Ready to die

To Die For: Biblical Principles by Which To Die (25:1-11) After the death of Sarah Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah (25:1). Keturah is also called Abraham’s concubine (1 Chronicles 1:32). This seems to be confirmed by the fact that unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country (25:6). Once again the Holy Spirit records the behavior of which God does not approve, but remember Abraham did not even have the Ten Commandments, much less a Bible like we have today. 

Abraham had six more children by Keturah though Isaac remained the son of promise because he gave all that he had unto Isaac (25:2, 5). Now we find two principles by which to die.

Principle #1: Look at your death as a family gathering, our last call for all who knew us to come to Christ. Abe is now 175 years old Genesis 25:7~These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. (ESV). For 100 years he has been faithfully following God’s purpose for his life, except like most of us, he has taken a few detours along his journey through life and faith. Now we come to my favorite description of death. Genesis 25:8~Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. (ESV) He gave up the ghost, full of years. This means that Abe has lived a life well lived, it was full and satisfying. Abe experienced the promise given to those who put their trust under the shadow of God’s wings. The psalmist writes in Psalm 36:7~How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. (NIV) Then sharing about such people in Psalm 36:8~They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. (NIV) 

Abe is finally gathered to his people (25:8). Funerals are family gatherings to celebrate the life that an individual has shared with us. How God has utilized our life as paintbrush expressing the love of God. Yes, we will all be buried with our ancestors as Abe was unless our soon coming King returns for His bride. Hear me we must be ready for that glorious day. I love the words succinct Mark Hall penned: Living, He loved me Dying, He saved me Buried, He carried my sins far away Rising, He justified freely forever One day He’s coming, Oh glorious day.

Abe was buried with Sarah, Genesis 25:10~All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. (ESV) You may ask who are my people? Who are Abe’s people? They are our spiritual ancestors, including Abel, Enoch, and Noah. Down to Abe, Lil Joe, Ole Mo, and Deborah. They were kings like David and Josiah. They were prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Obadiah. They were heralds like John and our Jesus Christ. They were Paul and Peter who loved to tell the old old story of Jesus and love. Because I know tis true; It satisfies my longing as nothing else can do. One day, maybe sooner than we think, we will be gathered to our people. If you are a believer, you will be gathered to Abe, Issy, Ole Mo, Elijah, Peter, James, Paul, and the Lord Jesus himself. 

Principle #2: Trust God to use your life after you are gone. Abe did not live to see God’s purpose for his life fulfilled, but Isaac and Rebekah gave birth to twin boys: Esau and Jacob (25:24-26). Jacob later wrestled with God all night, and at daybreak, God changed his name to Israel (32:28) meaning strives with God.

Jacob had twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel. Abe’s seed became the Jewish nation, and the Jewish nation gave the world the greatest blessing ever—the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Through Him, all the nations of the world have been blessed and continue to be blessed even to this day. Though far from being perfect, when Abe died he had lived by the most critical principle of purpose for us all. John 17:4~I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. (NIV) This premise is at the heart of every saint of God. In this final look at Abe’s life, we have discovered two sets of critical principles that supply us with purposeful living unto God through Jesus Christ our Savior. Choosing the right mate and how we die in Christ. May the Lord bless and keep you.



Waiting

So far this week we have looked at 3 principles found in looking for or helping to guide individuals who are looking for a mate. They are Separation, Direction, and Investigation. Now let’s turn our attention to 2 more beginning with Principle #4: Confirmation Rebekah hurries back home with her gifts and shares all. (24:28) When Laban, Rebekah’s brother, hears the story, he runs out to the servant at the well and immediately recognizes him as a man of God; so he invites the servant to his home (24:29-31). Abe’s servant then goes to Rebekah’s home to tell them in detail why he has come (24:32-48). Genesis 24:49~Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love and faithfulness (חֶסֶד checed) to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left. (ESV) In other words, is Rebekah the one, or should I keep on looking elsewhere? Laban and Bethuel answer in Genesis 24:50-51~The thing has come from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken. (ESV)

After bowing down and worshipping the Lord, the servant gives gifts to Rebekah, her brother, and mother (24:53), sealing the engagement. Both Abe’s servant and Rebekah’s family confirm that the Lord wants Rebekah to be Issy’s wife. Listen to how Abe’s servant is practicing the principle of Proverbs 11:14~For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. (NIV) One should never marry or make major decisions without confirmation. This can be parents, spiritual advisors, church leaders, those who will give you wise counsel and be truly honest. When someone is head over heels in love, or just in heat, that person really needs objective advice from those who love him or her most. Rebekah’s family lets her make the final decision, saying in Genesis 24:58~And they called Rebekah and said to her, Will you go with this man? She said I will go. (ESV) This act puts Rebekah in the same category of faith as Father Abe. She is a woman who wants to fulfill God’s purpose for her life and is even willing to leave her homeland like Abe, and never return. Separation, Direction, Investigation, Confirmation 

