Genesis 23:17 …and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure
In the previous discussions we saw the field and cave which also figuratively represent life in this world and death at the end of it respectively. These were both made sure unto Abraham just as life and death are brought under the power of our Messiah.
The passage now adds another component — all the trees in and around the borders of the field.
There are different trees
All over Scripture, the Bible describes different types of trees and their various characteristics and uses. We read about the strength of oaks (Amos 2:9) that provides a refuge, the incorruptible nature of cedars used in the building of palaces (1Kings 5:6-10) and the lowly bramble that is full of thorns and good for burning.
Trees are further divided into their ability to bear fruits or not. Fruitful trees are highly esteemed and pruned for better yield while fruitless ones are cut down and burned (John 15:1-2). Indeed, the Messiah describes himself as a Vine tree that produces grapes (John 15:1) Several other passages also describe assemblies of trees for a specific purpose such as Isaiah 60:13 which states:
‘The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious’.
From this passage, it is obvious that trees were used to build the Most High’s house, but what does it mean in the Genesis 23 passage?
The building blocks
Some years ago I had a transforming experience. I had been spending some time waiting on the Most High and one morning I woke up and suddenly found myself in a vision. I saw myself in a forest and I heard a voice talking to me about different kinds of trees. Then I saw myself standing on a raft and drifting off an Island seawards. In the distance I could see a range of mountains. Then I heard a voice telling me that the land out there is the land he had promised (to send me), but I could not get there without the anointing. I would need him. Then I was back in my room wondering what had just happened. I realized my Father was telling me I would be migrating and felt a need to know more.
Based on how He had been leading me in the past, I knew I would find confirmation in the Scriptures so I picked up the Strong’s concordance and started searching for passages with floats or rafts and any of their synonyms. What I found stunned me, it is in 1 Kings 5:9. It concerned the deal between Solomon and Hiram king of Tyre. Solomon started to build the temple and needed materials shipped over from Lebanon. So Hiram agreed to have skillful workers hew cedars and send them over to Solomon on floats.
1 Kings 5:8-9 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.
Hiram said, my servants will prepare the trees, they will put them on floats (rafts) and will deliver them to the place you have appointed, you will receive them to build your Elohim’s sanctuary and I will be blessed with food for my house.
My place in His Field
I was stunned when I saw this because I had no recollection of ever noticing this story. Without a doubt, I knew I was one of those trees sent to build the house of the Most High. He had already told me he wanted me to teach so it was easy to interpret what he was saying. I saw my place in his plan, I could now understand why I had gone through some of the things I had. I knew I had an appointment with destiny, I would get there safely, and I would never be alone, He would receive me. Even more reassuring was the knowledge that the home I was leaving behind would be blessed. When I look back now, I see how He delayed my trip till he was ready and how he blessed my family after I left.
I see men as trees
Through this passage, I understood that the trees described in Isaiah 60 also symbolize men. The Most High will raise men to beautify his sanctuary, and make the place of his feet (as in walking) glorious. He will do a great thing in these end times and he will use the sons of men to do it. May we be found worthy to be part of His work. May we be covered by the glory of the Most High and may the beauty of his house draw all men unto him. The Scriptures extol us to arise; to shine for the glory of our Master is risen upon us (Isaiah 60:1). Even when darkness covers the world, may the Almighty arise upon us, may His glory be seen on us and may those sitting in the dark be drawn to his light in us.
We can further see the symbolic relationship of men and trees in the story of the blind man at Bethsaida who cried to Yashayah to touch him. The Messiah took him outside the town, spat in his eyes, touched him and asked if he could see. He answered and said:
I see men as trees walking – Mark 8:24
We can look all through the Scripture and see this relationship all over. Two examples are the very popular Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man … … he shall be like a TREE planted by the rivers of water and Joel 1:12 says … all the trees of the field are withered because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
Armed with this understanding, we can now go back to Genesis 23 and see the passage.
True Israel and ‘grafted-in’ strangers are secured
Who are these trees?
…and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure
All the trees in and around the field were secured unto Abraham. Israelites at the center of the field and the gentiles who embrace them are all paid for by the current money before the merchants. Our house, family and all that is ours shall be safe in the creator’s hands. He will keep us and all that are ours. Our children will be safe; our parents will be protected by reason of the covenant we have with Him. Note, this does not guarantee their eternal salvation, which is a choice they have to personally make.
All the trees were in the field, not in the cave. In life, they will be safe because of the covenant we have with the Father, but in death, every man will answer for himself. Likewise our family will be saved from many storms in life because we have a family insurance policy with the Father, but in death, every individual shall give account for himself.
‘Made sure’ doesn’t mean wealthy
I feel the need to clarify ‘made sure’ because of the current prosperity gospel all around us.
When the Scriptures say that the trees were made sure unto Abraham, it didn’t mean all will be bent over under the weight of their fruits. All trees are not the same, so some trees will bear more fruits than others. It is likely some trees won’t even produce any fruit.
Made sure simply means that they were totally owned by Abraham. In other words, they are subject to his perfect will.
