Summary: We recount the events and faith involved in Abraham sending his servant to get Isaac a wife. This is the 40th sermon in our Genesis series
Abraham’s Wise Servant (Genesis Pt. 40)
Text: Genesis 24:1 – 33
By: Ken McKinley
There’s an old saying from Scotland that says, “It takes two to make a marriage… a single daughter and an anxious mother.” The reality is, it takes one, and that’s God. Now this passage is more than just Abraham wanting someone specific for his son, but that is included. The main point of this passage is about the continuation of the line of promise. We’ve been looking at that theme since we began Genesis. The seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. And this passage shows us God’s continued providence and faithfulness in fulfilling that promise that He made to Adam and Eve.
Now this is actually one of the longest chapters in the Bible, so we’re going to break it up into two parts. Verse 1 – 27, that we just read, is our text today, and then we’ll finish up the chapter next Sunday, Lord willing.
In verses 1 – 9 we see Abraham giving orders to his servant. Abraham was around 140 years old here. He can’t make the trip himself. And what we see here, is that even though Abraham has grown greatly in his faith, he’s still having to trust in the Lord. We never get to a point in life where we can say, “I have arrived in my walk with the Lord. I’m so spiritual now that I really don’t need to rely upon or trust God. I can make my own way.” That never happens. So Abraham’s trusting God and he’s trusting his servant. It’s good to have people you can trust.
And Abraham trusted this servant. Verse 10 tells us that all that Abraham had was in his hand. He was a faithful steward of Abraham’s goods. Now we don’t know who this servant was. It might have been Eliezer of Damascus, who we read about in Genesis 15… He was the servant that Abraham said was the heir of his house before Isaac came along. It might be some other servant. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that this man was trustworthy, and faithful to Abraham.
And Abraham tells him, “Go back and find a son for my wife, from my own people.” And this is interesting to me for two reasons. First of all, if Abraham had Isaac marry one of the Canaanites, it would’ve meant that he was no longer a foreigner. It could’ve (politically and worldly speaking) consolidated his power, and given him allies in the land of Canaan. But back in chapter 15, God had already told Abraham that He was taking the land away from the Canaanites, and other peoples, and giving it to Abraham. So he didn’t want that intermingling of blood lines. It’s also interesting, because Abraham doesn’t tell his servant to go find his nephew Lot and have Isaac marry someone from Lot’s family. That tells me that either Abraham didn’t know that Lot had survived the destruction of Sodom, or he didn’t know that Lot’s daughters had children, OR… that Abraham considered them just as corrupted as the Canaanites by this time.
So Abraham is trusting his servant, and he’s trusting that God will provide a wife for Isaac. You remember last week, how I told you I was praying for the future husbands of my girls? Well this is what I base that on.
So the servant heads out, and in verses 10 – 27, we see what theologians call “The Two Sides of Faith.”
Faith has a passive side and an active side. In other words, faith is resting in God’s promises and provision, and providence, but it’s also acting on what God has told us.
If you believe what God tells you, you’ll do what God tells you. And so we see Abraham’s faith in sending his servant out. We also see that this servant is wise, and that he has faith as well.
We know he’s a wise servant because of how he goes about fulfilling Abraham’s command. He takes 10 camels. Not history tells us that camels weren’t used on a wide scale until about 800 years after the time of Abraham. If you had camels, you had money. And this servant takes 10 with him. So anyone who meets him is going to be thinking… if the servant has 10, how many must the master have? He also stops at the well. That’s wisdom, because back in those days, you would send your single daughters out to the well to fetch water. I’m not sure why this was the case, maybe so they could meet an eligible bachelor. We see the same sort of thing happen later on with Moses. He meets his future wife at a well.