Answers before Asking


As Abraham’s eldest servant, who was on the mission to find a wife for his master’s son, Isaac, prayed reasoned with the LORD God on how he was going to identify the girl who was to marry Isaac, the Bible records in Genesis 24:15 that “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.” While our human attention may shift to the identity and description of Rebekah, let us not miss a very important treasure hidden in this account, which is the phrase, “before he had done speaking”. In other words, even before the servant had completed his request of the LORD God, God sent him the answer, in the person of Rebekah, that he has looking for.

Points to ponder:
When God’s plan and purposes are to be fulfilled in our lives, his answers precede even our asking, yet the gesture of praying and seeking out the Lord’s will and purpose in our life’s missions should not be overlooked for the Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). So let us ask God, our Master, without wavering, seeking to find the bride (Church of Christ) for his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and let us expect God to answer our prayer, even before we are done speaking for God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think and so if the answer comes before asking, then it is no reason to be surprised. Who are you going to ask God for today?

Genesis 24:15 (KJV)
15 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.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (KJV)
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

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What comes before Success (of your mission)?


As the eldest servant of Abraham, who had sworn to Abraham to find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, solely from Abraham’s people (kindred), went about his mission to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor, he sought clear cut signs of how to identify the woman who was to marry Isaac. However, before anything else, the very first thing he does is he “prayed”. He prayed that the LORD God of his master Abraham, would grant him success that very day and show kindness to his master Abraham. In other words, he did not only pray for himself, but he prayed for his master (the one in authority) as all. We later learn from this account that God answered the prayer and gave him success, which accentuates a couple of facts:
1. The source of success is not the servant’s (our) hard work or effort, but it is the LORD God (Genesis 9:12).
2. Submission to God’s ways to show us the result/outcome is a precursor to guaranteed success.
3. In addition to total submission to God, supplication (prayer) comes before success (And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee – Genesis 9:12).
4. When we pray, we ought to pray not only for our personal success (send me good speed this day, O LORD God), but also we ought to pray for those whom we serve, including our rulers and those God has ordained over us (show kindness unto my master) (Genesis 9:12, 14).

Points to ponder:
Do you and I recognize that the success of our missions that God has purposed for our lives comes from the LORD God himself, and is not a product of our hard work or effort?
Do you and I submit totally to God, the mission we are tasked with?
Do you and I seek the LORD God in prayer to send us success?
Do you and I seek the LORD God in prayer to show kindness to the people we serve, including our leaders?

Genesis 24:9-14 (KJV)
And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.
10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.
11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
12 And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.

Jesus before us in the Journey


Genesis 24:7 records the response that Abraham gives his eldest servant who is being tasked with the mission of being sent to find a wife for his son Isaac, from the kindred of Abraham. When the servant questions Abraham on the probability of his journey being a successful one, Abraham affirms to the servant, that the LORD God who called him will send his angel before the servant and that he will be able to find a wife for his son Isaac. Abraham’s confidence in the angel of the LORD to provide a wife for Isaac may have been bolstered by the fact that he had heard the angel of the LORD, call out to him and stop him from taking the life of his son, Isaac (Genesis 22:11,15).

But who is this angel of the LORD? What is his identity? Though speculations exist, the Bible does substantiate that the identity of this angel who shall go before Abraham’s servant to ensure success, is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ himself.

We see that when Hagar encounters the angel of the LORD, she expresses that she has seen God who has seen her (Genesis 16:13). Another clue that identifies the angel of the LORD is recorded later in the Bible in the book of Exodus 3, where Moses encounters a burning bush and when he comes close, he is admonished that he is standing on holy ground (and no one but God alone is Holy). The angel of the LORD also identifies himself to Moses that he is the God of his father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and of Jacob (Genesis 3:6). But the most direct clue from the Bible can be attested from Jesus’ words himself, wherein he said, “Abraham saw my day and rejoiced.” (John 8:56).

