Genesis 22: Mount Moriah- An Unusual Christmas Story
The word moriah means forseen of Jehovah We are told in Revelation before the foundation of the earth, the Lamb was slain. This means mans sin was foreseen by God. Therefore God built into the plan of creation- the plan of salvation. Consider the watchmaker who realizes a watch will stop telling time and therefore builds into the watch the mechanism where it can be reset. This allows the watch to be restored to perform the purpose for which it was designed rather than be discarded as useless. In much the same way, God who has all knowledge, including foreknowledge foresaw the fall of man. For this reason the Lamb was slain before the foundation. In other words, The Fall was foreseen and provided for in councils of Triune God in eternity past. God Provided a way. He made a way where there was no way. In fact- the Lord Jesus would become the Way.
Mount Moriah is the very place where in later years King David bought the threshing floor of Ornan as a place for the site of the temple.( I Chronicles 21:18) And it was on that very place where Abraham offered Isaac, the temple of Solomon was built, ( 2 Chronicles 3:1).
Today the Moslem mosque, the Dome of the Rock is built over the great rock that formed the altar upon which Abraham offered Isaac. It is from this rock that Muslims believe Ishmael was offered and from this rock they believe Mohammed and his horse ascended into heaven. So this is a place this is very historic to three religions.
This account of Abraham offering Isaac is a remarkable foreshadowing in the OT of the work of Christ in the NT- with Gethsemane, Calvary and the Resurrection all clearly in view.
But also this account gives us not only an account of Abrahams greatest test- it gives us an insight and picture of the deep love that God the Father has for His Son. In this story of Abraham and Isaac we sense the great love and joy that Abraham has for his only son, Isaac. We can empathize and comprehend this love Abraham had for his son and in doing so- we get a glimpse of the great love that God the Father had for His Son. We shudder when we think of how great this sacrifice was for not just the Lord Jesus- but for our Heavenly Father. Jesus told us- if you earthly fathers being evil give good gifts to your children- how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to them who ask Him. The Lord Jesus was providing a hint to the greatest gift ever given- the most expensive gift ever given- His precious blood and if that was not enough He also gave us the Holy Spirit.
As we have studied the book of Genesis I have referred to what theologians refer to as the principle of first mention. This principle points out when a word is used for the first time in the Bible, the context in which it occurs sets the pattern for its primary usage and development through the rest of Scripture.
Did you know in this verse, Genesis 22:2- the word love appears for the first time? Isnt it interesting the first time it is used is not in connection with a mans love for his wife or a mother for her children or brotherly love, or love of country or even love for God. Instead it is used of the love of a father for his son.
That Isaac is a type of Christ is confirmed by Galatians 3:16. The experience of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah is a type of offering of Christ at Calvary is confirmed by Hebrews 11:17-19. So in this account of Abraham and Isaac we see and can more fully comprehend and appreciate the sacrifice that God the Father endured in heaven when His Son climbed that other mount and was laid upon the wooden cross. For God the Father did not spare His own Son- but delivered Him up for us all.
You see- this love of God the Father for God the Son existed in eternity past- long before the world was created. Therefore we can conclude this love is the foundation for all other types of love. And what a love it is— sacrificial, unconditional- withholding nothing- a love that risks all and is for all who would receive it.
God proclaims this deep love for His Son in the NT . Lets look at the first occurrence of the word- love in the NT.
Matthew 3:17- (at His baptism) And a voice from heaven said, this is my Son , whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.
Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22 record similar statements; at Jesus baptism.
Then in John 3:16: we see the first mention of the word love in that Gospel. But here Gods son tells us God the Father loves US so much He was willing to sacrifice His only beloved Son that we might be saved.
I John 4:9-11 : This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
So with this information as a backdrop- lets look at this account this test of Abrahams faith with all of this perspective. In doing so- we will find a most unusual Christmas story.
Genesis 22:1-2: Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham and he said here am I.. Then God said take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love ( First mention of the word love in Bible) and go to the region of Moriah; and offer(KJV) him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.
