The servant brings up the possibility of failure. Abraham answers that possibility with faith. That's Abraham's answer to doubt.
The other one brings up possibilities. Abraham brings up faith. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now here's Pastor Rick with his study called Abraham's Unnamed Servant. Today he'll start in Proverbs chapter 18.
In India, there is a gesture amongst some of those who live in India. When they're in the presence of the patriarchs of their family, there's a gesture where they sort of bow and touch behind the legs of the one that they're showing respect to. And this likely required that the servant knelt down before Abraham and sealed the agreement that he entered in.
But there's still much to talk about how he went about this. He is the chief steward of all that Abraham has, even though as we've discussed, I don't believe he is Eliezer. And he is one of the most attractive minor characters in all the Bible.
That alone stands out to me because that means I can be a minor character who is outstanding. And you cannot miss him. And you cannot miss any servant of God who assumes their role regardless of how minor it may be considered to be amongst men. And with his quiet, good sense, his faith and his devotion to Abraham, we are drawn to him. Listen to what it says in Proverbs 18, 16. A man's gifts make room for him and brings him before great men.
That's this man. He is gifted and God has brought him before Abraham, whom God has blessed more than anyone alive at this time. And yet this man is serving in Abraham's home entrusted with everything that is dear to Abraham, from his worldly possessions to the future of his son.
Outstanding, remarkable. We watch him firmly seeing matters through with loyalty and success, which is supposed to say to us, loyalty and success, there's a concept. That's something we don't see today.
We do see it sometimes, but it is not a dominant, these are not dominant virtues in our society. People are loyal to Satan, they're loyal to themselves, if you can call it loyalty, but a sense of duty, a sense of victory. Victory is a scriptural idea. Right now, this is the church militant, but the time is coming when we will be the church victorious.
We would have conquered, we would have ceased from all of our labors because of what God has promised, because of what he is doing, and what he has done and will do. We take this by faith, which will enter into the story. And so, this servant has a quiet insight into human nature as servants do who are entrusted with that which is in the hands of their masters. In other words, by being entrusted with this, he is getting experience, and the experience that he is getting is about people. And he's using this experience about people to better serve his master.
That is what he exists for. Look at verses 4 and 5 of Genesis 24. Abraham says, but you shall go to my country and to my family and take a wife for my son Isaac. And there again is the principle of being properly yoked with the people of God in illustration. It has a historical meaning, that is what it literally meant when Abraham spoke it, and then it has an application in the New Testament in that we see God said, you shall not take those outside of the blood of Christ to be your spouse, but those within the family of God. In verse 5 he continues, and the servant said to him, perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land, must I take your son back to the land from which you came? And that's when Abraham sort of goes off.
I told you, look at verse 6, but Abraham said, beware that you do not take my son back there. He'll say it again. He's driving that point home.
Listen, I'm not playing with you. That's sort of a conversation he's having with his oldest and most trusted servant. And so, what we're also getting out of this, in addition to that, he has this insight into human nature. You know, she might not want to come. We also see that it's still free will. She has a choice. She has a say so. That almost gets lost as we begin to see Laban enter into the picture, but it's not.
It's part of the story because it was part of the culture. She had every right to say, I will not go, just as unbelievers have every right to say to Jesus, I will not go, just as believers have every right to say, I will not go anymore, any farther, any longer, however you want to phrase it. The servant brings up the possibility of failure. Abraham answers that possibility with faith. Beware that you do not take my son back there, the Lord God of heaven who took me from my father's house and from the land of my family and who spoke to me and swore to me saying to your descendants I give this land. He will send his angel before you and you shall take a wife for my son from there. That's Abraham's answer to doubt. The other one brings up possibilities. Abraham brings up faith. Does it win the servant?
Does it change? Does it impact him? As Job says, how forceful are right words? Are these words right?
