|The Man of Faith|
|The Beginning of Faith||Genesis 11:31 - 12:9|
|The High Cost of Letting Down||Genesis 12:10 - 13:4|
|Letting God Choose||Genesis 13:5-18|
|When You Need a Friend||Genesis 14:1-16|
|The Peril of Victory||Genesis 14:17-24|
|Faith Conquering Fear||Genesis 15:1-6|
|The Furnace and the Lamp||Genesis 15:7-21|
|It all Depends on Me||Genesis 16:1-15|
|The Circumcised Life||Genesis 17:1-27|
|When God comes to Dinner||Genesis 18:1-15|
|How Prayer Works||Genesis 18:16-33|
|The Wasted Years||Genesis 19|
|Old Natures Never Die||Genesis 20|
|Ishmael Must Go!||Genesis 21:1-14|
|This Thirsty World||Genesis 21:14-34|
|Life's Hardest Trial||Genesis 22:1-19|
|Till Death do us Part||Genesis 23:1-20|
|Here Comes the Bride||Genesis 24:1-67|
|The Abundant Entrance||Genesis 25:1-8|
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
From Hebrew ('Eli'ezer) meaning "my God is help."
In the Old Testament this is the name of both a servant of Abraham and one of the sons of Moses .
Deuteronomy 33:26“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Deuteronomy 33:29Happy are you, O Israel!
Psalm 20:2May He send you help from the sanctuary,
Psalm 33:20Our soul waits for the LORD;
Psalm 70:5But I am poor and needy;
Psalm 89:19Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,
Psalm 115:9O Israel, trust in the LORD;
Psalm 115:10O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD;
Psalm 115:11You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD;
Psalm 121:1A Song of Ascents.
Psalm 121:2My help comes from the LORD,
Psalm 124:8Our help is in the name of the LORD,
Psalm 146:5Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Isaiah 30:5They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them,
Ezekiel 12:14“I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his troops; and I will draw out the sword after them.
Daniel 11:34“Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.
“O Israel, you are destroyed,
But your help is from Me.
"The New Testament is in the Old Testament Concealed
Abraham's servant found a wife for Isaac.
Reprinted with permission from Who’s Who in the Hebrew Bible (The Jewish Publication Society).
Eliezer of Damascus was the steward of Abraham’s house and his presumed heir, before the birth of Isaac. When Abraham saw that his son Isaac was already forty years old and still unmarried, he decided that the time had come to find a bride for his son. He sent his trusted servant Eliezer to his relatives in Haran, Mesopotamia, with instructions to bring back a bride for Isaac, because he didn’t want his son to marry any of the local Canaanite girls.
Eliezer took with him ten loaded camels and set out for the city of Nahor. On his arrival he made the camels kneel down by the well outside the city, and said to himself:
"O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me good fortune this day, and deal graciously with my master Abraham: Here I stand by the spring as the daughters of the townsmen come out to draw water; let the maiden to whom I say, ‘Please, lower your jar that I may drink,’ and who replies, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels’–let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac. Thereby shall I know that You have dealt graciously with my master (Genesis 24:12–14)."
He had scarcely finished speaking his thoughts aloud when Rebekah came carrying a jar on her shoulder. She descended to the spring, filled her jar, and climbed back up. Eliezer ran to her and asked her if he could drink a little water from her jar. "Drink, my lord," she said (Genesis 24:18).
After he drank, she said, "I will also draw for your camels, until they finish drinking (Genesis 24:19)." Eliezer gazed at her silently while she gave water to the camels. He then gave her a gold earring and two gold bracelets and asked her (Genesis 24:23): "Pray tell me, whose daughter are you? Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?" She replied, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor. There is plenty of straw and feed at home, and also room to spend the night (Genesis 24:24–25)."
The man bowed low and blessed the Lord for having guided him to the house of his master’s kinsmen. Rebekah ran to her mother’s house and told her relatives what had happened. Her brother Laban saw the earring and the bracelets on his sister’s hands and ran to the well to invite the man to come to the house.
Eliezer entered the house while his camels were unloaded and given straw. Water was brought to bathe Eliezer’s feet and the feet of the men that came with him.
Food was set before him, but he refused to eat until he told them that Abraham had send him to find a bride for his son and heir and how he had realized that Rebekah was the intended one. Laban and Bethuel answered, "The matter was decreed by the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go and let her be a wife to your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken (Genesis 24:50–51)."
