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Daily Devotionals

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Place of Worship and Prayer


Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:22-34


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 now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”


24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”


25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek 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 Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelek 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,[a] because the two men swore an oath there.


32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek 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 on 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 on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.

Genesis 21:33


In the center of Freetown, Sierra Leone, an enormous cotton tree (kapok tree) stands as a reminder of liberty and how freed American slaves, when they returned to Africa by way of Nova Scotia, gathered in its shade to worship and pray.


Abraham set up a significant land­mark when he planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, which was a new and foreign territory for him. Genesis 21 notes that Abraham lived there in Philistine territory for a long time. And after he formed a treaty with the Philistines in Beersheba, it became a place of worship where he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.


The tamarisk is also known as the terebinth tree, which has a cooling effect during the day because it secretes salt and tiny water droplets, creating a fine, cooling mist.


There Abraham called on the name of the Lord, who blessed him. And Abraham became a blessing to others.


Because trees often live for a long time, they can help us remember God’s faithfulness. So planting a tree can give us a forward-looking perspective, and it can also bless future generations. Planting a tree can also inspire hope for the future, especially when we know that we will live eternally with God on the new earth someday (Revelation 21-22).


Eternal God, our guide and protector, bring us through whatever situations we live in, and lead us each day to call on your name. May we also be a blessing to the people around us, serving as your faithful witnesses wherever we are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

J
B

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