I purposely used the word offer from the KJV because of the meaning of the word offer. Offer means to present for acceptance.. God did not actually ask Abraham to kill his son- nothing is said about slaying Isaac, although this is the natural conclusion that Abraham jumps to as most of us reading this also concur. Offer= present for acceptance. Same word used when Paul writes in Romans 12present your bodies a living sacrifice. That Abraham would be willing to offer his son was the test- God, of course would not accept the sacrifice- He wanted to test the heart and love of Abraham. Remember the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord thy God with ALL your heart, mind, soul and body.
Notice the scene is set chronologically by telling us this is some time later. From this we infer Isaac is a young man, capable of carrying a load of wood. Probably in his early 20s. The KJV uses the word tempts- the NIV interprets the Hebrew word used here nacha as tests. This interpretation better describes the meaning which is defined in Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary as assay, prove or try. God does not tempt He test the heart He tries it.
Satan tempts with the purpose of seeing us fail. God tests us in order to confirm our faith.
We do not want to lose sight of the fact that Abrahams story is a story of faith. In fact Abrahams story is recorded in such a way that he becomes our sample man of faith. What we have observed so far is a man on a 50 year journey of faith.
God has tested his faith and in doing so- Abraham has learned to recognize Gods voice.
He has learned that sometimes he is asked to go out to a place that he does not know where he is going but trusts the God who is directing him to that place.
In learning to follow God and walk the walk of faith- Abraham learns following God means sometimes leaving behind things our old nature loved.
Think about what Abraham has left :
Mesopotamia and his comfort zone.
Tehran, his father in Haran.
First choice of land- yielded first choice to Lot.
The rewards of the king of Sodom- which were great.
Ishmael, his first son. The representative of the old nature- the flesh.
But in each incident, as Abraham looked back over his life of faith, he realized how God had been faithful
I believe in these tests and with his sending away of Ishmael and Hagar we realize a very important spiritual truth and principle*.
*God will not take away your Ishmael until you have received your Isaac*.
We are not told what Abraham thought- but we can certainly imagine the night before he left and the 3 days journey- there was nothing else on his mind but what lay ahead. The sense of dread and fear and reluctance must have been on his mind and heart constantly.
But verse 3 tells us early the next morning he took off with Isaac and two servants. He had a load of wood, and other needs for making a sacrifice. We read they set out for the place God has told them about.. A place that surely was dreaded- not unlike our Lord Jesus and His Father dreaded another place called Calvary.
In verse 4- we read on the third day they saw the place In Luke 22: 33, we are told, And when they had come to the PLACE which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him. One place surely foreshadowed the other place. For three days- Abraham must have thought of nothing but the death of his only beloved son. But something happened in that three day journey.
What Abraham does next reveals something happened to Abrahams faith in those three days. A faith that had been 50 years in developing.
Verse 5: He(Abraham) said to his servants, Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship the Lord and then WE will come back. You see the statement of faith- WE will come back. Do you find it strange that Abraham referred to what he was about to do as worship? The literal and original meaning of the word- worship has lost its true meaning. We think of worship as a worship service- preaching, singing hymns, fellowship but the original Hebrew word a verb- Shachah- means to bow down- to prostrate ones self as an act of respect before a superior being. It was a way to show submission. To worship God, as Abraham spoke of here was to bow down to His will. Recognizing He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. And because we believe that we submit to His revealed will, even if we do not understand it.
What happened to Abraham in those three days of travel? Hebrews 11: 17-19 tells us the rest of the story:
By faith Abraham when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Abraham reasoned ( reckoned- accounted) that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (Romans 6- Paul tells of powerful truths we should know and reckon to be true.)
Do you understand what Abraham did he reckoned, reasoned and calculated that God had said it was through Isaac all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Isaac is necessary to the fulfillment. Furthermore, Isaac was not married yet and had no offspring. So if Abraham had to go through with this dreadful act- there could only be one explanation- God would raise Isaac from the dead, even from the ashes. That is why Abraham said without hesitation to the two servants- WE will return. Abraham had come to believe that God was who He said He was and could do what He said He would do.
Abraham said to the two servants I and the boy go over there and worship. The place they had come to- was a place where only the Father and the Son could gothey went up together. Twice it is mentioned- the father and the son went up together.
