Good evening and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 24, and I am going to read Genesis 24:1-6:
And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and JEHOVAH had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by JEHOVAH, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.
I will stop reading there. We are moving on in the book of Genesis. Once again, we read that Abraham was old and well stricken in age. We are not surprised that he was old and well stricken in age because he had been old for quite some time, if we turn back to Genesis 18:10-11:
And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
So both Sarah and Abraham were said to be old and well stricken in age, and we know this was the year before the birth of Isaac. Then Isaac would be born when Abraham was 100. At this point, Sarah was 89 years old, as she was ten years younger than Abraham, and Abraham was 99. They were old and well stricken in age.
Now Sarah has died at the age of 127, so that means that from the point of Genesis 18 when she was 89, it was 38 years later. It was at least 38 years because she has passed away, so Abraham would have been 37 or 38 years beyond the point where he was first said to be “old and well stricken in age.”
We can probably gather that after the purchase of the field for the burying place of Sarah, it was not much longer after when Abraham decided to find a wife for his son. Isaac was a growing man and he had just lost his mother, and Abraham wanted him to be comforted. That is what happened later, in Genesis 25. We already know the story. A wife was found for Abraham’s son Isaac after the servant went to Padanaram and found a qualified wife for his master’s son and returned. It says in Genesis 25:20:
And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
So Rebekah was brought back and married Isaac when he was 40, so Isaac would have been 37 when his mother died, so a little while after that would have been the time of the events that we are reading about in Genesis 24. Probably at this point, Abraham was about 138 and Isaac was 38 when the servant went on that journey. A journey in that day was not done by airplane where you arrive at your destination in one day. It would have taken quite a while. One had to prepare for the journey, and there was travel involved, so I do not know how long it would have taken. But let us say that Abraham was 138 or even 139, if some time had passed before he sent his servant.
We know that when Isaac was 40, Abraham was 140 and the servant had returned with the wife for Isaac, so that gives us a little understanding of the timeline here and, yet, this entire period from the point when Abraham was 99 until this time when he was about 138, he was old and well stricken in years. Of course, if you are old and well stricken in years when you are 99, and you continue to live, that condition is not going to change, but it is Biblical language God is using to describe him.
It goes on to say in Genesis 24:1:
… and JEHOVAH had blessed Abraham in all things.
We have been reading much about Abraham for many chapters. He has often been the main focus in these early chapters of the book of Genesis in the Bible, and we can see how God, indeed, blessed him in many things. He blessed him with wealth. He blessed him with a good wife Sarah. He blessed him with Isaac, as God had promised him that he would receive a son in his old age. What a blessing this was to him and to Sarah, as they received the promised son when they were old and well stricken in years. So, yes, we know that God blessed him, and blessed him, and blessed him, even when things went badly and looked pretty bleak at certain times. For example, when Pharaoh, king of Egypt, took Sarah, things looked very bad for Abraham at that point and, yet, God turned it around. He caused Pharaoh to release Sarah and to give much spoil to Abraham of cattle and servants, and so forth. We also know this happened a second time with the king of the Philistines. And, again, God turned that terrible situation around and it ended up blessing Abraham and his house as a result.
So it is true that God had blessed Abraham in all things, and not just in all things good, but in all his life circumstances and whatever he was going through, like when there was trouble between Abraham’s servants and the servants of Lot. It caused them to part company and to go different ways, but it worked for good. When his nephew Lot was taken captive, Abraham gathered his trained servants and came to deliver them in a wonderful deliverance, and it worked for good to Lot and many others. All things worked in the life of Abraham for good.
We might think, “Oh, Abraham was that special man. He was that faithful man, and more special than any other men.” But that is not true. Yes – Abraham was greatly blessed of God, but he was only a sinful man, but he was a man God favoured by granting grace to Him and by bestowing special blessings upon because he was one of God’s elect. So all things in Abraham’s life were blessed, but it not only applies to Abraham, because God says in Romans 8:28:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If we truly love God, it is because He first loved us. He saved us and then He gave us a new heart and a new spirit and qualified us to keep His commandments perfectly from the heart, so that we love God. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” There is no longer any sin within the spiritual born-again soul of the child of God and, therefore, each child of God loves Him perfectly: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” In your life and in my life and in the life of God’s elect, this is true, if we truly are God’s elect. Of course, that is always the condition and we must especially mention that in this day and age because there are so many that claim to be Christians. Therefore, they claim that God loves them and that they love God, but it is false. God does not love them, and since He never first loved them, they never loved God from the heart. They do not keep His commandments and, therefore, what gushes out from their hearts of stone is all manner of iniquity.
