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Today in Genesis chapter 23 we read about the burial of Sarah. I think an amazing thing to note in this chapter is that Abraham is determined to bury Sarah in Canaan, based on God's promise (Gen 15:9-21) to Abraham that Canaan would be his and his descendant's homeland. Verse 4 stands out in this chapter and I think can speak for us today as well: "Here I am, a stranger in a foreign land, with no place to bury my wife." We will see this type of phrase throughout the Old Testament - the idea of being an alien and a stranger. In Abraham's case, he was literally living in a tent - a very temporary structure. But yet, Abraham was confident in God's promise of the Promised Land. And for us today - we are called to be "in the world, but not of the world". In a sense, we are also aliens and strangers. The question we might need to ask ourselves - are we acting like we are aliens and strangers in this world? Are we awaiting our promised land with God in heaven? Or, are we maybe getting a bit too comfortable in this world? And maybe even loving the material things of this world - more than eternal things? And maybe are we forgetting sometimes about the amazing promised land God has in store for us? Below is a painting by American artist Tom Lovell from 1967 titled "The Burial of Sarah" that I think corresponds nicely with verse 19: "So Abraham buried Sarah there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, which is at Hebron."
Genesis chapter 24 is a just a wonderful narrative story about Abraham sending his servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac! What I like a lot about this chapter was how God was honored by Abraham, and by the servant at the well, and by Laban and Bethuel at the end of today's readings. It was evident that everyone was making their plans and prayers based on God! And not based on their own ideas or will power. God was being consulted. The last half of verse 7 stood out to me: "He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a young woman there to be my son's wife." What I noticed about this verse, is that we didn't read about Abraham praying to God that an angel would go ahead of the servant - nor did we read about God telling Abraham this would be the case. Perhaps one of these two things happened outside of the text. But, what struck me was that maybe Abraham had been walking with God for so long now, that he may have been in such close relationship with God that he may have just somehow knew this angel would go ahead - and he wouldn't of said it otherwise. I just wonder if we are obedient to God and walk with God for a good portion of our lives, as Abraham did, if the will of God and God's works just become more and more evident in our lives? I'm kind of just thinking out loud here... :) Hopefully this makes sense. I do believe that as we go forward in our spiritual walk, God will continue to share more and new insights with us. Which is great news! Our walk with God will not be boring! Even in the midst of trials and hardships, I believe if we are faithful and obedient and continually seek God's will in our lives, we will come to know Him more and more - and, like Abraham, come to know more and more of the Peace that surpasses all understanding. I love this image below of Abraham in his later years...
Verse 15 stands out in this chapter: "As he was still praying, a young woman named Rebekah arrived with a water jug on her shoulder. Her father was Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah." As the servant was just finishing his prayer, God was answering it! Have you ever had this experience? I am not 100% sure that I have, but I think I have. I think maybe sometimes God encourages us to pray and sometimes he immediately delivers on that prayer - just so it becomes clear that what happened was the work of God, and not our own work. Now, don't get me wrong - sometimes we pray for something specific, and God does not answer immediately. Or... perhaps that's the answer in and of itself - no answer. It's a mystery - but an adventurous mystery to be sure! What a great thing to experience though, as this servant did, when a prayer is immediately answered. Below is 19th century American stained-glass artist John La Farge's "Rebekah at the Well":
Worship Video: Today’s readings reminded me of this great video below set to the amazing Sara Groves song "Add to the Beauty." This video shows the urgent work of Blood:Water Mission, an organization drilling wells in Africa. (among other important work) Please take a few minutes to watch this video and then explore www.bloodwater.org.
Do you know our God of Beauty? Click here and add to the Beauty!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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