Saturday, 6 March 2021
And I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; -Genesis 24:3
Abraham knew that God had called him and his descendants to live a life separated from the people around him. His call involved separating himself from his country, his people and his household (Genesis 12:1) in order to become an alien and stranger on earth (Heb.11:13). In Abraham, God was establishing the important principle that his people were to separate themselves from all that hinders His purpose for their lives. This separation was God’s method of preserving a holy people for Himself.
When Abraham sent his servant to get a wife for his son, only two conditions were stated by him: (1) the wife must not be a Canaanite (24:3); (2) Isaac must not, under any circumstances, be taken back to the land from where God had called him (24:6). Such an oath indicates how important the matter was to Abraham. The above two requirements promote separation while avoiding isolation. Isaac living in the land of Canaan, even when he did not possess it, was evidence of his faith and dependence on God alone. It was also a means of proclaiming to the Canaanites that Yahweh alone was God.
While they lived among the Canaanites, they were not to become one with them by marriage. To move back to where Abraham came from, would be isolation. Thus, a wife must be secured from among the relatives of Abraham while, at the same time, Isaac was not allowed to return there himself.
The basis for Abraham’s decision was based on the revelation received earlier from God mentioned in Genesis 24:7 “The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.” What a wonderful example of faith in God as One Who guides His people!
Abraham’s servant, probably Eliezer was a devout man who sought the Lord through prayer. This account indicates that each step of his journey was marked by asking God for his blessing and guidance. See how after Rebekah responded favourably, he immediately praised God (Vs.26-27). The servant’s prayer and his faith in God reveal that Abraham’s obedient faith was not merely private; it was seen active in the lives of other members of his household.
The concept of separation from evil is crucial to God’s relationship with His people. According to the Bible, separation involves two dimensions – one negative and the other positive: (a) separating yourself morally and spiritually from sin and from everything that is contrary to Jesus Christ, His righteousness and God’s Word; (b) drawing near to God in a close and intimate fellowship through dedication, worship and service. Separation in this twofold sense results in a relationship where God is our heavenly Father who lives with us and is our God, and we in turn are his sons and daughters. The purpose of separation is that we as God’s people might preserve in salvation, faith and holiness, to convince the unbelieving world of the truth and blessing of the gospel.
Our privilege: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9)