For the Lord Jesus there came a point where He went forward alone( a stones throw) in the Garden to be with His Father. He was going to a place only He and His Father could go- as they prepared to go up to Calvary together- a place the disciples could not go.
Now let us carefully consider these next verses:
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac( a picture of the cross laid upon our Lords shoulders) and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went up together, Isaac spoke up and said to Abraham, – Father. Yes my son, Abraham replied. The fire and wood are here, said Isaac, but where is the lamb?
Abraham answered, God Himself will provide the lamb FOR the burnt offering my son. And the two of them went on together.
Do you see the foreshadowing of Gethsemane here? We see the Lord Jesus in the garden, sweating great drops of blood, and asking His Father- Abba- Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will. The Lord Jesus was in anguish we are told. But now consider what must have been the heart of God the Father as we consider what this agonizing question from Isaac (where is the lamb, Father?)must have done to Abrahams heart.
We can visualize the scene- an old man with a son in his 20s climbing a mountain with a container of fire- a knife and a load of wood laid upon the young mans back. The young mans question where is the lamb?- would not be answered for centuries. Then a prophet came out of the desert named John the Baptist. His mission was to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord the Messiah. In John 1:29, John the Baptist proclaimed as he saw Jesus the day after baptizing Him- Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Lamb of God had arrived!
In verse 9, we see Abraham and Isaac, father and son, reach the place. Abraham built the altar and lay the wood upon it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him upon the altar. We realize at this time, that Isaac knows what is happening and has submitted to the will of his father. He could have easily overcome his father physically- but he submitted like a lamb led to the slaughter. Again we see the cross of Mount Calvary in plain view. God the Father did not force His Son to die on the cross. Listen to what Jesus said in John 10_ 17-18: the reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
It was the Fathers will- but the Son willingly obeyed. Praise God our Father who with His Son went together to that place, Calvary, and because they did, because God spared not His Only Son- lost sinners can be forgiven and receive eternal life. He gave us the greatest gift ever- He gave us His Son to take our place on the cross.
Abraham did not have to take the life of his son, Isaac. God never intended for him to do so- God wanted Abrahams heart.
So in a dramatic ending- the knife is stopped and a ram whose horns are caught in the thorns is provided by God as a sacrifice instead of Isaac.
Here is your Christmas message : You see you cannot truly celebrate Christmas- without celebrating Calvary.
Look not just to the Babe in Bethlehem but look at the Son of God on the cross and see the crown of thorns. For this reason the Lord came to earth- for this purpose was the Babe in Bethlehem born. It is the Lamb, God has provided- his horns caught in the thorns. That crown of thorns that encircled our Lords brow is our Christmas wreath. The cross on which He was laid is our Christmas Tree.
God provided a sacrifice in the place of Isaac that day and Abraham named the location- Jehovah-jireh meaning God will Provide.
You see Christmas is for giving- for God gave us His Only Begotten Son. The Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. For Christmas reminds us why Christ came into the world: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burn offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then said I: here I am it is written about me in the scroll I have come to do your will, O God. ( Hebrews 10:5-7)
You cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Calvary. Christmas is for giving and Christmas is about forgiving. For God so loved the world He gave His Only Begotten son that whosoever should believe in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life..
On the day He was born in Bethlehem, Our Lord Jesus and His Father began a journey to that place- Mount Calvary. It was a journey planned long ago in eternity past. You cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Calvary because the purpose of Christmas was to go to Calvary.
So open your gifts from your Heavenly Father:
If you knew the gift of God
Wait for the gift my Father has promised..
And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
But the gift of God is eternal life..
Each man has his own gift from God..
This (salvation) is the gift of God not of works..
Genesis 23-. The Death of Sarah
Genesis 23:1-4- Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Hebron in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said I am a alien and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.
Notice where they are living in Hebron- the place of fellowship. It has been 37 years since Isaac was born and probably 34 years since the departure of Ishmael and Hagar. We can believe these have been good years.
I suspect Sarahs death was sudden and perhaps unexpected because the reading of these verses indicates Abraham was away from her when she died and went to mourn and weep for his beloved bride. There is nothing wrong with grieving over the loss of a loved one. We are told not to grieve like those who have no hope in 1 Thess. 4. In fact, Paul refers to the death of believers as falling asleep. However, it is a time of sorrow for those of us left behind.
