“And I said to my lord, ‘What if the woman will not follow after me?’ And he said to me, ‘Yahweh, before whose presence I have been made to walk, shall send his angel with you and he will cause your way to succeed and you shall take a wife for my son from my family, from my father’s house. At that time you will be released from my oath when you have come to my clan. And if they will not give her to you, you are released from my oath.’”
Again, Eliezer continues to rehearse the instructions that he has been given for the family of Rebekah, though this time not quite as verbatim as before. Even so, all of the principle portions are in place and it provides us with an important reminder as to how we too should actively work to remind ourselves of the instructions we have been given by our Lord as we go about life in this world. Instructions such as “Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Matthew 22:37), “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19), “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14), “Forgive others” (Matthew 6:14-15), and “Pursue righteousness, love, peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22) to name just a few.
How often, as those claiming to be born again and given salvation as a gift of God’s grace through faith in the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we fail to act like it. We often live like spoiled princes, pursuing sin rather than living after the character of our Father and our greater brother, Jesus Christ. We who are indebted to God for everything rarely express that thanks in obedience. We may sing all of the praise songs on Sunday, but on Monday our lives betray that the words were empty to our souls. Often we obey those expectations that are easy; ignore those that are hard, and never strive to grow in Christian maturity and grace.
Loved ones, let the humility and submission of Eliezer be a challenge and a model for your days. Rehearse the commands of God that he would place on your life and strive prayerfully to live them out. We will not be perfect in this life, the Holy Spirit will bring any success we will have, but at the same time, that should never stop up from striving toward the goal of Christlikeness in the strength of the Holy Spirit and under the direction of God’s word. If you attend only to earthly things, that to which you attend will pass away. If you attend to spiritual things first, the earthly things will find their proper place in God’s providential care.
“And my lord made me swear, saying ‘You must not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I dwell. Instead, to the house of my father you should go and to my family. From them take a wife for my son.”
We have already discussed the importance of a believer not marrying a pagan in the plan and decree of God (see verses 2-4), though it is a principle of which we ought regularly be reminded. This does not mean we cannot do business with or be neighbors to an unbeliever, but it reminds us that for the covenantal union to make any sense whatsoever, both parties in a marriage must be committed to the same God who is forming the union. If both are not committed to Christ, how then can two become one? They would be a divided person at best. Thus Eliezer explains his vow to the family of Rebekah as commanded by his master, Abraham.
Having already discussed being unequally yoked, what is worth noting here is Eliezer’s fidelity to the call. Here he takes great pains to quote Abraham verbatim and not to simply summarize his master’s words. Because Eliezer recognizes that he is a servant and thus an emissary of Abraham, he recognizes that he does not have the liberty to insert his own interpretations here.
Inserting interpretations, of course, is what always gets us in trouble. It was Eve’s error when debating with the Serpent in the Garden and it is regularly our failure when speaking of God’s word with others in the community. We feel like we have the gist of the statement and just choose to summarize it rather than sticking to the literal word itself. When we summarize like this, we typically insert our own preferences into the teaching and we also tend to denude the Word of its sharpness and power.
Of course, unless we hide the word of God in our heart, regularly meditating on it and memorizing it, how can we have fidelity to that word that God has given us? We have often become lazy in our approach to God’s word and in doing so become guilty of making it say what we would prefer for it to say. When we do this, we cease to be a faithful servant, committed to God’s call upon our lives. Friends, mark the example of Eliezer well, for his fidelity to the very words of Abraham should be reflected in our fidelity to the word of our Almighty God.