Posts Tagged ‘Genesis 24’

Genesis 24 – RESUME OF A SERVANT LEADER – Part 7

Servant Leadership

He is not mentioned by name in this story but he makes a name for himself in the pages of history. If you are looking for an example of SERVANT LEADERSHIP, you will find it here in Abraham’s servant. Imagine if he asked for a reference to add to his resume.

As I speak about the leadership characteristics of this man, I wonder would the reference Abraham writes about him be the same kind of reference he would write for me? What does it look like to be a servant leader?

His reference would probably read something like this…

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,

I have known Eliezer for many years. He has served my family over all those years. In fact he has been a most trusted manager and a true servant leader.

I regard Eliezer as a gift from God. He has administrated the affairs of my considerable estate with efficiency and my business has prospered considerably (Genesis 24:1-2. Of course it was God who had blessed Abraham and Eliezer was there to administer the business and household. Many commentaries say that this servant had to be Eliezer but he is not actually mentioned by name.)

With his extensive experience (which is another way of saying that he is old) I believe he has, through his involvement in a variety of business and personal experiences, much to offer. He has learned valuable lessons and together we have charted new territory (Genesis 24:2).

You will find that Eliezer is NOT AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS and he ANTICIPATES DIFFICULTIES when given a task, not because he is being negative but in order to achieve his task more effectively and understand more accurately what is being asked of him (Genesis 24:5. When Abraham asks Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac back in Mesopotamia, Eliezer sees a problem and says, “If this girl won’t agree to come with me. Should I take your son with me?” He presents a problem but suggests a solution. Abraham rejects the solution but it shows that Eliezer is proactive).

Eliezer has a great reputation for finding the right people for our family business. Recently I entrusted Eliezer with an impossible mission which involved travelling to another country and “headhunting” a suitable girl to live and work back in Canaan with my son. He has a particular passion for EXECUTIVE MATCHMAKING, and found someone who was more than suitable. Isaac loved her so much, he married her. (Genesis 24:3-4. Eliezer found the right person for Isaac to marry.)

Always PREPARING WELL, Eliezer has been entrusted with full access to my finances and he budgets well. As you know I have a sizeable fortune. Eliezer can be TRUSTED with money (Genesis 24:10,22,53 When he set off to find Rebekah, he took a fortune with him by way of gifts in silver, gold and garments as well). He is RESPONSIBLE. When transacting business for my family recently in the East, I put at his disposal some of my trained soldiers.(Genesis 24:32. Abraham had his own private army which he had previously used when his nephew Lot was captured by king Chedorlaomer. The story is found in Genesis 14:14-16. I would presume that he would send some of these men with Eliezer for protection purposes). Eliezer also travelled with a valuable cargo into dangerous territory and I am sure an angel was going before him because he was able to accomplish his mission with efficiency. (Genesis 24:7. Abraham said that an angel would go before him to find a wife for Isaac. I presume this would be an angel like Gabriel, who would protect the promises and purposes of God concerning these ancestors of Jesus).

Eliezer takes RESPONSIBILITY after thinking through things well. He’s not afraid of finding success for others. He’s NOT OUT TO SERVE HIS OWN INTERESTS. Once given the mission, he GETS ON WITH THE JOB assigned to him. He is POSITIVE and LOOKS FOR SOLUTIONS and has honoured me. (Genesis 24:12-14. Eliezer prays “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham.” He is always serving the interests of God and his master).

What I particularly appreciate about Eliezer is that he allows God to guide him. You will not find anyone as COMMITTED to serving the Lord and his employer as Eliezer. He has a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD and WORSHIPS EASILY and God guides him.  (Genesis 24:12,21,26,42,48,52. At each step Eliezer is careful to ask God for success and to praise God for the answers he receives. Psalms 37:23 (NLT) says “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives”).