In verse 3, we see Abraham rose from beside his dead wife. Sarah was probably lying in the tent they shared. Abraham lay beside her and held her one last time.
What Abraham said when he rose up reveals Abraham has reminded himself of who he is: a foreigner to this world- just traveling through looking for a city whose architect and builder is God. A place where his bride has now departed for. Abrahams longing for this place will be greater than ever before- for now not only is this where the Lord is but also where his beloved bride is.
When Ruth Graham was near death, her family gathered about her to be with her in her last days. They played her favorite hymns and prayed for her and with her as her life on earth was ending. On the last day in the last moments they gathered with her pastor and read Psalms 23.
Then with my father holding her hand, she slipped quietly into heaven. With tears filling our eyes, we stood around her and sang the doxology. It was a sweet family time. The familiar words and the act of worship brought comfort. The presence of death does not mean the absence of God. ( Fear Not Tomorrow by Ruth Graham). This is the daughter Ruth not the mother. There is peace in the valley of the shadow of death.
We must be cautious in concluding something is not good solely because it does not feel good.
It is interesting that the Graham family read Psalms 23 as Ruth was nearing death. It seems this Psalms written by David is most often read or shared with those near death; whereas, John 14 is used frequently at funerals for the family of the deceased.
Even though Psalms 23 was not written yet, it would be a message that Abraham who was a herdsman and a shepherd would have clearly understood.
So before we move into what is the longest chapter in Genesis the 24th chapter that brings us the details of the story of Abraham sending his servant to find a bride for his son- lets take a look at Psalms 23.
Psalms 23 was written by David during a time when he was fleeing from King Saul. He had been wandering from place to place. He was an exile from his own people and constantly living among strangers, even enemies. His life was continually being threatened. Psalms 23 is an outpouring of Davids confidence in the Lord and the trust in His care for every moment in his life even to the point of death.
The first line of this Psalm reminds us as it reminded David of a most powerful truth. When the Lord is our shepherd- we shall not want.
Lets look at that Psalms together.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Abraham could have easily identified with these truths, couldnt he? I believe this is the saddest day of Abrahams life- nowhere before are we told Abraham wept and mourned until now. The Lord had certainly blessed Abraham and led him and supplied his needs. And now as Abraham had to walk through this difficult time through the valley of the shadow of death- the Lord would comfort him. The Lord had also prepared a table before his enemies who respected- if not feared- Abraham.
Like David and Abraham we are His sheep arent we? He is our Great Shepherd. We know and recognize His voice. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His, we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. ( Psalms 100:3)
Did you know sheep are very nearsighted? They also have very poor depth perception. Yet their peripheral vision is so great a sheep can actually see behind its self without turning their heads. If not watched carefully, a sheep will wander carelessly right off the edge of a cliff. Have you ever found yourself in a mess because you were careless? Sheep are also dumb, as in not being very intelligent and they are one of the most defenseless animals in all of creation.
Sheep are not raised for meat- they are raised for their wool. Their wool belongs to the shepherd. Guess when wool grows the thickest and fastest? When the sheep is resting, well-fed, calm and free from pests. Sheep are cud-chewing animals. They graze in the morning and later are made to lie down to ruminate or digest the intake of grass. A sheep has four compartments in their stomachs the largest compartment is capable of holding 5-10 gallons.
A sheep will drink only clean water- no scum or algae. They flock together- become stressed with separated and have a strong lead-follow tendency. Sheep are capable of recognizing voices and individual humans and have long memories.
Notice there is a personal relationship- the Lord is MY shepherd. Because of this relationship- the Bible tells us we shall not want. My God shall supply all my needs in Christ Jesus, the Apostle Paul tells us. Have you ever noticed how the Lord our Good Shepherd provides? The cup isnt half full is it? It runs over. The calf is always fattened, the robe is the very best; the joy is unspeakable, the gifts- indescribable- His grace all sufficient, abounding in every good work and His compassion is new and fresh ever morning. You see the Good Shepherd came that we would not only have life- but have it more abundantly. When He bids us to come to the dinner table to the feast- it is not a hodgepodge bring-a-dish No everything is finished, everything is provided.