One other common explanation of the identity of the angel of the LORD is that it was the LORD God (the Father) himself who had manifested himself to Abraham as the angel of the LORD, but this contradicts the Scripture wherein we learn that “No man can see God and live” (Exodus 33:20) which Apostle Paul reiterates in his letter to Timothy that God dwells in inapproachable light, whom no man can see or has seen (1 Timothy 6:16). So it is not the LORD God the Father but it is Jesus Christ, God the Son, who himself affirmed that whoever has seen him, have seen the Father (John 14:9).

In other words, Abraham was assuring his servant that because Jesus (the angel of the LORD) would go before him, he can be assured of the success of his mission.

Points to ponder:
In our life’s journey, do we let Jesus go before us? Do we let him lead the missions of our life? If Jesus goes before us, we can be assured of one thing for sure – and that is – whatever God’s purpose and mission that we are tasked to do – all of that would come to be a success. Let us let God’s messenger (angel) of the covenant (Malachi 3:1), Jesus Christ go before us!

Genesis 24:6-7 (KJV)
And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.
The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

Unto thy seed will I give this land


As Abraham responds to his servant’s question as to whether he should take Abraham’s son, Isaac from the land where he was dwelling, should the woman whom he sought as the bride of Isaac, refuse to come back with him to their land, Abraham, tells his servant that the LORD God who took him out of his father’s house, from the land of his family (kindred) had promised to give unto him the land and that the LORD God would send his angel before his servant so that the servant will be successful in his mission.

The Seed of Abraham is identified to be non other than Jesus Christ himself (Galatians 3:16) and the Bible records that the LORD God made Jesus ruler over all (the lands – not only in this world but in the world to come) and put all things under his feet (Ephesians 1:22). The promise to Abraham comes true in Jesus.

Points to ponder:
Unto the Son of God, the Seed of Abraham, is given all the land and his commission to each one of us who believe is, “Go ye therefore, into ALL THE Land (for it is his), and preach the good news of the gospel of Salvation, found in no other name, except in his name – the Name above all names, the Name Jesus Christ.”

Genesis 24:7-8 (KJV)
The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

Hand under my thigh


As the well aged Abraham sought the assistance of his eldest servant to find a wife from his own kindred, for his son, Issac, he made him swear, by what would seem odd in this day an age. He requested his servant to place his hand under his thigh and take the oath. (Genesis 24:2). The same gesture is requested of Joseph by Jacob, to place his hand under his thigh and swear that he would bury Jacob in the promised land of Canaan and not Egypt (Genesis 47:29-31).

According to studies of ancient customs, to place one’s hand under the thigh is a very euphemistic way to describe the gesture, as it literally meant to place one’s hand under the loins or testicles. In fact, such customs were observed even to the day of the Romans and has been observed in the animal world amongst primates (Baboons in particular), as more of a social than sexual gesture, as well. In fact, the etymology of the word “testify” which means “to witness” can be traced to the word “testicles”. So what’s it with what we would deem such a weird custom?

The two most plausible reasons for Abraham’s request are: 1. Abraham was making his servant swear by the “seed of Abraham” that was promised, so Abraham in a sense was trusting his servant, with his very life (lineage) i.e., to ensure the continuity of his seed. 2. Today before we testify, we are asked to place our hand over the Bible that shows God’s covenant with man. In the days of Abraham, before the Bible was canonized, the sign of God’s covenant with man was the circumcision, so to place one’s hands under the thigh, could have similar meaning. I believe, the latter to be more plausible due to the request of Jacob of Joseph. Secular and traditional explanations of this custom tell us that this was a sign of submission and obedience to authority, which is not implausible.

Points to ponder:
Irrespective of whether, one’s gesture is as a swearing by the covenant or as an indicator of submission to authority, what is of importance to recognize is that “Truth” is held up in our testimonies (witness). The Apostle Paul writes of the full armor of God and starts out by asking us to gird our loins (under the thigh) with the belt of Truth  (Ephesians 6:10-18). Jesus is the very personification of Truth himself (John 14:6) and we ought to be girded by him. The Bible teaches us that we ought not to swear by anyone, anything or anyplace, but let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’ (James 5:12). In other words, the words we speak and testify with, should be as good as an oath which precludes the need for any customs or gestures, odd or not. In other words, symbolically to place one’s hand under the thigh is to bear witness of the truth and to hold it high for God, our Master (as was Abraham to his servant), our Father (as was Jacob to Joseph).

