November 20th 2016: Ian Jones

ian-jones-nov2016

This morning’s worship was led by Ian Jones from Carmarthen Evangelical Church, who preached from Genesis chapter 24, finding a wife for Isaac. This is the longest chapter in Genesis, longer than the chapter on creation, on the fall, on the judgement upon the earth of the flood. Why? Because it is never easy to find a wife! This is especially true for someone like Isaac. She could not be a Canaanite who would lead him astray, she had to be a woman of faith, a woman who believed in the one true God. Where would such a woman be found, when Abraham is the father of the faithful? Abraham speaks to one of his servants, to a man he trusts, to send him back to his family home. We may not know the servant’s name yet let us consider him an example of how we ought to be. He was:

a man of prayer,
a man of high expectations,
a man on a mission and
a man who was successful.

  • A Man of Prayer:

The servant had learned from Abraham how important it is to come to God in prayer. He knew Proverbs 3:6 before it had been written, ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.’ We can imagine him setting up camels to go on a journey, but before he did so he came to God in prayer. He didn’t just pray, he used his own initiative. He went to the city of Nahor, stopping at a well outside the city. There, the servant prayed, ‘O lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.’ (Genesis 24:12). He came to a place where he would expect to find a suitable woman for Isaac, someone who would be obedient to her family and show kindness and hospitality. He sought God in prayer for guidance. We need to pray and to put things into practice and use our initiative to go ahead. We can be reminded of Paul’s words, ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.’ (Philippians 4:6). The servant prayed to be led to the woman God had chosen for Isaac, the one who would be right in God’s eyes. It is a reminder of the importance of prayer and seeking God’s guidance to lead us, to direct us so His will, will prevail in our lives. Look to God first, always, then He will get the glory.

  • A man of high expectation:

Do we put a cap on our requests when we come to God in prayer? In Charles Dicken’s ‘Oliver Twist’ Oliver was the one who asked for more at a time when it was unheard of to ask for more. How do we view God? Is He able to do the impossible, to do far and beyond what we expect? This servant was a man who wanted clear guidance. He was like Elijah who looked for a woman who would feed him at the house of a woman who had no food in her home. Yet she was the woman God had chosen. Here, the servant wants to ask the woman not only to give him water but he also wants her to offer water for his camels. Camels drink a lot, up to 20 gallons of water per camel. No girl would offer to do this as it would require a few hours of labour. How could it happen? Yet this man had high expectations. Rebekah came. He ran over to her, asked her for a drink and after dinking the water she ran back to the well to feed his camels. This shows great kindness. The servant then asked if he could stay the night at her father’s house. Her response was yes. He knew right then that she was the one and immediately he praised God, ‘The man bowed his head and worshipped the LORD and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.’’ (Genesis 32:26). How high are our expectations towards God? Do we know He can do the impossible?

  • A man on a mission:

The servant was devoted to service. Before eating with Rebekah’s father he revealed why he was there. Rebekah’s brother and father agreed that Rebekah should return with the servant to be Isaac’s wife. Gifts are exchanged. It seems as if all is settled. Then, the next morning, the servant reveals he is returning to Abraham. This would have surprised Rebekah’s family. Having travelled about 300 miles, they would have expected the servant to stay a few days, especially as they would probably never see Rebekah again, so they would have wanted some time with her before she left. But the servant knew he had to return; a choice has been made whether Rebekah would go or not.

We are here for a purpose. We are only here for a short time to serve Him. We can easily be distracted and forget our purpose – to live for God and proclaim Him. We are to serve God and not get caught up in other things. The servant knew his purpose. Be engaged in the Lord’s service. Use the gifts you have been given.

  • A man who is successful:

The man who puts God first is successful. By the end of the chapter God blessed him in that when Rebekah was asked whether to go or not, she replied favourably. This is amazing! She had never seen the servant before, she had never seen Isaac, yet she is leaving everything to go with a complete stranger. She made her decision quickly. This speaks volumes about our salvation; we see here Isaac is likened to Christ and Rebekah is the bride of Isaac, the bride of Christ.

We can put ourselves in the position of Rebekah. Someone brings good news which needs to be accepted there and then. The offer of salvation comes and we have to make a choice there and then, leaving behind everything we had and knew. This requires the work of the Holy Spirit. When God is at work and people have been praying, things work out for God’s purpose. It’s miraculous! Our own salvation is utterly amazing! Christ is waiting for us, as Isaac waited for Rebekah. We are on that journey now and we will soon see Him in glory. Rebekah is the chosen one, as we are the chosen ones of God. Rebekah was not disappointed, everything was given to her. That’s how it will be with us, when we go home to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will never be disappointed.

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