Eternity Daily Bible Study

The Life Of Abraham


Number: 580

Verses: Genesis 24:1-9

Topic: Eliezer's Oath

Date: 25th April 2006

 

Genesis 24:1-9 MKJV And Abraham was old, going on in age. And Jehovah had blessed Abraham in all things.  (2)  And Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, I pray you, put your hand under my thigh.  (3)  And I will make you swear by Jehovah, the God of Heaven and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.  (4)  But you shall go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife to my son Isaac.  (5)  And the servant said to him, Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I necessarily bring your son again to the land from which you came?  (6)  And Abraham said to him, Take care that you do not bring my son there again.  (7)  Jehovah, the God of Heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, To your seed I will give this land: He shall send His Angel before you. And you shall take a wife to my son from there.  (8)  And if the woman will not be willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this oath of mine. Only do not bring my son there again.  (9)  And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning the matter.

 

Abraham is 140 years old at this point and Isaac is 40 (see Genesis 25:20), by most reckoning Sarah has died about three years previously (Genesis 17:17, 23;1,2). The “oldest servant” is most likely Eliezer of Damascus (Abraham's most senior servant Genesis 15:2) and he still ruled over all that Abraham had (Genesis 24:2). This is despite Isaac being almost middle-aged. Isaac appears to have been of a very quiet and mystical disposition and not a terribly good decision-maker (as we see later in the inheritance dispute between Jacob and Esau).  Isaac does not even select his own wife (as Jacob does so dramatically) but Abraham has to have Eliezer go and do the selection. Perhaps Isaac was very passive or Abraham did not fully trust his judgment? Later on Rebekah certainly seems to have become the stronger half of the marriage!

 

Abraham lays three conditions upon the prospective wife:

1.   She was not to be a Canaanite

2.   She was to be of the Abrahamic family line

3.   Isaac was not to leave the Promised Land under any circumstances

 

How does this translate into principles for Christian marriage today?

 

Firstly, the spouse should not be an unbeliever. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Secondly the spouse should be spiritually “kindred” and at one with you.

Thirdly you must not leave the Lord's assigned place in life or ministry

 

The Bible gives seven good reasons for not marrying an unbeliever which are:

 

1. You are not immune - even the smartest wisest people can be led astray from God by unbelieving partners. (1 Kings 11:1-12)

     2. There is a fundamental spiritual incompatibility (2 Cor 6:14-7:1, Eph 2:1-3)

     3. Because the children may go astray from God (Deut 7:3,4, Neh 13:23-27)

     4. It leads to a lifetime of defeat (Joshua 23:11-13)

     5. Correcting it can result in drastic and painful separations. (Ezra 9:1-12)

     6. Because of the pain it causes to other family members (Genesis 26:34,35, 28:6-9)

     7. Because when God's judgment falls the family will be divided. (Luke 17:32-34, Genesis 19:12-26)

For more on this topic see: https://aibi.gospelcom.net/articles/noway.htm

 

God wants to create Christian families that teach children to follow the commands of the Lord and this was definitely part of God's purpose for Abraham:

 

Genesis 18:19 HCSB For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. This is how the LORD will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him."

 

Therefore, if the Abrahamic faith in the Living God was to be passed down throughout the generations, then both Isaac and his future wife must be believers. Abraham knew that God wanted this to happen – and would help it to happen by sending His angel to help with the process:

 

(7) Jehovah, the God of Heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, To your seed I will give this land: He shall send His Angel before you. And you shall take a wife to my son from there.

 

For God's purposes, regarding the land, the inheritance through Isaac, and the continuation of YHWH worship, to be fulfilled Isaac had to have a spiritually compatible wife – and so a heavenly angel would be assigned to help out with this task!

 

God has innumerable angels (Revelation 5:11) and they are “servants of those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14) and appear at significant moments in salvation history such as the “sacrifice” of Isaac and the finding of a suitable wife for the beginning of the redemptive line that would eventually lead to Jesus.

 

Thus we find angels guiding Manoah in the raising of Samson, feeding Elijah as he fled from Jezebel, ministering to Jesus after the forty-day fast, guiding Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch and causing Cornelius to send for Peter.

 

We can assume angels are part and parcel of the advance of the gospel, and are especially active in missionary work today. They are God's spiritual helpers in the process of redemption and carry out all His will. In fact in Revelation we find that there will be  a lot of angelic activity in the Last Days as angels even proclaim the gospel (Revelation 14:6) and are involved in carrying out all the judgments of the Lord (Revelation 15:7, 16:1)

 

So we see that key moments in salvation history can turn on something as ordinary (yet profound) as marrying the right person! In fact God, His angels, Abraham and a senior servant were all involved in choosing Isaac's future wife.

 

You do not know how a seemingly simple free act of choice may affect future generations and even the history of salvation!  God does know this and will give you help and guidance when it comes to your decisions.

 

Just one “silly example” of how the eternal can turn on the “trivial”. Once God spoke for me to pack a particularly old and tattered black woolen sweater when I went on a youth camp. That sweater was seen as “cool” by some rebellious teenagers who also happened to dress in black - and to cut a long story short, five of them came to Christ and a Christian group was begun in their high school. Listening to God in the small decisions ended up meaning big things in eternity!

 

God cares about who you marry - and will help you to make a good and godly decision!

 

Blessings,

 

John Edmiston (johned@aibi.ph)

 

 

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