Theme: Faith (Part 18 – The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.)
(Key verses: Gen 24:11-28)
In Genesis chapter 24 we see the longest chapter in the book of Genesis which will be divided into four segments for the purpose of our discussions:
• Verses 1 to 10: Abraham gives specific instructions to his servant about a wife for Isaac;
• Verses 11 to 28: the servant of Abraham went to find this wife and meet Rebekah;
• Verses 29 to 61: the servant of Abraham meets the family of Rebekah;
• Verses 62 to 68: Isaac meets Rebekah and takes her as his wife.
In our last discussion we covered verses 1 to 10 of this chapter where Abraham at a mature age gave specific instructions to the elder servant in his household in connection with the special task of acquiring a wife for Isaac. This servant is not named in this chapter, but some suppose it to be Eliezer of Damascus which was mentioned in Genesis 15 as a very trustworthy servant for Abraham (Gen 15:1-2). Abraham, as a loving father to Isaac, typifies our heavenly Father who sends His servants throughout the history of the church to bring the bride to Christ, as Christ is also typified by Isaac (Mat 22:1-3; Rev 19:7; Rev 20:4-6; Rom 9:7; Gal 3:29). All of this displays the faith of Abraham which he also instils in this servant to fulfil the task at hand. It is the faith of Christ in us which the Father sends in our hearts through His Word to draw us to Christ and His bride, His true church (Rom 10:17; Gal 2:16; Rom 4:16-22; Gal 2:16; Gal 3:6-9; Php 3:9; Heb 11:8-10):
Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In this discussion of the foundational theme of faith, we will be focussing on this faithful servant of Abraham who left for the city where Nahor, Abraham’s brother, lived to find this wife for Isaac:
Gen 24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.
All of what the flesh can contain or handle, and by which it is limited by God, is spiritually represented in the number ten in the scriptures (Gen 45:23; Exo 9:14; Exo 26:1; Exo 34:28; Luk 19:13). This burden of flesh, which is our vessel of dishonour, must carry us during our earthly eon which is also emphasised by the camels (Rom 9:21; 1Co 15:44). This unclean beast of flesh and carnality is also represented in the symbol of the ten camels which were created to endure long journeys through very harsh environments. Camels are classified as unclean animals in the scripture as they do chew the cud, but they “divideth not the hoof”:
Lev 11:4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
This indeed indicates our time when we can chew the cud which is to meditate on God’s word, but is not able to rightly divide the truth. This chewing of the cud can also include our natural inclination to be striving about words and concepts, and getting involved in fruitless discussions with no works to prove in our lives:
2Ti 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
The camel is also the symbol of the carrier of physical riches in various forms which so easily impresses and captures the attention of the flesh (Gen 30:43; Gen 32:9-16; 1 Ki 10:2; 2 Chr 9:1; 2Ki 8:9; Mat 19:24; Mat 23:24):
1Ki 10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
1Ki 10:2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
Abraham was also rich in earthly goods and animals, including camels (Gen 12:16). But with this servant of Abraham, these camels were moving in the right direction – toward the bride of Isaac to be released of their earthly burdens. This brings to mind how Jesus describes the positive application of camels and how what seems to be impossible with mankind is indeed possible with God:
Luk 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he [the rich young ruler] was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Luk 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Luk 18:26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
Luk 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
It is when we understand the ministry of the camel in our lives that we make it to bow down to serve God with whatever He blesses us with for the benefit of His kingdom. The servant makes these camels to kneel down by a well of water as we all must bow to the waters of the Word where our spiritual thirst can be satisfied, especially when we do not yet have clarity in our spiritual evenings or dark times:
Gen 24:11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
Throughout the scriptures we find references to women who go out to draw water from wells, confirming that the church, typified by these women, is always in need of the cleansing and satisfying waters of the Word of God (Exo 2:16; 1Sa 9:11; Joh 4:7-15):
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
The first step in performing any task is vital in our walk of faith. If we miss the first step the rest will be built on a false foundation and will not endure the trials and tribulations until the end. This mature servant in Abraham’s household learned from his master that prayer is the essential first step in every task, no matter how big or how small:
Gen 24:12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
Gen 24:13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
Gen 24:14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
It is important to note that this servant did not approach God in his own name, but in the name of his master. This again reveals why this servant’s name is not mentioned in this passage, for our learning. If our Master is Christ, then we come in His name to the Father and to the world. This “name” of Jesus has nothing to do with the vocalization of a Proper Noun, but more to do with knowing Him and His doctrine, and doing what He commands (Joh 14:13; Mat 10:22; Mat 19:29; Mar 16:17; John 14:14; Act 9:1-5).
