When the Bible says that something is going to happen, it is because it is going to happen. God is all knowing. Since God is eternal and able to exist outside of time, He can see the beginning from the end. Everything that happens in this world is like rerun to the Lord since He sees all things and knows all things. Thus, when God makes certain predictions or prophecies through His Word, its not like a human prediction. When people make predictions, there is a strong likelihood for error. However, with God, the exact things that He says will come to pass. With God's predictions, its never a matter of "if" they will come true, but when they will be fulfilled.
For example, in Genesis chapter 17, Abraham pleaded for his son Ishmael to be blessed since God communicated that Isaac would be the heir to His promises. Abraham felt bad for his oldest son and didn't want him to be completely cast away. Therefore, God promised Abraham that Ishmael would be blessed too. God would provide for Ishmael and take care of him and bless him in a different way than Isaac. God predicted that Ishmael would have 12 sons so that he would become a father of 12 tribal nations. Also, in Genesis chapter 16, Hagar sought to run away from Sarah because the two women were not getting along on account of Hagar's pregnancy and the jealousy that stemmed from Sarah. Upon conversing with the Angel of the Lord, Hagar learned that the Lord would take care of her son, but that her son would be wild. God predicted that Ishmael would be against everyone and that he would be at odds with all his brothers, mainly Isaac.
By the time the scriptures progress to Genesis 25:12-18, the Bible documents the family records of Ishmael and provides a quick snapshot of his living circumstances. Genesis 25:12-18 shows that Ishmael had 12 sons just like God predicted decades before. The Bible lists each of Ishmael's sons in order to verify his family and provide the historically verified fulfillment of God's promises and God's predictions. Genesis 25:12-18 also explains that Ishmael lived 137 years, but that while he was alive, he lived in opposition to all of his brother, just like the scriptures had predicted. It is interesting to see that God predicted Ishmael would be wild and in opposition with brothers that weren't born yet, even while Ishmael was not born yet. Then the Bible shows that Ishmael lived for 137 years, holding a grudge for his circumstances in jealousy. Ishmael allowed the bitterness of his circumstances to dominate his life so that he taught his 12 children the same bitterness, and history shows that the families of Ishmael and Isaac have been at odds ever since - just like the Bible predicted.
Though the testimony of Ishmael is brief in the scriptures, God demonstrates His power and ability to know all things through the narrative that is provided about him. There are people all over the world today who get paid to project "forecasts" and make "bold predictions," and most of them are almost never correct. Most of these forecasts and predictions are about trivial things or matter that are relatively close in time. The Bible shows that God was able to predict the birth of many people, and then describe the temperament and personality and relationship dynamics between those people over the course of decades! This is not the first instance in the Bible where God was able to accurately prophesy. In just a few chapters of the first book in the Bible, the Word has shown God speaking prophecy after prophecy, and speaking with 100% accuracy every single time. Thus, if God's Word is always fulfilled, and the matters that He predicts always come to pass, what is to stop His predictions concerning our future from coming to pass? If God has been right for the last 7,000 years, what makes one think that God will suddenly be wrong now? Even the current events in the Middle East involving Israel were prophesied to happen 3,000-4,000 years ago! The Bible is true, and the documented events in history that verify the fulfillment of God's Word prove it to be so. Know the Word. Know the things that God spoke of concerning the future, and then respond accordingly to ensure that you are on the favorable side of God's prophetic Word.
For some reason, there are many who feel that, because the Bible mentions things like polygamy, slavery, and child labor that the Bible promotes those ideas. This is untrue. Just because the Bible mentions something does not necessarily mean that the Bible is supporting such a thing. One of the major gripes that some people have with the Bible is that they feel the mentions of polygamy or other types of odd marriage relationships, serve to be God's endorsement. This is untrue, and one's understanding of the full context of the Bible proves such.
In Genesis 25:1-11 the Bible mentions that Abraham had other wives besides Sarah. The scriptures identify that Abraham lived to be 175 years old. Sarah died when she was 127 years old, which means that she died when Abraham was 137. Thus, Abraham lived 38 more years after Sarah. While the scriptures are not clear as to when Abraham took up this new wife, it is clear that she likely came into the picture towards the later part of Abraham's life, and possibly right before Sarah died.
Some suppose that since Abraham had concubines, that God approved of Abraham's choices. This is not necessarily true. Recall that when God made Adam and Eve, He desired for husband and wife to be joined together as one. There was no provision for other women because polygamous relationships were not the will of God. Thus, when one examines polygamous relationships in the Bible, one will find that there is always miserable consequences that play out, though God's specific displeasure may not necessarily be mentioned. The Bible usually describes God displaying His mercy and grace to restore the relationships that people find a way to destroy. For example, when Abraham took Hagar as a concubine, God did not specifically state His displeasure with Abraham and Sarah, but was stern to state that Ishmael would not be the heir of Abraham, and was gracious to provide for Hagar and Ishmael when they were kicked out of Abraham's household into the wilderness.
Genesis 25:1-11 explains that Abraham took another wife named Keturah. Though God does not demonstrate His displeasure with this relationship, the fruit of this relationship proves itself to be problematic as time progressed. Though the scriptures are not necessarily against remarriage, one must be careful in how one's decisions flow within the will of God. Understanding this truth, one must take into account God's will as historically explained in the Bible, compared to Abraham's decision to take on another wife. God wanted husband and wife to become as one. God wanted Isaac to be the heir of Abraham to inherit the promises that God made in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham decided to take on another wife, and then had 6 other children with her.
This decision eventually caused problems. Since Abraham was obedient to God's will to give all of his possessions to Isaac as the heir of God's promises, there were 6 other children (7 including Ishmael), whose father was Abraham, that didn't get quite as much. Over time, this would create jealousy, so that the children of Abraham that are mentioned by name, would eventually birth people groups that historically caused problems for the children of Israel. Where Isaac received the inheritance and blessing of his father, the other children received "gifts," which were far less in value and were sent off to live in other lands. These dynamics created division within the family of Abraham so that nations such as Midian, Sheba and Dedan would be disruptive to the peace of Israel.
Though it is debatable whether or not Abraham should have remarried, one must wonder if he took God's will for Isaac into account when his decision was made to extend his family. God's plan for Abraham was unique and thoroughly stated. Abraham had learned in his old age to trust in God's will and promises. However, one can see that not every decision that Abraham made facilitated the peaceful fulfillment of God's promises. While God did not vocally express His opinion regarding Abraham's multiple marriages and family extensions, Jewish history shows that God did not bless these relationships over time. These relationships caused chaos and grief for the descendants of Isaac.