He’s a DETAILS PERSON, but somehow manages to be PRECISE AND TO THE POINT with his presentations. (Genesis 24:33-49. Eliezer explains the reason he is there, how God has prospered Abraham to the point where is is now a rich man. He speaks about the miracle of Isaac’s birth and how he is the sole heir to Abraham. He explains that he took an oath to find a wife for Isaac among Abraham’s relatives, and how he had asked for a sign so that God would lead him to the right girl. The Lord led him to Rebekah. Without being pushy he seeks to have them make a decision). You will find Eliezer not to be intrusive but he is ASSERTIVE and firm when closing a deal. (Genesis 24:49) Very DECISIVE, and COMMITTED to accomplishing the purpose of the tasks I have assigned him, he does not waste time. He is never keen about delaying things (Genesis 24:55-56. Once Eliezer has found Rebekah, he is keen to go the very next day). Although he is PERSISTENT, he is careful not to force his way into a situation. He completes what he sets out to do.

If his experience and gifts in excellent service and trusted leadership, along with his loyalty seems to match up with any opportunities you may have, then you must know that although I commend him to you and that he would be an asset to you, YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM. He is permanently indentured to me. Abraham. 

God bless you as you seek to learn and apply these principles of servant leadership from this amazing man of God.

Pastor Ross

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Genesis 24 – HOW TO FIND AND BE THE RIGHT PERSON – Part 5.

Cross = Love

Both have beautiful jewelry, except that one has a sapphire ring on her finger and the other wears a nose ring. One woman arrives to her wedding in a limousine. The other on a camel. One veils her face as she walks the aisle of a huge Church building to her husband whom she has known for 8 years. The other veils her face when she meets her husband for the first time.

Kate Middleton and Rebekah are both beautiful women but what is it that sets Rebekah apart? Perhaps it is that although Kate marries prince William, who in the future will be crowned the king of England, Rebekah marries Isaac from whom will come Jesus, who in the future will be acknowledged as the Prince of Peace and King of Kings.

Genesis 24 brings us to the outskirts of the city of Nahor. A stranger goes to one of the local wells. He knows that this is the local gathering place for the women of the city as they will come to collect water for their households in the cool of the evening. He rests the camels by the well and prays. Abraham has sent this trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac. But the question is “Who is right for Isaac?”

How is he going to find the right girl? He prays a simple, straight forward prayer for a clear sign to lead him. Matthew 21:22 (NLT) says “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” What CHARACTERISTICS would you be praying for? In the musical “Annie, Get Your Gun”, the lead sings a song called “The Girl That I Marry” and lists off a series of characteristics. What would you sing about concerning a girl for Isaac? Or perhaps for you?

The servant prays that the girl who is right for Isaac will be the girl who comes to the well and gives the servant water to drink at his request, and then shows extra consideration over and above that. She will suggest watering the rest of his camels, which is an enormous amount of work. (Apparently a thirsty camel can drink up to forty gallons of water, and there are ten camels!) This is a big ask. It will take some hours of her time. But it will solve two problems for the servant. A girl like this has to be right for Isaac, and he’ll have his “limousines” looked after in the process.

In the cool evening air she comes with no idea of how her life is to change. Rebekah must have sensed the presence of an angel as she arrives because God answers the servants prayer immediately. As far as she knows she is here to fill her clay jug with water and take it back to her household. The urgency to be first on the scene to draw water did not come from the whining commands of her mother but from the inner RESPONSIBILITY she feels to contribute to the needs of her family. Genesis 24:16 says “Rebekah was very BEAUTIFUL and OLD ENOUGH TO BE MARRIED, but she was STILL A VIRGIN. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again.”

The servant makes his request for water and watches to see if this is the right girl. Her beautiful eyes glance briefly into his with curiosity and she is careful to show him courtesy and respect. “Yes, my lord,” she answers, “have a drink.” CONFIDENT, WARM, FRIENDLY.

And then, as if compelled by an angel, this young woman, who knows what it means to carry a heavy pitcher of water back and forth from the well, immediately offers to draw water for all his camels. She adds the words “until they have finished drinking.” The servant is thinking “God answers my prayers even before I have finished asking.”