Absolutely. By the time this story is over, he's going to be preaching those identical words to the household of Laban. He's going to be talking about faith and the angel of the Lord. And we're going to see just how much he learned from Abraham. And so we watch him carry out his word and his work before we even realize it.
We're liking him. Before we even know what's going on as we're reading through this chapter, he becomes someone that we are paying attention to. Before we know about types, before we know about he is the Holy Spirit in type, before we know about he is the servant in the church in type, we are still attracted to him. Carries out his word and his work, as I mentioned, as a master servant.
That's sort of an oxymoron. A servant's not the master, but he has mastered being a servant of Jehovah. He's not just Abraham's servant. Abraham's God is his God. And this empowers him to be this man, as our text says, and there he stood by the camels at the well. The whole time he's standing there, he's knowing God is unfolding the answer that his master sent him to get. That's faith. That's strength. This is something that is beautiful.
We are educated by his textbook service and we want it to be so because we know it's right. We know this is, yes, this is it. This is what I'm not finding in the workplace. This is what I'm not finding in the universities. This is what I'm not finding somewhere in life, but I'm finding it here in God's word.
This is what I have been looking for and I did not even know it until I've been exposed to it. I think many Christians need to hear everything I just said about service, but also what I'm about to say. He is a servant and a gentleman. How many times have you come across a Christian who is not a gentleman?
How many times have they been quick to tell you that they're saved, that they go to church, that they are being used by God, but they're not a gentleman? He shows us a satisfying blend of dignity and humility as he moves from one part of that world to another part of that world. He never stops being the man that Abraham appointed him to be. I want God to say that of me. I want God to say as you've moved through this life, everywhere that I have found you, you never stopped being the man I have been making you to be in Christ Jesus. That's what I want God to do for me. That's why I love this man. That's why I think all Christians should love this man. Well seasoned with wisdom and the execution of his task. How many Christians do you find that lacking in?
They're not seasoned. They have no experience, yet they're quick to want to be the leader. They're quick to want to have a dominant position, a visible position, a say so. Do not execute their task as they ought to do. We'll see him also moving through this 24th chapter, maybe not tonight but in your own reading time, smoothing the way for all hands that are involved. He makes things happen that otherwise would not have happened because surprises have popped up, because resistance has surfaced, but he moves over those things. He answers the objections and the ones that he cannot answer, he moves forward in spite of them, cautiously but effectively. And his handling of crafty Laban's antics is extraordinary and insightful.
Turn with me to verse 55. Now this is the latter part of the story. While he was by the well, Laban eventually comes out, brings him into the city, into his home. And after he closes the arrangement, solidifies the covenant that indeed Rebecca is going to be the wife of Isaac, Laban wants more time so he can work his con, so that he can be, find the opportunity to be opportunistic. He needs time to do that. And so he objects to them leaving right away and he suggests they stay ten days.
See that will give him time to work his con. We know this from the life of Jacob. I am not saying that Laban is lost and in hell, but I am saying he was a carnal man.
He is not a role model in scripture. But in verse 55 it says her brother, that's Laban, and her mother said, the mom agreeing with Laban, who's the dominant male figure in the home, even though his father is still alive, he's probably too old to really be, have his head in the game. It says let the young woman, let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten.
After that she may go. And what he is saying, if I haven't worked my con on you by ten days, I'll ask for another ten days. That's what he would do, because that's what he did with Jacob. Verse 56, and he said to them, do not hinder me since the Lord, this is the servant speaking to Laban now, do not hinder me since the Lord has prospered my way. Send me away so that I may go to my master. He knows how to handle this. He's saying listen, this is done, and I'm answering to my master, and you are now getting in my way.
Verse 57, so they said well, we will call the young woman and ask her personally. Laban is thinking she loves me, I'm her big brother. I've been good to her. I've only caused her to water the camels eight times a day instead of eight and a half. And so she loves me.
