The last time we were in the book of Genesis went through the events surrounding God’s test of Abraham asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham passed the test, Isaac didn’t have to die, and they both came down from that mountain having grown in their faith.
Soon after this word came to Abraham about his relatives back in his homeland.
[Read Genesis 22:19-24.]
So Abraham now knows about his brother and his kids. This information will become important to Abraham in the coming years when looking he’ll be looking for a bride for his son Isaac. And 15 – 20 years later something happens to provoke Abraham into action – his bride Sarah passes away.
But before we get to that we need to understand something. The next few chapters in the book of Genesis are all about transition and God’s faithfulness through the coming change. Abraham and Sarah couldn’t run the show forever. Their descendants would inevitably take over the leadership of the family and the coming nation. So when we read through these passages let’s understand that change is coming to the landscape – but God faithfully orchestrates things so the outcome of the covenant stays the same.
We’re going to go through chapters 23 and 24 tonight so hold on to your boot straps. In these chapters we see three generations of people:
- Abraham and Sarah, 137 and 127 years old
- Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, 85 years old
- Isaac, 40 years old
Three generations of faithful people, following their faithful God during these years of
I. The beginning of the end of a generation
[Read Genesis 23:1-2.]
Abraham’s dear wife was gone. They’d been together over 60 years and had been through amazing things. Sarah had been by Abraham’s side through it all – but now she was gone and he tearfully mourned her.
The next part of the passage shows Abraham attempting to by a cave for which to bury his wife. Remember, Abraham is still considered an alien in the land. A well respected one, but still a foreigner who migrated from one area to another throughout the years. So now he needs to buy some property so he can bury his wife. She needs a permanent resting place.
Now when we read of someone saying, “Give me the land” or “I will give you the land”, they’re not saying it will be a free gift. It’s a way of referring to buying or selling something. It was a common way of negotiating in the ancient world.
[Read Genesis 23:3-20.]
After years of nomadic wanderings, Abraham finally owned a small piece of property in the midst of the land promised to him and his descendants. This property also became the family burial place for Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah and Jacob.
With the death of Sarah the beginning of the end was upon Abraham’s family and he knew it. Even though Abraham had many years left in him, about 35, he still needed to make sure his family followed the Lord in faithfulness. So the next stage of the transition we see is:
II. The preparation of the next generation
Chapter 24 is a rather lengthy chapter so we’ll break it down in stages.
Stage 1. The commission
[Read Genesis 24:1.]
Isn’t that something? Abraham is around 140 years old and God has blessed him in every way; Spiritually, his family, financially, his health, his safety. I mean, the Lord really took care of old Abe.
Now as I read Abraham’s commission to his servant, listen to the intensity by which Abraham instructed him. He wanted to make sure things were done right and for a reason.
[Read Genesis 24:2-9.]
Abraham knew that if his son married a woman from the pagan Canaanites there was a good chance he would fall away from the Lord. So He wanted him to gain a wife from his own tribe which was customary back then. But notice that he also didn’t want Isaac to live there with his wife. This was the land in which the Lord promised the blessing and this is where Isaac and his family were to stay.
Eliezer, Abraham’s most trusted servant, made that oath to his master and followed through with the task.
Stage 2. The obedience
[Read Genesis 24:10-14.]
Now this is one specific prayer. But notice what he’s asking for. He’s asking for the Lord to show him a woman of kindness that would be a good woman for Isaac to marry. Think about it, first the woman would give him something to drink, then she would have to water the ten camels with him. That would be going above and beyond every day kindness. But look at what happens next.
[Read Genesis 24:15-21.]
I can almost see Eliezer with a look of astonishment on his face wanting to make sure this girl was the answers to his prayers. She’s beautiful, she’s pure, she’s kind. I wonder if she’s available?