SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
22:1 Some time after these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” Abraham replied. 2 God said, “Take your son—your only son, whom you love, Isaac—and go to the land of Moriah! Offer him up there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will indicate to you.”
3 Early in the morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants with him, along with his son Isaac. When he had cut the wood for the burnt offering, he started out for the place God had spoken to him about.
4 On the third day Abraham caught sight of the place in the distance. 5 So he said to his servants, “You two stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go up there. We will worship and then return to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. Then he took the fire and the knife in his hand, and the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father?” “What is it, my son?” he replied. “Here is the fire and the wood,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 “God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham replied. The two of them continued on together.
9 When they came to the place God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand, took the knife, and prepared to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. 12 “Do not harm the boy!” the angel said. “Do not do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me.”
13 Abraham looked up and saw behind him a ram caught in the bushes by its horns. So he went over and got the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place “The Lord provides.” It is said to this day, “In the mountain of the Lord provision will be made.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “I solemnly swear by my own name, decrees the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be as countless as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the strongholds of their enemies. 18 Because you have obeyed me, all the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using the name of your descendants.”
19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer Sheba where Abraham stayed.
20 After these things Abraham was told, “Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor— 21 Uz the firstborn, his brother Buz, Kemuel (the father of Aram), 22 Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 (Now Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.) These were the eight sons Milcah bore to Abraham’s brother Nahor. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore him children—Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
23:1 Sarah lived 127 years. 2 Then she died in Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
3 Then Abraham got up from mourning his dead wife and said to the sons of Heth, 4 “I am a foreign resident, a temporary settler, among you. Grant me ownership of a burial site among you so that I may bury my dead.”
5 The sons of Heth answered Abraham, 6 “Listen, sir, you are a mighty prince among us! You may bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb to prevent you from burying your dead.”
7 Abraham got up and bowed down to the local people, the sons of Heth. 8 Then he said to them, “If you agree that I may bury my dead, then hear me out. Ask Ephron the son of Zohar 9 if he will sell me the cave of Machpelah that belongs to him; it is at the end of his field. Let him sell it to me publicly for the full price, so that I may own it as a burial site.”
10 (Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth.) Ephron the Hittite replied to Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth—before all who entered the gate of his city— 11 “No, my lord! Hear me out. I sell you both the field and the cave that is in it. In the presence of my people I sell it to you. Bury your dead.”
12 Abraham bowed before the local people 13 and said to Ephron in their hearing, “Hear me, if you will. I pay to you the price of the field. Take it from me so that I may bury my dead there.”
14 Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 “Hear me, my lord. The land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but what is that between me and you? So bury your dead.”
16 So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and weighed out for him the price that Ephron had quoted in the hearing of the sons of Heth—400 pieces of silver, according to the standard measurement at the time.
17 So Abraham secured Ephron’s field in Machpelah, next to Mamre, including the field, the cave that was in it, and all the trees that were in the field and all around its border, 18 as his property in the presence of the sons of Heth before all who entered the gate of Ephron’s city.
19 After this Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah next to Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So Abraham secured the field and the cave that was in it as a burial site from the sons of Heth.
24:1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years, and the Lord had blessed him in everything. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the senior one in his household who was in charge of everything he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 3 so that I may make you solemnly promise by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth: You must not acquire a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living. 4 You must go instead to my country and to my relatives to find a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is not willing to come back with me to this land? Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?”
6 “Be careful never to take my son back there!” Abraham told him. 7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my relatives, promised me with a solemn oath, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ He will send his angel before you so that you may find a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing to come back with you, you will be free from this oath of mine. But you must not take my son back there!” 9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and gave his solemn promise he would carry out his wishes.
10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed with all kinds of gifts from his master at his disposal. He journeyed to the region of Aram Naharaim and the city of Nahor. 11 He made the camels kneel down by the well outside the city. It was evening, the time when the women would go out to draw water. 12 He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today. Be faithful to my master Abraham. 13 Here I am, standing by the spring, and the daughters of the people who live in the town are coming out to draw water. 14 I will say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jar so I may drink.’ May the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac reply, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ In this way I will know that you have been faithful to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, there came Rebekah with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah (Milcah was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor). 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful. She was a virgin; no man had ever been physically intimate with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came back up. 17 Abraham’s servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.” 18 “Drink, my lord,” she replied, and quickly lowering her jug to her hands, she gave him a drink. 19 When she had done so, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have drunk as much as they want.” 20 She quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw more water until she had drawn enough for all his camels. 21 Silently the man watched her with interest to determine if the Lord had made his journey successful or not.
22 After the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold wrist bracelets weighing ten shekels and gave them to her. 23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “Tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom Milcah bore to Nahor. 25 We have plenty of straw and feed,” she added, “and room for you to spend the night.”
26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praised be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his faithful love for my master! The Lord has led me to the house of my master’s relatives!”
28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household all about these things. 29 (Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.) Laban rushed out to meet the man at the spring. 30 When he saw the bracelets on his sister’s wrists and the nose ring and heard his sister Rebekah say, “This is what the man said to me,” he went out to meet the man. There he was, standing by the camels near the spring. 31 Laban said to him, “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord! Why are you standing out here when I have prepared the house and a place for the camels?”
32 So Abraham’s servant went to the house and unloaded the camels. Straw and feed were given to the camels, and water was provided so that he and the men who were with him could wash their feet. 33 When food was served, he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I want to say.” “Tell us,” Laban said.
34 “I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 35 “The Lord has richly blessed my master and he has become very wealthy. The Lord has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to him when she was old, and my master has given him everything he owns. 37 My master made me swear an oath. He said, ‘You must not acquire a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 38 but you must go to the family of my father and to my relatives to find a wife for my son.’ 39 But I said to my master, ‘What if the woman does not want to go with me?’ 40 He answered, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked, will send his angel with you. He will make your journey a success and you will find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 41 You will be free from your oath if you go to my relatives and they will not give her to you. Then you will be free from your oath.’ 42 When I came to the spring today, I prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you have decided to make my journey successful, may events unfold as follows: 43 Here I am, standing by the spring. When the young woman goes out to draw water, I’ll say, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jug.” 44 Then she will reply to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too.” May that woman be the one whom the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, along came Rebekah with her water jug on her shoulder! She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels water. 47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’ I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 Then I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right path to find the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now, if you will show faithful love to my master, tell me. But if not, tell me as well, so that I may go on my way.”
50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “This is the Lord’s doing. Our wishes are of no concern. 51 Rebekah stands here before you. Take her and go so that she may become the wife of your master’s son, just as the Lord has decided.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then he brought out gold, silver jewelry, and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave valuable gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 After this, he and the men who were with him ate a meal and stayed there overnight.
When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me leave now so I can return to my master.” 55 But Rebekah’s brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl stay with us a few more days, perhaps ten. Then she can go.” 56 But he said to them, “Don’t detain me—the Lord has granted me success on my journey. Let me leave now so I may return to my master.” 57 Then they said, “We’ll call the girl and find out what she wants to do.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Do you want to go with this man?” She replied, “I want to go.”
59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, accompanied by her female attendant, with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah with these words:
“Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands!
May your descendants possess the strongholds of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her female servants mounted the camels and rode away with the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and left.
62 Now Isaac came from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to relax in the field in the early evening. Then he looked up and saw that there were camels approaching. 64 Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked Abraham’s servant, “Who is that man walking in the field toward us?” “That is my master,” the servant replied. So she took her veil and covered herself.
66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67 Then Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took her as his wife and loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.