The Shepherd makes me to lie down in green pastures and leads me besides still waters. Did you know sheep are afraid of running water? Their fear is instinctive because of their wool; if they get caught in deep moving water, their wool will soon become so water soaked they will sink and surely drown. Notice the shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures, he leads us besides still waters. The shepherds role is to guide, guard and give. He leads, we follow. We are easily distracted -our attention span seems to cause us to wander. Lord will get us to lie down one way or the other. If the green grass and the water are the sheeps nourishment- then remember lying down, ruminating and resting are when the growth comes. This is a picture of our feeding upon the word. There is the intake of the word but then comes the act of meditation on the word whereby the word is engrafted into our soul. Meditating on the word is like ruminating or cud-chewing. We take in the word I believe it is best early in the morning. Then we can chew on it during the day. That is when the growth occurs.
To engraft the word in our souls is a process: We must: hear the word , read the word, study the word, memorize the word, then meditate upon it. When we do- the word is engrafted into our soul. Our souls are restored.(restore-put back into use) The Lord even gave us our own personal guide to the green pastures of His Word- the Holy Spirit.
Now with His word engrafted in my soul- the Lord can use our restored souls to guide us in the paths of righteousness- His word a light upon my path, a lamp unto my feet.
Now watch what a change has come into the life of the ever-fearful sheep. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil- thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
With His word restoring my soul, and His rod which represents His authority and His staff which represents His support- I am no longer fearful even in the valley of the shadow of death. The key word here is shadow. Do you know how a shadow is formed? By light. Without light there is no shadow- there is only darkness. The Lord Jesus is the light of the world in Him was life and life was the light of the world. So even here in the darkest of times- there is light in the life of the believer and because there is light death is only a shadow we pass through. Now if you turn your back to the light in bitterness or unbelief- you have created your own shadow and you will not pass through it because you continue to turn away from the light rather than toward it.
But if you walk in the light as He is in the light you will experience the sweet fellowship of His love which casts out fear gives you a courageous heart. You will fear no evil- you will pass through the shadow.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Did you notice how God had caused the natural enemies of Abraham to respect him? For the sheep one of the most worrisome distractions are a pests known as nose flies. To give the sheep protection from these worrisome pests- the shepherd would anoint their heads with an oil that protected them from these pests.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Do you see how we gain the experience of hindsight that our past gives us hope for our future? yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lords great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3)
These are covenant promises which I trust the Lord to keep.
Often in the Bible- we are exhorted by our Lord to fear not- I am with you.. Do you see what Gods antidote for our fear is- His Presence- Himself. He has promised us He will never leave us or desert us.
Do you remember the parable in Luke 15? It is most commonly called the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is a story I closely identify with. I know exactly how the prodigal son felt when he found himself in the pig sty. That parable had three parts- the first being the lost sheep;then the lost coin and finally the lost son.
Do you remember what it was like to be lost? Since I got saved as a adult- (almost 32 years old) I have a vivid memory of what it was like to be lost- to be without God and thus to be without hope. Hopelessness is the most devastating place to be. All is dark- there is no light.- no hope- no future- no end it seems to the situation you are in .
All is lost. Your dreams have long since turned into nightmares.
You wander aimlessly. Fear is your constant companion you are scared, there is no peace. Like the sheep separated from his master..like the prodigal son away from the authority of his father.
But God the Father who is known as the Great Shepherd, sent His Son who is the Good Shepherd after the lost sheep.
He came to find me. He came to seek and save the lost.
He did not give up on me.
He rescued me as I was about to go over the edge of the cliff.
And now today I have a conscious awareness of the Good Shepherd all the time. He is my Ever Present Help.
It was that awareness that kept Abraham going even in such a time as this- for Abraham was not without hope.