Principle #5: Dedication. After receiving the blessing of her family and saying her goodbyes, Rebekah and the servant depart for the Promised Land (24:61). Rebekah’s family could no longer be number one in her physical life, for her husband would occupy that place. It is a difficult switch for many who enter marriage. But we have to leave momma behind. It is a necessity if we are to become one. Listen to CJ referring to marriage in Mark 10:7~This explains why a man leaves (καταλείπω kataleipō) his father and mother and is joined (προσκολλάω proskollaō) to his wife, (NLT) (καταλείπω kataleipō) Leave means to put behind and cleave (προσκολλάω proskollaō) means to glue or to stick. One key to a successful marriage is to leave and cleave. Rebekah travels about 450 miles, which probably took three to four weeks by camel. Even before meeting Issy, she is dedicated to him and does whatever is necessary to be the wife God wants her to be. When the caravan reaches home, there is a wonderful meeting between Rebekah and Issy. (24:63-65). This beautiful story ends simply. There is no bridezilla and little fanfare. Genesis 24:67~Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. (ESV). This is an example of the words of Joshua found in Joshua 21:45~Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (NIV) 

This leads us to Our Takeaway as we consider the purpose of patience as we walk out our faith. So, I have to ask: Do you trust God with your whole life? I know it is hard sometimes to understand the Purpose of Patience, with all of the waiting, but listen to Proverbs 37:34~Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land…(ESV) Whether you’re choosing or helping another process the choosing of the right mate, look to Issy’s story in Genesis 24. As you stand these 5 principles will help you make the right choice. Separation, Direction, Investigation, Confirmation, and Dedication. 



Exploring new direction

Today let’s take another set as we connect with Principle #2: Direction. Abe’s servant leaves with ten camels loaded with gifts and goes to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor (24:10) Nahor is Abe’s brother who lives in Haran of Mesopotamia. When the servant arrives, he stands beside a spring and prays. Part of direction is taking time to pray and to ask the Lord to guide you. Genesis 24:12~And he said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Genesis 24:13~Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. (ESV) 

We certainly shouldn’t put God on the spot in our prayers, nor always expect an immediate answer. However, sometimes, even before we finish asking, God has already begun to answer. Enter Rebekah, stage left, with a pitcher in hand (24:15). I love how this moment unfolds revealing a wonderful promise found in Isaiah 65:24~I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! (NLT) Don’t we serve a great God who is answering our prayers, even before we finish. Rebekah’s father is Bethuel the son of Abe’s brother Nahor, he is a nephew as Lot was. So, while Abe was in the Promised Land some 450 miles away. God was preparing a wife for Issy in Mesopotamia. Always seek the Lord’s direction.

Principle #3: Investigation Separation, Direction, Investigation: We must look at more than just circumstances and appearance. Genesis 24:16~The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. (ESV) One of the main things our generation looks for in a mate is physical appearance. We all like to look at really good-looking people. When I talk with people getting married I set up a moment talking about love and attraction, how wonderful it is to have found someone that accepts us and when I have them all gooey, lathered in love, looking deeply in each in the eyes of pooled romance, I say repeat after me, This is as good as it gets. Our physical appearance will fade, wrinkles and the loss of faculty will befall all who live. That is everyone but April’s, I know a good thing when I see it. Most people work as hard as possible to make their special day the best day ever, and why not, they should. But hear me, looks are not love. Love is caring for one who can not care for themselves, giving selflessly and continually working at love and relationship. 

Proverbs 27:17~As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (NIV) Strange doesn’t sound like love. What this verse reveals is that we are influenced by other people, for good or bad. Good looks and a great personality cannot make up for character deficiencies. Rebekah’s character is revealed in her work ethic, her kindness, and her hospitality. When Abe’s servant asks for a drink of water, not only does she politely give him a drink, she draws water for his camels as well (24:19-20). You may not think this is impressive, but ten camels could drink about 200 gallons of water (20 gallons each). Genesis 24:22~When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, (ESV)

Definitely impressed, the servant asks Rebekah whose daughter are you? tell me, I gotta know, is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? (24:23) Rebekah identifies herself as Nahor’s granddaughter. This means she’s not a pagan, she’s a hard worker and good looking. She seems to be the perfect one. The servant’s prayer seems to be answered Genesis 24:26~The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord (ESV) How do you respond when God answers your prayers? The Bible tells us in Proverbs to trust in the LORD with all our hearts and not lean on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) In the next verse of Proverbs 3:6~in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (ESV) 

Why not take a few moments as you gather your thoughts and pray. Ask God for wisdom for those areas of life that are in need, ask Him for direction on the choices you are facing, pray over your life and family and be sure to thank Him for all He has given.