God chose Abraham.
From Genesis 12 we understand the purpose for which God chose him. Genesis 12:2&3 say:
“2I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”[i]
According to this, the purpose for which God chose Abraham was to bless him, and through him all the families on earth.
The story of Abraham, his life and his blessings unfolds in Scripture as the story of redemption. All the families on earth are blessed through Abraham because it is through Abraham and his descendants that the Messiah, our Savior, is given.
For Abraham, the journey was not easy, and the way was not certain.
He had to let go of everything that he was relying on. He left his homeland, his relatives and even his father’s family. At one point, he even offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
Genesis 24 is a transition point. The blessings that God promised to Abraham are to be passed on to Isaac and then continue through Isaac’s descendants.
Genesis 24 starts out, “1Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.”
“Abraham was now a very old man.” These were the sunset years of his life. He was 140 years old. Isaac, the son he loved, was now 40. (cf Genesis 25:20) Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old, and in spite of his advanced years, Abraham was able to watch Isaac grow to adulthood.
Genesis 24:1 also points out that the “Lord had blessed him in every way.” Abraham was blessed materially. He had servants and property. He did not lack for money. He shared his life with Sarah and Isaac whom he loved. He was at peace with his neighbors.
Full of years and blessings, chapter 24 comes to the point where the continuing story is going to change from Abraham’s story to Isaac’s story.
The blessing is to be passed on through succeeding generations, but Isaac is not married. The story of how Abraham finds a wife for his son is also the story of how the blessing is passed on to Isaac.
First, we see how Abraham held fast to the promise of God.
We see this in two things.
1) He would not allow his son to marry one of the Canaanite women
2) He would not allow his son to go back to where he came from.
By avoiding marriage to a Canaanite woman, Abraham hoped to keep his son from being led away from the worship of the One True God. The Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, who was cursed by Noah. They led the way in idolatry and occult practices to the point that the Lord eventually destroyed them.
God’s covenant with Abraham was to be Abraham’s God. In order for the covenant to be passed on, this aspect was critical. It was essential that God be Isaac’s God.
The same continues to this day. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?”
Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. However, he ignored God’s warnings about not taking many wives and especially about not taking wives from among the idolaters around him. The results were disastrous.
The principle here is one that Abraham learned the hard way. The influence of a mother on a child was a problem in the relationships in Abraham’s family as seen in the story of Ishmael. In finding a partner, the heart toward God is more important than any other consideration. How can a person be a soulmate if both are not serving the same God? This is true in every endeavor of life and especially in affairs of the heart.
I said we saw Abraham holding fast to the promise of God in two areas. The first was his care not to let Isaac marry a Canaanite woman. The second was in his command that Isaac never be taken back to where he came from.
The promise of God was clear. God promised to give Abraham and his descendants the land where Abraham was sojourning. Abraham had offered Isaac up on an altar on Mount Moriah. This was the area where the future temple would be built, and it was not far away from the place where the Son of God Himself would die on a cross. Abraham did not know these facts, but he had learned the hard way that when God calls a person to a location it is important to stay there.
Abraham had tried traveling in the land of the Philistines and that ended badly. He also tried traveling in the land of Egypt. That also ended badly. Through these experiences, God had taught Abraham the importance of holding on to the promises of God. God’s promise was specific as to the land that Abraham was to inherit. It was important that Isaac not leave the land that God had promised.
If the principle behind not marrying a Canaanite is keeping God first, the principle behind not leaving the land is staying true to our calling. This is not as mysterious as it may sound. Abraham knew God wanted him in Canaan. If we are sure to put God first, we can be sure that God will make our calling clear. We can trust Him. Difficulties and obstacles will come, but we are not to be shaken by such things.
Holding fast to the promise of God, Abraham next took action.
Since he was too old to travel, he had his most senior and trusted servant go to take care of finding Isaac a wife. In both Abraham’s sending of the servant and the servant’s approach to solving the problem, we see principles to help us in laying hold of the blessings of God.
The promise was there. Abraham had been living it. Now it needed to be passed on to his son. This meant that his son would need a wife.
So Abraham sent the servant in the general direction of his family. Abraham had been away for 65 years. He did not know if and where his family was.
The servant had to travel 1,000 miles. Probably two months journey to find these people. He did not even know how he would find them.
It had all started the same way. God had told Abraham to go to a land that God would show him. Abraham left not knowing where he was going. Now Abraham was sending out his servant on a long journey and neither of them knew if he would find anything.
It often is like this when God calls us. We cannot see the end, but He calls us to move out and trust Him. Rarely does God show us the end of where we are going. He requires us to boldly step out of the boat if we would walk on water.
The servant tracked down the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. As he approaches the town, he asks God to intervene. He seeks God’s help. I cannot help but speculate that he has been asking God for guidance all along the way. After all, he has had a couple of months on the road to think about this. He has probably had to ask along the way if anyone knew where Nahor had moved.
He fully expects God’s help and praises God when he gets just what he asked for. This is an amazing story of faith, answered prayer and God’s guidance. It all started by stepping out boldly in obedience to what God had called them to do.
We have seen Abraham’s determination to hold fast to God’s promises, and then move out boldly, trusting and seeking the Lord’s direction. In closing, I want us to consider the results.
Faith bears fruit. James 1:4 says, “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
We find this in Abraham. He had traveled through many trials and now in the final years of his life he was perfect and complete, needing nothing. We also see this passed on to his son Isaac.
As the servant returns from his successful journey, the caravan meets Isaac out meditating, walking in the field. We are told, “67And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.” (Genesis 24:67)
How blessed this was! See the words here! “He loved her deeply.” The words and the ending leave us with the impression that God’s blessing to Abraham has been passed to his son.
I want us to consider something in the story that is significant in this respect. As the author is telling us about Isaac waiting, it gives us some significant details. It says he is meditating. He has a relationship with God. His father’s practice of intimacy with God has been passed on to the son. Genesis 24:62 says, “Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi.” The author points out this important detail to remind us of who God is. Beer-lahai-roi means, “the well of Him that lives and sees me.” It is this fact that is behind all of God’s blessings.
Salvation is free and blessing is free to any who will receive them because God is a God who sees.
Salvation is free. Blessings are free and abundant. However, a God who says, “You are to have no other gods besides me,” gives them. Are you willing to let go of all you are holding onto in favor of holding onto the promises of God? Are you willing to step out boldly holding onto those promises and trust that God will take you to where you need to be?
[i] Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Steam, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.