Bible Passages: Genesis 24, Psalm 12, Proverbs 24, and Matthew 9:9-34
Abraham and Isaac had just suffered a great tragedy in the death of Sarah, Abraham’s wife and Isaac’s mother. While grieving, Abraham considered Isaac and his mourning. Therefore, Abraham made a covenant with his chief servant to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham sent his chief servant to his family back in Nahor, so that Isaac would not marry a woman of Canaan. Abraham did not want his son mixing with the women of Canaan and their wicked paganism. The chief servant agreed and went off to Nahor in Mesopotamia.
The hand of God and his providence is displayed mightily in the rest of this story. The chief servant found his way just outside the desired city and he stopped and waited. He set up a test and asked the Lord to lead the right woman into it. The test was in regards to the well. Abraham’s servant would wait until a virgin would offer him water and offer to water his camels. The servant asked the Lord to show him Isaac’s wife by her fulfilling this test. Sure enough, Rebekah came along and offered Abraham’s servant a drink and then watered his camels until they could not drink anymore. Then, the servant went to investigating who this young lady was. He found out that Rebekah was the niece of Abraham and fit Abraham’s requirements completely. Now, all the servant had to do was get her to come back with him to meet Isaac.
Rebekah took the servant back to the family house and her family offered him sanctuary there for the night. At this time, Abraham’s servant explained who he was and what his purposes were in coming. Upon hearing that Abraham’s servant was there to seek Rebekah as Isaac’s wife. They reasoned that it had to be of the Lord, so they called for her. After hearing the proposal from the chief servant, Rebekah surprisingly agreed.
The story is utterly unbelievable, and shows one the overarching glory of God’s sovereignty. All of these situations were not coincidences, but they were the hand of God guiding the search for Isaac’s wife. Genesis 24 screams that God can be trusted with any circumstance. God is in control and his desires will be done.
Even though the family tried to keep Rebekah around for ten days, the Lord lead her to leave and meet her husband to be. It would have been amazing to be able to witness Isaac and Rebekah’s first meeting. Can you imagine being Isaac and, unbeknownst to you, your father’s servant comes riding up with your wife to be, who you have never met, on his camel. According to the description of Rebekah given in Genesis 24, Isaac probably approached his father’s chief servant thinking. Who is that beautiful girl with him. I wonder if she will go on a date with me. Then, Isaac meets her and finds out that she has come to be his wife.
Can you imagine Rebekah’s thoughts as the chief servant tells her that the handsome young man approaching her is the man she has agreed to marry? What butterflies! She is probably thinking: Does he think I’m pretty, do I even think he is handsome? The thought probably even crossed her mind: What am I doing here, and why did I agree to come back and marry this guy?
However, through all the questions and turmoil, God has sovereignly brought Isaac and Rebekah together and no doubt remains concerning this couple and their relationship. He has fashioned Isaac for Rebekah and he has fashioned Rebekah for Isaac. Amongst all the questions, all the butterflies, and all the doubts, God is confidently presenting his chosen man Isaac the wife that he has chosen for him. What an amazing story!
You cannot read Genesis 24 and not see the sovereign hand of God at work in the lives of Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 24 shouts to us that we can trust God and his purposes for us. It calls us to obey him even when we can’t see the finished product. It calls us to a simple faith that is anything but simple to live out. It calls us to trust God with our everything.
The beginning of Psalm 12 is striking, “Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.” David recognizes the ultimate condition of humanity. There is no man of God, there is no prophet, and there is no godly king, so the only one that David can run to for salvation is God. We all are in the same predicament. There is no prefect man, there is no perfect prophet, there is no perfect government ruler, but there is all perfection in one man – the man Christ Jesus. He is the perfect man, he is the perfect prophet, and he is the perfect king. Due to David’s recognition that only God can save, he is led to pursue the words of God.
David describes these words of God as pure words which are like silver purified seven times. David is saying that God is the only person who is trustworthy. God is the only person who utters pure words. We can take God’s words to the bank every time. No wonder David went to God’s Word when he felt he was in trouble. No wonder David went to God’s Word when he felt the world crumbling down around him. No wonder he went to God’s Word when he needed encouragement and could not get it anywhere else.