Eliezer, hearing these words, bowed low to the ground before God. Then he took out more silver and gold objects and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave presents to Laban and to his mother. After this he and his men ate and drank, and they rested in the night. Early next morning, they announced that they wanted to depart. Rebekah’s mother and Laban asked Eliezer if Rebekah could stay with them for another ten days.
"Do not delay me, now that the Lord has made my errand successful. Give me leave that I may go to my master," answered Eliezer (Genesis 24:56). They called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" Rebekah answered, "I will (Genesis 24:58)." Then she, her nurse Deborah, and her maids arose; mounted the camels; and followed Eliezer, while her relatives blessed her.
From Ray Stedman:...This is true of this story of Rebekah and Isaac. It is a picture of Pentecost. Here is Abraham standing for God the Father sending his unnamed servant into the far country to take a bride for his son -- to invite her to come, to call, to woo, and to win her -- to bring her back at last to the Father's house where the son is waiting to claim his bride for himself. How beautifully that portrays how God, at the Day of Pentecost, sent his Spirit into the world! It is the Spirit's job to call out a people for God's name, to win a bride for Christ; he has been at this task for almost 2,000 years now, and the Son is waiting to receive that bride. We read in the book of Revelation of the wedding supper of the Lamb, and of the Lord coming to claim his bride for himself, (see Revelation 19:7-9).
Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, "Put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac." The servant said to him, "Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land [this man knew women]; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?" Abraham said to him, "See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, 'To your descendants I will give this land,' he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there." So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter. (Genesis. 24:1-9)The initiative here begins with Abraham. He sends his servant to do this work and binds him to the task with an oath. Putting the hand under the thigh is simply an oriental custom recognizing that the loins of the thigh were the source of life. For the servant, it was a representation of being bound in the very deepest part of his life. This was a solemn oath.
Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master; and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when women go out to draw water. And he said, "O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me success today, I pray thee, and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the maiden to whom I shall say, 'Pray let down your jar that I may drink,' and who shall say, 'Drink, and I will water your camels' -- let her be the one whom thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac. By this I shall know that thou hast shown steadfast love to my master." (Genesis 24:10-14 RSV)Now here is a man expecting God to work. He does not go into this land, and say to himself, "Well now, the whole job is up to me. I've got to find this girl, and how in the world am I going to find the right one? And after that, I must persuade her to come. How am I going to do that?" It is very simple for this man because he knows he is not left alone to do this task. An invisible partner is at work, preparing the way for him. I wish we would learn this lesson about our own witness. God has not left it to us to do alone. The work of reaching men and women for Christ is not a matter of human persuasion, but is a divine call. God is at work to move, shape, and develop the lives and hearts of all. Our job is simply to recognize this.
Before he had done speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her water jar upon her shoulder. The maiden was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, and filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, "Pray give a little water to drink from your jar." She said, "Drink, my lord"; and she quickly let down her jar upon her hand, and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw for your camels also, until they have done drinking." So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not. (Genesis. 24:15-21 RSV)Now here is the confirmation. The man gazed at her in silence, we read. If we stopped there we might think it was because he was so amazed at a teenage girl so willing to work. I don't know how authentic it is, but I am told that a camel can drink twenty-one gallons of water at a sitting, and she drew water for all his camels. No wonder he gazed at her in silence. Specifically, though, we are told that it was to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not. "Is this the one, Lord?" As he watched her he knew that this was the one, because she did what he had asked the Lord as a sign that she should do. I don't think it is wise to ask for particular signs in every case. Sometimes we invent these signs in our own mind and use them as an excuse for not doing any witnessing. If we are expecting God to show us someone to talk with, he will indicate to us whom he has prepared. Many years ago, I was on my way out to Japan one summer, waiting in the airport at Honolulu for a plane to Tokyo. It was early in the morning and the airport was almost deserted. I bought a newspaper to read as I waited for my flight. In it I read an account of a young Filipino eye doctor who was in Honolulu on his way home to Manila. He was a surgeon who had perfected an operation no one else had done, and he had been demonstrating it to the New York doctors. I read through the account, along with other things, and thought nothing more of it. When the time came I boarded my plane, and sat down in the most comfortable seat to wait for the take-off.
