By Ruth Bell Graham   •   September 30, 2005   •   Topics:

Bedouin is the Aramaic term for “desert dwellers.” They live in the Middle East, governing themselves through traditions and customs passed down from the time of Abraham.

The young Bedouin saw his friend lying dead in the sand. Knowing his people’s ancient, inflexible custom of swift justice, he fled and ran across the desert under cover of darkness. Finally he came to the sprawling black tent of the tribal chief.

Confessing his crime, he asked for protection and, according to Old Testament law, was granted asylum.

The old chief put his hand on one of the ropes of the great tent, swore before God and took the young man under his protection–until the affair could be settled legally.

The next day, the young man’s pursuers arrived, demanding that the murderer be turned over to them.

“I have given my word,” the old chieftain said.

“But you don’t know who he killed!” they answered.

“I have given my word.”

“He killed your son!”

The chief was shaken. He stood, head bowed, for quite some time. The accused and the accusers looked on breathlessly.

Finally the old man raised his head. He stood upright.

“Then he shall become my son,” he said, “and everything I have will one day be his.”

So it was with us. Our sins sent God’s own Son to the cross. But God in His mercy welcomes us into His family–now and forever.