In the end, Abraham died at 175 years old and would never physically see the affects of his decisions. Nevertheless, history, Biblical or otherwise, shows that this family had its fair share of issues. Though the Bible does not specifically state God's opinion on the matter, Abraham didn't seem to consider how his actions would affect the will of God for Isaac. This is not to suggest that God is against remarriage (though polygamy is always out of the question), but does show that one must consider how one's decisions affect God's plan and will, lest the consequences become chaotic.
When God wants something done, its going to get done. However, one must consider the types of things that goes does in His Word, and then consider if one is willing to submit to those types of things. The will of God often requires tremendous faith that facilitates radical change in one's life. Are we willing to submit to the type of radical changes that God may require? When one examines the types of changes that God required from people in the scriptures, this can be a difficult question to answer. However, one's willingness to submit to such change is really dependent on one's trust in God, and that in spite of the change, He will make everything work out because His will is good.
In Genesis 24:52-67 the Bible concludes the testimony of Isaac meeting his wife Rebekah. The scriptures explain that upon hearing the testimony of Abraham's servant. Rebekah's family agreed to send Rebekah away to Isaac because they recognized that God was working and thus, were willing to yield to His plan. Upon hearing this good news, Abraham's servant rejoiced and worshiped God again. He gave both Rebekah and her family precious jewelry and expensive gifts from Abraham out of thanksgiving and asked the family the next morning if he could complete his mission, and deliver Rebekah to Isaac. The scriptures reveal that when the request to leave was made, Rebekah's family got cold feet and tried to convince Abraham's servant to stay another 10 days so that they could spend time with Rebekah. However, Abraham's servant was anxious to get back home, so they all decided to ask Rebekah to see what she preferred to do.
The scriptures are helpful to provide the perspective of Rebekah. Though the testimony is about finding her, the scriptures haven't stated much about her perspective. Though the circumstances are going to affect and change her life more than anyone else, the scriptures have been silent in describing Rebekah's feelings about the situation. Genesis 24:52-67 demonstrates the faith of Rebekah in 3 powerful words. When Rebekah's family asked if she would prefer to wait 10 days to leave, or leave right away, Rebekah responded, "I will go." This woman was willing to go in an uncertain direction with an uncertain man, to spend the rest of her life in an unknown land with a man she didn't know as his wife. These are circumstances that most people would be fearful to embrace. This is not to say that Rebekah was not fearful; but her decision to submit to the servant reveals that was also trusting in the Lord.
The reality is that no one involved in this testimony had any clue as to what the Lord's plan was in detail. Abraham's servant left to find a woman that he didn't know and trusted God to point her out. Rebekah's family was suddenly introduced to the servant of a relative they likely hadn't heard from in over 25 years that desired to take their sister/daughter away and trusted that the servant's testimony was indeed the work of God. Rebekah was being asked to marry a man she never met and live in a land she didn't know, trusting that God was leading all of this. There was uncertainty from every angle, but each person believed that God was arranging something according to His plan; and so each person was willing to submit. When Rebekah said, "I will go," she stated her surrender to the will of God. If God was behind these events, she had no right to procrastinate just as her family had no right to object. When God calls a person to do something, an immediate response in obedience is required. Rebekah did not desire to put off God's will. No matter the risk, the uncertainty, the fear, or the doubt she may have considered, she did what needed to be done immediately, trusting that God's will was ultimately good.
The remainder of Genesis 24:52-67 explains that Rebekah's family blessed her and sent her off. When Rebekah and Abraham's servant got into the town that Isaac was living in, Rebekah spotted Isaac from a distance. Confirming his identity, Rebekah covered her head, as was the tradition of the time, in order to make herself ready to be the wife of Isaac. The scriptures reveal that the servant explained all of the events that led Rebekah to be there so that Isaac rejoiced and took Rebekah as his wife. The scriptures explain that Rebekah was great comfort to Isaac since he had still missed his mother Sarah who had died years before. This is a critical detail. One must consider that Isaac was in just as an uncertain place as everyone else. He did not know who his wife would be. However, God, knowing all things, and being kind and compassionate towards His children, arranged a marriage that would not only satisfy His will and purpose, but also satisfy the people to be married. The Bible explains that Isaac loved Rebekah - the stranger from his father's homeland. The scriptures explain that Isaac was comforted by Rebekah so that the void that was left when his mother died was filled by the presence of his bride. The Bible explains that Rebekah was blessed in her life, especially becoming the mother of the next generational patriarch.
God knew what He was doing. While it is true that no one else knew or understood the details of God's work, God had good things in mind. His plan simply required all parties involved to trust Him. Rebekah was called to do a radical thing. Her part in God's plan was incredibly difficult since she was asked to leave her family to move over 100 miles away to marry a man she had never seen. Nevertheless, Rebekah was willing to submit to the will of God. Rebekah embraced the radical change that God required, and in the end, her submission paid off so that everyone was blessed. Rebekah was only required to say, "I will go." God was willing and able to take care of the rest. Though the circumstances might have seemed too radical to execute for most people, Rebekah trusted in God's provision and that His will is good, and did so without procrastination. The scriptures reveal that God often demands radical changes in the lives of His children because they put His children in a position where they are required to depend on Him in trust, which leads to the revelation of His mercy, grace and glory. So the question remains: would we be willing to submit to the radical changes God requires in our lives to trust Him?
How should a person respond upon recognizing the work of God? What does God have to do in order for a person to recognize a certain sequence of events as God's work? These questions are difficult to answer since individuals would likely provide a variety of answers depending on their relationship and understanding of the Lord. However, the Bible shows that God expects obedience in faith when one recognizes His work. The Bible teaches that it is impossible to please God without faith, and faith demands obedience. Therefore, if one desires to please God in faith and obedience, one must be able and willing to recognize the work of God in daily life.
The challenge in recognizing the work of God, is that God doesn't always part the Red Sea, speak through clouds in thunder, and take away diseases. Most of the time, God's work is subtler. While it is true that God has done these monumental supernatural works in the past, and continues to do them presently to some degree, God's children are faced with the challenge of seeing God's more subtle works and acknowledging them as being equally valuable and awesome as other iconic things He has done in the past.
