Saturday, December 06, 2008

Genesis 24:22-27 "Success Confirmed"

Genesis 24:22-27: Then it came about, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel in gold, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?” And she said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” Again she said to him, “We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.” Then the man bowed low and worshipped the Lord. He said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the Lord has guided me in the way to the house of my master's brothers."

Abraham’s servant watches as all the camels are given water to drink. When they were fully satisfied, he took out the gifts he had wisely brought along – a gold ring and two bracelets. These were gifts of Abraham to be used just for this purpose. The two must have discussed this need for gifts and what was to be given should the need arise as Abraham was sure it would. It is not clear whether or not he had actually given them to Rebekah at this point in time when he asked her two questions -- “Whose daughter are you?” and “Is there room for us in your father’s house?”

These two questions were meant to serve as extra insurance that this indeed was the woman that God had intended for Isaac. The correct answer to the first question would confirm the appropriate lineage of the woman and the correct answer to the second question would confirm the type of home in which she was raised and thus reflect the type of woman she was. The servant asked for lodging not only for himself, but also for his entire party (later we will learn that there were others with him) and for his camels. A positive answer would reflect how Rebekah and her family viewed the blessings (human and otherwise) that God provides and how well they took care of such.

Rebekah responds most favorably in all aspects of the questioning. What is particularly noteworthy is how a young woman could commit her family to what many of us today would consider an imposition on the household. It reminds of a time when our eldest daughter was a teenager and one of her friends needed a place to stay. On her own, she told Jeannie that she could stay at our house – and Jeannie did, for many months. Our daughter was confident enough to know that this was the right thing to do and that her parents would agree. We did for to have done anything else would have indicated a high level of hypocrisy in what we were trying to teach our children and how we were trying to live our Christian lives. Many years later, as we prepared to jointly occupy a house with our younger daughter and her family, there was a possibility that someone we both knew might need a place to stay due to her own family’s circumstances. Because we were older now, our younger daughter first sought confirmation from us out of courtesy, but ultimately expected that the answer would be the same as it was for her older sister many years earlier. Children have a way of sensing what their parents would accept and what they would not. Rebekah was no different and all her answers served as a total confirmation that the servant’s mission was indeed blessed by God and he was successful.

Abraham’s servant did not hesitate. Right there and then he bowed down and worshiped the Lord who gave him this success and blessed his master. He recognized that God indeed had continued his loving kindness towards his master and furthermore that He had guided him to his master’s family.

There is phrase in this verse that is worthy of mention and that is “God…has not forsaken…His truth toward my master”. What is that truth referred to here? You will remember that God had promised to build up Abraham’s family. Yet, as Abraham got older, many in the household including this servant may well have started to wonder whether God was going to remain faithful to that truth that He had promised. Isaac’s future role in carrying out this promise of God’s was a central question in everybody’s mind. But now the servant realizes that God has not forgotten his master in this matter and is indeed providing a wife for his son so that God’s promise to Abraham can become a reality. We must always be on the lookout for how God is keeping His promises to us in our lives. Ravi Zacharias, in his book, Grand Weaver, instructs us to be constantly and pleasantly surprised by how beautifully God weaves the grand design of our life for His glory. What has God done for you lately as part of that special design He has for you? You need only to open your spiritual eyes to see it.

Finally, we must note the phrase “the Lord has guided me in the way to the house…”. The servant agreed to do the right thing but He needed God’s guidance to help him succeed. He did not really know how things would work out or whether he could even find what he was looking for when he set out from Abraham’s household. But God guided him “on the way”. If we want God to direct us, we need to start moving – start the action. It has always been much easier to steer a moving vessel than one standing still. There is a time to “be still” and hear God’s instructions, but then there is a time to move out in faith and obedience.

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