And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.  And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.  Genesis 23:1-2


Abraham has lost the wife of his youth.  I too lost my wife, and I really understand the loss when a godly woman is gone.


And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.  And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto  Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.  Genesis 23:19-20


He purchased a burying place for both of them to share in God’s time.  Now his thoughts turn to his son and heir Isaac.


And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD 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 the LORD, 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.  Genesis 24:1-4 


Abraham wishes to spare his son the grief of being married to an unbeliever.  He sends his servant to find a Godly wife for Isaac.  This principle is still important today.  The New Testament presents the same warning to us:


Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  2 Corinthians 6:14-17


God does not want us to marry those who do not share our faith.  We are not to live as they live, but rather to be different and separated from them.  We can share our faith, but we can not share their mistakes.

And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.  And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.  And he said O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.  Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:  And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.  Genesis 24:10-14


The servant has asked God to give the exact words to the woman called to be Isaac’s wife.


And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.  And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.  And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.  And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.  And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.  And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.  And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.  Genesis 24:15-21


The servant has witness the events he had asked God to prove this woman by.  She was revealed as the bride of Isaac.


And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;  And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in?  And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.  She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.  And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.  And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.  And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.  Genesis 24:22-28 


The servant revealed that he served her master’s brother, and gave her precious gifts. 


And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.  And he said, I am Abraham’s servant.  And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.  And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.  And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:  Genesis 24:33-37


The servant presents his mission to the family.  They fear God, and will not block his will from being done.  They agree to send Rebekah with him.  They know the voice of God.


Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.  Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.  Genesis 24:50-51


The servant again produces gifts of great value, as we do today with an engagement ring. 


And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth.  And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.  Genesis 24:52-53


This is like the down payment or deposit of promise for the wedding to come.  He produced evidence of a commitment to this promise.  There is a tangible proof, which is echoed in our promise too:

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14 (NIV)



The Holy Spirit is presented to us as being the evidence that guarantees our promise as being real.  This spirit must be evidence that is not disputed, a sure mark of great value.  Those who are going to declare the gospel need a powerful evidence to make them brave enough to speak boldly.  The spirit was presented to the disciples in a powerful and dramatic way.


While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.  Acts 10:44-48


Those people all knew the Holy Spirit as a demonstration of power.  They were filled with this spirit, and recognized the same baptism when it filled others around them.  They recognized the value of this treasure as evidence of the promise of God.  It validated these new believers as being the bride of Christ.  Everyone knew that they too had been chosen.  Their act of speaking in tongues was the outward sign that persuaded the 12 disciples that these non-Jews were indeed given the salvation of Jesus Christ.  This spirit gifting is the guarantee, the wedding ring, of the new Christian.


And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.  And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.  And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.  And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.  And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.  And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.  And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.  For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.  And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.  And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. Genesis 24:58-67


Isaac had lost his mother.  The woman that nurtured him was gone, and another had come in her place.  In the same way, the temple of Solomon, the old faith, had passed away long before the time of Jesus.  His ministry began after the Old Testament faith had grown cold and dead.  The servants of faith are bringing new believers to the kingdom of God now.  Jesus introduced himself to a generation that was ready to become the Bride of Christ. 


We were always his sheep, predestined to this role.  We were always members of the family of faith, even before we were born.  The servant was given words to draw you to your Lord, and you agreed to go.  You are the Bride of Christ, and have his Holy Spirit as your evidence of his promise.  Wear the evidence of the Holy Spirit outwardly as a bold testimony of your engagement.  Let the spirit move in your life in power and truth.


I work out to retain some strength in my advanced years.  However, the greatest strength is that which can pass through the veil of death.  Our oldest saints stand on the threshold of death with that confidence.  I know that our Christian elders have crossed the veil knowing that God is near to them.  They are moving from the fleshly body to the glorified body.


By faith they have stood calmly in the face of all of life’s greatest fears.  Many of my friends in fitness have confessed to some uncertainty, being vulnerable to doubts.  Many of us came to the gym to overcome problems with self-image and confidence.  Strength gives some confidence, but we still can be vulnerable to personal hurts and doubts.


Get close to the old saints who are frail in body but strong in faith.  They can give you understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit.  In this you can have both strength and power, and see enemies united in service to God.


And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.  (he was 175 years old!)  Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.  And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;  The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.  Genesis 25:7-10