Genesis 24:2-3 (KJV)
And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

Not again


Genesis 24:6-8 records the response that Abraham gave his eldest servant who had questioned, if the bride-to-be for Abraham’s son, Isaac, was unwilling to follow him into their land, should he bring Abraham’s son into the land from where he had come? Abraham’s response was an emphatic ‘No’. He bookends his response by starting out saying “Beware that you bring not my son there again” and assures his servant that the LORD God of heaven would ensure success in the servant’s mission but if the woman is not willing to follow him, then the servant would be cleared of his oath, but reasserts his response “Do not bring my son there again.”

The Bible does not explicitly state the reason for Abraham’s response as to why he did not want Isaac to be taken into the land where he came from (a pagan land called the Ur of the Chaldees), and we can only speculate on the plausible reasons. The one most plausible reason is that Abraham did not want his son to be exposed the pagan customs of the Chaldeans (Joshua 24:2), which in latter times is referenced along with Babylon and Assyria and its vices (Isaiah 13:19; Ezekiel 16:29; Ezekiel 23:14).

However, deeper scrutiny of the text, brings to light a hidden treasure of significance. Notice the word “again”. Isaac had never left the promised land and so this text, I believe symbolically reference Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). Unlike Isaac, who had never left the promised land, Jesus Christ, The Son of God left heaven, the land promised to all of us who believe, and came into this pagan land on earth, where he gave himself for the redemption and salvation of each one of us. He is never again to be brought back by the Holy Spirit of God as a son, but when he returns he will return as a mighty King – the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Points to ponder:
The response of God to the Holy Spirit as to whether Jesus should be brought into this sinful world, to marry his woman – the Church – should the Church be unwilling to follow the Holy Spirit into the promised land is an emphatic ‘No’ – Not again.

Genesis 24:6-8 (KJV)
And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.
The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

What if? – Unwilling to Follow


When the eldest servant in the household of Abraham was asked to promise him that he would go to Abraham’s country and kindred and find a wife for his son, Isaac, the servant questioned reasonably – “But, what if the woman is not willing to follow him into this land (the land of Canaan), should I take your son to the land where you came from?” (Genesis 24:5). Unknown to us are the reasons for this question and we can only speculate on some plausibilities – some of which could be “The parents of Isaac’s bride-to-be would not want her to be far away from their home or The parents of or the bride-to-be herself would not want to move to Canaanite land, that was known for its sinfulness, which was accursed from the time of Noah (Genesis 9:18-25) or for any other reason” The question in essence was what if – what if the woman is unwilling to follow the servant into the land? However, it is important to note that this land wherein iniquity was found was also the promised land to Abraham. This may seem insignificant until we recognize how applicable this question is to our times analogically.

The world we live in today is just as sinful as the land of Canaan or even more. The unnamed servant (Genesis 24:2) on the mission to bring the bride to the Son can be likened to the Holy Spirit (the only person of the Trinity who is unnamed for God the Father is Yahweh or I AM THAT I AM and God the Son is named Jesus). Jesus is the Son of God as was Isaac the son of Abraham. Believers who believe in Jesus and who have trusted him as their Lord, Savior and King are the ekklesia or the Church which is likened to be the woman, the bride-to-be of The only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ himself (Revelation 19:7-9). Now the question posed becomes, What if? – What if the Church is unwilling to follow the Holy Spirit of God into this sinful land to be married to the Son (Jesus Christ)? What if the Church is unwilling to follow the Holy Spirit of God into the promised land for the marriage supper of the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of this world? What if?

Points to ponder:
If you and I are the Church, are we willing to follow the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit of God to follow him into the sinful land we live in as a bride, chaste (as a virgin) due to the adorning of the clean and white garments of righteousness (Revelation 19:8) imputed on us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and willing, making ourselves ready (Revelation 19:7) for the marraige supper of the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:9)?

Genesis 24:5 (KJV)
And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?