Blog Archives

WIll You be Faithful to My Lord?

“Now, if it is in you to show steadfast love and truth to my lord, declare it to me; if not, declare it to me so that I may turn to the right or to the left.”

(Genesis 24:49)

 

It is interesting to me how Eliezer couches his request for Rebekah to return with him. He does not say here, “Are you willing to wed your daughter to Isaac, son of Abraham?” What he says is, “Are you willing to be faithful to Abraham.” The first would simply be a yes or no question based on the wishes and preferences of the family. This way of asking bases the question on the relationship that Bethuel has with his Uncle Abraham. If Bethuel rejects this requests, it is no longer a matter of preference, but it is a rejection of the relationship that is had between these two men. Indeed, it is a rejecting of Abraham’s family line and right to find a wife for his son within his extended covenant family.

The idiom of the right hand and the left hand is often one that expresses a lack of knowing where else one should turn even to find what is true. God has led Eliezer here and Eliezer is basing his actions upon the principle that what God directs is true and right. If he is rejected, then where can he go? Can one hope to honor God by looking for a spouse in a place other than where God has led him? Abraham and Sarah know the difficulties that come as a result of trying to circumvent God’s design, for that is how Ishmael came into the world. How often we pursue our own ends rather than submitting to God’s and found we have embarked on that which will bring disappointment and failure?

Loved ones, it is God’s plan and design we are to follow. Indeed, discerning that design is the trick at times, though the principle that Eliezer is following is sound. Ask God to open the doors through which you are to go and wait on him to do just that in His timing. God is about to work in Rebekah’s life in a visible and magnificent way; he does that in our lives as well. May we be faithful to that call.

Praise God, not Man

“Then I asked her saying, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor whom Milkah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her hands and I bowed and worshipped Yahweh. I repeatedly blessed Yahweh the God of my lord Abraham who led me in the true path to take a daughter of the brother of my lord for his son.’”

(Genesis 24:47-48)

 

Eliezer’s retelling now comes to a close, but notice what it is that he closes this dialogue with: praise to God. He could have closed his account by saying, “and she brought me to you…” or  “and she showed me here to her father’s house…”, but Eliezer closes with the most important thing: “I gave praise to God.” In fact, the verbal form used when it speaks of Eliezer’s “blessing” Yahweh is in the Piel construct, which reflects a repeated action. His words might have been, “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, oh Lord…”

Loved ones, I also hope that this is your response to the hand of God working in your life — that God is rightly honored for bringing about such good things and for leading you on the true path that leads to his glory. Sadly, our response is not to do so or only to do so as an afterthought. Often we desire the glory for ourselves and do not give honor where honor is due. As my friend and I were discussing just last night, the only good in me is the good that God is doing in me; may He get the credit for he is the agent at work in my life.

First Cousins, Once Removed…

“She said to him, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milkah, whom she begat to Nachor.’ And she said to him, ‘We also have a great deal of straw and fodder with us and a place to lodge.’”

(Genesis 24:24-25)

 

As it was hinted at in Genesis 22:20-23, Nahor, Abraham’s brother, also has borne children. Nahor had eight sons with his wife Milcah, the last of which was a son named Bethuel (prophetically meaning “His Daughter is God’s”). Bethuel then fathered a daughter named Rebekah, the granddaughter of Nahor and great-niece of Abraham. Soon she will also become Abraham’s daughter-in-law. The household and the lineage are now assured and confirmed and the wedding plan can move forward from here. She also comments that her father’s house has ample provisions to host such a party (camels and all), informing us of the wealth of Abraham’s brother’s family. Certainly a poor family could never have hoped to have the space and resources to host a contingency from Abraham such as we have here.

Much can be made out of the stress placed on marriages within a family, though the practice sounds a little strange to our western ears. In this particular case, Rebekah is Isaac’s First Cousin-Once Removed and in most western contexts, they would be allowed to marry anyway. We should also note on a purely biological level, Abraham is still closer to Adam and Eve than we are and thus his DNA (and hence the DNA of Nahor) is not as corrupt as our own (thus the longer life-spans) and thus the detrimental effects that come today as a result of marrying one’s kin should not be seen to be a significant factor (remember, Cain, Abel, and Seth married their sisters…).

More importantly in this case, Abraham is ensuring that Isaac’s child will still be part of the lineage that goes back to Shem through his father, Terah. Remember, too, Terah was also given a call by God to leave his homeland, though the call and ultimately the promise, would be fulfilled through his son, Abraham. Isaac too will follow this principle and send his son, Jacob, back to his homeland to find a wife from the house of Nahor, but that is an account for another time. No corners are to be cut, Isaac must have the granddaughter of Nahor as a wife.

How quick we usually are to compromise with God’s provision for us and his plan for our lives. We do not expect great things from God and thus we do not see great things taking place in the world around us. It has been said that the Christian faith is an “expectant faith,” may indeed we live and act upon such expectancy as we engage the world (and our call to disciple the world) with the Gospel.