Abraham is getting old. His son, the son of promise, has no children for himself. This is because Isaac is not even married. How will the covenant relationship between God and Abraham and his descendants continue if the family tree passes away within the next generation? Is God faithful to keep His promises to Abraham?
In Genesis 24, we find another account of Abraham’s faith. While in chapter 23, Abraham demonstrated his faith in God’s promise of the land, here in chapter 24, Abraham demonstrated his faith in God’s promise of descendants.
It would have been easy to find a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites. Any of the people would have happily obliged since Abraham was such a wealthy man. Abraham, though, did not want this (24:3). The Canaanites were pagan people who did not fear the Lord. How could the covenant relationship continue with evildoers? Instead, Isaac needed a woman who would be fitting, a woman of character.
Abraham had his servant swear to find a woman from his home country and people (24:2-4, 9). This was not a task of only human endeavor, but the men had faith that God would be at work. The servant swore to bring a woman back, and Abraham believed that God would be with him (24:7), but if she was not willing, then the servant would be free from the oath. The servant, while in the land, prayed to God that He would give direction (24:12-14). When the servant found Rebekah and spoke with her family, he insisted on leaving right away, as God had prospered his way (Gen 24:56).
Finally, the servant and Rebekah returned. Isaac and Rebekah were subsequently married (24:67). Abraham’s faith in God’s promises proved true.
Do we have this kind of faith in God? Do we expect God to fulfill His promises? Interestingly, Abraham and the servant did not attempt to force God’s hand. Abraham allowed the possibility that the woman would not want to come back with the servant (24:8). Even if this situation did not work out, God is not unfaithful to His word. We also see the servant taking steps to get Rebekah. He believed in God’s faithfulness and at the same time went and took action.
Our faith in God does not entail God doing whatever we desire. God is not bound to our expectations. Yet how often, if we truly ask in faith, would God give us more than we can ask or think (Eph 3:20)? John writes, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Faith in God is not divorced from action. Abraham had faith that God would keep His promises, yet he also then sent for a wife for his son. The servant had faith in his master’s God, yet he also did what was necessary to get Rebekah back to Isaac.
God works through people and circumstances. What does having faith in God look like for us? Would God be pleased to work through us as we live by faith? As people of faith, let us encourage one another to live out our faith intentionally. By faith, let us edify one another, believing that God builds us up through others. By faith, let us pursue holiness, knowing that God is at work in our hearts. By faith, let us be intentional, recognizing that God has a plan which He will work out for His good pleasure.