Remember the sheep is by nature nearsighted. The shepherd sees things that sheep never dream of. We see only the grass before us. Abraham saw things that were not, as though they were. But it was not Abrahams vision, his physical sight, that gave him eternal vision- it was his faith
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. ( Hebrews 11:1)
Genesis 24: Here Comes the Bride
This story of a bride for Isaac is rich in type and symbolism. It has three dimensions which we will explore. It is the longest chapter in Genesis- containing 67 verses. Part of the length is due to the repetition of the story by the servant to Rebekah and her family.
The three dimensions are as follows:
- A historic account of Abraham sending his servant to find a bride for Isaac among his own people.
- A picture of the God the Father sending the Holy Spirit into the world to acquire a bride, the Church, for God the Son. ( Abraham, the servant and Isaac = God the Father, Holy Spirit and God the Son.)
- The third dimension is actually two-fold as we can view ourselves as the bride( the individual members of the Church) but also as the servants of God allowing the Holy Spirit to work thru us to tell others about the Son who awaits them.
At the close of chapter 22, Abraham received news from home regarding his kin and their offspring. In Genesis 22:23 we read- Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Jesus would later tell us Your Father knows what you have need of even before you ask Him. For surely He has provided us all things we need.
The Story of Abraham, Isaac, the servant and Rebekah.
**What is interesting is who the central character of this story is: for it is not Abraham, Isaac or even Rebekah- it is the unnamed servant.
The instructions of Abraham to the unnamed but chief servant:
Abraham insists he take an oath to NOT take a wife for his son from among the Canaanite women. (Note who the oath is taken to: Lord of Heaven and Earth)
Go to Mesopotamia- Abrahams homeland and get a wife from among Abrahams relatives.
The servant asked questions to clarify his mission:
*What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land?
*Shall I take you son back to the country you came from?
*Make sure you do NOT take my son back there. Abraham explains why- this land was given to my offspring by the Lord of Heaven.
* This same Lord of Heaven will send an angel before you so you can get a wife.
*If the woman is unwilling to come back- you will be released from your oath- but Abraham repeats for emphasis- do not take my son back there.
We can see from Abrahams remarks concerning an angel sent before his servant there is a confident expectation of the outcome.
Following expectation is : Preparation for the journey:
*Loads ten camels with all kinds of good things from his master.
*Accompanied by an entourage of men necessary for this small caravan and also for protection. The journey will require several days of travel.
Following his masters directions- the servant arrives at the location of Nahor to a well outside the town. Arriving in the evening at a time the women of the town come out to draw water.
The servant is looking for some type of confirmation. First the servant goes forth with expectation- second preparation then third- a confirmation. Confirmation is for the purpose to verify and provide confidence that he has made the right choice.
The servant makes this his prayer request- may it be when I say to the girl give me a drink, she will also volunteer to draw water for my camels. The servant wants to do the will of his master. We are told this is the confidence we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us and grants our request.
God has promised Abraham that through his offspring, Isaac, he would bless the nations and his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.
The servants prayer is an example of specific, believing prayer that has as its object to do the will of the master. Such prayer will be answered.
No sooner had the servant finished his prayer that Rebekah shows up at the well with a jar on her shoulder to draw water. She is described as very beautiful and a virgin.
The servant ask her for a drink. Rebekah gives him a drink then volunteers to draw water for his ten camels no small task. Revealing Rebekah to be not only a beautiful virgin, but also a hard working, courteous young woman.
After the camels were through drinking, the servant gives Rebekah a gold nose ring and two costly gold bracelets. He then asked two questions: whose daughter are you? Please tell me is there room in your fathers house to spend the night? Rebekah answers she is Bethuels daughter ( Isaacs second cousin) and there is plenty of room in their home plus hay for his camels.
The servant immediately bows down and thanks the Lord God of his master Abraham who has led me on this journey to my masters relatives. At the mention of Abrahams name, Rebekah runs to tell her mothers household about these things. They knew of their relative Abraham and probably of his wealth and success.
Another character is introduced that we will get to know better in the story of Jacob- he is Laban, brother of Rebekah. But in our first meeting we see what is of great interest to Laban. As soon as he had seen the nose ring and the bracelets on his sisters arms, and heard her tell what the man had said he hurried out to meet him. The riches attracted Laban.
