Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed with all manner of good things from his master in hand. And he set out for Nahor's hometown in Mesopotamia.
And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. Abraham's care to prevent the leaven of idolatry entering his family (cf. Exodus 34:16; 1 Corinthians 15:33; James 1:27). Worldly wisdom would have led him to seek a wife for his son among the families of Canaan, so as to give him a firmer footing in the land; but he solemnly charged his steward, in sending him on a marriage embassy, not to do this (cf. 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14). A wife was to be sought from his brother's family. Out of the earnestness of this godly desire came the trial of his faith. An obvious difficulty; what if the damsel should not be willing to follow a stranger? There had been little intercourse between the families. The news is Genesis 22:20 was plainly the first for many years. Must Isaac go in person to take a wife from her father's house? Much might be urged in favor of this. If the presence of Isaac were of importance, might he not return for a little, though Canaan was his appointed home? Was it not hindering the very thing Abraham desired, to refuse to do so? Was it not unreasonable to look for a blessing and yet to neglect obvious means for obtaining it? Not for a moment would Abraham listen to the suggestion. At God's call he had left Mesopotamia forever. To send his son back would he contrary to the principle of his whole life. It would be to put expediency above faith, to distrust God's promise, to think his will changeable (cf. 1 Kings 13:19). Contrast the faithlessness of the Israelites in their wilderness journeys. Abraham would not allow even a temporary return. They "in their hearts turned back again into Egypt" (cf. Luke 9:62).
I. IN A GODLY LIFE THERE IS OFTEN A TEMPTATION TO TURN BACK FOR A LITTLE. With a laudable aim, some step which seems likely to lead to it is not quite what in itself we know to be right. To gain the means of doing good, some little departure from truth may seem almost necessary. In the eagerness of some plan of usefulness the time for prayer can hardly be found, or the ordinary daily duties of life seem to interrupt the greater and higher work; or, to gain an influence over the gay and worldly, it may seem the course of wisdom to go, a little way at least, with them. And is not a Christian, under the law of liberty, freed from strict observance of the letter? Does not that savor of the spirit of bondage? Nay, "to obey is better than sacrifice." Always danger when men seek to be wiser than God (Proverbs 14:12). We cannot foresee the difficulties of returning.
II. TRUE FAITH POINTS TO IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE. Can we not trust God to order all - not only the ends towards which he would have us strive, but the means to be used? We are to live by every word of God, not by some special saying only. Promise and precept, instruction and direction, are alike his words, by which every step should be guided. It is want of faith which leads to departure from obedience; want of full trust in God which leads to ways of fancied wisdom. We have to do -with efforts, not with results; these are in God's hand. Where obedience is not in question we rightly use our judgment; reason was given us to be our guide, but not to take the guidance out of God's hands. - M.
I. ELIEZER'S MISSION.
I. THE MISSION.
And the servant .... departed.I. HE USES ALL POSSIBLE HUMAN MEANS OF SUCCESS.
II. HE EXPECTS DIVINE HELP.
1. His prayer to God for success (ver. 12).
2. Prayer for special Divine guidance (ver. 13, 14).
3. Prayer for what was good in itself.(1) He looks for the best qualities in the bride. She was to be amiable, modest, kind — all qualities of the heart, and without which all other endowments were vain.(2) He desires the Divine confirmation of his choice.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. This delicate mission was delegated to a servant, because Isaac was too inexperienced to go himself; but the choice was left to God.
2. Observe the touching confidence between master and servant.
3. The servant was enjoined by oath. Allowable in Judaism; but Christ says, "Swear not at all." The word of a Christian is to be so true that no oath could add to its security.
II. THE DISCHARGE OF THE MISSION.
1. The servant's expectation of Divine help.
2. The principle on which the selection was made. The qualities required were amiability, sincerity, modesty.
III. REBEKAH'S ARRIVAL.
1. She found Isaac engaged in prayer and meditation; two things from which we have sadly fallen.
2. As soon as Rebekah knew her husband was coming, she veiled herself. And this, brethren, is what we so much want; I know it to be the bane of domestic life, the want of modesty and delicacy; without Rebekah's veil affection becomes alienated, and often turns to hatred; love, to be constant, must be kept pure.
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
II. ELIEZER'S JOURNEY.
1. His company consisted of the men who went with him, and the ten camels laden with presents, &c. The ten camels were intended, doubtless, not only to express the circumstances and wealth of his master, but also to convey the bride and her personal possessions to her husband. The men needful to look after the camels, and also to protect Eliezer and the presents.