That is the case for multitudes of professed Christians, but there are a few that do love Him, and they are said to number a great multitude out of the whole of the world’s population. There are scores of millions, but we are the fewest of all people, in the sense that the unsaved greatly outnumber us. There are billions of them and there are only, perhaps, 150 or 160 or 170 million elect living upon this earth, and that number will decrease as the Lord will take some of us in physical death. Nonetheless, for those that are God’s elect, we love Him because He first loved us and, therefore, “all things work together for good” in the life of every child of God. We may not have the riches of Abraham regarding the earthly blessings that God blessed him with (to illustrate spiritual blessings). But it does not matter what we have physically, because we are blessed in all things as God uses every single thing in our lives “for good,” including all things that are bad, hurtful, painful or troubling. All the things we shed tears over because our hearts were breaking “work together for good to them that love God.” I do not know how that is, and it would be an amazing story to know how it works.
Without going into detail, I can testify that in my life I can see why some pretty awful things happened in my life and I now know the reason why and I can see why God allowed it and permitted it. And, yes, He allowed me to suffer and experience that kind of affliction, I cannot see it in all cases, but I can see it in some cases, and I do know that in all cases this is true: all things work together for the benefit, welfare and good of God’s elect. And it has all been a blessing because God has turned it to blessing.
Without God…oh, boy, oh, boy…that cannot be said. Maybe in some small ways, the unsaved person can see how a bad thing resulted in a good outcome, but overall all the pain and anguish of the unsaved…and they feel it, too. They can hurt, too, and they can feel pain and suffering, but they have no thankfulness and there is nothing thankworthy about their suffering and anguish or the shedding of their tears because it was not done within a relationship with God. Typically, the suffering of the unsaved people of the earth is often a result of their sin, which is their selfish desires and outward rebellion against God. It is often a result of their pride, and so forth.
And we could say the same thing. Yes – it has been our sins that have (often) caused suffering, but God has turned that around as well. He has changed it and made it into something worthwhile, as we look back and see how our sinful tendencies have led us along a path that finally brought us to the point where God introduced His Word into our lives and opened our eyes and ears to seeing and hearing it and, thereby, we believed. And we were made ready and prepared through many of those afflictions for that particular day in our own history, and God used it for out good. It is actually a very comforting and encouraging fact that we read in Romans 8:28, and it is being stated in Genesis 24:1: “… and JEHOVAH had blessed Abraham in all things.” And we can thank God: “Thank you, Lord, for blessing me in all things, even though the absolute truth is that I do not deserve it, and I sure have not done anything to have earned it. It is only because of what you have done for me. It is only because of Christ. It is only because you have redeemed me, and translated me out of darkness and into the light. It is only because of your salvation that this is true, so I thank you, Father, that what was true of Abraham and true of Joseph, is true of me.”
And Joseph was an excellent example, as he was betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave into Egypt, and he worked as a lowly slave in Potiphar’s household. And then things got even worse as Potiphar’s wife set her eyes upon him, but Joseph was being faithful and doing things God’s way. And what was his reward? Potiphar’s wife accused him falsely of attempting to treat her evilly, and Joseph was cast into the dungeon. Would he ever see the light of day? Well, he was blessed in all things. JEHOVAH blessed Joseph, we could say, in all things and all things worked together for good as he was lifted up to be exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh and second in command in Egypt. God used it for a tremendous blessing to the same brothers that had betrayed him and done so wickedly against him.
We stand in awe at how our great God who controls all things and events arranges circumstances, orchestrates events and moves in His people to will and to do of His good pleasure, and He does not “waste” a thing. Not a second, not a tear drop, not a moment of pain is wasted. All work together, beautifully and harmoniously, in an unseen way under the guiding hand of the Almighty, for our good. So this is a glorious, glorious blessing that each one of us possess. Of course, it is not something the world would recognize, if someone is in poverty, ill health, struggling daily and all alone. The world would pity you. “You, poor person! You do not have what we have.” And, yet, draw back the curtain between Lazarus the beggar and the rich man. Who had the blessing all along, and which one was truly impoverished? It was the rich man with the things of this world that had nothing, and it was Lazarus the beggar that had everything because he was blessed in all things. And all things worked together for his ultimate and eternal good. And so, too, this is true for you and me, if God has blessed us with His salvation.