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“And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham … 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.…” Genesis 24:12,15 (Read Genesis 24)

Though we know little of Abraham’s eldest servant (cf. Genesis 15:2 where he is mentioned by name, Eliezer, meaning “God is my help”), Genesis, chapter 24, gives us a glimpse of his faith in the LORD God, the God of Abraham.

Abraham, being old and wanting to provide a believing wife for his son Isaac – something very important for us to remember today – but also wanting to be sure that Isaac remained in the land of promise, asked his eldest servant, who was in charge of Abraham’s house, to go back to Mesopotamia and find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s relatives.

When this servant arrived there, he stopped at the well outside the city and prayed that the LORD God would bless his efforts and direct him to the woman whom God had chosen for Isaac by letting that young woman, when he asked her for a drink, offer also to water his camels. While he was yet speaking this prayer, Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, came out to the well with her pitcher upon her shoulder. When he asked her to let down her pitcher and give him a drink, not only did she give him a drink but watered all his camels as well.

When he learned that she was a relative of Abraham, he knew that the LORD had directed him to the young woman God had chosen for Isaac and he “bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD,” saying, “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” (v. 26, 27).

After telling to Rebekah’s family the account of how he was sent of Abraham and how the LORD God directed him to find Rebekah, and after Rebekah’s brother Laban and her father Bethuel consented to send her with him to be the wife of Isaac, Abraham’s servant again “worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth” (v. 52).

Though but a servant, this man shared the faith of Abraham. Whether through the witness of Abraham or that of others, he too knew the LORD God and trusted in Him. As we read, he prayed in faith and was led and prospered by the LORD in his journey; and, he gave thanks and praise to the LORD God for His guidance and blessing.

Can we learn from Abraham’s servant? Most certainly! Though we know little of him, his faith is a shining example for us. Like this humble servant, we have the great privilege of praying to the LORD God of Abraham for his guidance and blessing upon our lives.

For the sake of Christ Jesus, the promised descendant of Abraham through Isaac and Rebekah who suffered and died for the sins of the world and rose again on the third day, God forgives us and accepts us as His own dear children. He gives us the great privilege of coming into His very presence with our prayers (cf. Hebrews 10:19-22; 1 John 5:14-15); and He promises, “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

God directs us, as His children through faith in Messiah Jesus, to commit our ways – our very lives – to Him and to trust Him; and He promises to bless us and make our journey through life prosperous – prosperous in His ways and in the accomplishing of His perfect will (cf. Psalm 37:3-7). And, like Abraham’s servant, we have every reason to bow before the LORD God and worship Him for His leading and guiding in our lives and in our tasks.

He, working through centuries of human history, sent His only-begotten Son to suffer and die upon the cross and redeem us and all mankind. He has sent His Spirit and caused us to hear His Word and trust in Him for forgiveness and life. He leads and guides us through the days of our lives and brings us safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him “be glory for ever and ever. Amen”! (2 Timothy 4:18).

O LORD God of Abraham, we worship and praise You for the gift of Christ Jesus, Your Son, and for the mercy and truth You have shown unto us for Jesus sake. We bow before You. To You be the glory for ever and ever! Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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I fear that many churches have gone astray. Instead of following Christ and seeking to build Christ’s church Christ’s way, they seek to build earthly churches the world’s way.

What do I mean? Instead of preaching the message Christ Jesus commanded His church to proclaim in this lost and dying world, so many churches proclaim themselves and seek to appeal to the masses by their entertaining programs, their contemporary music, their community service projects and their giveaways — all things which people can find outside the church as well. And though, sometimes, people flock through the doors, such churches fail to meet the greatest needs of the people: forgiveness for their sins and fellowship with their God and Maker.

What did Jesus command His disciples, His church, to proclaim? The church is to disciple the nations by going out into the world with the message of salvation in Christ Jesus, baptizing in the name of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and teaching them all that Christ commanded and taught. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Jesus commanded His church to preach to all the need to repent of their sins and look to Jesus and His cross in faith for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Jesus told His disciples that “thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). Jesus told His disciples, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23).

So, where is the preaching of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name? Where are pastors and churches proclaiming God’s forgiveness to those who repent of their sins and look to Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world? Where are pastors telling those who are impenitent and continuing on in their sinful ways that their sins are not forgiven and that they will be condemned to the eternal torments of hell if they do not repent and look to Christ Jesus for mercy and pardon?

It is as Jesus said, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24)! Those who do not repent and look in faith to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), will die in their sins and suffer the eternal consequences (cf. John 3:18,36). It won’t matter if they were church members, active in church programs or serving the earthly needs of their communities.

If churches seek to do what Christ called them to do, their first and primary work will be to call sinners to repentance, proclaim Christ Jesus as the Savior of the world, announce God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake to penitent sinners and warn the impenitent of God’s judgment upon them unless and until they repent.

Only by doing things Christ’s way and doing what Christ commanded will churches build Christ’s church and His eternal kingdom!

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11:17-19 (Read Genesis 22:1-19)

Why would God tell Abraham to take Isaac — his only son of promise, whom he loved — to a mountain in the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt sacrifice? How could God tell Abraham to give up his only-begotten Son of promise?

The first answer (and an often overlooked answer) is that sin demands it. The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). What Abraham deserved as a sinner, and what Isaac also deserved, was to die for his sin. It is also what we deserve for our sin.

Secondly, God’s test points ahead to what God would do for the sins of the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). God sent His only-begotten Son, born of Mary and a descendant of Abraham, to be the perfect and holy sacrifice for the sins of the world (cf. John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-20).

The Bible clearly tells us that none of us “can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption” (Psalm 49:7-9). Therefore, God Himself had to provide the Lamb — a perfect and sinless Lamb, His only-begotten Son — to be sacrificed in our stead and to suffer and die upon the cross for our sins.

And it is certainly significant that God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac on a specific mountain in the land of Moriah and there provided a substitute ram, caught in a thicket, to be offered up in the stead of Isaac.

First of all, the location is the later site of Jerusalem, where Christ Jesus was offered up for our sins. Consider 2 Chronicles 3:1: “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”

And, as God provided a substitute ram to be offered up in the place of Isaac, so God provided a Substitute for you and for me – He gave His own Son to die in our stead and make atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world (cf. 1 John 2:1,2). “Jehovah-jireh … In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Genesis 22:14).

In faith, Abraham took his son Isaac and was ready to offer him up as a sacrifice, trusting that God could indeed raise him up again and fulfill His promises to Abraham to bless all nations through the Seed of Abraham and Isaac (cf. Genesis 22:18). And, in a figure, Abraham received his son back again alive from the dead.

So also Christ Jesus, who suffered and died the just punishment for the sins of the world, was raised up again on the third day. As the Bible tells us, Jesus Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). His resurrection is proof that God accepted His sacrifice as full payment for the sins of the world, and through faith in Jesus we are justified and counted righteous and acceptable in God’s eyes. Because Jesus died for our sins, in our stead, and rose again, we who trust in Him have the assurance that our sins are paid for in full and forgiven and that we too will be raised up on the last day to life eternal!

O Gracious and merciful God, we thank You for giving up Your only-begotten Son to suffer and die in our stead that we might have forgiveness and life eternal through faith in His name. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]

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