thus he was the center of blessing to the land of the Philistines. In finding and rediscovering those springs of spiritual strength, he did more to advance the cause of social justice and welfare in the land of the Philistines than any of their programs and plans could have done.
The world about us today is looking for reality more than it ever has before. The world is desperately searching for men and women of conviction who will stand for what they believe and who will not hesitate to declare it and to say no when it means involvement with something they believe is wrong. The world is looking for men and women who have convictions, and convictions come only from a life that is involved in a living fellowship with a living God. This is what sent that new church in New Testament days out with such triumphant victory over every obstacle. They swept everything before them because they were in daily fellowship with the living God.
But if we are not in fellowship with the Lord, we will have nothing to offer. We would be like a crowd of waiters in a restaurant going back to the kitchen and saying to the cook,
Look, we are having problems in getting this food out to these people. Why don't you leave the stove and come out here and help us? If the cook is wise, he will say to them,
Fellows, the worst thing I could do would be to go out to help you. It is true that you have a problem, and you have to work it out, but if someone is not here cooking, there will not be anything to distribute. If there is no fountain of morality in the church, if there are not lives that are discovering the strength and inner peace and power that come from fellowship with Christ and a living God, there will not be anything to distribute! With that in mind, let us give ourselves anew to this supreme task of the church of Christ, which is the declaring of the good news of Jesus Christ, that people may be saved and their lives transformed by coming to know a living God.
Father, I pray that I may rediscover with Abraham the secret of being a friend of God, a man or woman of God, by which lives are changed.
Life Application: Is it enough to accept ideology and doctrine simply because it sounds spiritual? Are we staying alert to the many & varied deceptions taught by wolves clothed as sheep?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.