Genesis 22 starts with “after these things, God tested Abraham.” So what are “these things” referred to in verse 1? In Genesis 21:33 Abraham plants what the King James version declares is a “grove of trees in the wilderness,” and declares he has come to know that God is the Everlasting God. In the original language Everlasting God actually should be translated “God is the Self Existent Life Giver,” Who Was Before Time, and IS After Time, Who therefore Walks with You Through Time. God was declaring to Abraham that as the Everlasting God, He will never say that something will happen unless it will happen. This revelation empowered Abraham’s faith so that he could pass the test when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. He could say with confidence to those servants with him “the lad and I will go yonder and worship and will return to you” (v.5). He expected to return with Isaac because God had made the covenant that depended on the birth and life of Isaac. Hebrews 11:19 says that Abraham expected God to raise up Isaac from the ashes AND RETURN HIM TO ABRAHAM.
We, therefore, should realize that the God who walks with us through time is the One Who already knows how things will end. He makes promises and gives us words based on the things He sees as completed. Jonah’s conversation with God in Jonah 4:1-3 is a practical example of this truth. Paraphrasing Jonah’s words to God, Jonah said, “I told you that you would cause me to be a success, and there would be a great revival here. That is why I went to Tarshish. They are our enemy, and I did not want them saved.” Jonah knew he would be a success before he started out because God had given him the job and hadn’t warnd him, as He had other prophets, that the mission would not succeed.
A practical example from our country’s history occurred during the Revolutionary War when General Washington looked at his situation and said, “We are outmanned, outgunned, and out-supplied, and our country can never be independent and become what it was founded to be unless we win this war, so our only hope is an APPEAL TO HEAVEN.” He then commissioned his top aide to create an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, a very simple flag with a tall evergreen tree on an all-white background highlighting the words “Appeal to Heaven.” That flag few over every American fort, every American ship and every American troop who marched into war as a reminder that as we Appeal to Heaven, God will change the outcome. God has promised and what He has promised and planned, comes to pass in and through our lives.
Since we know that the foundation of our country was based on biblical principles, we should not find it strange that the story of Abraham explains the design of Washington’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag. The Hebrew language clarifies the reference in Genesis telling us that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at the well of the sevenfold oath. The tamarisk is one of the few trees that can thrive in an arid place. There are two types of tamarisk trees: one growing 10 to 15 feet tall, the other 20 to 30 feet. The Bible also indicates that he did not plant a grove, but a single tree. The tamarisk is an evergreen tree that produces a small white flower. People called this flower manna, long before God provided manna in the wilderness. Abraham marked the seven clauses of the covenant God made with him, some fulfilled and some not, by planting an evergreen tree, which would draw people in an arid place to a well of refreshing water. He planted it as a reminder to generations to come that the God Who Was Before Time is the God Who is After Time; therefore, He is the God Who Walks with Us Through Time. As we admit that we are outmanned, outgunned, and out-resourced, God intervenes and miracles happen when we make our Appeal to Heaven.
Dr. Lynn Lucas holds doctorates in Theology and Ministry. She is the Senior Pastor of Fountainhead Congregation on Long Island. Her congregation has witnessed the miraculous as they have stepped out in faith to do what God has commissioned them to do in reaching the hurting and lost. Dr. Lucas is a regular speaker at Women of the Word, a Christian womens conference ministry.