Faith and Obedience

“And the servant said to him, ‘Perhaps the woman will not consent to come with me to this land. Should I surely return with your son to the land from which you came out of?’”

(Genesis 24:5)

 

The servant asks a very human question, though it is a question that betrays his lack of understanding of the hand of God in this event. He says, “Hey, what if she doesn’t want to come?” Put the matter in perspective, in her homeland, she has her father, brothers, extended family, a place to live, friends, and realistically a fair degree of security. Why would she leave to marry the son of a wanderer in a strange land? Then again, we might alter the question — why would one want to leave the relative security of home for a foreign land in the first place? This is exactly the same question that one might have posed to Abraham himself many years past, but Abraham was a man obedient to God’s call and his desire is to find a wife for his son who will too be a person faithful to God’s call regardless of how far outside of one’s comfort zone it happens to take them.

The last phrase of this verse is very significant given the context. Literally the servant refers to the land from which Abraham came as the land “which you came out of.” While on the surface, the wording may not seem overly significant, it is a reference to God’s hand of providence bringing him out of the land of his fathers and into a new land that God will give to him. Ur is no longer his homeland per say, but the land that he came out of, a reminder of God’s covenantal promises. Even the servant’s comment about returning with Isaac gives an indication of the significance of such an action, for he uses a repetition of the verb (Shall I return return — commonly rendered, “surely return”), intensifying the statement regarding the action he is proposing to take. The firmness of Abraham’s response is directly related to the language that the servant uses here.

How often, like this servant, we doubt the power of God to bring about his will. When the call is made or the command given, we ask “why” rather than saying, “here I am, send me.” May we be quick to follow the model of Abraham (and soon Rebekah) in terms of following God in faith.

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