Good morning to all my brothers and sisters in Jesus and any visitors we may have today.
Let’s open in prayer.
Heavenly Father, we thank you again for all your grace and mercy that you have poured out on us your children. We thank you for Jesus, our Lord and Messiah and for all he has done for us. Let our ears be open to what you want to say to us today and help us to do what you’ve said.
In Jesus name, amen.
This mornings’ title is called ‘the man with no name.’ and it’s about the servant that Abraham sent out to find his son Isaac, a wife. Elsewhere in scripture Abraham does have a servant named Eliezer but the text doesn’t specifically say that Eliezer is the servant that was sent on this mission.
Please open with me to Genesis 24 from verse 1. Like Stuart last week I’m going to be reading quite a piece of scripture but it’s important that we do so.
Read the full chapter.
Before I get into detail about what we can learn from the servant I just want to comment on the fact that this account of how Isaac came to meet his future wife should be an encouragement for young people who are waiting for their spouse. God sent Abrahams servant almost a 1000km away to find the wife for his son. God has a plan for every young person wanting to be married and you don’t need to. It’s also important that Abraham was adamant that Isaac would not take a pagan Canaanite for a wife. In the same way you need to make sure that your future spouse is a true follower of Jesus. Abraham knew that Isaac would compromise if he married a pagan and the same would be true for any Christian who marries an unbeliever.
Let’s take a look at some of the attributes of the man with no name.
The servant put his masters will before his own
- If we go back to the start of the passage in verse 2 we see that the chosen servant was the oldest in the household. In fact if you do a bit of maths it looks like the servant was 90 years old at the very least.
- The journey was from the Negev desert to Nahor which was about 1800km there and back. This was on camel-back and I’m sure was not an easy one for someone who was not a spring chicken any more.
- If we think of the length of the journey and his age, the servant was risking his life, especially with all the gifts and items of value he was carrying with him. The text doesn’t say how many people went with him but it couldn’t have been many.
However the servants only concern was what to do if Isaacs prospective wife didn’t want to come back with him.
The servant was committed to do the best job he could for his master
- One event that jumped out me was when the servant arrives at Nahor. Look at verses 16 and 17 with me. The servant has just travelled about 800km via camel, he’s arrived at the watering hole at Nahor and his first priority is to his mission. Not just that, when he sees that Rebekah or Rivkah as she would have been called, is a beautiful young woman, he runs towards her. You can almost hear him thinking, wow, that’s the one and I’d better get to her before someone else does. He is looking for the best that he can bring for his master.
- Look with me from verse 54. The servant will not be distracted from the mission his master had given him. He’s travelled 800km’s, he must be tired and I’m sure would have loved to rest for a few days. However, at the suggestion that they wait ten days he puts his foot down and says he must return immediately. His focus is on sticking to the plan and finishing his mission the way his master wanted him too.
- Keep in mind that the servant is miles away from his home and is also completely out of his comfort zone. Yet his priority is to make good on his oath to his master.
- He is totally engaged in what he is doing. There is no half job being done here but absolute dedication to what he needs to do.
The servant was faithful:
- The servant was the oldest in the household and he managed all the other servants and basically acted as a proxy for Abraham in all he did.
- It was because the servant proved that he was faithful that Abraham tasked him to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham knew exactly what he was asking from the servant.
- The servant was faithful when it came to the camels as well as all the gifts he took with him on his journey.
- Doing some more maths, I worked out that the value of the ring and bracelets he gave to Rebekah at the watering hole was approximately R100 000 in todays currency so taking into account he gave her even more gifts as well as to Laban and the rest of the family, we can see that he carried a small treasure with him.
The servant showed discernment and wisdom
- The servant knew that the best place to see a prospective wife was at the watering hole where all the woman gathered to help water the animals and fetch water for the household.
- He also knew when he prayed that by asking the Lord that Isaacs future wife be prepared to water all his camels, what he was asking for. I did some more maths and worked out that the ten camels would need 950l of water. I’m sure you can imagine how many trips she would have made with her jar to get the job done. Also, once again, when you read verse you’ll notice that Rebekah ran to fill up her jar. So in short, because he prayed in the will of God, and because he used discernment he found a beautiful wife with character and resilience all rolled into one.