He's about to be disappointed. Verse 58, then they called Rebekah and said to her, will you go with this man? And she said I will. I'm out of here. In fact, she probably had her bags under her arms as she's answering him.
This picture's conversion. Will you go with this Jesus Christ? I will.
I say goodbye to all my other relationships. Yeah, but you may never see those, so she likely never again returned home, even though she sent Jacob there to save his life from Esau. But again, the servant has appealed to her. He has won her. Now he has done this with some tricks.
That might be too harsh of a word. But he has pulled some moves, as God does with us. The Lord does not say, just believe me. He gives us things to believe. He shows himself to us. He presents himself. He gives us many infallible proofs. He does not say jump blindly. He says consider. He says come, let us reason.
And as we begin to reason, we have proof enough, that is precisely what has happened to her. He learned this sense of urgency to comply with his instructions from Abraham. First, again, we go back to verse 54. And he and the men who were with him ate and drank, stayed all night. Then they arose in the morning and he said, send me away to my master.
And that's when Laban began to resist. The servant learned to act, to seize the moment of Jehovah. That doesn't sound like very much until you begin to see how many times Christians don't do this. When God has made his will clear, when he has spoken to us, I want you to do this and we hesitate. There's no hesitation in this oldest servant of Abraham. I said now he got that from Abraham and I'm going to show you from the scripture how Abraham treated moments of urgency.
And there's great urgency about all of this. Before I read that from Abraham, just look with me at verse 17 of Genesis 24. The servant ran to meet her. And then verse 28. So the young woman ran and told her mother's household.
And then we read it again, verse 29. Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban and Laban ran out to meet the man by the well. The servant ran to meet Rebekah. Rebekah ran home to tell everybody.
Laban heard it, ran out to meet the man. So this is all of this activity going on. God knows precisely what he's doing and so does the servant. And now he won't be held back from his run home with the prize. The prize. That's what we are to Jesus. We are a prize to him. Not in a cheap sense but something that is wonderful. Something to be desired.
Something to be spent upon to get. Genesis 17. This is Abraham acting when God said get Ishmael out the house.
Watch how quickly Abraham responds. It tells us in verse 23 of Genesis 17. So Abraham took Ishmael his son. All who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house.
Pardon me. I said this was when he was putting Ishmael out. This was when he was circumcised. And circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day as God had said to him. And so God says I want you to circumcise the men of your house, the ones you've bought, the ones who were born in your house, every male. And he does it that day.
No delay. And then in 19, Genesis 19 verse 27, this is when Sodom and Gomorrah was being judged and Abraham arose the next day and it says and Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He had prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah.
He had interceded on its behalf. Incidentally, with the exception of that prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah, the prayers of this servant, the second time in the book of Genesis that prayers are recorded. And I think that alone is significant to this unmanned servant, unnamed servant, that if you are going to be such a child of God, prayer has got to be part of your faith. What makes us not want to pray? Doubt. Why bother? God's not going to do it. Because do what he's going to do anyway. Yeah, but no matter what he does, you won't be part of it unless you pray. It's not win columns.
You know, while I got 20 wins and three losses, my earned run average is pretty, it's not statistical. It's faith. It's an act of obedience. It's an act of I care about what you care about and as Samuel said, I shall not sin against the Lord by not praying for you.
You can't escape it. No Christian has to depend on another person to pray for them, but we want them to because we can pray directly. Chapter 21 of Genesis verse 14, we read again about Abraham complying and this time it is about putting Ishmael out. So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and putting it on her shoulder, that is Hagar, he gave it and the boy to Hagar and sent her away.
That's tough. That's what God told him to do. Abraham created that mess as we do. Whenever you want to bring about a victory for God and it's in your own strength, you're creating a Hagar and it will come back and enslave you.