The story continues as the servant is taken into the home, camels unloaded and provisions made and food set before the servant and his men. But the servant wants to tell them why he has come even before they eat.
Expectation led to preparation followed by confirmation which then leads to the all important presentation.
In verses 34-49, the servant presents the story in full before Rebekah and her family concluding with praise to God for directing him to the granddaughter of Abrahams brother as a potential bride for his son. And now his one question is: will you let me know your answer so I may know which way to go.
In verse 50- Laban and Bethuel answer this is from the Lord- here is Rebekah take her and go and let her become the wife of your masters son as the Lord has directed.
Then Abrahams servant brings out costly gifts for Rebekah and her family.
The next morning the servant and his entourage are ready to start back. Rebekahs family do not want her to leave so soon and want them to stay another 10 days.
The servant insists they leave immediately.
The final decision is up to Rebekah.
Here comes the invitation which is the conclusion to the preceding steps of : expectation, preparation, confirmation, and presentation.
The invitation : Will you go with this man? The answer: I will go.
Then the journey back to the bridegroom begins. The servant is there to guard, guide and answer what we imagine had to be a lot of questions about Isaac by Rebekah.
Finally they arrive. Then it is the traditional boy meets girl story. And it appears to be love at first sight. Isaac brings her into the tent of his mother Sarah and they get married and we are told Isaac loved her and was comforted after his mothers death.
A beautiful, historic account of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah.
So now let us look at the other all-important dimensions of this story:
- A picture of God the Father sending the Holy Spirit into the world to acquire a bride, the Church, for God the Son.
Abraham is a picture of God the Father, Isaac a picture and type of Christ , the unnamed servant- a type of the Holy Spirit and of course, Rebekah- a picture of the Church made up of individual believers who have said I will go with this man.
It is interesting to note we have not heard from or seen in the story of Genesis, the son, Isaac since Mount Moriah. In other words, we have not seen Isaac since the place of sacrifice. Just as we have not seen the Lord Jesus since Calvary. He is heaven, eagerly awaiting His bride to come to Him.
Also we note the initiative to acquire a bride for the son begins with the father, Abraham. It is God the Father who sends the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to begin the task of acquiring a bride.
The servant is unnamed. Frequently in the Bible an unnamed man is used as a type of the Holy Spirit, whose delight is to draw attention to the Son rather than to Himself. In Gods purposes the execution of the divine will in the world is entrusted to the Spirit. It was He who came at Pentecost to begin the work of seeking out for Christ- His blood-bought bride, the church.
In this story in Genesis 24, the servant always acted in accordance with the will of Abraham and with Isaacs best interest in mind.
The Holy Spirits role is to make much of the Son and to tell of the Father and His wondrous ways- just as the servant told of his master, Abrahams greatness and his son who was heir to it all. We also note the courtesy of the servant and that he does not violate the will of Rebekah just as the Holy Spirit never forces or violates the human will.
In those days it was the custom for the bridegroom to pay a price for the bride. The ten camels the servant brought represented part of the bride price. In the case of the Lord Jesus and the church- he paid the ultimate price and gave Himself for us with His shed blood described as more precious than silver or gold.
Once the decision is made to go with this man- there must be no delay. Jesus told the parables of the excuses made by those invited to the wedding feast- one had bought oxen and had to go try them out, another said he had just bought a field and another said he just got married. The flesh will always try to impede one from following the Lord- that is why obedience must be immediate.
Now as the journey back to Isaac, the anxiously awaiting bridegroom, begins, we are reminded of who the Holy Spirit is. Like the servant, the Holy Spirit is the One who comes along side ( paraclete) who teaches us, guides us, and guards us. He also tells us everything about our bridegroom who awaits us. Can you imagine all the questions Rebekah had as they traveled back to the home of Isaac? How old is he? What does he look like? Is he handsome? What colors are his eyes? What does he like to do? Does he work with his Father? Question after question- which the servant was only to glad to tell her about His Masters son.
Then finally they were there- and she saw him for the first time and she put on a veil. Probably a gift given to her by her husband to be. Similarly we are clothed in His righteousness. I believe it was not only love at first sight for Isaac and Rebekah- I believe Rebekah was falling love with Isaac before she laid eyes on him because of what all the servant had told her about Isaac on the journey to his home. At last they meet and oh what a moment! Can you imagine what it will be like when we meet Him in the air?!