In Genesis 24:28-51 the Bible explains the sequence of events that Abraham's servant underwent in his quest to find a wife for Isaac in the land of Haran. The Bible explains that when Abraham's servant arrived in Abraham's hometown, he prayed to the Lord that he would have success in finding the woman that God wanted for Isaac. The scriptures reveal that the Lord brought Rebekah to the well that Abraham's servant was waiting at. Abraham's servant asked the Lord to reveal the woman that would marry Isaac by having her offer water to his camels upon requesting water for himself. Rebekah demonstrated such hospitality, and Abraham's servant recognized this subtle act as answered prayer from God. Abraham's servant worshiped God in response and thanked Him for connecting him with Rebekah. Thus, Abraham's servant gave Rebekah a gold earring and bracelet and asked to speak to her parents.
Genesis 24:28-51 documents the meeting between Abraham's servants and the family of Rebekah. The Bible explains that when Rebekah took Abraham's servant to her home, that Rebekah’s brother named Laban met him outside. The scriptures reveal that Laban noticed the gold earring and bracelet on his sister and realized that she had met a person of wealth. Laban was excited to talk with Abraham's servant in response. Recognizing the wealth that Abraham's servant was sharing, Laban was excited to extend hospitality to Abraham's servant and made him dinner. However, Abraham's servant was focused on accomplishing his task as a servant with a job to do. He stated that he would not eat until he explained his purpose.
The Bible goes on to show that Abraham's servant recounted all of the events that had led him up to the point where he was. Abraham's servant was sure to explain that he believed the sequence of events was the work of the Living God. Abraham's servant explained how Abraham said that an angel would guide him to the woman that God desired for Isaac. Abraham's servant was sure to explain that he believed God brought Rebekah to the well and that her actions were in response to prayer that God answered. Abraham's servant was even sure to explain that when he recognized the Lord answering his prayers through Rebekah, that he worshiped God in honor and thanksgiving to the work of the Lord. Then Abraham's servant asked the million-dollar question: Would Rebekah's family be willing to let him take Rebekah to Isaac as a wife?
The response of Rebekah's mother and brother is incredible. The Bible explains that as Abraham's servant spoke, they heard his words and also recognized the series of events as the divine work of the Living God. It is important to keep in mind that the sequence of events that were described did not contain any embellishment or exaggeration. The sequence of events and Abraham's servant described didn't sound profound or miraculous in a stereotypical sense. The sequence of events that Abraham's servant described simply sounded like a man traveling by orders of his master to find a woman he didn't know. However, as Abraham's servant described these events, he described them in a way that reflected his own faith that God was overseeing and guiding these events, however simple or ordinary or coincidental they may have seemed. Rebekah's family believed too.
The scriptures explain that as Abraham's servants described these simple events as the work of God, they responded, "We have no choice in the matter." Since Rebekah's parents believed the testimony of Abraham's servant to be the work of God, they submitted their desires to the will of God. They understood that if God was doing a certain work, they had no say. They surrendered their will to God in such a way that reflected their trust in God, and their honor of God as supremely sovereign! They were willing to give Rebekah up to Abraham's servant so that God's will would be done. They were willing to make a difficult decision to give up their daughter because they knew God, His position, and the importance of His work. They surrendered in obedience and faith.
The fantastic thing about this testimony is the response of Rebekah's family, considering the limited details of God's work that were provided to them. The testimony of Abraham's servant did not contain any sensational drama of any sort. Yet Rebekah's family agreed with Abraham's servant that God was involved in all of the events that were taking place. The sequence of events was not coincidence, but instead, God's divine movement. This means that the family of Rebekah was able to recognize the work of God, knowing God and the style of His work. In that Rebekah's family allowed Rebekah to go, it shows that they had some sort of relationship with God, knowing the characteristics of His work - whether great or subtle. As a result, they were willing to spot His work, and honor it by submitting to it in faith and obedience. The question is then, do we know God well enough to recognize the characteristics of His subtle (but equally powerful) work, or does one need more sensational revelations? The Bible teaches that God works subtly more often than sensationally, which requires one to know Him through His Word in order to recognize His work in daily life. Thus, if one wants to be able to please God and facilitate His will through faith and obedience, one must be able to recognize the characteristics of God's work, by knowing Him through the Word.
The Lord answers prayer. The Bible teaches that God is a responsive God. When His children speak to Him, God responds in some way. The question is, as His children, can we recognize His response, and will we acknowledge His response as answered prayer? The Bible shows both sides of God's prayer - the massively miraculous, and simply subtle. While it can be easier to acknowledge the massively miraculous responses of God to prayer, the Bible often shows that He will respond subtly more often. This means that as God's children, one must be willing to acknowledge the subtle ways of God's responses to prayer, and be prepared to move forward in faith when one recognizes His subtle responses.
For example, in Genesis 24:10-28 the Bible documents the journey of Abraham's servant that was sent out to find a bride of Abraham's son Isaac. The servant was sent into the land of Haran because it was Abraham's old hometown. Abraham did not desire for his son to marry a woman from the land of Canaan where they were living, but instead desired his son to marry someone from his hometown. This required Abraham's servant to journey into a land that he was unfamiliar with, to look for a woman that he never met, that had qualifications that he didn't know about. The servant was responsible for finding this mystery woman, and convincing her to leave her hometown in order to marry a man she had never seen or met, and live the rest of her life as a foreigner in the land of Canaan. These are really tough circumstances, yet these are the circumstances that the servant faced. However, the Bible reveals that when Abraham sent out his servant, he was confident that God would do all of the necessary work to put his servant in the right place at the right time, to meet the right woman that God had foreordained for Isaac as a wife.
Genesis 24:10-28 illustrates that Abraham's servant understood the difficulty of his task. The scriptures reveal that Abraham's servant took his job seriously and wanted to do well by finding the right bride for Isaac. The Bible explains that, upon recognizing the impossibility of his task, the servant prayed to God and asked for His favor. The servant asked God to give him success finding Isaac's bride on account of Abraham. The servant prayed in such a way that reflected his own understanding of God's promises to Abraham so that the servant was praying for God to fulfill His promises. The servant ensured that his prayer was in line with God's will so that his measure of "success" was equal to the desire of God. The servant understood that if he wanted a favorable response from God, he had to ensure that his definition of "success" was in line with God's will. Since the servant understood Abraham's relationship with God, understood God's promises to Abraham, and trusted in God's ability to provide to Abraham, the servant defined "success" as "showing kindness to Abraham."
