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.



Seeing

Abe’s purchase of the property is very important because during his time families buried their dead in their homelands. By purchasing the cave in which to bury Sarah, Abe is staking a claim here in Canaan saying this is my homeland. This is the place that my descendant will inherit. Neither Abe nor his descendants would ever return to Ur, which is Abe’s birthplace. Nobody is going back to Mesopotamia, which was about 220 miles southeast of Baghdad in present-day Iraq. Get the picture Abe would have about a three-hour flight to get home if they had had air travel back then. 

The cave became the burial place of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, their wives (Genesis 23:8-17, 25:9; 49:29-30; 50:13). In buying the property, Abe is also showing he knows God’s promises doesn’t end when we die. Sarah is dead, and Abraham knew death was also knocking at his door. However, he knew this cave was to become the family crypt for his descendants. Hundreds of years later, Abe’s great-grandson would be buried there when his descendants took possession of the Promised Land. When Little Joe, great-grandson of Father Abraham, is dying in Egypt, far from the Land Promised by God, he tells his brothers God will take them out of Egypt, and make sure you don’t leave me. Genesis 50:24~Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (NIV) Genesis 50:25~And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” (NIV) Do you hear how important the promises of God are to Little Joe?

More than 500 years after Abe’s death. God guides the descendants of Abraham out of Egyptian bondage during the time of Ole Mo. When the Israelites leave, they take Little Joe. Exodus 13:19~ Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” (NIV). At Sarah’s death, Abe finally owns a portion of the land that will belong to his descendants. After he purchases the land, he buries Sarah his wife in the cave of the field Genesis 23:19~(ESV) The cave Abe purchased from the Hittites has never been conclusively located, but the traditional site is beneath the Mosque of Abraham, a Muslim shrine in Hebron.