Get Moving

Today let’s look at the first of our 5 principles we find in Genesis 24 for finding a mate or helping another who is on that journey. Principle #1: Separation. This means choosing someone separate or different from the world. Abe knows the woman Issy takes for his wife will be critically important because of the fulfillment of God’s promise will come through Isaac. Therefore, Abe makes his chief servant swear he will not locate a wife for Issy among the Canaanites but among Abe’s relatives in Haran, of northern Mesopotamia (24:3-4). Now Mesopotamia means between the rivers and refers to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Remember back in Genesis 14:13~Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew (עִבְרִי `Ibriy)…(ESV) This is the first time we encounter the word (עִבְרִי `Ibriy) Hebrew in the Bible and it means one who crossed over. Abe crossed over a river, Abe crossed over to truly trust God. Christ Jesus said in John 10:9, I am the door we enter through Him and cross over from death to life. Abe crossed over, have you crossed over to life in Jesus Christ?

Now Abe has good reason to not want a Canaanite in the family due to separation. He does not want Issy to marry a pagan. Later, Ole Mo’s law will prohibit Israelites from marrying non-believers Deuteronomy 7:1-3~When the Lord your God brings you into the land…to take possession…and clears away many nations…seven nations more numerous…mightier…and you defeat them…show no mercy…You shall not intermarry…giving your daughters…or taking their daughters…(NIV) Solomon, the wisest man ever to live (with the exception of Christ), married non-believers. And we read this in 1 Kings 11:4~As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. (ESV) If people do not have a genuine love for JC it’ll be even harder later. 85% of people who get saved and walk with the Lord do so between the ages of 4-14 years, think about that. While the next highest group of 10% is found between the years of 15-30 years of age. That means that 96% of people who come to JC arrive at Calvary before they are 31 years old. 

It is not a matter of prejudice or feeling we’re better than other people; it’s a matter of being faithful to God. If non-believers could turn Solomon’s heart to other gods, they can turn our hearts as well. It may be a god of money, career, title, or success. There is a plethora of hosts which long and would love to be number one in our lives. Yet, God is eternally the same, 2 Corinthians 6:14~Do not link up with unbelievers and try to work with them. What common interest can there be between goodness and evil? How can light and darkness share life together? (JBP)

Abe’s servant asks in Genesis 24:5~…Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came? (ESV) Abe says don’t take Issy back, the child of promise must stay in the Promised Land. Genesis 24:8~But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there. (ESV) So what if the person I am dating doesn’t want to come to church with me? This is the first principle for finding a mate, and it is called separation. 

The purpose of patience

As we come to the end of Abe’s long, eventful life, we now discover some critical principles of purpose for the life of every believer. Father Abe has grown old under our watchful eye. Genesis 24:1~Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. (ESV) Our pericope this week is devoted to two final events in Abe’s life: finding a wife for his son Isaac and his own death. What we learn from these two events are two sets of purpose filled principles that help us process the reward and benefit of patience as we trust in God. Learning to trust and be patient as we wait on the Lord to move and open doors is something that every believer grapples with and must learn to walk out a well-lived life by faith. Today, the Purpose of Patience: Choosing and To Die For.

Abe’s Principles for Choosing the Right Mate is found in Genesis 24:2-67. It’s significant that the longest chapter in Genesis, a book filled with firsts, devotes more space to how Abe finds Issy a wife than so many other firsts. Other than receiving Christ as Savior, the most important decision we make in life is whom we marry. It is meant to be a lifetime commitment filled with decades of love, devotion, and support. Following the traditions of his day, Abe begins locating Issy a wife without the usual suspects. Though there was no book of faces for creeping, no apps to swipe right, no way to link in with others on the grand quest of sustaining love. With no family to mix-in and offer-up easy set-ups, no coworkers to grab lunch with, not even a bar for making bad decisions. 

Issy is a student of Life University, he attends the home campus where there are no toga parties, football games, or sorority mixers. He doesn’t even have a fraternity of brothers who may help him in his quest. What is a boy to do? Well, technically speak Issy is a man of 37 years. He is not unlike many today who are decades into life and still living at home. So take courage parents, that the Lord, Jehovah Jireh can still provide your child with a spouse. As we open Genesis 24 we discover 5 Biblical principles (Separation, Direction, Investigation, Confirmation, Dedication) that we ought to follow, when looking for a mate or in our counseling of someone who is on that journey. Join us this week the Purpose of Patience.

Everlasting Life

It was during the most traumatic time in Abe’s life that God was working to fulfill His purpose and His promise to Abraham. In his grief, Abe could not see all that would come from buying that piece of real estate or how it would become a monument to remind his people of the promise God made to him. It stands as an example of the truth we find in Romans 8:28~And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

We may not always see what God is doing in our lives, but God is always at work on, in and through our lives and the circumstances which surround us each day. The Bible says of Abraham in Hebrews 11:9~By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (ESV) To me, this begs the question of how could Abe be so patient and die, never seeing God’s promises fulfilled? In the very next verse, we read the answer. Hebrews 11:10~For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (ESV) That is a true revelation for those of us who believe that God sees all, that He knows all, and that our lives are purpose filled moments of living as Jesus Christ.

Our Takeaway: Are you thinking eternally? Abe’s life has come to live fully trusting God. Yes God can open a dusty closed-up womb and give an old man a son, The Lord can provide and keep all of His promises. Abe has come to think of life, eternally. As important as the earthly Promised Land was to Abe, he was looking forward to the heavenly land that would be his for eternity. Even during the most traumatic times of our lives, we must remember, nothing is over until it’s over. As far as God’s promises are concerned, it’s not over even when we die. John 20:29~Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (ESV) In traumatic times of Life and Death: we should Grieve Biblically, Behave Respectfully, and Think Eternally. Does your life bear out your eternal belief in God? If not, why not make an eternal commitment to Christ our Savior, today.