The servant understood his position as a servant and was focused on submitting his comforts in work in order that the will of his master was done. This servant desired his master to be pleased. Nevertheless, knowing the difficulty of his task, the servant asked God to help identify the woman that his master would desire for Isaac. Needing to stop and rest, when the servant finally got to the region that Abraham mentioned, the servant stopped at a well to get water for himself and his camels. The scriptures mentioned that the servant stopped at the time that was typical for the women to go to the wells to draw water. Genesis 24:10-28 explains that the servant asked God for help in identifying the woman for Isaac in that, if she agreed to give him water, then freely offered extra water for his camels, that would be the woman.
The help that Abraham's servant asked for wasn't much. The servant simply wanted to be able to recognize the woman God had prepared by her kindness and her outgoing desire to serve. Though the servant had specific criteria that he was asking for, the criteria would have only reflected the kind and compassionate temperament of any woman. Yet the Bible explains that God sent Rebekah to the well as the first woman that the servant saw. When the servant saw Rebekah at the well, the scriptures say that he ran over and asked her for water. Rebekah gave him water. The scriptures then say that Rebekah offered the servant water for his camels also - just as Abraham's servant had prayed. The servant received the offer and then responded in faith.
Genesis 24:10-28 explains that when Rebekah offered the water to the camels of Abraham's servant, that he asked if there was room at her father's house to stay the night. The Bible explains that the servant pulled out a gold ring and two giant gold bracelets to give to Rebekah to offer on behalf of Abraham and Isaac. However, the servant was not in need to offer those things yet because God had already been working things out. The Bible explains that Rebekah identified that there was plenty of room and food to stay at her father's house, then identified her father. The Bible then explains that Abraham's servant bowed down to the floor to worship God. When the servant recognized that God had led him to Abraham's relatives, he rejoiced. The servant had asked for success in finding a bride for Abraham's son, and God had led him to Abraham's extended family. The servant knew he couldn't have been more successful and recognized the favor of God!
God's answered prayer is very subtle in this portion of scripture. The servant of Abraham asked God to identify the future wife of Isaac so that the woman who offered water to him and his camels would be the woman. This could have been any woman! Yet the servant trusted that when Rebekah showed up and offered him and his camels water, that was the woman God had in mind of Isaac. The servant didn't ask for more qualifiers. The servant recognized that God had answered his request, and so made efforts to take the next stop to pursue Rebekah as a wife for Isaac. The way that God answered the servant's prayer was nothing spectacular. However, the answered prayer of God facilitated forward movement in the direction that God desired the servant to God. The hospitality of Rebekah allowed the servant to request lodging, which would then allow the servant to make the request to Rebekah's parents to take her back to Isaac. The answered prayer of God did not resemble the work of God to part the Red Sea in terms of magnitude, but God's response was equally powerful and beneficial towards the fulfillment of His promises since God brought the future wife of the patriarch Isaac to the servant. The servant was able to recognize God's favor, responded to God's favor, and rejoiced in His favor, regardless of how spectacular God's favor and response appeared to be. Abraham's servant did as Abraham - he recognized the work and response of God and just moved forward trusting in God, rejoicing along the way!
How dedicated a person is to doing the will of God is directly related to the understanding, hope, and trust that one has in God's promises. A person that is ignorant of God's promises will likely not be very dedicated to them. A person who is not confident in God's willingness to fulfill His promises will not likely be very dedicated to them. A person who does not trust in God's ability to fulfill His promises will not likely be very dedicated to them. On the other hand, those who read the Word of God, know His promises, understand the truth of His promises, and have an understanding of the nature and ability of God, likely trust in God's promises and are committed to doing His will as a result.
This mindset is demonstrated in scripture in Genesis 24:1-9. In this portion of scripture, the Bible explains that Abraham was getting old(er). While it is true that Abraham was "as good as dead" when Isaac was born (100 years old), the testimony of Sarah's death explains that at least 37 years had elapsed into Isaac's life, meaning that Abraham was at least 137 years old. Abraham was old! Thus, as the scriptures identify Abraham's age, they are also helpful to identify Abraham's focus in his old age. The Bible explains that Abraham was concerned for Isaac and his future to ensure that his life continued in obedience to the Lord so that God would fulfill the promises made to him, through Isaac.
Genesis 24:1-9 explains that Abraham made an oath with one of his servants. In the 60+ years that Abraham had been walking with the Lord, the Bible explains that God had really blessed Abraham so that Abraham was wealthy and had servants. Abraham called one of those servants and asked the servant to ensure a few things with Isaac since Abraham was unable due to his age. The Bible explains that Abraham was concerned for Isaac's future wife. Trusting that God would give Isaac many children, or at least enough children to fulfill the promise that God made to him, Abraham wanted to make sure that Isaac had a wife that would facilitate the will of God concerning His promises - not hinder God's will. Thus, Abraham asked his servant to go find a wife for Isaac, not in Canaan where they were living, but back in Haran where Abraham was from. Abraham wanted to ensure that Isaac married a woman that was of his own people, not a woman from Canaan.
As Abraham communicated these things to his servant, the servant expressed a fair amount of concern. The servant asked, "What if the woman is unwilling to move and come all the way back to Canaan?" This is a reasonable question. Abraham was asking the servant to find some strange woman, and somehow convince her to travel back with him for the purpose of marrying Isaac - a man that she would not have seen or met, in order to live in a new foreign place. This is a tough request to put on someone. Nevertheless, Abraham didn't place his confidence in the opportunity that the circumstances might present. Abraham placed his confidence that all things would work out in the Lord.
When the servant asked Abraham this logical question, Abraham replied with a powerful answer that demonstrated his desire to have God's will done, as well as his confidence in God's ability to fulfill His promises. Abraham told his servant that the Lord God would send an angel to go before the servant and make whatever preparations were necessary to ensure all things worked out. Abraham believed that God would appoint an angel to go before the servant into Haran and speak to the woman that Isaac was supposed to marry so that when the servant was led to her by God, there would be peace in the request to go back to Isaac in Canaan, and the woman would be willing. Genesis 24:1-9 explains that Abraham believed God would do this because he trusted that God would fulfill His promises through Isaac. Abraham was so confident in God's faithfulness, willingness, and ability, that he told the servant, that if the woman would not come back with him to Isaac, that he would be released from his oath. In other words, Abraham knew what God would do, and that God would make it so that Isaac's future wife would agree to the unusual circumstances to facilitate the fulfillment of God's promises.