There is no reluctance in the melody of her voice as she makes this man she has never met before feel valued. SERVANT HEART to servant, Rebekah recognises opportunity to invest her time to help others (and get a workout at the same time). The INITIATIVE and RESPONSIBILITY she takes is a good deal for Abraham’s servant. He just stands there and watches.

Blessing so often comes when I take initiative and work hard in the everyday things of life without the expectation of reward. I see in Rebekah that she is a person who doesn’t live just to satisfy her own needs or just the needs of her family. She goes the EXTRA MILE. When you know God personally you will CARE FOR OTHERS. You seek to go a step further. She looks beyond what people want to what they need. She is THOUGHTFUL and CONSIDERATE and looks for ways to make life better for others. SELFLESS. She sees the chance to be GENEROUS and takes it. She is so much like my wife Julie.

Although she didn’t do the work expecting to get paid for it Rebekah is given some valuable jewellery in return for her help. This is the principle of sowing and reaping. Luke 6:38 (NLT) says “Give, and you will receive.” She gives over and above what is expected and she will also receive over and above what she expects – a husband. She may not realise it but she has just stepped into the purposes of God.

The invitation today is to be willing to go the extra mile without thinking “what’s in it for me?” Jesus knew what it meant to go the extra mile for us and die for our sins to bring us the water of eternal life. May God bless you in the random-acts-of-kindness opportunities that He brings along your way today. They could answer someone’s prayer and end up changing your life forever if you are willing to step into the purposes of God. We are blessed to be a blessing.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 24 – THINGS THAT DON’T GO TOGETHER – Part 3

Just Married!

The engine of a Fiesta in a Ferrari! Pickles and icecream. There are certain things that definitely DON’T go together. Aluminium foil and microwaves (Julie rediscovered this recently). Children and cancer. Wouldn’t it change the world if honesty and politics went together.

It was dark when I dressed and when I arrived at the Church building we sat around in a small circle of dedicated students learning and reciting Greek declensions with our Pastor. It was about halfway through one of these early morning classes that I noticed my shoes. I was wearing TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF SHOES! Very embarrassing. I wonder if anybody else noticed? Certain things should not be worn together.

Deuteronomy 22:10 (NLT) says “You must not plough with an ox and a donkey harnessed together.” The idea here is that there are certain things that are totally INCOMPATIBLE. They were never meant to be placed in the same yoke, never meant to be together in the same equation. Just won’t fit! Won’t make sense! Doesn’t work well!

Abraham wants his son to marry a woman from among his own relatives and insists that he must not marry a Canaanite girl. It almost seems RACIST! Wouldn’t it be better to form an alliance through marriage with the people who are there in the land promised to Abraham? What an easy way of claiming the promised land. You would think that it would HELP THE PROMISE along a little. So far Abraham only owns a burial plot that he bought for Sarah. Why not also form a covenant through a marriage to a Canaanite girl with his son? It was clear that he DOES NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. Why? Are we to be DISCRIMINATORY when we choose a marriage partner? No, but we are to be DISCRIMINATING.

The Bible speaks of our relationship with God as being the most important relationship we will ever have, even more important than our marriage relationship. When we marry we form a COVENANT. That covenant is used as a picture of our relationship with God. Ephesians 5:25 (NASB) says “Husbands, love your wives, just AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH and gave Himself up for her,…”   The Canaanites were idol worshipers and REJECTED THE GOD OF ABRAHAM.

There are certain things that DEFINITELY DON’T GO TOGETHER. Ur and Abraham. Sodom and Lot. Idols and the temple. Christ and the devil. Light and darkness. Righteousness and wickedness. A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST MARRYING AN UNBELIEVER. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NLT) says “DON’T TEAM UP WITH (be UNEQUALLY YOKED with) those who are unbelievers.” It’s like harnessing an ox and an ass together.