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
This servant of faithful Abraham knew to ask God for directions which would strip him from his natural ideas and solutions. Prayer brings the mind of Christ in operation in us and disempowers the beast of his fabled free will and earthly convictions. The prayer of this servant was also specific in asking for clear understanding and vision in performing this task for his master. This is the prayer which is inspired by faith which is also called “the prayer of faith” in the scriptures. The prayer of faith will always bring the right answer when we use the Name of our Master which is to know that God’s will is supreme and will always be done in heaven and also on earth, if we can receive this:
Joh 14:13 And whatever you may ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
This prayer enables us to admit that our own delusions in our natural mind are what spiritual sickness is all about:
Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
As faith comes through the word of God, so does the prayer of faith operates through the application of the oil and the water which are both symbols of the spiritual words of God (Rom 10:17). Through the anointing of the spiritual words of Christ we are being saved spiritually and raised to a higher heaven of understanding by the Lord who enables us to be “dead to sin” (Eph 2:6; Rom 6:1-7). Only those who know they are sick call the Elder Physician and submit to His prescriptions:
Luk 5:29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.
Luk 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
Luk 5:31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
This servant’s prayer symbolizes the call of those who know they are in need of direction because they admit and confess daily that God alone directs all our paths and every footstep of every creature all the time:
Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Pro 20:24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
All things are from God and this prayer of the servant of Abraham was inspired by God and answered according to His will:
Gen 24:15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
Gen 24:16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
Before this servant finished his prayer the answer was already there. God supplied the answers to our problems before the foundation of this world – in Christ:
Joh 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
The salvation of the fleshly Adam was in place long before Adam was created. God planned the life of Adam, and all in him, to every minute detail and worked the process according to His one perfect plan from the start. God ordained and purposed it that Adam must come through a body of sin and death to learn vital lessons through failure, trials and tribulations before the spirit life can be given to him and to all in him (1Co 15:21-28; Joh 1:1-4; Col 1:15-19; Rev 1:8; Rev 1:11; Rev 1:17):
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
When the servant of Abraham saw this young and beautiful woman he could not wait but ran to meet her. No one can resist the true bride of Christ when she appears in her splendour and spiritual beauty:
Gen 24:17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
She was also in a hurry to give to this unknown man what he asked her, even as the church of Christ will serve whoever comes in humility and need. God indeed prepares hearts to do exactly what He wants them to do with all diligence:
Gen 24:18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.
And then she did exactly what the servant of Abraham mentioned in his prayer to God which confirms that God caused the same words of the prayer of the servant and the response in the heart of Rebekah. This was not done according to a fabled “free” will in Rebekah or in the servant of Abraham, but it was all the works of the same God who indeed works all things to be performed 100% after the counsel of His will alone (Eph 1:11):
Gen 24:19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.
Gen 24:20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
This woman was not only prepared to give water to this chosen servant, but she also gave water to all ten camels. Although the spiritual application of the water of God’s Word is now only revealed to His chosen elect in this age, it will however also be given for all in the generation of the first Adam. This is the test of the true church of God – as Jesus is the Saviour of all in Adam, so is the ultimate aim of His body to serve all of humanity as the saviours of the world – not only initially in the thousand year reign of the kingdom of God on this earth, but finally through the salvation of all which will come in the lake of fire (Rev 20):
Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Oba 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.
This speaks of how true love operates as it does not keep book of its works and seek its own glory or remembers what has been done against it (Psa 103:12; 1Co 13:4-7). Godly love washes the feet of all in unconditional service even those who will betray and deny that love (Joh 13:3-9). Rebekah brought water for all ten camels of this servant of Abraham and that was no mean task. True service indeed brings great excitement and joy to the heart of those who do not want to rule over others because they serve in meekness and humility knowing all is in God’s hands:
2Co 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Unselfish servitude always brings amazement to the receiver:
Gen 24:21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.
The true church of God serves even its enemies free of charge as that also heaps coals of fire on the heads of those who belittle and despise the elect of God – even as they are careful not to throw God’s pearls before swine (Mat 10:7-8; Mat 7:6):
Rom 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Rom 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
The reward will come at the end of our task after we endured faithfully until the end (Mat 5:10-12; Rev 22:12):
Gen 24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold.
The golden earring this servant gave Rebekah symbolizes the ability God gives us to hear His voice through His Word which is the true “apples of gold” in the redemptive work of His silver. His purified gold, silver and precious stones are being used in building ourselves up in the most holy faith (1Co 3:10-14; Jud 1:20):
Pro 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Pro 25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
Job was also given golden earrings after God spoke to him and he could eventually hear and understand the works of God in his life:
Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
The two golden bracelets for Rebekah’s two hands show how our faith is witnessed by our actions and service to God and His people. To be a witness is the spiritual meaning of the number two as we bare the testimony of Jesus Christ through our deeds (Rev 19:10). That is the true spirit of prophecy which speaks the loudest because without works our faith is dead:
Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Jas 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
Jas 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Jas 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
This is what this elder servant of Abraham also saw in his master’s life and now in the way Rebekah’s hands were diligent in supplying for him and his camels. But there was still one important aspect to be confirmed by Rebekah:
Gen 24:23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in?
Gen 24:24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.
Gen 24:25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.
When God answers our prayers, we will acknowledge Him and only Him through worship:
Gen 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.
Gen 24:27 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.
And again the excitement in Rebekah heart is visible in her actions even as she did not know at this point in time what the purpose of this unknown man was:
Gen 24:28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.
Next week, God willing, we will find out more about the servant of Abraham when he meets the family of Rebekah.