This testimony is powerful on a few different fronts. First, it is amazing to see Abraham's commitment and focus on doing the Lord's will. Though he is old and dying, he is making efforts to facility God's will concerning God's promises. Abraham was not concerned about his own comfort and satisfaction, but was more concerned about the future wife of Isaac and Isaac's home to make sure God's will was done. When the servant asked if it was okay that Isaac move to Haran (just in case the woman was unwilling to go back to Canaan), Abraham said, "Absolutely not!" Abraham knew that God would give Isaac the land. Abraham knew that God would make Isaac a great nation. Thus, before Abraham died, he made efforts to ensure that his son was in position according to God's will to be the beneficiary of God's promises.
The second amazing thing to see is Abraham's confidence in the Lord. It is true that Abraham had a special and unique relationship with God. He had been walking with the Lord for over 60 years and had seen the Lord do some amazing things in his time as the heir to God's promises. Therefore, Abraham had a mature understanding of who God was, what He was able and willing to do, and knew when God would exercise His power to fulfill His promises. The scriptures say that Abraham was a friend of God. Abraham's confidence in the Lord demonstrates his understanding of the nature of the Lord as one would know a friend. Abraham figured that God would make the necessary arrangements and take care of the uncertain details of finding Isaac's wife and bringing her back to Isaac. Abraham figure that if the task was too large for his servant, God would provide divine help. Abraham had seen God do these types of things for half of his old life. In the mind of Abraham, there was no way that God would stop doing those things since he knew God would be faithful to fulfill His promises.
The scriptures are clear to show Abraham had great focus and hope in God's promises - even in old age. Abraham was less focused on himself, and more focused on ensuring that God's will was done. The testimony of Abraham allows one to understand how his faith and relationship with the Lord was so developed. Abraham listed for the voice of God and responded to it in obedience. Abraham trusted in the Word of God so was willing to comply with it regardless of his understanding of God's methods. Abraham was confident in God's power and nature as Yahweh so he trusted in God's promises. Abraham knew that the God of the universe was greater than tiny little Earth so that he looked forward to God's promises being fulfilled in eternity in heaven, instead of this life. Thus, Abraham sought to please God and live life God's way, according to His will, in line with God's promises, trusting in God's provision and ability along the way. Though Abraham was a normal sinful human being that made many mistakes (sometimes the same ones over and over again), he knew God, trusted God, obeyed God, and sought to please God rather than himself. Consequently, the scriptures say that Abraham was a friend of God, was seen as righteous by God, and was blessed by God. This is a good example to copy and follow!
The Lord has weird and unconventional ways of accomplishing the things He desires. Everything He wants to get done, eventually gets done in the time that God wants it done, but the methods He uses to execute His plans are difficult to understand from a human perspective. For example, the Abrahamic Covenant was an unconditional 3-fold promise that God made to Abraham, and that He swore (upon Himself because there was none greater) to keep that promise for all of eternity. God promised Abraham that He would be a great nation and have lots of descendants. God promised Abraham a great land inheritance. God also promised that Abraham's descendant would be a blessing to all of the families of the world (Messiah). Yet God did some interesting things to fulfill those promises.
When God made efforts to provide a son for Abraham, God waited until Abraham was 100 years old, then when Isaac was grown, God tested Abraham by commanding him to kill Isaac as a burnt offering. This is an unconventional way of making someone "a great nation." Normal human reasoning would likely lead one to think that Abraham would need to start having many kids at an early age, and the extent of his "greatness" as a nation would be determined by the size of his family as well as the strength. God proves through scripture that He doesn't think these ways, nor work these ways.
When God made the promise to give Abraham a great land inheritance, it is hard to tell if God was working to fulfill that promise. There is the testimony of Abraham receiving wells that he dug from Abimelech in Genesis chapter 21, but other than that, the scriptures are detailed to show that Abraham was living as a foreigner in the land of Canaan - the land that God promised. However, in Genesis 23:1-20, the Lord does work to put some of the Promised Land into the hands of Abraham as his possession, though in unusual ways. Genesis 23:1-20 documents the death of Sarah. The scriptures show that Sarah, the wife of Abraham, lived to be 127 years old. Though she felt it impossible to give birth at her age, she lived to see her son be 37 years old. When she died, Abraham desired to give her a proper burial. However, being a foreigner in the land of Canaan, he asked the leaders of the Hittites for permission to bury his wife.
The scripture show that Abraham had quite the reputation. The Bible explains that the Hittites were more than willing to allow Abraham to bury his wife because they knew about his relationship with God. The scriptures specifically say that the Hittites recognized that Abraham was God's chosen in the land. Though the scriptures are not so detailed to explain how the Hittites came to this conclusion, one can gather that there was something about the way that Abraham lived that allowed the Hittites to come to this conclusion. When one considers the history of the Hittite people, and recognizes their pagan and idolatrous ways, it is a powerful testament credited to Abraham that the Hittites recognized God in the ways that Abraham lived. It is true that Abraham was not perfect, had many lapses in faith, and made many repeated mistakes; but overall, the people around Abraham knew of Yahweh by the way that Abraham lived! Abraham's relationship with God was so noticeable that it actually caused the Hittite people to fear Abraham!
The scriptures go on to show that the Hittites volunteered to give Abraham any portion of land he wanted to bury Sarah in. Abraham requested a specific cave in Hebron that a man had already owned. The man agreed to allow Abraham to bury his wife in that cave, but in respect for Abraham and his relationship with God, the man also offered the whole plot of land that the cave was on, and offered it for free! Abraham insisted on paying, and after the two men went back and forth (the Hittite wanting to give the land away, and Abraham wanting to pay for it), the men agreed on Abraham paying the fair market price, and the land was sold to Abraham.
Though this testimony may seem like simple historical narrative of meaningless events, the scriptures reveal that God was working towards the fulfillment of His promises. God promised Abraham a land inheritance, and on that day, as documented in Genesis 23:1-20, Abraham received a major portion of that land. Abraham finally owned a piece of land in Hebron, which is about 10 miles south of Bethlehem. One must consider the manner in which God provided this land. God provided this land as burial ground for Abraham's wife. The scriptures will later show that this is the same place Abraham and his sons would be buried as well. When God promised Abraham a land inheritance, it is not likely that he imagined the inheritance coming to him in this way, under the context of death. Nevertheless, the death of Sarah was the vehicle that God decided to use to give Abraham part of the land. God was glorified in this manner of work because the Hittite people recognized the relationship that God had with Abraham, and the platform was provided for the Hittites to express that sentiment and fear of God.
