Summary: We learn from the patriarchs that God is with us
“God is With Us” Genesis 22-50
We are continuing on in our study of the Old Testament, today looking at the last half of the book of Genesis. We have been learning from the examples of the OT saints, and learning from their examples, both of what to do and what not to do. In Romans 15 we are reminded, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” So these examples we have been reading about are there for our encouragement.
We started out by looking at the idea that God desires for us to share community -- fellowship with God and with each other. But sin ruined that community. Yet, God’s desire was to restore man to that community. Last week we looked at the lesson of Abraham, the man who is called “the friend of God.” Here was a man who walked with God and continued to follow God throughout his life. When God called Abraham to step out in faith, Abraham followed faithfully.
Today, we are going to look at the next three generations: Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. This takes up the last half of the book of Genesis. For most of us, the stories are fairly familiar, but sometimes we get so caught up in the details that we missed some of the basic truths of life application. One of the key themes we see over and over again is that “God is with Us!” He was with Abraham, He was with Isaac, He was with Jacob, and He was with Joseph. And these examples from the OT give us encouragement because they remind us that God is with us today as well! Let’s pray as we begin.
Prayer - of thanks for God’s presence and activity in our lives daily.
Hebrews 13 reminds us, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.’” One of the greatest encouragements we gain from scripture is the fact that we don’t face difficult days alone. Loneliness is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It’s a feeling that most all of us here can relate to. It’s defeating and discouraging to think that you are alone. But over and over again throughout these chapters of Genesis, the patriarchs remind us that we are not alone.
1. Isaac - God shows us He is with us through Answered Prayer.
Read Genesis 24:1-27
One of the key illustrations we find in the life of Isaac is his search for a bride. In this story, we actually find that God shows himself powerful on behalf of several parties. Abraham, who has faith that God will provide a wife for his son, sees God at work. So much so, in fact, that he tells his servant Eliezar that if the girl does not want to come back with him, he is released from his task. Abraham is that certain that God is going to answer. Eliezar, Abraham’s chief servant, is never said to be a follower of God. We do know that he is circumcised, and as such, living in the house of Abraham, he has certainly heard of God. Here in the story of finding a wife, however, we see Eliezar turning to God in prayer. He prays specifically, and God answers specifically. His prayers are that the girl would not only offer him a drink, but that she would also offer to water the camels. Verse 10 tells us that the servant takes 10 camels, and each camel could drink 30 gallons of water. So, what she would really be offering to do would be to offer to run down to the spring several times and bring up about 300+ gallons of water. This is no small task.
Eliezar gives a specific prayer, and he doesn’t make it an easy one to answer. Many times our prayers are simplistic, “Lord bless the missionaries” and we never know if He has answered or not. As a result, we struggle knowing how to give God thanks for “blessing all the missionaries.” Eliezar’s prayer is so specific that when God does answer, he immediately breaks forth in praise to God for what he has done. Notice down in verse 26 - “Then the man bowed down and worshipped the LORD, saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
God shows himself present and active by giving specific answer to specific prayers. Not only does God answer specifically, but God answers in a wonderful way. Notice in verse 15, “Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.” God already had the answer to the prayer ready. He was simply waiting for Eliezar to offer the prayer. Verse 16 tells us “The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her.” Not only does God answer, but he gives an ideal answer. It’s no wonder that in verse 17 it says “The servant hurried to meet her.” Here was the girl.