When the camels had done drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, and said, "Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father's house for us to lodge in?" She said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." She added, "We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in." The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord, and said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master's kinsmen." (Genesis. 24:22-27 RSV)Abraham's servant knows that this is the right girl. He has had the sign confirmed. But he doesn't immediately open up the Scriptures to Romans 3:23 and begin to blast her with her status as a sinner. He doesn't brashly chasten her with the Lord's wrath and scare her away, as we sometimes do. Nor does he immediately start talking about Isaac. Instead, he wisely arranges for private conversation allowing sufficient time to make a proper contact. He bathes the whole matter again in prayer and thanksgiving and waits for a suitable time to talk.
So he said, "I am Abraham's servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become great; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, menservants and maidservants, camels and asses. And Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and to him he has given all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell; but you shall go to my father's house and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son.' I said to my master, 'Perhaps the woman will not follow me.' But he said to me, 'The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my kindred and from my father's house; then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my kindred; and if they will not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.'
"I came today to the spring, and said, 'O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now thou wilt prosper the way which I go, behold, I am standing by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, "Pray give me a little water from your jar to drink," and who will say to me, "Drink, and I will draw for your camels also," let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master's son.'
"Before I had done speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, 'Pray let me drink.' She quickly said, 'Drink, and I will give your camels drink also.' So I drank, and she gave the camels drink also. Then I asked her, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bore to him.' So I put the ring on her nose, the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master's kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or to the left."
Then Laban and Bethuel answered, "The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has spoken."
When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the earth before the Lord. And the servant brought forth jewelry of silver and of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave to her brother and to her mother costly ornaments. (Genesis 24:34-53 RSV)
The servant leaves nothing out, but is forthright and candid. He begins with the glories of Abraham, telling about all his wealth flocks, herds, silver and gold, servants, camels and asses. Why? Because this is the inheritance of the son. Then he recounts how God led him along the way, i.e., he gives his own personal testimony about it. He ends by presenting to her the gifts Isaac had sent along, the sample of the riches he was offering to her.
What a picture of how we should talk to those who are interested and whom the Lord is seeking to reach by focusing it all on Christ! Our job, you see, is not to change people's habits. We are not out to get people to stop drinking, smoking, dancing, going to movies, etc. That isn't our concern, our job is to win them to Christ, not to make church members out of them. This servant did not go into the far country and try to start a "Fans for Isaac Club." His job was to win her heart and bring her out of the far country to the son, and that is our job, also.
The fifth and last state is the actual invitation:
And he and the men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they arose in the morning, he said, "Send me back to my master." Her brother and her mother said, "Let the maiden remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go." [There was a reluctance here to let her go.] But he said to them, "Do not delay me, since the Lord has prospered my way; let me go that I may go to my master." They said, "We will call the maiden, and ask her." And they called Rebekah, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go." (Genesis. 24:54-58 RSV)There is the invitation, the altar call if you please. It climaxes the assault on the will of this girl. It is not an easy choice that she is asked to make. It is revolutionary, disturbing, upsetting. All of her life she has been the protected jewel of that household. She has been kept within the family bosom, cared for, protected and guarded, and now she is asked to go with a man whom she has just met a day or two before, to meet another man who is an utter stranger to her. Yet something about the winsomeness of his appeal, his forthrightness, the glory and attractiveness of what she has heard, has won her heart. She is ready to go. We need to recognize that the invitation we give to men and women to become Christians is not an easy choice. It is a revolutionary one. We must clarify the matter, and lay it before them: "Will you go?" And she said, "I will go."
Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel, and said to the servant, "Who is the man yonder, walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (Genesis 24:62-67 RSV)
The last words of the servant are here. When Rebekah sees Isaac walking in the field, she says, "Who is this man!" And the servant's words are, "It is my master." This is the place to which we are to bring men and women. The time comes in our dealing with them when we must stop talking about our own personal testimony. We must turn them to look at the one who is winning their hearts, and say, "There he is, it's the Master. You deal with him now, just talk directly with him."
I think the conversation here when the two met was probably rather stumbling at first. She was very shy and he very reserved. She got off her camel, all a twitter inside. She put her veil over her face so he wouldn't see how she was blushing. This strong, manly man came up to her, and said, "Hello." She said, "Hello." He said, "Are you Rebekah?" She said, "Yes," and dropped her eyes. Then he said, "I'm Isaac." (She knew it all the time.) He said, "You can call me Ike." She said, "Well, my friends call me 'Becky.'" And off they go, hand in hand.
