No matter what we think, we leave an impression on the people we are around. That impression will be either positive or negative whether or not we are trying to leave a positive or negative impression. One thing that I think would be a safe thing to assume is that unless we are purposefully leaving a positive impression we run the risk of leaving a negative impression. I say this because it takes purpose to live life in a way that pleases and honors God and it is living that lifestyle that helps leave an impression that is positive and will draw people to God. Don't get me wrong, even with living a life full of integrity and humility we will find people who will view as their enemy, but many others will see the difference Christ makes in us. Today, as I continue through the book of Genesis, I am looking at another meeting of Abraham and Abimelech; please turn to Genesis 21:22-34.
The first thing that caught my attention was Abimelech's need for a covenant from Abraham that he would never deceive him. This reminded me of Abraham's original deception when he told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. While that was a true statement, it was a deception because he failed to tell Abimelech that Sarah was his wife. God save Abimelech from sinning and kept him from sleeping with Sarah. So, you can see why Abimelech would want assurance from Abraham that he wouldn't deceive him. The other thing was the reality that Abimelech recognized that God's hand was on Abraham and he seemed to understand that an enemy of Abraham would be an enemy of God.
But what caught my attention even more in these verses was the fact that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree by the well of Beersheba. This is an interesting tree or shrub that is native to Africa and the Near East. In the United States, we can find it in the Southwest; however, it was brought there as an ornamental tree and has spread in the wild. As you can see from the picture, it is a tree that produces branches of delicate flowers and is quite beautiful in bloom. Many people in the Southwest find it annoying because it is a tree that not only requires a salty soil, but it adds salt to the soil which makes it harder for other plants native to the area to grow. It adds salt to the soil! What an interesting tree for Abraham to plant after swearing an oath with Abimelech.
Think about the words Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 (NLT), "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless." We are the salt of the earth! Maybe I'm stretching things here, but how neat is it that Abraham would plant a tree that adds salt to the soil after swearing an oath of integrity? When we live out our lives with integrity and living out the nature of Christ, we add salt to this world. Salt is an important preservative and flavoring, and we even need it in our bodies! So, when Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth we need to consider seriously what that means. Without the truth of Christ in this world, what would happen? The world cannot produce it's own salt, it is only through the hope of Christ that the world can have salt. And the amazing thing about God's plan is that He chose us to be the ones to add the salt in this lost world. In a sense, God has planted us like the tamarisk tree to salt the soil around us. No matter where we are, there are lost people that God wants to sprinkle with salt.
Are you adding salt to the soil around you?