Genesis 23:7 – “And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.”
Respect is a rare gift in today’s world. I fear that it is one of those things that has fallen by the wayside. Not only do people not respect others, they don’t respect themselves. Why else would boys walk around in public with their under shorts showing and holding up their pants?
Anyway, Abraham was showing the people of this country he was in, Hebron in the land of Canaan, respect. He wanted the people to know and understand that not only was he conducting business but that he was doing so with the highest regard for their position in their society. Several times in the 23 chapter of Genesis does is document that Abraham bowed himself before the people. And when he spoke, he did so with integrity and honor.
This passage documenting the retrieval of the cave at Machpelah to bury Sarah is short but full of a marvelous lesson in respect and dealing with others.
Back in the day, men would open the doors for ladies. People would rise when an elderly person entered the room. Females dressed modestly to protect their virtue. Children did not talk back to their parents. People didn’t question whether they attended worship on Sunday mornings. Here is a very short list of the acts that our society approves that demonstrates a lack of respect for others, themselves and most of all God.
Manners is one remedy. Caring about others is another. Understanding our place in this world is yet another way to help rectify the situation. I’ve always tried to remember that if I show respect, then I am more likely to receive it. Sometimes I achieve this and sometimes I don’t. But it is something that I have to make myself do sometimes.
So let me encourage you today to try and be more diligent at showing respect. Respect your coworkers by helping them if you can. Respect your children by knocking before you enter their room. Show respect to your spouse by stopping what you are doing and listening when they speak. Respect your boss by getting your work done in a timely manner. Respect God by reading and meditating on His word today. Respect can be a beautiful thing when chosen to be given. It can be difficult sometimes but giving it can smooth over many difficult situations.
Psalm 34:1-3 – “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
It is coming upon Thanksgiving. A time where we remember to count our blessings. But society would have it to be a time of food, football and eager anticipation for the shopping season. We have strayed so far from God that a family bowing around a table full of a bountiful feast is antiquated. It is not cool.
Well, at my house, we have that scene exactly. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it sometimes stresses me out but it is a good stress. The excitement and anticipation of smelling the food and then getting to eat it is the best!
But we also take time to remember our blessings. We have been blessed to live in a country where we can freely worship our Savior and speak our mind and to freely travel about. In my family, we have been blessed with good jobs, health and a good solid place to worship.
You know, the holidays are often a time of depression as well. I know I’m not the only one who has lost family members around the holidays. My grandmother died on Thanksgiving day in 1999. But you know what, she died cooking dinner. She died happy. My dad’s birthday is this Saturday. He would have been 62. Thankfully, it is a short list. I know that many people have a very long list.
Hence the reason for this group of verses. We have to change our perspective. I can’t dwell on what is missing or who is missing. I have way too much to bless The Lord for. David is encouraging us to be a light to those around us. A light of hope. A light of joy. A light of peace. We have to praise Him for all He has done for us. And we need to do it collectively. We need to join together and praise His name. Join with your brothers and sisters in your local church and reach out to your community. Bless The Lord by blessing others. Show them the love of God. Verse 3 says “let us exalt his name together”. You don’t have to do it on your own. Bless The Lord together.