Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

2019.12.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 24:10-21

Questions from the Scripture text: What did the servant take (Genesis 24:10)? How many? Why was he able to take so much? To what region did he go? To what city? Where did he make the camels kneel (Genesis 24:11)? When? Who did what at that time? To Whom does he speak in Genesis 24:12? What does he call Him? What does he ask for himself? Unto whom does he ask God to show steadfast love? What does he tell God in Genesis 24:13? What does he assume that God has appointed (Genesis 24:14)? How does he ask to be able to identify her? When does he see Rebekah (Genesis 24:15)? From whose family is she? What is she carrying? What does she look like (Genesis 24:16)? What else do we learn about her? What does she do? What does the servant do at the beginning of Genesis 24:17? What does he ask? What does she say in Genesis 24:18? What does she do? What does she propose to do in Genesis 24:19? How many camels would this be? Until they have drunk how much? In what manner does she empty the pitcher in Genesis 24:20? At what pace does she return to the well? For how many camels does she draw? Who gazes at her (Genesis 24:21)? How does he remain? What is he learning?
It's very interesting to observe Abraham’s eldest servant praying. Scripture refers to believers as the true children of Abraham who have the faith of Abraham in the Lord Jesus. So, what might the prayer life look like of one who spent his life in Abraham’s household, and was Abraham’s closest confidant?

First, a life of believing prayer is consistent with a life of planning and action. This is Abraham’s oldest servant, but he oversees quite the caravan—ten camels, carrying goods, all the way to Mesopotamia. There is a misconception among some that earnest and genuine prayer is somehow wedded to declining to plan ahead or exert oneself vigorously—as if spontaneity and inactivity are somehow of the essence of a life of prayer. But Abraham’s servant here displays careful planning and vigorous action.

Second, believing prayer is tied to who God is and what God has promised. Consider the address in Genesis 24:12, “Yahweh, God of my master Abraham… show covenant love (kessed) to my master Abraham.” It is the Lord who has revealed Himself as the One who makes covenant with Abraham to bring redemption to the world in him. Now, the servant’s prayer for success is not merely brought in the context of an immediate connection between him and God, but in a relationship that is mediated through the Lord’s appointed covenant representative.

On this side of Pentecost, we have more claim to a direct connection with the Lord—we have His Spirit dwelling in us, and His Spirit is a “spirit of adoption” to us (cf. Romans 8:15), who trains our souls to call upon God as our “Abba, Father.” But even with this direct connection, the New Testament consistently tells us to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—coming to God through Him, our appointed covenant representative who is not merely a man on earth who will die, but a resurrected Man in heaven who will never die. Believing prayer is deeply conscious of coming to God as the Lord who has committed Himself to us in Christ, accomplished our redemption in Christ, and is now bringing about all that Christ has earned and accomplished.

Third, believing prayer tells God both our circumstances and our desires. Perhaps you have heard the question, “If God already knows what He is going to do, why pray?” But, since it is the God who already knows what He is going to do who has commanded us to pray, we can draw the conclusion that He has planned to do what He will do as a response to our praying. Thus, He reveals Himself as One who listens to His people’s voices, who cares to hear from us and to take action as a function of His love for us and response to us. The faith that this servant has learned in Abraham’s household expresses itself in telling God his circumstances (Genesis 24:13), and making very specific requests (Genesis 24:14).

Fourth, believing prayer assumes that God is already answering. Rebekah appears before he finishes speaking (Genesis 24:15), but in Genesis 24:17 the servant proceeds with the very specific request that he had made. To the believer, it makes all the sense in the world that God was already carrying out His response to our prayer before we even made it! This is the prayer that does not doubt (cf. James 1:2-8).

Finally, believing prayer embraces the freedom of God to answer according to His perfect will, over and above the details of our particular requests. Consider Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24:21—as he considers Rebekah. He does not reason that since the details of the circumstances are as he asked that she is automatically a proper wife for Isaac. He is observing to see whether she is indeed the kind of woman that Isaac should marry. We too should be careful not to determine what God wants us to do by a superstitious identifying of signs (requested signs or otherwise), but only by God’s revealed will in His Word!
What might you do differently in prayer after observing Abrahamic faith as it prays?
Suggested songs: ARP65A “Praise Awaits You, God” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”

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