By Seth Rees
"And he said, I am Abraham's servant. And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. And Sarah, my master's wife, bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath" (Gen. xxiv. 34-36).
These are the words of Abraham's chief servant "that ruled over all that he had." He had been dispatched on a most delicate and important errand, viz., the selection of a wife for Abraham's only son, Isaac. The whole incident is very instructive and interesting, and in a most striking manner illustrates or symbolizes the calling of the New Testament Church by the Holy Ghost to be the bride of Isaac's great antitype, Jesus Christ, God's only Son. It is pertinent that we notice here that it is not by accident that the events of chapters xxii., xxiii. and xxiv. come as they do.
1. Isaac is sacrificed and received back from the dead.
2. Sarah the mother of Isaac is buried.
3. Abraham's servant is sent away to procure a wife for Isaac, the Isaac who had been brought back from death.
The counterpart of this type is to be seen in the New Testament. Most prominent and conspicuous of all events in the New Testament is the death of God's only Son, the sacrifice of the second Isaac. Then comes the burial of Judaism, the laying away of the rejected Jews. Third, the Holy Ghost comes, selects, and calls out from the world the church, "the bride, the Lamb's wife. "Types are didactic in their aim, for "whatsoever things" that "were written aforetime were written for our learning."
The oath between Abraham and his servant had for its object the obtainment of an help-meet for Isaac, and correspondingly, far back beyond the bounds of time in the council chamber of the Almighty Trinity, the covenant of grace was instituted. The oath must be ratified, but there was none greater by whom God could swear, so He sware by Himself. His oath had for its object not only the redemption of the world, but the entire sanctification of the church that she might become "the bride," the Lamb's wife ; so our entire sanctification rests on God's eternal oath. Thank God, our full salvation was not an afterthought with Him.
Let us notice next the testimony of Abraham's servant. He had a very distinct and definite testimony to give. He symbolizes not only the Holy Spirit, but Spirit-filled and Spirit-empowered disciples. These were the man's words "I am Abraham's servant." When we are filled with the Holy Ghost we will have a clear and distinct testimony. The man knew that he was Abraham's servant. He did not guess or hope or suppose, he knew, for he said: "I am." He could never have succeeded with Rebekah if he had been uncertain as to who he was or from whence he came; and Christians need not hope to win others to Christ if they do not know positively that they are Christ's.
When we receive the Holy Ghost He so emphasizes and clears up justification and Calvary, that if we had any doubts about our conversion we lose them forever. Many have never been able to locate the time of their conversion until they experienced their Pentecost, when, under the illumination of the Spirit, they saw clearly where and when they were converted.
We must have a distinct, positive testimony. And just as the ancient Jew must be able to declare his pedigree before he could take a place in the ranks of the army, so those who do not know that they are saved are not trusted to take a place in the ranks of God's tried and conquering hosts. But mark; as soon as Eleazer, the servant, has given a straightforward testimony as to who his master is he says no more about himself, but at once sets about to represent and reveal the father and the son. "He shall not speak of himself." He speaks of the resources of the father: "The Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he is become great, and he hath given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold," etc.
Beloved, we may never expect much success until we properly represent our Master. He is a great God. Possessing measureless, boundless wealth, he owns the cattle on a thousand fields and a universe of whirling worlds. How many misrepresent God! The world surely thinks we have a very diminutive God.
Many professed Christians do not know that their God has ever done much for them. Their lives suggest that He is not able to give them perfect victory or save them from all sin. Their spiritual constitution disgraces the God they profess to worship. Who would ever suppose that these skin-and-bone individuals who reel and stagger about, making "crooked paths" and going into "by and forbidden ways" were children of a King? Can it be that these emaciated forms ever sat at a King's table? What a burlesque on salvation! What a slander on the skies!
When the servant has made it clear to Rebekah that his master is wealthy and very great, "he tells her that his master has an only son, and that he is now on the mission of securing for him a wife. Rebekah is attracted toward the heir of whom Eleazer speaks in such glowing terms. "When the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." "He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you."
By revealing the resources of God in their magnitude, and by exemplifying the supreme loveliness of the character of Christ, men are won to grace and salvation. The servant showed Rebekah a fair desirable object in the distance and set before her the blessedness of being united with that object. All that belonged to Isaac would belong to Rebekah also when she became his wife. We have in the deportment of Eleazer an excellent touchstone by which to test the propriety of our ministry. The most spiritual teaching fully and constantly presents Christ as able to save to the uttermost. In such teaching there is small room for human theories and reasonings. A man who wishes to preach himself does very well to deal in these toys, but the Holy Ghost preacher points to Jesus.
The result of Eleazer's quest was most pronounced and decisive. The words of the servant had won her heart to Isaac. She was ready to go off into a strange land away from kindred and home to find the Isaac of the servant's report.
In the jewels of silver and gold and in the raiment, Rebekah saw an earnest of her approaching fortune. Her old habit would not do; she must don the purple of nobility in order to meet her bridegroom. The yielding sinner gets rid of his rags, is clothed, and put in his right mind, and gets a sample of heaven's wealth. Rebekah was now really betrothed to Isaac, and must assume garments worthy of her honor. She must not only consent to be Isaac's bride, but she must practically and really consecrate herself and all she had to that end.
"And Eleazer said, Send me away to my master." But the "old man," the father, and those to whom Rebekah was bound by earthly ties, objected. "Let her remain with us a few days at least." Here is the crucial point. A test is to be made. What will Rebekah do? Is she so in love with Isaac as to entirely detach her heart's affections from things around her? Will she turn her back upon the homestead, forsake father and mother, brother and sister, houses and lands, and go forth to Isaac? If what she has heard is true, attachment to these things is worse than folly. If she could really become the joint-heir of Isaac in his life and possessions, what foolishness to still tend Laban's sheep? It would be to despise all that was set before her. The prospect is far too bright to be thus lightly given up. Hence Rebekah unhesitatingly arises and expresses her readiness to depart in those simple yet wonderful words, "I will go." "Forgetting the things which were behind and reaching forth toward the things which were before, she pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling."
Every true convert is speedily brought to the question of practical consecration and true holiness. Here the natural man and earthly ties always remonstrate and insist that the separation be delayed at least for a time. Few there are who walk in the light of justification many weeks or months without being brought face to face with the question of holiness, a full, complete separation from the "natural man,'' the ''carnal mind,'' and all worldly entanglements. With those who say, "I will go," the Holy Ghost will journey all the way, and ''in the evening" of "this age," perhaps (who knows?) in the evening of this century, perhaps this evening, Christ, of whom the Paraclete has talked to us so much, will walk out as did Isaac, lift up His yes and behold His bride coming in the clouds of Heaven to meet Him. He will take her on His strong arm, conduct her into His banqueting hall, and seat her at he royal table. "So shall we be ever with the Lord." Hallelujah!