When you feel the world crumbing down around you or you feel like you have nowhere else to turn; then, turn to God and his Word. Run to the Bible and especially to the Psalms and find comfort and solace there. Run to God and he will give you rest, he will comfort you, he will save you.
Solomon calls his son to eat honey especially fresh honey from the comb. Then, Solomon explains what he means. He is not just talking about physical honey, but he is using honey as a metaphor for wisdom. He is calling his son to pursue wisdom like he would pursue fresh, delightful honey. Solomon offers his son motivation to pursue wisdom. He say that wisdom will give his son a future that is bright and welcoming. However, a future devoid of wisdom will lead to his son being cut off and cast out.
Solomon’s words were true for his day, they were true for the nation of Israel, and they are true for us today. We should pursue wisdom – the Bible – like it was honey. It should be our greatest desire. How we should yearn to be mighty in the scriptures.
Pursue wisdom in the Word of God like it is honey to be devoured and enjoyed.
The horrible sight of bigotry is put on display in Matthew 9:9-13. Jesus exposes in the Pharisees the most reprehensible bigotry there is. Matthew 9:9 starts out with a shocking discovery. Jesus called a tax collector to be one of his disciples. Does Jesus have any qualifications for his disciples? Apparently not, at least this is what the Pharisees are thinking. Jesus then moves to highlight and expose the grotesque bigotry that plagues the Pharisees. This attitude of bigotry is revealed when the Pharisees bypass Jesus and go to his disciples with their question. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Basically, why does Jesus have time for such lost causes?
Jesus responds by exposing their heart. He tells them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick [do].” He then pointedly tells them to go learn this statement, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” Basically, Jesus exploded over the lack of mercy and the bigotry that was in the hearts of the Pharisees. Instead of looking down on the tax collectors and sinners, the Pharisees should have been rejoicing that Jesus was doing something with the very people that no one else would care about. The Pharisees thought that God was all about looking at the religiosity of the person, but they were sorely mistaken. God values mercy and not sacrifice. Basically, God cares about your heart and not just about your outward actions.
John’s disciples questioning Jesus about fasting, follows Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees (Matthew 9:14-17). John the Baptist’s disciples were wondering why Jesus did not have his disciples fast. Jesus answered in a very straightforward way. The bride does not fast while the bridegroom is present. Only after the bridegroom leaves does the bride fast. Basically, Jesus is telling John’s disciples to enjoy his, God’s, presence with them for the present time for there will come a time that Jesus will not be with them. Jesus is making a claim to divinity. Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah.
Not only does Jesus claim to be the Messiah, but he backs it up too. Matthew 9:18-26 has Jesus performing two very amazing miracles. First, Jesus heals a woman with constant menstrual bleeding with only a passing touch of contact. In fact, Jesus did not initiate the contact, but the woman sought out Jesus in faith and touched his garment as he passed believing that she would be healed. Jesus knew her thoughts and responded to her faith. Second, Jesus met a man who’s daughter had just died. The man asked Jesus to come and bring her back to life. Jesus accommodated this man’s request. Jesus sent away all the musicians and mourners, and he brought this girl back to life. If anyone had second thoughts about Jesus as the Messiah, then how else could they explain these two miracles? Only God has the power to read minds and raise people from the dead.
Jesus performs two more astounding miracles, but the most significant thing in Matthew 9:27-34 is the statement by the Pharisees, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” The Pharisees have hardened their heart against Jesus and will not see him for who he is. They will not believe. The Pharisees become a stark example of someone who encounters the wonder of Jesus and leaves willingly refusing to believe their own eyes and the truth. Instead, the Pharisees concoct their own version of reality and reject Jesus. What dangerous actions they have committed, and if they do not repent they will split Hell wide open.
Realize that our hearts are easily drawn to bigotry, and we can easily deceive ourselves about our true condition. Instead of running from God and his truth, run to God and his truth. However, the only way you can run to God is on his terms explained through his Word. To run to God you have to be a student of his Word.