Abraham is confident that the Lord will send an ANGEL ahead of the servant to help him find the right girl for Isaac among his relatives. Angels have already played an important part in Abraham’s life (Genesis 18, 19, 22). By the way, he is not talking about A CUPID-LIKE ANGEL, so let’s not go there. It was probably Gabriel or Michael, the fiercest of all angels, sent to protect the promises of God to Abraham.

A GREAT NATION was coming through Abraham. JESUS would one day be born through this family line and it seems God didn’t want anybody or anything, demonic or otherwise, to interfere with the process of finding Rebekah. Abraham’s faith had been tested and he had learned some valuable lessons. He is doing everything he can to make sure that he doesn’t get in the way of God again.

Perhaps it was the archangel Gabriel who was sent. Afterall Gabriel turns up at the birth of Christ to Mary (Luke 1:26) and angels throughout the Bible have a way of protecting people (and I might add of scaring them to death in the process. It seems they always have to reassure people by saying “Do not fear!” so they obviously aren’t the cute, fat baby-like cupid angels that we see on wedding invitations).

In a world where Satan wants to destroy Godly marriages because they are a picture of our relationship with Christ, is this your opportunity to pray that God would SEND AN ANGEL to protect you and that God would lead you to the right person to marry? Some people are just meant to be together.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 24 – GOD HAS AN ONLINE DATING SERVICE! – Part 2

Online Love

“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…”

The most successful INTERNET DATING SITES today, according to Wikipedia, are very specific concerning those they target. To ensure compatibility many of them are advertised according to RACIAL OR RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS. That would have suited Abraham if he had been able to access the internet. Many today would accuse him of being a racist because he did not want his son to marry a Canaanite.

Abraham sent his trusted servant out to find a perfect match for his son Isaac, but he was instructed to go to Abraham’s relatives. He didn’t want a marriage where race or faith in God would be compromised.

Today the servant could have linked into JDate (which is for Jewish singles) while avoiding the local dating sites such as CanaaniteDate.com.

How do you find a person who is COMPATIBLE? Today he could have surveyed Isaac and entered the data online to find the characteristics in a woman he wanted, such as age, gender, what city she was from, height, weight, education, income, sense of humour, her interest in sports, her political persuasion and medical condition. What if she has mental problems or severe disabilities? To go one step further, Abraham’s servant could have linked into a site that used a personality test to ensure compatibility.

It all sounds like a great way to go if you are looking for a marriage partner, but Rebekah takes a huge risk in following this servant of Abraham. She has no idea whether or not she is exposing herself to ruthless predators, only to find herself a victim of fraud or of being stalked or of sexual exploitation and violence. For all she knows she could end up as a victim of human trafficking!

If Rebekah lived today she could have asked for a police check on Abraham’s family. It would have revealed a few cautions against Abraham – abandonment of his son Ishmael and attempted murder of Isaac. God acquitted him as righteous but how would you feel about having a father-in-law like that?

At least two couples I know began their relationship on the internet. Recently Sharyn Cook said “I met my husband on the internet and he is definitely God’s answer to my prayers”.

The question the servant had to ask was “How do I find someone who will be compatible?” He decided to use GOD’S ONLINE HELP, the best and most successful dating site of all, accessed by the same password Sharyn used – “PRAYER”.

So the oldest and most trusted of servants goes to find a girl willing to go with him, leave her family, come to a totally new land called Canaan, marry and live with a man she has never seen before in her life. This is a big ask. No wonder the servant prays in Genesis 24:12 (NLT), “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham.” This servant obviously has a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD although I think he could have included a desire for a bit of lovingkindness for Isaac too. Afterall, he is the one who is going to be affected the most by this prayer. Prayer voice activates his faith and links him directly to GOD’S INTERNET DATING SITE.

God knows what He is doing as he leads the servant to Rebekah. Imagine if Rebekah was so off-line with God that she had not agreed to come. Our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ was to come through the line of Isaac. Her positive response, however, shows that she is a right person for Isaac.

