Shiloh Sunday Service (11th February 2018)
Speaker: Evangelist Jabez Park
Sermon: "The Planting of Faith at Beersheba"
Abraham’s life journey
In regards to Abraham’s life journey of faith, he lived in ten different places. First there was his birth place of the Ur of Chaldeans, Haran, Shechem, between Bethel and AI, Egypt, between Bethel and AI, Hebron, Gerar, Beersheba and finally back to Hebron where he was ultimately buried. The focus of today’s message will be on the 9th location, which is Beersheba. From locations 7-10, these are the later stages of Abraham’s life. And between these locations we can see a very significant work of redemptive history that took place in Abraham’s life.
Abraham at Beersheba
Abraham settled for a short time in Gerar which is the land of the Philistines after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 20:1). Afterwards, Abraham settled in Beersheba and while there, Abimelech the king of the Philistines comes and makes a covenant with Abraham (Gen 21:22-24).
Wells of Water
Abraham while in Gerar establishes a relationship with Abimelech, and all the people in the land. Although Abraham agreed to a covenant with Abimelech he complained about the water of wells that the servants of Abimelech had seized (Gen 21:25). Abimelech said to Abraham that he was unaware that his servants had seized the wells and Abraham agreed to do a covenant with Abimelech (Gen 21:27).
Water is perhaps the most important element of life you need to survive. Therefore, to ensure his survival and the survival of his children that would be living in the land, Abraham ensured they had water.
Characteristics of Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech
In the covenant that Abraham makes with Abimelech, he takes sheep and oxen and both he and Abimelech make a covenant. However, Abraham makes an addition to this covenant by giving Abimelech 7 ewe lambs as a witness to him digging a well and called the name of that place Beersheba. The root word “beer” means “well” and “sheba” means oath, thus; here is where Abraham makes an oath or covenant (Gen 21:28-31). Interestingly, the root word “sheba” means “7”, thus the number “7” is the root word to “swear upon something.” God created for 6 days and rested upon the 7th day which indicates that all creation is perfect and complete. God created man on the 6th day and gives his creation to man and commands him to rule over it (Gen 1:28-29). God’s creation was an inheritance to man and He already attended it to be an inheritance for Adam and all the children that would come afterwards. However, due to the fall of mankind, God’s inheritance to man was lost. But when we talk about redemptive history we say it began with Abraham and the reason why is because with Abraham, we see the work of redemption which means we are being restored to our original position. Now we can link the 7 days of creation with the inheritance that God had promised us and with this place “Beersheba” is where we can see this redemptive historical connection.
The Tamarisk Tree
A tamarisk tree is a very strong tree that can live for centuries (Gen 21:33). Therefore, by Abraham planting this tree he is confessing that he will be there forever. The roots of a tamarisk tree are very strong and go very deep and wide in order to look for water. A tamarisk tree can also live in salty environments whereas most plants cannot. The tamarisk tree takes the salt and sends it to the leaves and when the leaves fall off, it salts the entire land killing all of the other plants. Redemptive historically in regards to the covenant of the torch, and its fulfillment, the nation of Israel had to come from Egypt and take over the land of Canaan; for it is Israel’s possession. So just like the tamarisk tree, the people of Israel came to the land of Canaan to drive out all the inhabitants of the land in order to claim the land as their own. Likewise, this planting of the tamarisk tree not only does if foreshadows the eternal inheritance of Israel but it also foreshadows the work of redemptive history of driving out the Canaanites which for us means driving out the sin that is in our lives (Psa 80:8-9). Here God is establishing His people Israel which is in line with what a tamarisk tree does; when it is planted into the ground.
Conclusion: When we receive Jesus Christ, we are firmly rooted in Him for He is our water source (Col 2:6-7). Therefore we must abide in Jesus’ Word and Jesus’ Word needs to abide in us (John 15:4-7; Deut 30:14). God being with us is our promise (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23). Abraham was promised the land so that he and his descendants can be with God. Therefore, when we read the Word of redemptive history this is God being with us and His spirit abiding in us. So, we must be firmly planted in this so that we can bear the fruit of faith and of the Word. So let us have the faith of Abraham and remember God’s covenant and be at the spiritual Beersheba, dig our wells, and plant our trees and let us have God with us in all of our lives.