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Living a Long Time



When Abraham was about 75 years old, God directed him to leave his home in Haran. Abraham traveled with his wife Sarah, nephew Lot, and servants to Canaan. Abraham made his home near the great trees of Mamre near Hebron. When Abraham was 99 years old, he had three visitors; one was the Lord. They told Abraham that Sarah would give birth to Abraham’s son within the next year (Genesis 18:10).


Symbolism: Longevity

In the Bible, oaks were associated with power, strength, or longevity in the sense of long life. The great oaks of Mamre symbolized Abraham’s long life. A Palestinian oak near Hebron, called Abraham’s Oak, is thought to be over 850 years old.


God promised that he will be with his servants through life, even into their old age and gray hairs (Isaiah 46:4). God’s people don’t need to be concerned about aging, or what they will do in retirement. They can use Abraham as their model. God called Abraham to a new life and adventure when Abraham was 75 years old. Abraham lived 175 years.


An Israelite proverb is that the fear of the Lord adds length to life; but the years of the wicked are cut short (Proverbs 10:27). Perhaps, the underlying logic of this proverb is as simple as individuals who fear the Lord live more prudent lives than do the wicked; therefore, they live longer. Whatever the cause and effect of the proverb, it is important and true because it is God’s word.


Reflection. Do you want a long life? How do you think a long life is related to fear of the Lord? Does fear of God have any place in how you live your current life?


Copyright: August 22, 2021; Carolyn A. Roth; All rights reserved.

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