Should this servant give us advice as to finding someone who is compatible for marriage, he would say “Dedicate yourself to the purpose but let that purpose be guided by your prayer.” How different might be the results should this kind of online search be conducted today. Connected to God’s wisdom, our choices make so much more sense and have so much greater impact and fruitfulness. The invitation today is to be connected to God in every arena of our lives, especially in the decision of a life partner in marriage.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 24 – GOD WRITES LOVE STORIES – Part 1

Bench in Park

She was there in the park, sitting on the bench in the mist, this mysterious beautiful woman in my life, and I realised that I was falling in love. We met with others in that early morning prayer meeting, but I wasn’t aware of them. I listened as she prayed and knew that we were being drawn together by God Himself. Like a window into her soul, her words enabled me to see her faith, intelligence, strength and beauty. I have known and loved this awesome woman twice as long as I was without her. We have been married for 37 years and this morning as I look out on a Autumn day in 2011, I remember being dressed in my school uniform on that cold misty morning when our journey began. I was 17. Years later Julie admitted that she had secretly prayed that if I showed up on that day it would be a sign that this would be the person she would marry.

God writes love stories. He is vitally concerned with the actual lives of people as they meet, fall in love, marry. Afterall, the first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. Our everyday lives and the decisions have bearing upon His purposes for us, especially concerning the one we marry.

Notice I said God writes love stories. Not romance novels and soap operas. “And they all lived happily ever after” was not in our story. There were times when Julie and I had some serious struggles when happiness wasn’t characteristic of our relationship, but God has been merciful and we are here in Sydney, Australia all these years later, with children and grandchildren, amazed at how rich and full and yes, how happy and in love we are.  

In the advancing years of my life, and I am not even half Abraham’s age in Genesis 24, I watch with prayerful interest the lives of my grandchildren and pray for God’s choice of a marriage partner for each of them. The oldest is not quite marriageable age yet. He is only five!

Sarah’s laughter has disappeared in the mists of time as we look at the love story of Genesis 24:1-67. She has been gone now for many years. Abraham is an old man. Isaac, his promised son, is forty years old (Genesis 25:20). One thing must play upon his mind as Abraham approaches the end of his life. GRANDCHILDREN! God has “blessed Abraham in all things” (Genesis 24:1 NASB), and part of that blessing is the promise of becoming a great nation through the lineage of Isaac (Genesis 12, 15). And so it is about time Isaac got married!

The traumatic events where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac to test his faith in Genesis 22 conclude with the words “Soon after this, Abraham heard that Milcah, his brother Nahor’s wife, had borne Nahor eight sons” (Genesis 22:20 NLT). Somehow they had some kind of social network happening, e-mails, facebook, or messenger going to and from the relatives he had left behind. It seems he even knew about Rebekah by name (Genesis 22:20, 23 NLT) and perhaps of her faith and beauty as she grew. Perhaps he knew that she would be compatible.

“Abraham said to his servant,… go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac. For the Lord, the God of heaven, … will send His angel ahead of you, and He will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine.” (Genesis 24:5-8 NLT)

Looking at this passage it looks like God has a contingency plan B should Rebekah stubbornly refuse to come and wipe Isaac off the e-marriage list. I know, God doesn’t have a plan B but so often WE DO. God writes love stories but so often we try to write our own chapters and do some creative adjustments to the story line. I was speaking recently with a woman who said she didn’t find the right person. He was an alcoholic and verbally and physically abusive.

God sees that marriage is a picture of Jesus and the Church. Ephesians 5:22 says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.

Seeking God’s choice in a marriage partner is important, but perspective on that relationship is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

God is a generational God. He invites us to play a part in the lives of our descendents. Are you praying now for your children, your grandchildren and great grandchildren to find the THE RIGHT ONE” as a marriage partner?

If you are considering marriage are you willing NOT to make your own plan B? Are you willing NOT TO MARRY AT ALL until you find the RIGHT PERSON? Are you willing to trust God to help you find the THE RIGHT ONE? Big challenge!

Pastor Ross