The truth of the matter is, God is faithful to His promises. However, if one is not paying attention, it can be difficult to recognize this truth since God does not work in ways that are traditional, conventional and normal to human reason. God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not like ours. This truth was ultimately demonstrated in that God transformed Himself into a man for the purpose of death in order to offer eternal life. Therefore, as heirs to God's promises, one should not expect God to do things in ways that we would see fit or "rational." Instead, one should humble one's self and simply trust that God will fulfill His promises any way He chooses, and that fulfillment will likely come in a way that is unexpected, yet emphatically points to God for His glory. One should seek to align one's expectations with the truth that scripture reveals about how God works and simply know that God, somehow and someway only known to Him, God will faithfully do as His Word says.
Relationships are a big deal these days. When watching television at any time, or even doing something as simple as checking email, it is likely that a person will see some kind of add for online dating at some point. The worldly version of love, companionship, and relationships are on people's minds in ways that can be kind of scary. According to some statistics, move than 20 million internet users visit dating sites at least on a monthly basis. This is because hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on ensuring the average internet user is thinking about hooking up. It is said that almost 50% of American men use dating services in some way, and almost 60% of American women do the same. Online dating is one of the highest grossing internet services in the world, generating billions of dollars worth of revenue. The perception of "love" has become very profitable these days. How does this relate to scripture?
The brief statistics provided above show that relationships are on the minds of most people. Regardless of the intentions and dynamics of the relationship a person is looking for, it is clear that people are thinking about having a partner of some kind, and want easy, convenient access to the person they believe is "the one" (whatever that means). The Bible shows that God is concerned with relationships too. The Bible reveals that God thinks about our partners as well. Though His intents are likely far different than the intents of most people, it should be comforting for many people to know that God desires people to be connected in relationships too. Consider that it was God who saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, and thus gave Eve to him. God created a whole other person just for Adam! As the scriptures continue, they reveal that God is very interested in who we spend our lives with as spouses.
In Genesis 22:20-24 the scriptures present a bit of information that seems out of place. Genesis 22:20-24 is a simple and short genealogy of Abraham's brother. Recall that when Abraham obeyed the command of God to leave to Canaan, he left his family to do so. Hence, Abraham's family was still in Haran. Genesis 22:20-24 lists the relatives that Abraham still had in Haran through his brother Nahor. The reason this portion of scripture might seem out of place is because these people pop up out of nowhere. The scriptures had just finished documenting the narrative of Abraham's near sacrifice of Isaac, and then will go on to talk about the death of Sarah. The genealogy of Genesis 22:20-24 doesn't seem to fit thematically - unless one is looking to examine the character and nature of God.
The genealogy of Genesis 22:20-24 shows an important truth about God because of the mention of one name in the genealogy of Nahor. The last person that is mentioned in this genealogy is Rebekah. Rebekah becomes the wife of Isaac. When one reads the testimony of Isaac and discovers how he came to meet, know and marry Rebekah, the divine sovereignty of God can clearly be seen. However, one can help but notice that God decided to mention Rebekah in scripture long before the scriptures document her meeting Isaac. This shows that God was already working on their relationship!
The reason that the genealogy of Genesis 22:20-24 is given at this particular place in scripture is to show that God is already working on the relationship between Isaac and Rebekah. God wanted to reveal that Rebekah is important to Him because of the relationship He will arrange with her and Isaac. Since Isaac is the heir of God's promises, and his lineage is monumentally important to the plan of God concerning Messiah, God is sure to show His attentiveness to connect Isaac to the right person that He desires for Isaac.
This does not mean that when Rebekah and Isaac finally married, they lived as in a fairy tale. Rather, it shows that God is concerned with these details in our lives. Statistics show that the process of finding a spouse or companionship of some kind is important to people. The scriptures show that ensuring His children have the right spouse is important to Him. God revealed the events happening in Nahor's family because that family was important to God's plan for Isaac. The scriptures show that God had the perfect fit for Isaac already picked out; and since God knows everything, Rebekah was truly the woman for Isaac.
It is important to recognize that God was able to match people up perfectly according to His will, long before dating sites existed. God used circumstances well outside of the control of the people He was dealing with to bring two people together in marriage. The scriptures show that the manner in which God worked to join two people together that He desired to be together, did not involve the work of the people that were being joined. God did all the work so that God would receive all the glory. When one examines the methodology of dating services, its difficult to argue that those "opportunities" allow God to function in the same ways that the Bible describes.
Thus, relationships become about trust. The Bible shows that God is concerned with the people He wants us to be with. The Bible shows that God is thinking about these things long before we are. The Bible shows that God is working on the necessary circumstances to put both people in the right place at the right time, The Bible shows that God's choice for our spouse is the right fit, while we may not necessarily know what we're looking for. There are plenty of statistics that prove people don't know what they're looking for in a spouse. The testimony of Rebekah and Isaac, and the many others in scripture, shows that God gets it right 100% of the time! The question is, do we believe these things to be true? Considering God's purpose for marriage (to provide a picture of the relationship He desires to have with His people through oneness), one should be confident that God is working to ensure the picture of marriage in one's life is painted correctly so that He can be glorified. Statistics don't really show that people trust these things to be true, and so many have taken matters into their own hands as Abraham and Sarah did with Hagar. When one trusts in the Living God (God the Father who loves His children and provides for them) one should be confident that all legitimate needs will be accounted for by Him - even the need of a spouse.
Its interesting to consider what the results were for all the times that we trusted in a person to do something incredibly important for us. If we were to recall each instance where we needed someone to take care of something really important on our behalf, and trusted them to do it, what were the results? Were we 100% completely satisfied? Was everything done to meet or exceed our expectations? Were the efforts of that other person or group of people praiseworthy to any degree? While there might be a few instances where the help we received was genuinely beneficial, one must acknowledge the truth - many times our trust is misguided and misplaced. If this weren't true, clichés like, "If you want something done right, do it yourself," wouldn't exist.
