Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:1-4, NIV)
Many shots played on the professional tours today result from a conversation between the player and the caddie—a conversation that someone behind the ropes can’t hear or understand the nuances of. This changed when players started wearing microphone packs during their rounds during broadcasts. Now, golf fans get a chance to experience these decisions in full context.
The biblical narrative feels similar from our 21st century point of view. From afar we might wonder, Why read the Torah or any other part of the Old Testament? When we stay away from the stories about Abraham and Isaac and servants and oaths and blessings, we can lose perspective. But the New Testament writers and followers of Jesus knew and lived from the context of the Hebrew scriptures. As we live within the biblical story today, it’s important to learn what the first century believers knew instinctively.
If we zoom into today’s scripture passage for instance, we find two elements of the Jesus narrative, if we have the eyes to see them. Two chapters prior to Abraham sending his servant seeking a bride for Isaac, we read the story about Isaac being led up the mountain to be offered as a sacrifice. The angel of the LORD stopped Abraham (Genesis 22:11) and Isaac was spared. Abraham’s obedience to offer his only son is a foreshadowing of God the Father leading Jesus to the cross.
The second essential facet is found in a name, which holds hidden gems of information in the Hebrew text. Earlier in the narrative (Genesis 15:2), we are told the servant’s name is Eliezar of Damascus. The name Eliezar means, God of help. When I first saw this, my mind jumped forward to Jesus’ words, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26, ESV).
Eliezar, God of help, was sent by father Abraham to seek a bride for his son. The Holy Spirit, the helper, was sent by Jesus to seek out the bride of Christ, the church (us). Abraham’s servant, God of help, went with gifts and prayed for the steadfast love of God to guide him. The Holy Spirit is the giver of gifts, too: the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Eliezar was real and present with Rebekah on her journey; the Holy Spirit is real and present in our lives. We are never alone.
May we be encouraged today to pursue the word of God in ways that enlighten our minds and souls and give thanks for The Helper who is within us.
August 27, 2020
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