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.
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.
1. Times of peace God makes to]His servants times of plantation. Such leave He giveth His people.
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).
(T. H. Leale.)
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).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
"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.
(J. Cumming, D. D.).
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