Sunday, October 07, 2007

Humanity in Sin Part 29: A Wife for Isaac (1)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 30th September in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 24:1-9

In Genesis 23, Abraham was not willing to get the land for free to bury Sarah. Today’s young people have very different mentality. They are not willing to sacrifice, work hard and pay price. They think the best is to have everything easy and free. As a result whatever their words and their life have no power.

Genesis 24 talks about about how a godly father Abraham worked hard to get a good daughter-in-law for his son. He had only one son who is given by God and he took his son’s marriage seriously. All our possessions belong to the materialistic realm, but our children came from our life. Our wealth is expandable but children are heritage from the Lord and we have to give an account to God on how we raise them. The material world will pass away, but like us, if our children do God’s will they will live forever. Our children will stand before God’s judgement too. So how should we take care of our family and teach our children to be accountable to God?

Our attitude towards our children is very important. Today, many parents are busy making money and neglect their children. This will end in tragedy. Socrates said that if we labor hard to dig for every single gold but lose our children, we have no gain.

After Sarah’s death, Abraham started to make preparation for Isaac’s marriage. Isaac was already 40 years old. Abraham called the oldest chief of the household to him to swear before God. Abraham is a great man because he had faithful servant who worked for him for life. It shows that he took care of the future of his servant. Today, in our company, how do we deal with our workers? When we hire someone, do we plan for their future? For many companies, they just hire what they need and just fire when they do not need them. Only when you are a good master, you are worthy of good servants and they will serve you long term. The Bible recorded that Abraham had over 300 people in his house. Many were born, raised and trained in his house. All these servants under the protection of Abraham loved him very much. In this matter, Abraham also set an example for us. This chief of the household took care of everything in his house.

Abraham entrusted his chief servant with a very important task. He wanted to send him to his original hometown Mesopotamia to get a wife for his son. Because Abraham worshiped the one true God while the Canaanites worshiped idols, Abraham did not want his son to marry a foreigner. It does not mean that a lady from his hometown is definitely good, however there is at least a continuity in tradition and culture.

If we are being commissioned to do a big task, how should we respond? We should not be over-confident, deceive ourselves or run away from it. We should think through the possible problems and bring them out. The chief servant asked what to do if the lady refused to come, whether he should bring Isaac there.

Abraham immediately refused. He is fully committed to the calling of God. Today we do not have the same attitude towards God. We do not really sever ties with our past. But Abraham had a very genuine heart. He said that God had called him out of his homeland so in his obedience he would never return. He left when he was 75 and he died when he was 175. For 100 years since God called him, he never returned to his homeland. He never built himself a house but lived in tents. Why would his wife Sarah follow him for so many years living in tents? But Sarah did follow Abraham in this manner until she died. The obedience of Abraham to God and the obedience of Sarah to Abraham is our example. Abraham knew his calling and never changed his direction. So he told his chief servant never to bring his son back to his hometown. At the same time, he walked as a sojourner in Canaan but would not let his son intermarry with the people there.

In this situation, it is very easy to compromise if he could not get the right wife for the son from his hometown. But 4000 years ago, Abraham treated the marriage of his son very seriously. We are so much advanced today but we are so messed up in our marriages. In the past there were far less divorces. When civilization get too easy with their marriages, it will collapse.

Why did Abraham get an old servant to go? Why would a woman want to follow an old man back? It is a difficult task. But Abraham was firm in his faith so he would not compromise. He said if the woman refused to come with the chief servant, he would be released from the oath. Here Abraham brought an important principle, that is to do first and not to be to preoccupied about the problems and escape our responsibility. We should just do first and see how God leads us.

To be in God’s ministry is to watch how God works. As we work, we will realize that actually it is not us working, but it is God working through us and we give all the glory to God. When God gives us instructions, He seldom frightens us by letting us see all the problems we might face. He would lead us step by step to see His sovereignty. Abraham told his servant that God would be with him and make his journey successful.

Did the chief servant manage to get the right woman for Isaac? Later development of history would influenced by this. If we do not honor God in our marriages, how can we lead our descendants? If we do not pray for them, how can we guide them to understand God’s will? Abraham took care of his son and prayed for his son. Our attitude towards our marriages and children need to be solemn.

4 Comments:

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote:
He said that God had called him out of his homeland so in his obedience he would never return. He left when he was 75 and he died when he was 175.

Comment:
Sarah was 10 years younger than Abraham. So she must be at least 65 when later on they moved to Egypt where the king wanted to have Sarah. Isn't it funny that a king would still find a 65 old lady attractive?

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Hedonese said...

in those days, women wear veils hehe...

if tat's funny, wait till u find out her age when she gave birth to Isaac ;)

 
At 2:05 AM, Blogger charissa said...

So please at what age did sarah give birth to Issac

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was God's miracle that Sarah could gave birth after 90s. And a man will still find his wife beautiful even she is 90, or 100 or 200 years old.

But for a stranger (esp. a king) who have a lot of resources, to find another woman of 65 years old (whom he didn't knew before) so attractive that he want to take her ?? c'mon...
Wonder if the king would thought she was still a virgin in 65?

 

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