And finally, lets look at the other spiritual dimension of this story which is two-fold. For clearly we are the bride of Christ, as believers we were wooed and told about the Son of the Master by the Holy Spirit.. God the Father initiated it and He did so with expectations, for He is not willing that any should perish but all come to repentance.
The Holy Spirit came to do the will of the Father to invite us to become the bride of the Masters Son who is heir to all things. Notice He invites- He does not force or violate our free will. Will you go with this man, He asks? He came bearing gifts and to all those who accepted who believed and received He gave the right to become the children of God and as such joint heirs with Jesus His Son. ( In essence we not only married into the family, God went the extra step to legally make us His children by adoption- thus becoming legal heirs.)
Thus after acceptance and professing we will go with this man- we are officially engaged or betrothed. We then begin the journey through the wilderness to the place where our bride groom awaits having prepared a place for us.
The journey back is difficult at times and that is the reason the Holy Spirit is called the paraclete which means to come along side to make sure our safe arrival. Listen to the words of our anxiously Awaiting Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus: And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth. He will teach you all things. He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is yet to come. ( John 14 & 16)
But there is even yet more to be gleaned from this story. For we are not only to see ourselves as the bride of Christ- but as the servant of the Father.
God has given us the responsibility and privilege of being His servants to call His Bride out of the world. In other words personal evangelism.
Remember- the Lord Jesus left the earth to go back home to heaven after a 3 ½ year ministry leaving the 11 men He had called, taught and trained to carry on the work. Of course He did not leave them powerless He gave them the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower each one to do the work of the ministry. His last words- but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth
You see this remarkable story illustrates these truths. Abraham told the servant you cannot take my son back there. The Lord Jesus is in His Glory in heaven- He is not coming back physically and visibly to win the church. When He comes again He will come first to meet us ( His Bride in the air- the rapture) a picture of Isaac awaiting outside his home in the field. When He comes to earth again it will be at the end of the tribulation to set up His earthly kingdom. But God will not send His Son back again physically to earth instead it is His plan to send the Spirit to reside in our hearts and give us the desire to seek and save the lost and tell them of the wondrous ways of the Master.
In this story we see and observe how we are to do it:
First we must go forward with confident expectations. Abraham sent forth his servant but because of his faith in Gods promises, he sent forth his servant expecting him to succeed. He told the servant the Lord will send an angel before you. In other words, the servant was not alone in his efforts- God Almighty was going to help. Our expectation should be if God is for us- who or what can be against us? (Phil>1:6) (Phil.2;13) ( I Thess. 5:24)
Second the servant prepared. He made sure he was equipped. We are to study to show ourselves approved rightly dividing the word of God. All Scripture is God-given and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness that the man of God maybe thoroughly equipped for every good work. Be Prepared- to make your presentation.
Confirmation. We noted the servant prayed a specific prayer for confirmation- a validation giving us confidence we are making the right choice. Two passages come to mind- first of all the attitude of the servant is all about doing the will of his master. This is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears our requests and grants our petition. ( I John 5:14,15) Also Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding and He will direct your path. ( Proverbs 3) If you pray for the Lord to bring into your path those to whom He would have you witness- you can be confident He will do so- be sure you are prepared and ready to obey.
Presentation- now having gone forth with a spirit of expectation based on the Fathers will; prepared and equipped to make our presentation; receiving confirmation that our steps are directed by the Lord; we make our case. Just as the servant did before Rebekah.
Then comes the invitation- Will you go with this man?
Can you now see the servant with the task accomplished reporting back to Abraham? What do you think Abraham might have said and done?
Well done thy good and faithful servant. I will put you in charge of many things. Come in and share your masters happiness.
What a remarkable story- only Gods word can provide such rich context that we can not only enjoy and learn from the actual historic account- but is written in such a way we can see ourselves as the bride and the servant also.
No wonder the Apostle Paul when he took up his pen to write those wonderful letters said this of the Old Testament: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.: ( Romans 15: 4)