Day 7: El-Olam

After making their covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they returned home to the land of the Philistines. Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the Lord, [El-Olam].

Genesis 21:33-34

El-Olam: The Everlasting (or Eternal) God

It is one of the hardest lessons of our early lives, one I have repeated to my daughters at every broken toy, at the ending of every playdate, at the ruining of a favorite dress, at the death of a beloved dog, at the end of all the things they love that can’t go on forever: nothing lasts forever. This world was made a temporal and therefore temporary thing; all things fade, wear out, break, die.

Except.

There is one thing in this world, the only thing, we can love that will never fade, wear out, break, or die, and I tell my kids this too. The only everylasting, El-Olam, the everlasting God. The only Love we will ever have that will not end bereft.

I’m sure my kids think I’m crazy now, or dramatic, now when the world to them is so new and fresh and death is so far away it hardly seems real. But one day, perhaps they will remember. Nothing lasts forever, except.

Abraham knew this. By this part of his story, Abraham was an old, old man and had his promised son. But God had not ended there. The Lord had defended Him time and time again, including in this recent treaty of Beersheba, and granted him favor for his faith. His life was a story almost at its ending, and its “about” was growing clear: his life was a story about how who matters more than do. His faith was in Yahweh Elohim, Adonai, El Elyon, El Roi, the God he now knew by many names. The God who, throughout his whole life, never went away, but showed Himself present and active over and over again. The God who lasted though nothing else did; the everlasting God. And so he added a knew name that only a very old man can really know: El-Olam. The Everlasting God.

Nothing lasts forever except El-Olam.

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