When we stay in the truth (within the borders), we will remain in His perfect will. We are not guaranteed riches or the best cars; only eternal life and our earthly needs is promised. The role we have in His will is what determines if we get riches or not. He doesn’t need to prove that He is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills by putting a thousand cattle on your hill. If the Messiah died so that everyone can become a millionaire, He wouldn’t have stated that “ye have the poor always with you” (Matthew 26:11). Remember, these poor were also Judeans (you can use the term saved if you like).
Only the trees within the border count
The account in Genesis 23 does not tell us what types of tree were in the land that Abraham bought. It is safe to say that those trees were not exclusive to his land. They must have been in the neighboring properties as well.
So, what is the relevance of this? It is simple, salvation is not determined by what type of man you are. Being an Israelite is not a guarantee that you will be saved. The same types of trees can be found on both sides of the border of Abraham’s property. Everyone of us has work to do to cross that finish line. We cannot just waltz across as many preachers try to make us believe.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
Grace and justification
Yes, there is grace for salvation, but grace and spiritual lethargy are not the same. Grace is not a license for disobedience to the Law as modern preachers teach. If the Messiah lived His life according to the Law and claimed that the Law has not been abolished, then who are we to think that we are above the Law?
Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW. (Romans 3:30-31)
The circumcision (descendants of Abraham) and uncircumcision (gentiles and heathen) are justified by the same ‘God’. We must all however be obedient to His Law if He will justify us.
Do we really believe that our Messiah would live and die by the Law so that we may live a lawless life? Does that even make sense to us? Let us not be deceived, the Law is still in effect.
Stay within the borders
To be sure unto Abraham, the trees had to be within the borders.
The border is the truth, that surrounds us and sets us free (from the sons of Heth)
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Jn 8:32)
As long as we stay in the truth of the Word, we will remain in His perfect will. However when we deviate from Scriptures, we become subject to inordinate passions and heathen delusions. When we deviate from the truth, we begin celebrating Tammuz’s saturnalia (Christmas) and the fertility rituals of Oestre (Easter). Instead of obeying the Word of our King, we follow ‘our heart’ (Judges 21:25). When we do obey, we pick and choose which Law we think is still valid. Consequently, we say the Law of Sabbaths is no more, but tithes, that one we keep. Then we wonder why everything is a mess and no wonder we don’t hear the Most High’s audible voice anymore.
When we break this edge of truth, we are in Heth territory, and the serpent is free to bite us.
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. (Ecclesiastes 10:8)
Legacy in Canaan
The story of the events at Machpelah is an interesting one. It marks the first time that Abraham really secured any legacy in Canaan, indeed it was the only one the patriarchs would have till the exodus from Egypt more than 500 years later.
To us, it speaks of our Father’s legally binding ransom for true Israel’s redemption through the blood of the Messiah. As a result of the price paid, our life, all that we stand for or will pass through are secure for our Elohim in this life and that beyond the grave. Death has lost its sting and hold on us, we will no longer be slaves to fear but alive to the Most High. As long as we are in Him, the law of sin and death has no power over us; rather the law of life and righteousness will be our lot.
One warning however needs to be noted, this security is only valid for as long as we remain within the borders of the field and cave. We must stay woke and remain in the truth. If we venture out, or walk away from the truth, we will be on Heth property and subject to their laws.
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Once we put our hand to the plow, we must not look back. Let us stay in the liberty that Yashayah has placed us and we shall be safe. Let us not look back or rebel as our fathers did. Turning back to our previous lustful desires in the world will only lead to us being overturned in the wilderness. May we find strength like Joshua and Caleb to have faith and to walk in obedience to our Father.
We are the vine, He the husbandman
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. – John 15:1
We are the vine that He planted in the field. It is important for us to understand that the tree does not own the field or land, the husbandman does. In the world, it is popular to make claims like – “it’s my life, it’s my body and I can do what I want with it”. Well, according to Scriptures, it is not yours, it belongs to your maker. How is it His? Well, firstly, He made it, and secondly, He redeemed it. He bought it back from the prince of this world (John 12:31 and 14:30) by paying current money for it. The price was the blood of the Lamb that was slain.
If our lives belong to the Almighty, then it makes sense that He can do what He wants with it. He can dress His vineyard as He wants and harvest it when He wants. Job understood this, so on receiving news of his children’s death, he stated:
…Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. – Job 1:21
That is a man with understanding of his place in the creator’s plan.
in concluding, Abraham did not just buy an empty land and cave. Rather, he bought a land teeming with trees and shrubs and grass on the ground. By paying the right and acceptable price, he redeemed a lot of trees out from the hands of the sons of Heth.
Likewise, our kinsman redeemer and Messiah did not redeem a planet just for the heck of it. Rather, He chose and called us out of the world (land of Heth) into His own ‘world’ (Abraham’s field)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1Pet 2:9-10)
He chose us and redeemed us for Himself. Let us not only acknowledge this, but also serve and obey Him.
In the final part of this series, I will elaborate on what happened on the field that was redeemed. Until then, may His love fill our hearts, His grace uphold us and His power overshadow us now and forever.