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Saturday, December 07, 2019

2019.12.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 24:1-9

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Genesis 24:1 tell us about Abraham, to introduce this incident? How does the second half of the verse summarize Abraham’s condition/ circumstance? To whom does Abraham speak in Genesis 24:2? What does Abraham tell him to do? By whom must he swear (Genesis 24:3)? What must he swear not to do? Where must he go (Genesis 24:4)? To whom must he go? What must he get from them? What hypothetical problem does the servant propose in Genesis 24:5? What does he ask that he should do in such a case? What does Abraham strictly forbid him to do in Genesis 24:6? What has Yahweh done to Abraham (Genesis 24:7)? What has Yahweh promised to Abraham? What is Abraham confident that Yahweh will do? But what does Abraham say to do, even if this does not happen (Genesis 24:8)? What does the servant do in Genesis 24:9?
Sarah is dead and buried. And Genesis 24:1 sounds like the kind of summary statement that is about to close out Abraham’s life story too. “Now Abraham was old, well advance in age, and Yahweh had blessed Abraham in all things.” In reality, it’s introducing a 67 verse (roughly three ordinary chapters) long description of how Isaac obtains a wife and is comforted in the loss of his mother. And it is at that point that the narrative will pick back up and close out the Abraham section.

So, the long interruption intensifies the focus on the search for Isaac’s wife.

We already know that it’s important that she come from the right family. When the line of the godly in Genesis 5 began intermarrying with the line of the ungodly from Genesis 4 at the beginning of Genesis 6, the result was that the godly line evaporated to the point that only Noah was preserved by grace, and God judged the world by the flood. We see that concern here. “you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites” (Genesis 24:3).

And we also know the importance of a Word-based commitment to the promised land. God had called Abraham out of his land (as Genesis 24:7 reminds us). The first attempt to leave the land, during the famine in Egypt, resulted in moral disaster. Then, in Genesis 15:13, the Lord had told Abraham that his offspring would be strangers in a land not theirs for 400 years. Would it be difficult? Yes, the Lord said that they would be “afflicted.” But it was the Word of the Lord, and He said that they wouldn’t be in their own land. So, what does Abraham say now? “Beware that you do not take my son back there” (Genesis 24:6) and “only do not take my son back there” (Genesis 24:8).

Abraham doesn’t know what God might do. He expresses confidence that Yahweh will send His angel ahead of the servant so that he may bring back a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:7), but still gives instructions for if the mission is not successful (Genesis 24:8). But what he does know is that the Word of God is sure.

In an age when believers often display an unfounded confidence in how one or another situation will turn out, we would do well to walk with the Lord by the same faith as father Abraham.

Follow such Scriptural moral priorities as only marrying within the faith. Be willing to undergo affliction, as we are strengthened by a sturdy confidence that God’s promises are true. And not just short-term promises about the geographical locations of four generations. But eternal, infinitely blessed, promises that have been secured by Christ and are being applied by His Spirit. When we have promises that cannot fail, we never need to divert from living by the instruction of the One who made them.
What are you doing for the sake of your own, and other believers’, marriages?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH128B “Blest the Man that Fears Jehovah”

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