The truth is, there is only one place a person can put trust which promises beneficial and satisfying results 100% of the time - in the Living God. It is important to recognize how hard God works to earn trust from His children. Though He is the holy, righteous, and self-existing God, and we are but clay of the earth, the Bible reveals that God works really hard to earn our trust. We as people should simply trust Him, but the scriptures show God being quite active with His children to show that He is willing to reveal some powerful things about His nature in order show that our trust in Him is never misplaced!
In Genesis 22:15-19 the Bible explains the results of Abraham's test. The scriptures explain that God tested Abraham's trust by asking Abraham to offer up Isaac, his unique son and heir to God's promises, as a burnt offering sacrifice. Abraham passed the test because he trusted God. The scriptures explain that Abraham made every necessary effort to slay his son, even up to the point of strapping his son to an altar and raising a knife above him to do as God commanded. While God already knew that Abraham would pass the test, God seems to let Abraham get to that point to illustrate to people like us, that he indeed trusted God. When readers of this testimony see that Abraham was prepared to kill his son by raising a knife above him, readers cannot dispute that Abraham demonstrated tremendous faith! In fact, the Book of Hebrews explains the extent of Abraham's faith.
The Book of Hebrews says that when God instructed Abraham to kill Isaac, Abraham at that point in time, considered his son dead. In the mind and heart of Abraham, Isaac was already dead and trusting that God would exercise His power to raise him from the dead. Though the scriptures had not stated that God had raised anyone from the dead up to that point, Abraham believed that God would do so if necessary because Abraham trusted that God would make him a great nation, fulfill the land inheritance, and bless all of the families of the earth through him by his son Isaac since God had stated that promise several times. Abraham trusted the faithfulness of God would cause God to exercise His infinite power. He was correct and God intervened in the test.
The scriptures go on to explain that the Angel of the Lord intervened before Abraham actually killed his son. The Angel of the Lord appeared, confirmed the satisfaction of the test, and provided His own sacrifice on behalf of Isaac. Isaac would not have to die because of the offering provided by the Angel of the Lord. Abraham trusted in God, and God proved Himself faithful by sparing the life of Isaac and providing Himself a sacrifice on behalf of Isaac to paint a foreshadowing picture of the work of Christ.
Genesis 22:15-19 then explains that the Angel of the Lord called out to Abraham a second time after these events. The identity of the Angel of the Lord as Jesus Christ is further confirmed as the Angel of the Lord speaks with the authority of Yahweh. The Angel of the Lord swore by Himself to fulfill the promises that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. The Book of Hebrews explains that "God" swore by Himself because there was none greater to swear by when He repeated the promises to Abraham. This is not a typo. The scriptures equate the Angel/Messenger of the Lord to Yahweh. Once again, the only Angel/Messenger that is equal to Yahweh in the scriptures is Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus swore by Himself to fulfill the promises that God originally made to Abraham.
This is now the 4th chapter of scripture in the Book of Genesis in which God repeats the promises He originally made to Abraham. The scriptures show that God is absolutely serious about these promises and they are obviously a very important and significant matter in the plans of the Living God. Up to this point in the Bible, there is no other subject that is more heavily discussed and mentioned than the Abrahamic Covenant. In fact, of all of the promises of God, the Bible spends more time dealing with these promises than any other set of promises. The reason why is because the Abrahamic Covenant deals with the revelation of Messiah as "the blessing for all of the families of the earth." In Genesis 22:15-19 Jesus confirmed the promises of God and was sure to remind Abraham that His offspring would bless all of the families of the earth. The genealogies of Jesus Christ confirm that Jesus is the offspring of Abraham.
The test that Abraham had to endure was difficult. It required serious trust. Abraham was asked to give up that which he may have loved the most and offer it totally into the hands of the Living God. Consider the command that God gave to Abraham, then consider the equivalent that God might have spoken to you. Would we have trusted God in the manner that Abraham did? According to the scriptures, one's unwillingness to trust in God through faith is directly related to one's understanding (or lack thereof) of God's promises and God Himself. If one does not have any insight regarding God's promises, and God's ability to fulfill those promises, one likely won't be able to trust in God. On the other hand, if one has a developed understanding of God's promises and knows who God is according to the scriptures and one's personal relationship with Him through Jesus, then one is likely to trust in the Lord as Abraham. This is not to suggest that trusting the Lord is easy. Clearly scripture suggests otherwise - even with an understanding of God's promises. Nevertheless, the Bible plainly shows that Abraham's faith was not in vain and was pleasing to the Living God.
Abraham trusted in God, and God accounted it to him as righteousness. Abraham trusted in God, and God came through exactly when Abraham needed Him to. Abraham trusted in God, and God proved Himself to be Provider when Abraham needed provision. Abraham trusted in God, and saw his son raised from the dead in a figurative sense. Abraham trusted in God, and God revealed Himself to Abraham through the Angel of the Lord - Jesus Christ. Abraham trusted in God, and God still proves His faithfulness to Abraham today, working to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham back in Genesis chapter 12. In other words, when one places one's trust in God, only good things will happen. This is not to suggest that all problems and conflicts go away; but that one is in a favorable position with God and will be blessed by God in some way that He sees fit. The scriptures say that Abraham was a friend of God's because of his faith. Is there a better position to be in? Truly trusting in the Lord is far greater than trusting in the efforts of any person, idea, dream, or philosophy. When one trusts in the Lord as Abraham, one will receive the satisfaction that everyone earnestly seeks in life - even in spite of difficulty.
The manner and extent of God's provision is hard to understand. Explaining God's provision is simple; but its a whole different exercise in trying to digest the extent of His provision. The Old Testament teaches that one of God's "names" that defines His identity and essence is "Jehovah Jireh," which means "The Lord Will Provide." Many people have interpreted this type of provision to refer to basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, work, and so forth. While God's provision does include these things, the context of God's name as Jehovah Jireh is far greater than food and clothing! It is the context of God's identity as Jehovah Jireh that makes God so difficult to grasp and digest.
In Genesis 22:6-14 the scriptures document the actions of Abraham and Isaac as the set off to Mount Moriah in order to obey the command of God to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering. The Bible explains that Abraham and Isaac both set out with wood and knife in hand, prepared to execute the Lord's command. As they were on the way, Isaac asked a compelling question, and Abraham provided an even more compelling response. As the two men traveled, Isaac asked his father a reasonable question from his perspective. Isaac noticed that Abraham had prepared a knife for the slaughter of an animal, the wood to burn the animal as a burnt offering, but there was no animal. Isaac simply asked his dad, "Where is the animal for the sacrifice?" Clearly Isaac was not aware of the test that Abraham was undergoing. Clearly Isaac was not aware that God had commanded Abraham to offer him as the sacrifice. Clearly Isaac was not aware that his life was about to end.
