And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.
It is very curious to notice how the first sanctuaries seem to have been woods, forests, and groves. And it is equally remarkable to notice how, after they were used for true and spiritual worship, they came to be employed exclusively for idolatry — so much so, that in the rest of this blessed Book you will hear God often commanding them utterly to pull down the groves, because those groves had been made places where idols were worshipped. The brass serpent was made by God's command, its healing virtue was given by God Himself, and the people were divinely told to look at it. But after it had served its purpose, the same people tried to make a god of it. In this instance men took that which was true and good originally, and made such a bad use of it that God commanded it to be ground to powder as "a thing of vanity and as nothing." These grove sanctuaries came to be desecrated, and therefore He commanded them all to be pulled down. One can see in these groves the first idea of a cathedral. Let any one stand in a lofty avenue of oaks, with their branches intertwining and interlacing, and he will see the nave of a Gothic cathedral. The tracery on the roof, the groined arches, the columns, and the pillars with their picturesque capitals, all is but man trying to embody in the stone what nature has so magnificently developed in her forests, and to perpetuate a grove of stone as a memorial still of the first sanctuaries in which men worshipped.
Abraham a sojourner in that land, afterwards the troubler of Israel; for his sake as discipline, for their sakes as opportunity.
1. God's care for those beyond the covenant. A Beersheba in a heathen land.
2. The things of this world made a channel of higher blessings. The covenant arising out of bodily wants a civil agreement. The oath a testimony to God where reverently made.
3. He is not far from every one of us. The neighborhood of Beersheba, the revelation of Jehovah, the little company of believers.
4. The blessing made manifest. The days spent in Philistia left behind them some enlightenment.
5. Adaptation of Divine truth to those to whom it is sent. Abraham's name of God, Jehovah El Olam; the two revelations, the God of nature and the God of grace. The name of the Lord itself an invitation to believe and live. Paul at Athens adapted himself in preaching to the people's knowledge while leading them to faith. - R.
Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord. I.
HE MAKES PROVISION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP.
1. It was intelligent.
2. It was grateful.
3. It was hopeful.
II. HE IS CONTENT TO BE A STRANGER AND PILGRIM ON THE EARTH (ver. 34).
Times of peace God makes to]His servants times of plantation. Such leave He giveth His people.
2. What was done by Abraham with God's approbation might be turned to sin by man's superstition. So the groves.
3. The saints' peace with the world sets them more seriously to serve God.
4. The name of Jehovah, even the eternal God, is the saints' satisfaction in all plantations (ver. 33).
5. God allows His saints sometimes a longer space of respite after troubles than at others. The longest space of quietness below is but a sojourning time of God's people. They are not at home. Heaven is the place of his rest, and so is to every true believer (ver. 34).
"Against the clouds, far up the skies,
The walls of the cathedral rise,
Like a mysterious grove of stone."
Hence, also, the Druids, and the Druid temples, all were instances of the early purpose to which groves and forests were applied, that is, for worship; and when one thinks of the silence and the solemnity of primeval forests, one can see how naturally man would have recourse to them to worship; but when we see how sadly they were abused, one feels how easily the best things may be perverted, and God's own divine institutions turned into objects of sin and folly. But, blessed be God, neither in this mountain nor in that, neither in grove nor cathedral only, is worship acceptable to God. He is worshipped truly, and the worship is accepted, wherever He is approached in spirit and in truth.
PeopleAbimelech, Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, Phichol, Sarah
PlacesBeersheba, Egypt, Gerar, Paran
TopicsAge-during, Beersheba, Beer-sheba, Eternal, Everlasting, Grove, Holy, Planted, Planteth, Planting, Preacheth, Tamarask, Tamarisk, Tamarisk-tree, Tree, Worship
Outline1. Isaac is born, and circumcised.
6. Sarah's joy.
8. Isaac is weaned.
9. Hagar and Ishmael sent away.
15. Hagar in distress.
17. The angel relieves and comforts her.
23. Abimelech's covenant with Abraham at Beersheba.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 21:33
1205 God, titles of
1235 God, the LORD
5042 name of God, significance
5077 Abraham, character
9121 eternity, nature of
LibraryCompassion for Souls
Behold the compassion of a mother for her child expiring with thirst, and remember that such a compassion ought all Christians to feel towards souls that are perishing for lack of Christ, perishing eternally, perishing without hope of salvation. If the mother lifted up her voice arid wept, so also should we; and if the contemplation of her dying, child was all too painful for her, so may the contemplation of the wrath to come, which is to pass upon every soul that dies impenitent, become too painful …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871
Therefore, if we Compare the Things Themselves, we May no Way Doubt that The...
28. Therefore, if we compare the things themselves, we may no way doubt that the chastity of continence is better than marriage chastity, whilst yet both are good: but when we compare the persons, he is better, who hath a greater good than another. Further, he who hath a greater of the same kind, hath also that which is less; but he, who only hath what is less, assuredly hath not that which is greater. For in sixty, thirty also are contained, not sixty also in thirty. But not to work from out that …
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage
The Gospel Feast
"When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?"--John vi. 5. After these words the Evangelist adds, "And this He said to prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do." Thus, you see, our Lord had secret meanings when He spoke, and did not bring forth openly all His divine sense at once. He knew what He was about to do from the first, but He wished to lead forward His disciples, and to arrest and …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII
Of Bearing the Cross --One Branch of Self-Denial.
The four divisions of this chapter are,--I. The nature of the cross, its necessity and dignity, sec. 1, 2. II. The manifold advantages of the cross described, sec. 3-6. III. The form of the cross the most excellent of all, and yet it by no means removes all sense of pain, sec. 7, 8. IV. A description of warfare under the cross, and of true patience, (not that of philosophers,) after the example of Christ, sec. 9-11. 1. THE pious mind must ascend still higher, namely, whither Christ calls his disciples …
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life
But if Moreover any not Having Charity, which Pertaineth to the Unity of Spirit...
23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirit and the bond of peace whereby the Catholic Church is gathered and knit together, being involved in any schism, doth, that he may not deny Christ, suffer tribulations, straits, hunger, nakedness, persecution, perils, prisons, bonds, torments, swords, or flames, or wild beasts, or the very cross, through fear of hell and everlasting fire; in nowise is all this to be blamed, nay rather this also is a patience meet to …
St. Augustine—On Patience
The Annunciation of Jesus the Messiah, and the Birth of his Forerunner.
FROM the Temple to Nazareth! It seems indeed most fitting that the Evangelic story should have taken its beginning within the Sanctuary, and at the time of sacrifice. Despite its outward veneration for them, the Temple, its services, and specially its sacrifices, were, by an inward logical necessity, fast becoming a superfluity for Rabbinism. But the new development, passing over the intruded elements, which were, after all, of rationalistic origin, connected its beginning directly with the Old Testament …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession …
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4
The Holiness of God
The next attribute is God's holiness. Exod 15:51. Glorious in holiness.' Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Psa 111:1. Holy and reverend is his name.' He is the holy One.' Job 6:60. Seraphims cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.' Isa 6:6. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God's holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil. Of purer eyes than …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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