2. His destination. Many days' journey across a wilderness inhabited by warlike tribes, to the city of Nahor. Great skill required in making a safe journey.
3. His arrival, Rests outside the town, where was a well (11). His reliance on God. Here he offered a prayer (12-14). God heard the prayer and conducted to the spot a damsel who in all things fulfilled Abraham's desire
4. and his own wish (14).
III. ELIEZER'S SUIT.
1. The approach of Rebekah. Her coming providentially ordered in answer to prayer. Though beautiful (16), she seems not to have been vain. And whatever the circumstances of her family, she conformed to the primitive habits of the people. Went to draw water for household purposes.
2. The request of Eliezer. Putting her to the test. Was the sign to be fulfilled by her? She cheerfully complied. Told the story of her kindred.
3. The presents. Such as a bride might expect to receive. Her acceptance of them promised a favourable compliance with the suit.
4. Eliezer's gratitude to God. He worshipped (26).Learn:
1. Faithful servants a great blessing in households.
2. All undertakings should be conducted in the fear of God.
3. God gives " journeying mercies" to the faithful.
4. God is to be praised for all our successes.
(J. C. Gray.)
2. Prudence will teach men to suit provisions unto undertakings (ver 10).
3. Providence makes stops to creatures where it hath more to discover to them.
4. It is better staying in the field by a little water with God, than to go into cities without Him.
5. Rest for man and beast is but reasonable after labour and travel.
6. Honest labours become the greatest ladies even in household affairs; it was an honour among the saints of old (ver. 11).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)Matthew Henry wrote: "I forgot, when I began my work to-day, explicitly and expressly to seek help from God, and the chariot-wheels have driven heavily. God forgive my omissions, and keep me in the way of duty."
I pray Thee send me good speed. —
I. PRAYER IN ITS ESSENTIAL NATURE.
II. PRAYER IN ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE.
III. PRAYER WITH ITS NEEDFUL ASSOCIATE. He puts himself "in the way."
IV. PRAYER, WITH ITS FITTING SEQUEL. Praise (ver. 27).
(J. F. Poulter, B. A.)
1. The character under which he addresses the great Supreme: "Oh, Jehovah, God of my master Abraham." He well knew that Jehovah had entered into covenant with Abraham, and had given him exceeding great and precious promises. By approaching Him as a God in covenant, he would find matter for faith to lay hold upon; every promise to Abraham would thus furnish a plea, and turn to a good account. Surely this may direct us in our approaches to a throne of grace, to make mention of a greater than Abraham, with whom also God is in covenant, and for whose sake the greatest of all blessings may be expected. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is to us what the God of Abraham was to Eliezer; and in the name of our Redeemer we may pray and hope for everything that is great and good.
2. The limitation of the prayer to the present time: "Send me good speed this day." We may in a general way ask for grace for our whole lives; but our duty is more especially to seek direction at the time we want it. Our Lord teaches us to pray for daily bread as the day occurs.
3. The sign which he presumed to ask for; that the damsel to whom he should say so and so, and who should make such and such answers, should be the person whom the Lord had appointed for his servant Isaac. In this he might be under extraordinary influence, and his conduct therefore afford no example to us. The sign he asked, however, was such as would manifest the qualifications which he desired and expected to find in a companion who should be worthy of his master's son; namely, industry, courtesy, and kindness to strangers.
4. The faith in which the prayer was offered. He speaks all along under a full persuasion that the providence of God extended to the minutest events, to the free actions of creatures, and even to their behaviour, of which at the time they are scarcely conscious. His words are also full of humble confidence that God would direct him in a matter of so much consequence to his Church in all future ages.
(A. Fuller.)1. In hard undertakings it is best to call in God by prayer upon man's endeavours. He helps to purpose.
2. God in His being, power, grace, and covenant with his, is to be conceived by petitioners in their address by prayer to Him.
3. Good success in events desired, depend only upon God.
4. The success of faithful servants is mercy to their masters, which they should desire.
5. It is likely to prove best when matters are committed by masters to the care of praying servants.
6. God doth indulge sometimes visible signs to be asked, to assure His favour to His own.
7. It becomes man to wait when he desires God to appear.
8. In desiring any visible sign of God's respect, God must not be limited.
9. God doth appoint and determine wives eminently, for His own specially.
10. Ingenuity and courtesy to strangers is a good guess for one to make a good wife.
11. Observation of God's mercies unto faith and prayer is the true use of His signal manifestations. So did Abraham's servant.
(G. Hughes, D. D.)
(M. Dods, D. D.)
(M. Dods, D. D.)
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