Abraham's response is clever, compelling, and prophetic all at the same time. Abraham answered his son about the sacrifice by stating, "God will provide Himself a sacrifice." While it is difficult to know if Abraham understood what he was really saying, it is incredible to see his response nonetheless. Genesis chapter 22 had introduced the concepts of "love" and "worship" in the context of a father offering up his son as a sacrifice. The picture of God the Father and Jesus the Son is powerfully obvious in this testimony. The foreshadowing picture of the Father offering Jesus as the Son to die for the sins of the world is the objective of God's work in this portion of scripture. So when Abraham explained to Isaac that God would "offer Himself a sacrifice," one must consider that the true essence and meaning of Abraham's statement is that God would offer Himself as a sacrifice!
It is true that God would provide the sacrifice for Abraham. In Genesis 22:6-14 the scriptures explain that Abraham tied his son to the altar, raised the knife to slay his son, and at the last second, the Angel of the Lord called down from heaven to stop Abraham. The Angel of the Lord - Jesus Christ - confirmed Abraham's faith and his successful passing of the test that God had put him through. The identity of the Angel of the Lord is confirmed to be Jesus since the "Angel" is also translated and considered a "Messenger." The Angel tells Abraham that he did successfully in the test because he was not willing to withhold Isaac from Him. Though it was God who commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering, the Angel of the Lord makes Himself equal to God by stating that the sacrifice was to be unto Him! The only other "Messenger" in the Bible that maintains the same qualities of God and is made equal with God is Jesus Christ.
Genesis 22:6-14 explains that as Jesus stopped Abraham from killing his son, that Abraham looked up and in the distance, saw a ram caught up in some bushes that he was able to offer in place of his son as a burnt offering. Abraham then called God "Jehovah Jireh," which again means, "The Lord Will Provide." One must consider the extent of God's provision in this context. God provided a more suitable sacrifice than Isaac - the unique son who was the heir of God's promises. Though Isaac was critically important concerning God's plans, the blood of Isaac would not suffice to please God in terms of sacrifice. Though Isaac was valuable in terms of what God would do with him and his family in the future, such value was not sufficient to please God in sacrifice. No other son has ever been in the position of Isaac, yet his blood was not good enough for God. The scriptures showed that the only sacrifice that was truly going to please God was God's own sacrifice; and as Abraham prophesied, the only sacrifice that would please God, would be God's sacrifice of Himself as Jesus Christ!
It is not by coincidence that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Abraham to stop Abraham from slaying his son. It is strategic that Yahweh spoke to God in Genesis 22:1, but Jesus stopped Abraham in Genesis 22:6-14. Jesus would be the provider. Jesus would be the One that gave a sacrifice that would please God. Since the greatest thing that Abraham had to offer in terms of sacrifice was "his only begotten son," was not sufficient to please God, it is the Angel of the Lord (Jesus Christ) that would do the necessary work to please God on behalf of Abraham. The Bible teaches an incredibly important lesson in this testimony. The Bible shows the true value of mankind's efforts in terms of "sacrifice" unto God. There is nothing that a human being can give that will please and satisfy God. As sinners, there isn't anything good that we have to give. Everything we do and offer is tainted with sin. God understood this. God understood the weakness of His creation. God understood the pitiful condition of His children. God understood what needed to be done. More importantly, God demonstrated that He was willing to do what needed to be done.
Knowing that the efforts of mankind are futile and worthless in His eyes, God provided Himself as a sacrifice. Knowing that the best a human being could give was absolutely weak in the eyes of God, He offered the sacrifice of Himself on our behalf in order to satisfy the need of sacrifice. The truth is that the wages of sin is death, and therefore, sacrifice is a necessity. Yet, because the sacrifices of people are not good enough to please God since they are corrupted with sin, God, who knew no sin, became a man to appear as that which sins, in order to offer Himself as a sacrifice. When the Bible teaches that Jesus was hung on a tree by crucifixion to become a curse on behalf of that which was cursed, the Bible teaches that the man named Jesus was truly the Living God! One must consider that in order for the death of Jesus to have any meaning and value, He had to be without sin, and God is the only being that is 100% sinless. Thus, just as Abraham prophesied, God offered Himself as a sacrifice.
The extent of patience, mercy, grace, compassion, care, and love that God demonstrates in this offering is mind boggling. It is one thing to try and understand how God became a man and still remained God at the same time. However, it is another thing to understand the extent of God's affection for people that He was willing to exercise His infinite power to do so. The Bible teaches that Jesus came down as God in the flesh specifically for the purpose of death (Hebrews 2:9). It's a difficult exercise to explain why God would do this. The Bible tells us that God was motivated by "love," but this is a brand of "love" that human beings are not accustomed to, nor familiar with. There are people who love others and are loved by others, but not like this. Thus, love becomes a difficult word to understand and define based on God's version of it. Certainly love can be simplified to God's revelation of Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah, but that doesn't really explain the full extent of God's motives and desires.
This foreshadowing picture that God paints in Genesis 22:6-14 is complicated. It is plain and simple to see what happened, and the connection to Christ. However, when one tries to understand the magnitude of God's provision it gets difficult. There was nothing that Abraham did to warrant this kind of favor. In fact, one could make the argument that Abraham's conduct should have disqualified him from such favor. Nevertheless, God proved Himself faithful to His unconditional and eternal promises. The provision of God is not dependent on the performance of His children. God gives because He wants to. Thus, God gave because He wanted to. It is true that God gives the things that are needed in this physical life, but the extent of God's provision goes far beyond this life. God, knowing the miserable condition of humanity, freely gave Himself in order to make eternal life available - because He wanted to. God made some incredible promises and He's sticking to them. God is not relying on the ability of any person or group of people to fulfill those promises. He just relied on His Son (Himself); and that work has been completed! In order to receive the benefits of God's provision, one simply has to trust that such work and promises comes through Jesus and only Jesus. This is who God is. He gives of Himself because it is His nature. There are no gifts that rival the gift of God to offer Himself as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Thus, one must simply humble one's self to acknowledge God's perfect work, trust in Jesus as the facilitator and executor of that work, and receive that which God has already freely given as Jehovah Jireh!