Let’s have a look at ourselves in light of the servants attributes:
- In essence the servant had everything against him from an age and strength point of view and yet Abraham chose him above all his other servants, the outcome could not have been better. We all need to trust that if we submit to our masters will wholeheartedly He can and will use us despite how old, young or weak we are.
- Being in his masters will took practice. It took years and years to be at the point he was at. The point where his master had absolute faith that the servant would give all he could to make things happen. We need to understand that if we are not faithful in the small things God asks to do how can we possibly expect Him to trust us with the bigger things? Some here may say that they don’t feel like God is using them. Ask yourself if you’ve been faithful in what He has asked you to do. Think of us and our teenagers, we don’t just send them on their way in life. A little bit of responsibility is given at a time until we know they are capable of taking on more. It’s no different in God’s economy. If we are faithful in the small things, He can trust us with the bigger things.
- There’s always a choice. The servant was not a slave. He could have simply said he was too old or that the journey would be too difficult. But he chose to take on the task of finding Isaac a wife. We have a choice too. Being in Gods will is a choice. We all know that we fall and decide not to be in God’s will. I’m sure over the years the servant had also made mistakes. But for both him and us, it’s acknowledging that we’ve made the mistake and then we make sure that we get back in His will. If we stick to the path of our masters will we become more and more useful to Him.
- The servant did not give up. I’m sure the trip was not an easy one and he must have doubted both his ability and strength in getting the job done. But he was committed to doing all that he could. Did you notice in the passage that it’s all God and all of him. Even though God had sent the angel ahead to prepare the way, the servant had to be committed to getting the task done. It’s also important to notice that he was committed to something outside of himself. It’s easy to be committed to something where you benefit or if it works for you. We need to be prepared for a tough trip and not stay in our comfort zone.
- Commitment also means staying the course. The servant did not get sidetracked or distracted from his course. Can we all say that we are still committed to the word of God for instance? Are we committed to believing that everything is true? The opposite of commitment is compromise. Whether it’s in marriage, business or faith in Christ. As a body of believers we are under huge pressure to compromise what we believe in. To say that it is okay for people to live together outside of marriage, to say that it is okay to be homosexual or lesbian. We are under pressure to accept that other religions are also a pathway to our God when our bible tells us clearly that there is one way to God, and that is through faith in his son Jesus and the sacrifice he made on the cross for every one of us, to free us from our debt of sin. There is no half measure here. If we aren’t committed to living our lives for Jesus, to doing His will, to stay free from sin every way we can, we are going to compromise.
- The Hebrew word for faith is Emunah and the Greek is pistis. Both are actually closer to the word faithfulness rather than faith. So it means ‘he who is acting faithfully’. It’s almost like a present, continuous action.
- The servant acted out his faithfulness to his master in his actions and deeds.
- Are we acting out our faithfulness to God all the time? Faithfulness is a lifestyle and not an event. We are called to live faithful lives in sacrifice to Jesus.
- Google tells us that discernment is the ability to ‘judge well’
- The servant judged well that the best place to spot Isaacs future wife was at the watering hole. He judged well when he chose how to pray that Isaacs future wife would show herself. His prayer and her subsequent actions by watering all the camels showed her character and her heart when he already knew what she looked like.
- Are we being discerning? 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says we are to 'test all things and hold fast onto what is good'. Even in the church, if we question the actions of someone we are told that we have a critical spirit. The bible tells us to test all things. That means that we have our brain turned on and not off.
- Let me use an example here: Someone comes to you and gives you a book. They tell you it’s wonderful, that they’ve been so blessed and they want you to be blessed. Are you one of those people who says thank you, reads the book and adopts what the author is saying into your life? Or do you check on who the author is? Do you Google a rebuttel on the author to get both sides of the story? Ultimately do you way up what the book says to what the bible says? I’m not saying don’t read books but are you simply vacuuming in what it says or are you using discernment to see if what it says is true.
- In the olivet discourse of Matthew 24 and 25 where Jesus is talking about the close of the age, he warns against deception in the church four times more than wars, pestilence and natural disasters. We need to have discernment to make sure we are in his will and remain true to His word.
In closing I want to encourage everyone here today. Everything I’ve said today is to point you Jesus and his will for each of you. Every one of us is a different point in our walk in Christ. Some are experiencing loss when others are experience illness. Some are prospering financially and others are really struggling. Our mission is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and in the hope of his return and in hearing these words one day.
"Well done good and faithful servant".