Fleshly Bargain

Genesis 24:12 “Then he prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.’ ”

Observation: Sarah had died, and Abraham was nearing the end of his life. The one thing he had yet to do was to secure a wife for his son Isaac. To do so, he turned to his trusted chief household servant, probably Eliezer, and assigned him the task of traveling back to Abraham’s homeland to find a daughter-in-law from among his countrymen. God had promised Abraham that he would father many nations and countless descendants through Isaac’s lineage. Abraham in turn entrusted the covenant’s fulfillment to the wisdom and obedience of his chief servant. Once Eliezer arrived at the well outside Nahor, he stopped to pray for God’s supernatural guidance.

Application: It is striking that Abraham seems to have no heartburn either over the prospect of his servant’s obedience or of his expected success. He had asked Eliezer to swear an oath of obedience, and then he had assured the man that God would send an angel as his guide (Gen. 24:8). After all this, Abraham trusted his and his family’s future to his servant. The fulfillment of God’s plan came down to one servant’s obedience and his willingness to be led by God. It is instructive that Eliezer’s first act upon reaching his destination was to pray for God’s guidance. Did he feel considerable pressure as he thought about all that rode on his human shoulders? Was the weight of his master’s confidence difficult to bear? After all, a whole caravan of lesser servants was no doubt watching his every move; any misstep would surely get back to Abraham. What the Word says is, “he prayed.”

I generally understand that God wants a yes from me. Like Eliezer obeying orders from Abraham, I, too, must be quick to obey. Yet I am always left with the choice of method: either in the flesh or by the Spirit. Eliezer could have assessed key outward attributes of all the women at the well that day, determined to select the finest beauty. He could have shrewdly negotiated a private bargain with the prospective bride’s father for side compensation—a fleshly bargain indeed. After all, she would be marrying into one of the world’s wealthiest families. But instead, he simply prayed, asking God for concrete evidence that the decision he was about to make would fulfill God’s kindness to his master Abraham. And I wonder … what would I have done?

Prayer: O Lord, how often I have acted in the strength of my own experience or supposed wisdom. Forgive me, Father. Cause me to not just obey, but in doing so, to seek Your best. I pray that the fruit of my life would evince Your working in and through me.


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