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Genesis 24

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 24

We have come to the longest chapter in the book of Genesis.  I suspect that comes as a bit of a surprise.  We might expect that chapter one would be the longest.  But the creation account is told in 31 verses.  So, why does this chapter consist of so many verses to tell the story of how Rebekah became Isaac’s wife?

For one thing, the entire chapter focuses on separation.  To begin with Abraham made it most clear that Isaac was not to marry a Canaanite.  Later in the Old Testament story when the Law was given, Jewish men were forbidden to marry heathen women (Deuteronomy 7:1-11).  As we fast forward to the New Testament, we find in 1 Corinthians 7, and 2 Corinthians 6 that believers should not marry unbelievers.

None of that means that God’s people, whether Jewish or Christ follower, are better than other folks.  But by nature and nurture we should be very different from those who are not believers in the one, true God.  While most differences that exist between men and women are actually strengths in marriages, the difference of believing in the one, true God or not is more often than not a detriment to a healthy marriage. 

Later we see separation when Rebekah leaves her birth family to travel to a far away land to marry a man she had never even met before.  As crazy as that seems to us who live in a culture that is saturated by romance and love, in the Bible days, parents typically made the marriage arrangements.  Couples would get married and then learn to love each other.  We would say couples should love each other and then get married.  It is hard to say which is right.

Another focus we find in this chapter is on faith.  Obviously, Abraham was a faithful man.  In this story, he had faith that God would provide a wife for his son Isaac.

The servant that Abraham sends on the wife hunt was a faithful man.  He went on what may have been a 2-3 month one way journey to find a wife from a group of strangers for Isaac.  Throughout his journey he kept mentioning the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac.  Interestingly enough, he never claimed a personal relationship with God or that God was “his” God.  But he did place an incredible amount of trust in Abraham’s relationship with god.

Rebekah was a faithful woman.  She would journey a long way from her family and the place she grew up to meet and marry a man she had never met. 

Isaac was a faithful man.  He waited many weeks, actually several months for God to provide a suitable wife. 

Of course, the main reason that all of this is so important is Isaac is another link in the chain that would lead to Jesus.  His is another name in the genealogy that would trace Jesus’ human heritage.  As a result, Isaac being a man of faith is important.  Rebekah being the right woman is important.  And to see God orchestrate all of that is even more important.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

Genesis 23

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 23

The previous chapter gave us a story that most of us will never face.  Although our life as Christ followers is rightfully supposed to be a life of sacrifice, none of us, thankfully, have been asked to sacrifice a child.

We know God was not actually asking for the sacrifice of Isaac.  But as Abraham walked through that, he didn’t know that.  He knew that God would provide.  He even knew that somehow Isaac would return with him (prefigures the resurrection).  But he did not know that he wouldn’t have to slay his own son until the angel of the Lord stopped him.

When we get to Genesis 23, we find Abraham in another desperate story.  Sadly, this is one that most of us have either faced or will face.  Sarah died. 

If you have been following the narrative of Abraham’s story, you know that Sarah was far from perfect.  She had made her fair share of wrong headed decisions.  She was a sinner.  But we also know that she cared about her husband and her son Isaac. 

We also know that God cared deeply about her.  In Genesis 17:15, God called her a princess.  In Hebrews 11:11 she is listed in the Hall of Faith.  In 1 Peter 3, Peter uses her as a good example for Christian wives to follow.  And in Galatians 4:21ff, Paul uses Sarah to illustrate the grace of God in the lives of believers.

You may remember that at one point in Abraham’s story, the Bible says, “He believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”  If we understand that righteousness gives us a right standing with God, then we must understand that faith is the pathway to that right standing.  If we jump to the New Testament, we find the same principle in Ephesians 2.  The Bible says we are saved by grace through faith.  We must never underestimate the utter value of this faith thing.

Here’s my point.  None of us on our own are righteous enough to have right standing with God.  But through faith, God gives us that standing.  Sarah obviously wasn’t perfect.  None of us are.  But when she died, she died in her faith.  And God always honors that.

After her death, Abraham began the process of making burial arrangements.  At the time they were living in the land of Hebron which was a section of Canaan.  He and his clan were dwelling among the Hittites. 

As you read through the rest of the chapter, you find a most interesting process that led to Abraham buying land with a place to bury his wife.  Space does not permit us to talk about the cultural things that were happening in that transaction.  But it is important to note that although Abraham was not a Hittite.  Although He was living in a country that was not his own.  Although he had no legal authority in that land.  He had lived in such a way that the people of Hebron greatly respected him.  They were honored to have him among them.  And they were more than willing to interact with him

And so should it be with us.  As Christ followers this earth is really not our home.  We are here as sojourners.  We are pilgrims on a journey that will eventually lead us to heaven.  But in the meantime, we should live in such a way that those around us could respect who we are and what we stand for.  We should live in such a way that even those who don’t believe in the one, true God would be more than willing to interact with us.  We should live in such a way that they would be honored to have us among them.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

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