Archives for July 2014
Text: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-51, 58-67
You have heard from me on a number of occasions that my father was a teller of corny jokes. All were squeaky clean. None contained profanity. None were even remotely sexy. Many were told repeatedly and some were even funny. Now that my dad is gone, we all regret that we didn’t write them down. He especially loved church jokes, so I will begin this morning with one of Daddy’s favorites:
When he stepped into the pulpit to deliver his sermon one Sunday, a Baptist preacher noticed several strangers in the pews. He offered his typical fiery, repent-and-be-saved sermon, but in the back of his mind he was wondering who the newcomers were. As he stood at the door after the service, one of the visitors asked if the group could speak to him when he finished greeting the departing worshippers. So when the last person was gone, the preacher ushered the five men into a side room, where they identified themselves as a “pulpit committee” from a large Baptist church in another city. They had come to invite him to become their next pastor at a salary significantly higher than he was currently receiving.
The preacher politely thanked the group for coming and expressed his humble appreciation for their gracious invitation. He assured them that he would make their offer the subject of serious consideration and intense prayer. Then he rushed home to tell his wife, instructing her with this: “Honey, while I go into my study to pray for God’s will, why don’t you start packing?”
The story of choosing Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife is our text for today. It’s the last biblical tale in which Abraham has a role. His faithful servant Eliezer plays a central part in a drama that serves as a transition to the next generation as Isaac replaces Abraham as the keeper of God’s promises.
When the drama begins, Eliezer has been commissioned by Abraham to find a wife for Isaac. He’s a servant, but one with seniority whom Abraham obviously trusts. In assigning this critical task, Abraham insists that Isaac’s wife must come from their kin who were left behind when the family journeyed to Canaan in response to God’s call. So accompanied by his human and animal entourage, Eliezer heads back home, devising a plan to secure the proper mate for Isaac as he goes. The planning is bracketed with sincere prayer that God’s desire for Isaac, which is also Abraham’s desire, will be fulfilled.