Back and better than ever, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob podcast continues. Episode 8 on the way. Are you ready? We pretty much finished chapter 22 of Genesis last time, so we’re ready to make the transition from Abraham to Isaac – a monumental transition, really.
As always, I’ll encourage you, if this is your first time listening, go back and listen from the beginning so you can get the whole picture of this amazing story.
And remember more resources, like this podcast, are available on mariosnministries.com. Also, can I trouble you to leave a review of the podcast on your favorite platform, that helps get the word out. The other thing that helps more than anything actually, is for you to share this podcast with your family and friends. We would be so grateful.
The reason this is being recorded is to be a help to those who God would have listen, that they may be strengthen and encouraged in their faith as they meet face to face with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, the more people we can get it too, the better.
With that said, let’s get started!
Last episode, we finished the amazing story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. A truly inspiring account of the faithfulness of God. It is a story that looks forward toward the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, on the cross.
To put even more emphasis on it, take one last look at the end of Genesis 22. The conclusion of the episode with the sacrifice of Isaac is that the angel of the Lord calls out to Abraham a second time and says:
By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.
So, you not only hear there, again, the affirmation of God’s promise to Abraham – He will multiply his offspring— but note that “in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” How is this possible? As we have discussed, the Christ will eventually come through Abraham’s offspring, through whom we are all saved. If you take a look at Luke 3, starting on verse 23, you’ll read the genealogy of Jesus and Luke will trace it from Joseph, all the way back through David and Jacob, Isaac to Abraham, and even all the way to Adam. It is all significant. And you can understand it better now, after getting acquainted with the God of Abraham and His faithful promises. I hope those New Testament passages take on a new meaning for you.
Okay, time to move on now, we read that Abraham was told about his brother Nahor having children with Milcah his wife. A number of his children are mentioned, including Bethuel who fathered Rebecka. That is a name we don’t know about yet, but we will. It relates to one of today’s story, so I want to note it for here.
Chapter 23 greets us with the death of Sarah. She lived 127 years, the text says, and she died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan (in Israel today, in the West Bank as it is known). We are told Abraham weeps for Sarah and sets out to find a fitting gravesite for his beloved. Recall that Abraham is sojourning in the land of the Hittites, so he asks them for a piece of land, and we have this sort of a funny exchange where they want to just give it to him, but he wants to buy it from them. They go back and forth, but Abraham insists, and he pays Ephron the son of Zohar four hundred shekels of silver for the cave of Machpelah, where he ends up burying Sarah.
This is an important Biblical site that is still around to this day, Abraham will be buried here also, as will be Isaac and his wife and Jacob and his wife. The site has been transformed at different points in history. Herod the Great built a big structure around it. There was a church built inside that was later converted into a mosque by the Muslims in the 7th century, and then recaptured by the Crusaders in the 12th century, then again by Muslims. But anyway, you can still visit this site today, although the actual tomb is in the cave beneath the place that is open to the public.
These facts are always encouraging to note because they remind us, we are reading history here, not fiction. Always remember that and remind your children and grandchildren of it.
Abraham is left alone now, but he is very old also. If Sarah is 127, he is probably 137, given their ages at the birth of Isaac (90 and 100). So, he’s thinking that his time is coming and therefore wants to make sure Isaac marries a woman from his own tribe, and not a Canaanite from the place they are currently living, so he makes his servant swear to him that he would go back to his homeland and try to get a wife for his son.
The servant is a bit reluctant at first, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” he tells Abraham (verse 5 of chapter 24) Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.”
Note again, Abraham is walking by faith. The woman will have a choice. To be sure there are societal pressures that force women to make tough choices at the time, but there is something deeper here than the simplistic calculations of our modern society. Never listen to those who want to sit in judgement of the Word of God, from their supposed enlighten modern or post-modern point of view. These so-called experts are usually the most blind of all teachers.
We do well to approach Scripture always with humility. With a sort of fear and trembling due to the Lord of the Universe.
Abraham’s servant swears, takes some significant resources, camels, servants and gifts, and then departs on his journey to find a wife for Isaac. Where is he going? He is going to go to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor—remember the name? — yes, that is Abraham’s brother, to whom we were introduced earlier (at the end of chapter 22) who had born children along with his wife Milcah.
Now, you can see how this is a crazy endeavor. How is he going to even approach anybody, he doesn’t know anyone in the area, and he is just showing up unannounced. Just about the only thing he has going for himself is the appearance of being respectable, given the possessions he is carrying around, but everything else really seems to be working against him. What is he going to do? This is a desperate situation. Where is he going to turn for help?