But look at the servant standing by. Can't you imagine him grinning from ear to ear, registering the joy in his heart at the fulfillment of his mission in bringing a bride for Isaac. Doesn't it remind you of those words of John the Baptist when he introduced the Lord Jesus to Israel and his disciples left him and went to follow the Lord? Someone asked him how he felt, and he said, "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore, this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease," (John 3:29-30 RSV). We are like that servant. We can expect the same brimming of joy in our own hearts as we watch someone join together with his Lord in new life.
Do you see now that the story of Abraham's servant is your story as well? (Here Comes the Bride by Ray C. Stedman).
For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is believed to be the third person of the Trinity, a Triune God manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each entity itself being God. Non-trinitarian Christians, who reject the doctrine of the Trinity, differ significantly from mainstream Christianity in their beliefs about the Holy Spirit. In Christian theology, pneumatology refers to the study of the Holy Spirit. Due to Christianity's historical relationship with Judaism, theologians often identify the Holy Spirit with the concept of the Ruach Hakodesh in Jewish scripture, on the theory that Jesus (who was Jewish) was expanding upon these Jewish concepts. Similar names, and ideas, include the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), Ruach YHWH (Spirit of Yahweh), and the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit). In the New Testament it is identified with the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit.
The New Testament details a close relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus during his earthly life and ministry. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke and the Nicene Creed state that Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary". The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove during his baptism, and in his Farewell Discourse after the Last Supper Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure.
The Holy Spirit is referred to as "the Lord, the Giver of Life" in the Nicene Creed, which summarizes several key beliefs held by many Christian denominations. The participation of the Holy Spirit in the tripartite nature of conversion is apparent in Jesus' final post-resurrection instruction to his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (28:19), "Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Since the first century, Christians have also called upon God with the trinitarian formula "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in prayer, absolution and benediction. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles the arrival of the Holy Spirit happens fifty days after the resurrection of the Christ, and is celebrated in Christendom with the feast of Pentecost.
The Koine Greek word pneûma (πνεῦμα, pneuma) is found around 385 times in the New Testament, with some scholars differing by three to nine occurrences. Pneuma appears 105 times in the four canonical gospels, 69 times in the Acts of the Apostles, 161 times in the Pauline epistles, and 50 times elsewhere. These usages vary: in 133 cases it refers to "spirit" and in 153 cases to "spiritual". Around 93 times, the reference is to the Holy Spirit, sometimes under the name pneuma and sometimes explicitly as the pneûma tò Hagion Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον). (In a few cases it is also simply used generically to mean wind or life. It was generally translated into the Vulgate as Spiritus and Spiritus Sanctus.
The English terms "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit" are complete synonyms: one derives from the Old English gast and the other from the Latin loanword spiritus. Like pneuma, they both refer to the breath, to its animating power, and to the soul. The Old English term is shared by all other Germanic languages (compare, e.g., the German Geist) and it is older; the King James Bible typically uses "Holy Ghost". Beginning in the 20th century, translations overwhelmingly prefer "Holy Spirit", partly because the general English term "ghost" has increasingly come to refer only to the spirit of a dead person.
Depending on context:
What the Hebrew Bible calls "Spirit of God" and "Spirit of Elohim" is called in the Talmud and Midrash "Holy Spirit" (ruacḥ ha-kodesh). Although the expression "Holy Spirit" occurs in Psalm 51:11 and in Isaiah 63:10–11, it had not yet acquired quite the same meaning which was attached to it in rabbinical literature: in the latter it is equivalent to the expression "Spirit of the Lord". In Gen.1:2 God's spirit hovered over the form of lifeless matter, thereby making the Creation possible. Although the ruach ha-kodesh may be named instead of God, it was conceived of as being something distinct; and, like everything earthly that comes from heaven, the ruach ha-kodesh is composed of light and fire. The most characteristic sign of the presence of the ruach ha-kodesh is the gift of prophecy. The use of the word "ruach" (Hebrew: "breath," or "wind") in the phrase ruach ha-kodesh seems to suggest that Judaic authorities believed the Holy Spirit was a kind of communication medium like the wind. The spirit talks sometimes with a masculine and sometimes with a feminine voice; the word ruacḥ is both masculine and feminine.
The term Holy Spirit appears at least 90 times in the New Testament. The sacredness of the Holy Spirit to Christians is affirmed in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 12:30-32, Mark 3:28-30 and Luke 12:8-10) which proclaim that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin. The participation of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity is suggested in Jesus' final post-Resurrection instruction to his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (28:19): "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?”She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20-28)
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