When was the last time you felt unsafe? For me, it was when I was the lone Florida State fan in a sea of University of Florida fans. I wondered if I would make it out of hostile territory alive. The game was great until Florida scored a last-second, game-winning touchdown. The crowd erupted, and I got scared. But as I left the stadium, something unusual happened. The Florida fans were actually nice to me!
In this passage we see God’s faithfulness and his protection of Abraham while he was in hostile territory. True to his character, God protected and provided for Abraham in the midst of unsafe circumstances.
- How are you feeling unsafe? Maybe your life isn’t being threatened, but maybe you are at risk of losing your job, money, or friends?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 21:22-34 (ESV)
22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do. 23 Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.” 24 And Abraham said, “I will swear.”
25 When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized, 26 Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.” 27 So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. 28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 30 He said, “These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this may be a witness for me that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore that place was called Beersheba, because there both of them swore an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army rose up and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In this passage, Abimelech, a king, and Phicol, his lead general, made a peace treaty with Abraham, a shepherd. This would be like the President of the United States making a peace treaty with a farmer. Why would Abimelech and Phicol to do such a thing (vs. 22b)?
- In verse 25, Abraham brought a complaint against Abimelech. What was the nature of his complaint? Was it petty or significant (think about the value of a well in ancient times)?
- List the outcomes of the oath made between Abraham and Abimelech (vss. 32b-34). How were these outcomes signs of God keeping his promise to Abraham (think of the promise made to Abraham earlier in Genesis)?
- What was the name Abraham used to describe God? How was that name representative of God’s kindness to Abraham?
- How would your life and attitude be different if you lived with a pervasive sense that God is with you (vs. 22) and that God is everlasting (vs. 33)?
RESPOND TO GOD
Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” This passage illustrates just that! It shows how God kept Abraham and his family safe by pacifying his enemies. It also shows how God provided and protected a crucial staple of survival in the ancient near east—WATER! If you are in Christ, God is pleased with you. His promises to keep you safe and provide for your needs are as true for you today as they were for Abraham.
- Ask God for the faith to believe his promises, and trust him no matter what your circumstances.
- Thank God for the ways you see his faithfulness in your life.