Well, here’s a great testimony, this servant has seen the faithfulness of the God of Abraham, and so he turns to that God for help.
“O Lord, God of my master Abraham, [he prays in verse 12 of chapter 24] please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”
Ladies and gentlemen, faith will carry this servant through. He will have success, just as Abraham had affirmed through faith. He will complete this impossible task. The God of Abraham is the God of Abraham’s servant.
And never lose sight, this is your God too. Or I hope you will recognize Him as such, if you haven’t. This Amazing God who can do the impossible is still looking out for his people, performing marvelous deeds to the glory of His name.
Perhaps some other time I’ll tell you what He has done in my life. For He has done the impossible in my life too. This God is real. He is near and present at every turn. We are not talking theory here, but the true life that can be yours today.
Let’s keep reading:
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder.
He, he… isn’t this exciting?
The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.”
What do you think is going to happen?
She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So, she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.
C’mon friends, are you all reading the same thing I’m reading?! This is… this is mind-blowing. He just prayed for this. I mean giving the man water that’s one thing, but to volunteer to water the camels also, that’s something else.
She’s beautiful, she’s not married, she’s doing this incredible charitable deed, she doesn’t need to do this, she doesn’t owe anything to this servant.
What I hope you see is that the God of Abraham and his servant is at work. That’s what we are witnessing here. So, stand back and prepared to be amazed!
After she finished, he gives her some gifts and asks, “whose daughter are you?” And you can only imagine his face when she tells him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.”
So, let’s revisit this again. I’m sorry, but, this servant shows up unannounced to a place he doesn’t know, prays to God, talks to the first woman that comes by and she does exactly what he prayed for, she is beautiful, unmarried and she is from his master’s household.
You may call that coincidence and go on your way. But I join this servant as he (in verse 26) “bowed his head and worshiped the Lord,” saying, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master.”
I am tempted to stop there… to leave us marveling at our God. I hope you take some time to mediate on this.
But I do want to finish the story.
The servant can’t believe it, in the next verse he says, “As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.”
He knows he hasn’t done anything, he just showed up, walking by faith and God took him right where he needed to be at the exact time he needed to be there.
Do you dare pray this way? This is not testing God, I know many of us have tried that, that is not the same prayer. Jesus refused to do that in the dessert when the devil tried to get him to put God to the test. We cannot do that. We will be frustrated and disappointed every time.
This is someone sent by God on an impossible task that demands trust, and actually walking in that trust, desperately praying for God’s help and guidance through faith. God will come to your aid every time in answer to such prayer.
This servant is not out of the woods yet though. He’s got to go and talk to the family still. And he hasn’t even told Rebekah. She may refuse to go. Common sense says she will. He, he…
But for God, ha?
He goes to her household, meets the family, dines with them, and finally tells the story that has brought him there. Can you imagine?
Just put yourself as a dad or a mom hearing this craziness from a man you just met, conveniently talking to you about your beautiful daughter. I mean, I have two daughters, people… this is not sitting well on my stomach right now.
But you see, those are the calculations of men. I know these calculations; they don’t add up. They never will.
The problem is that they are not reality. There is a spiritual reality that the world ignores, and because of that, it can never experience righteousness. You know what that means. It’s just what is right and good and excellent. In order for us to experience that peace and joy, we must walk by the Spirit, not by sight. Rebekah and her family must be guided in this way right now, or they will understandably reject this man as an unstable lunatic.
But he is not. Do you see what we are talking about?
If you have rejected God up until now, because things just don’t add up, and your parents or Cristian friends sound like crazy people, what if they are not? What if what they are telling you is the truth?
I beg you to come and see, taste that the Lord is good.
Laban, Rebekah’s brother, and Bethuel, her father, seem to be at a loss, but they believe it is from the Lord, so they agree. Listen to how they respond: “The thing has come from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has spoken.”
You can hear the fear of the Lord in them, but it’s like they don’t like it, they won’t speak good or bad about it.
So, it is not surprising that then next day they are a bit apprehensive about it. They ask the servant to remain with them for a bit longer. Abraham’s servant sort of feels what is happening and then ask them not to delay them, so they finally turn to what they should have done in the first place, Let’s ask Rebekah what she wants to do.
And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
“Our sister, may you become
thousands of ten thousands,
and may your offspring possess
the gate of those who hate him!”
Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man.
What an amazing testimony of the goodness of God and none of them will regret trusting God. Not the family, nor the servant, nor Abraham or Isaac, and not Rebekah who will be loved by Isaac, note that on verse 67. When we are faithful to God, He is always sure to bless us in ways unimaginable. The God of Abraham is faithful and good. Put your trust in him today.