Steadfast Love: Faith in Providence a. Abraham was old. The story starts with a reminder that Abraham was old and advanced in years. He was in his hundreds and, for us, we would say that this is obvious. But remember that Shem, Noah’s son, dies 25 years before Abraham. When was he old and well advanced in years? When he was 500? 550? After the flood people aged a lot quicker. The only patriarch that had a shorter life than Abraham was his brother Nahor who died at 148. So the toll of sin upon humanity has quickly robbed us of hundreds of years. Even though Abraham is advanced in age and God had blessed him in all things he hasn’t outgrown his need to trust God. The command of God for Abraham to walk blameless before him has not diminished. There was no retirement from his service to the Lord. God continues to demand that Abraham place his trust in him and act accordingly. And Abraham does. b. Isaac needs a wife. Now, Isaac is in his thirties and is ready to take a wife. So Abraham calls his servant to him and gives him the task of going out and retrieving a woman for Isaac. Abraham puts this servant under a solemn oath not to get a Canaanite woman. But what is this strange ritual of placing his hand under the thigh ritual of Abraham asking the servant to place his hand under his thigh, or as some suggest, under something more private? Why is he doing this? It reinforces the gravity of the task and the oath that the servant is being put under. Abraham is not just giving suggestions to the servant but is placing the continuation of the covenant of circumcision on his shoulders. This isn’t the last time that we will see this ritual because as Jacob is dying he makes Joseph take an oath in the same manner concerning his burial. The question comes to mind: Why is Abraham so concerned about who Isaac marries? Why shouldn’t he marry a Canaanite? Let me remind you of Genesis chapter nine and the cursing of Canaan. Remember that Abraham is in the line of Shem. Canaan was cursed by God to be a servant of his brothers and specifically Shem. Abraham will not see the promised child marry a cursed woman. Plus, in Genesis 15 God tells Abraham that the descendants of Canaan will be removed from the land and that will occur when the sin of the Amorites, a clan of Canaan, is complete. These are good reasons for Abraham to keep Isaac from these women. He must marry from the line of Shem. c. The servant’s question. Now in verse 5, we see the servant’s response. Not willing to be too hasty in swearing this oath he asks Abraham what happens if he can’t bring the woman back should he take Isaac back to Mesopotamia? Abraham says “don’t take my son back there.” The promise is for the land of Canaan, not Mesopotamia so he needs to stay there. But Abraham then displays his faith in the work and providence of God. He basically tells the servant not to worry because God will send his angel before him and will have it all worked out. But if it doesn’t work out then just don’t take Isaac back, but don’t worry, it will work out. As JC Ryle said, “There is no such thing as chance, luck, or accident in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are working together for the believer’s good!”