It will put you in a situation that you will regret. There are realities in this life that are inescapable and we must sober up and approach life in the presence of God, realizing that we are more dependent than we imagine. Genesis 22 verse 3, another illustration. So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son and he split the wood, the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
God said I want you to sacrifice your son. Abraham got up early in the morning and attacked that. We read about this in the life of Joshua too and I'm of the mind that Joshua knew these stories.
I'm of the mind that Abraham was a hero to any Jewish man, any Jewish woman who wanted to please Jehovah. They learned from him. Prayer is no substitute for action. That is part of the lesson. That is part of the urgency that belongs to the life of Abraham. Once he was sure of God's will and God's commandment in his life, he moved on it and if in the midst he should find out that it was his own will, then he was to abandon his plan and seek the Lord yet again. This servant in chapter 24 never owns anything more than the title as I mentioned 14 times in 15 statements or it is applied to him. No name, no possessions, just the oldest, the servant, the servant of Abraham.
That's the only way he's referred to throughout this whole chapter. The oldest servant, the servant, the servant of Abraham. His identity was absorbed in his master's identity. It sounds like Christianity, what it's supposed to be. We Christians are supposed to be being absorbed into the identity of Christ. Matthew's Gospel chapter 20 verses 27 and 28, Jesus speaking, and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave. Just as the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life ransom for many.
Jesus is telling us, this is why I came here, this is what I want from you. You say, but I, you know, I never seem to, I hear these things, I never seem to get there. How far behind would you be if you gave up? Okay, you never hit the bullseye. How close to the target would you be if you never even aimed?
You didn't even point at the direction of the target. That's the idea behind overcoming the temptation to abandon the ideals. Well, that's a standard that's too high, I'll never make it, so quit.
You say, no, that's not a thought I'm comfortable with. If all I need do is follow the Lord and stick to him, it's better than following the world and sticking to my flesh. This man is a shameless servant and he's letting everybody know as he tells the story that he is a servant and he has no inhibitions about it. Never do we hear of him speaking on his own behalf outside of the context of obeying Abraham. He is the finest type appearing as the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. We're going to take these New Testament verses, if you've been attending this church for any length of time, you know we've read these often, but we need to go over them yet again. John's Gospel, chapter 14, verse 26.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. You know that hand under the thigh thing was to bring remembrance. It was to bring the contract.
It was to seal the contract, but it was to keep it before them. The Holy Spirit is faithful. He does not forget what he is supposed to do.
He does not forget his role. He understands and we, we are not supposed to forget ours either. John's Gospel, chapter 15, verse 26. But the Helper, that is the Paraclete in the Greek, it is the Holy Spirit, that's who it is referring to, it is Jesus. Jesus is giving, each illustration I'm giving you from John is Jesus leaving the upper room, heading towards Gethsemane. He's going to be crucified that night. He is investing in the day of Pentecost, which is about 50 days away, a little bit more, from, from this time that he's teaching them. He is teaching them about the Holy Spirit, the servant of God within the Trinity, that will come for them and, and minister to them.
Not come for them like take them home, but come on their behalf. But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify of me. Well that's the servant. That's the servant here in Genesis 24.
And then John's Gospel, chapter 16, verses 17, 13 through 17. However, when he, now notice the personal pronouns, all referring to the Holy Spirit, eliminating any notion that he is an it or a thing, he is a person, he is a third person of the Trinity, a member of the Godhead, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and no more. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak on his own authority. Ergo, the servant in Genesis 24, not speaking about himself, but about Isaac and Abraham. He continues, but whatever he is, he will speak and he will tell you things to come. He will glorify me for he will take of what is mine and declare it to you. The servant took what was of Abraham and declared it to Rebekah. Genesis chapter 24, I think verse 10. The servant, this is when he is leaving the camp of Abraham and says, the servant took 10 of his master's camels and departed for all his master's goods were in his hands and he arose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor.
He's in possession of his master's possessions on behalf of his master. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's word each time you tune in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at crossreferenceradio.com or search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 12:22:49 / 2023-01-08 12:32:21 / 10