Monday, November 12, 2018
Abraham was now a very old man, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.” The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. For the Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. Genesis 24:1-10(NLT)
It is possible to act in faith without wisdom; it is also possible to use wisdom without faith (although it isn’t wise to do so, and is worse than being faithful, but not wise). There are times when you don’t know which way to turn. You sit and consider all the possibilities. You want to trust God and be faithful, as well as wise. But it’s confusing.
The culture in which Abraham lived was patristic, and the custom was for him to choose a bride for his son, Isaac. This old man had walked with God for many decades, and the Lord had given him much wisdom. In this most important decision as leader of his family – a decision that would affect his household name for generations to come, Abraham wanted to be faithful, and he wanted to be wise. He proved to be both.
Abraham was unable to travel, and the faith of his household demanded a choice for Isaac that would fertilize that faith. That meant helping Isaac choose a faith-filled wife, who would help him cultivate a family of faith. In Abraham’s judgment, that meant going back to the place of beginnings. Abraham wisely chose his faithful servant to carry out this plan, giving clear instructions to bring back a willing match for his son. God was in this faithful wisdom, and so, it worked out well as God led the servant to Rebekah.
The question that normally arises out of this story is: How does just following the cultural norms equate with being faithful and wise? After all, there are plenty of Biblical passages that teach God’s people to be anything but “normal”. We are to come out from [amongst sinners], and we must live in the world, but not of the world.
The answer is found in the last part of Abraham’s instructions to his servant.
He tells his servant what to do, and then tells him if it doesn’t work out, he is released from his obligation.
Abraham also acted in faith
He tells his servant in unmistakable words to make certain his son is to live in the land God promised. In this Abraham is willing to abandon the cultural norms if culture contradicts God’s way. This is the essence of faith; we trust God more than culture. God, whom we cannot see is our promise; He is leading us to evidence unseen but hoped-for.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. Hebrews 11:8-10(NLT)
If the servant couldn’t secure a bride for Isaac in the culturally-accepted way, Abraham was willing to back off and await God’s revelation.
I have tried to force situations before with my controlling nature; I can say with absolute certainty – that was not wisdom or faith; it was unbelief. Anytime you can’t bear to stand still and see God’s salvation, you’re not willing to have faith marry wisdom; you’re more interested in having your own way.
If you’ve got a big decision to make, make the biggest one first – that you’ll do your best, but you are committed to God’s way above your own. That’s how to marry wisdom to your faith.
 2 Corinthians 6:17 & John 18:36