Thursday, February 11, 2016

Friday, Genesis 23 - Respect

The basis for the mutual respect which we are supposed to have for our fellowman is this: we are all made in the image of God (James 3:9; Acts 17:28). David's respect for Saul, Jacob’s respect for Pharaoh and Jesus' respect for Caesar... each story shows us that it isn't the perfection of the person that we are to base our cordiality upon; it's the perfection of Providence.
This whole chapter is devoted to the respect that Abraham paid to the body and memory of his deceased wife... and to the inhabitants of Canaan.  He bought land from "Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre," he purchased "the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field.” He followed a very patient and proper cultural process in the procurement of the land and honored all of those around him by doing so.
What a great example for us. We can sometimes APPEAR to be so heavenly minded in the expression of our values that we forget to be considerate of the sensitivities of all those around us who are presently gripped by the nasty now-and-now in which we all live. 
Solomon advised us to be respectful. Many men and women of God have demonstrated it. Philippians 2:3-4 says, "In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

We really should be so very careful as we deal with those around us. We have no reason to believe that the Hittites in Abraham's neighborhood held to Abraham’s true doctrines, but he treated them with dignity anyway. While we should not evade conflict when it concerns things of spiritual significance (we must fight for truth), the Word does still exhort us, "If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18).  And, let us not forget nor neglect the admonition of Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind one to another."

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