Another week is past and Sunday was here. Church too often becomes a boring act of fulfilling duty. I hope to change that for myself. Sundays shouldn’t be boring. From each message, Christians should take away something inspiring and be challenged to live higher and reach new heights in their individual spiritual journeys.
One of my married friends was visiting the area this weekend and I invited him over to share the noon meal with my family. He’s 2 months younger than myself and already is a dad to a rambunctious 1 1/2 year old little boy. So, yes, there are some differences between us. But we had a good visit. However, this post is not about that friend. Only a side note on a interesting weekend
Note taking is a discipline. You need to remember two things to begin to become a note taker. One, something to write on and secondly, something to write with. It’s simple, really. The third part is staying awake and alert enough to take notes. This is the challenge. For with out alertness, the rest is vain.
So, what did I glean from today’s service? The devotional was on Paul glorying in his infirmities. Paul had come to the point where he realized that his sufferings and tribulations are for his personal betterment. That in these, he would learn more of God, that he would rely more on God than on his own strength and by consequence discover new strength to face new trials. He mentions some of these: hunger, thirst, nakedness, persecution, distresses and anguish. In these he gloried but we as 21st century Christians often pray for their removal. By default, we are saying that we don’t want to become better. God protect us from that attitude!
The message was inspiring. I had had a hint of what it was to be about, thanks to yesterday’s visit at the preacher’s place. He used Genesis 24 for his text. It’s all part of a series of messages from the book of Genesis and chapter 24 is the story of Isaac and Rebekah. It’s a story of love and of faith and the message was entitled “God Leads His People”. A great message; but with my current state of personal affairs, I would have preferred a different text. However, I understand that this was all part of a systematic study of the book of Genesis.
One highlight from the message:
Verse 27 Abraham’s servant is speaking and says, “I being in the way, the Lord led me”. Now, it’s not written to give this sense but it’s good to know that God can work, even when we get in the way. And He sure can use us when we are in His way.
Looking at some of the characters in this story. First we see Abraham. This point of the story finds him advanced in years and grieving the loss of his wife. But in his father heart, he still had a concern for his son Isaac. It apparently was something he wanted to see before he died. This, the Promised Child, married before he died. He was a blessed man, both in material wealth and spiritually. How many of us would want to have the close walk that Abraham enjoyed with God? I would! Another admirable trait was he willingly delegated this task to his trusted servant
The servant, commonly thought to be Eleazar, was loyal. He was 2nd only to Abraham. He explicitly obeyed Abraham regarding his wishes. He showed wisdom in his search for a wife for Isaac. He didn’t just go looking anywhere but want to a place and at a time that he knew he would find ‘people’. He was a man of prayer. Where did he learn that? Was it from watching Abraham? Possibly. The Bible doesn’t say. He respected his master even though he was a good distance from him. We see that he was focused. He displays a persistence and purpose that would not allow him to eat until he told Rebekah’s family what his purpose was.
Now, Rebekah. She was fair but more than physical beauty, was a inward beauty as well. She was courteous and industrious. She drew enough water to water 10 camels. One camel can drink about 30 gallons of water when it is thirsty. Times 10 is about 300 gallons. I don’t know how big her container was that she was drawing water with but it couldn’t have been 300 gallons. This means she took multiple trips to water those thirsty beasts. That’s dedication. That’s servant-hood!
We look now at Laban. We don’t learn much in the way of his conduct being a spiritual help for us today but rather of how not to be. Not much is said of him in this chapter but even here, we see his materialistic bent. He had a eye for profit, loved riches and took advantage of people. All of which are misplaced priorities. When he saw the jewels that Abraham’s servant gave to Rebekah, to him, that clinched it.
Isaac plays a part in this story as well. Was he frustrated that Dad hadn’t found him a wife yet? From what we see, he was a man of deep thought. When we first see him in this chapter, he’s out in the field, meditating. On what? God? His future wife? But he sees the camels coming and accepts God’s choice for him.
So, does God still direct our steps today? Let’s revisit these characters and see how God still leads today.
1: Abraham was faithful. He lived and acted in faith. And today, when we do so, God will honor our faith in Him.
2: The servant prayed. He prayed for a specific sign. These, God still uses today. They aren’t always necessary but it’s beautiful when signs happen to confirm God’s leading. But as humans, we tempt God by a lack of faith or by continuing to demand a sign when we already know the answer.
3: Rebekah found direction through others. Her family supported her. Proverbs says, “in the multitude of counselors there is safety”.
4: Laban shows us how we can hinder God’s work in our lives. Covetous, greedy and thinking about himself, he shows us how we can possibly hinder God revealing His plan to us. These characteristics come from a mentality that thinks too much too often of ourselves.
5. Isaac demonstrates his close connection with God. God promises to us that we can have a close connection with Him through the Holy Spirit. Through this, God leads
So, the question comes to us. Is God leading us? In searching for a church, needing wisdom to make a decision, at work or in the home, He is willing and eager to lead us. If we allow Him. And ultimately, we should. His goal is to bring us home to Him. That is the final destination for the Christian. The perfect escape from this world.