Happy Mother’s Day!
Praying for God’s special blessings to all mothers, who are so precious to each of us.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the COVID-19. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
Abraham had worked the walk given to him by God. Sure, it was not easy, but Abraham faithfully walked with God as God led him. He was now a very old man, and God had blessed him in every way. God loved Abraham, not because he was perfect, but he loved God and followed God under all circumstances by trusting in Him.
One day Abraham sat down and looked back at his life. Since he left his native land, relatives, and his father’s family, he was with God, and His life had full of ups and downs. His youth days were no longer with him, but he possessed a far more precious thing — his long journey with God in faith. Without God, he could have never been who he was. His faith transformed his character throughout his entire life. He became no longer anxious about anything on earth. He had fully matured in faith by becoming a man of faith whom God dearly loved. Wherever he went, he called on God’s name with thanksgiving and gave the highest praises to God by worshipping God wholeheartedly. After all, at the very center of his life, God was there, and he lived out God’s calling. All things started from God, and ended with God. God was everything, and nothing other than God did not exist in his life. After all, everything came from God. To Abraham, Isaac was the living proof.
He waited twenty-five years for Isaac, who would be the seed of God’s covenant — being the father of many great nations. After the long struggle in faith, he received the promised son, which was impossible because his wife was barren. Waiting for the son was not easy. Abraham, although he had such an exceptional faith in God, had failed multiple times. He felt the pressure of the cold reality that his wife was barren. However, when he failed, God was with him and helped him to overcome his doubting dark cloud. At the lowest part of his life, indeed, God loved him more. God, then, lifted him up by hand. God reached out His loving hand and held Abraham tight. Abraham could continue walking his walk given by God while trusting God again and again after his failures. God pleased with Abraham’s faith struggling to be with God under all circumstances. Ironically, Abraham’s faith came from God. Abraham could not stop giving thanks to God, who was the source of the greatest blessings, and God’s mercy and love, including his faith in God.
Abraham stood up and looked at Isaac, who now became a young man to start his own new family. Abraham called in his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, and said,
“Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:2b-4)
Abraham knew it was time to pass down all of God’s blessings to Isaac and Isaac’s descendants as God promised. So far, Abraham met many people throughout his journey in Canaan, the foreign land, but he realized that he was unique and different. He had a truly special relationship with God. Nobody had such a relationship. He believed in God and left all things to follow God. Very few of those whom he met even recognized God’s name. Most of them, rather, believed something other than God.
Prophet Isaiah characterized those people as follows:
Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it! (Isaiah 44:15)
One cut tree and used some of the wood to make a fire. He warmed himself with it and baked his bread. Then he made a god out of the remnant of the wood to bow down before it.
Prophet Isaiah then vividly visualized a scene of their ignorance and stupidity,
He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.” Then he takes what’s left and makes his God: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!” (Isaiah 55:16-17)
Unfortunately, in reality, the eyes of such idols are closed, and the idols cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”
Abraham had experienced wondrous things that God had done to him. He saw God’s mighty and merciful hand whenever he was in need, especially when he failed miserably before God. God lifted him up high from the depth of his life. No such things came from a piece of wood carved by human hands, but only from God, who created heaven and earth. None even could understand such precious blessings that Abraham had experienced. The glorious God’s covenant was for his own family only, who believed and followed God.
His servant, Eliezer, was always faithful to Abraham. Abraham once suggested the servant to God as his heir. God rejected Abraham’s suggestion because it was not God’s plan. However, it hurt Eliezer, but Eliezer was faithful to Abraham as Abraham was faithful to God. Eliezer became the most trusted servant. Now he was in charge of all of Abraham’s household. Eliezer was faithful to Abraham, as Abraham was faithful to God.
Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, was a wise man. Upon hearing Abraham, he asked,
“But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” (Genesis 24:5b)
“No!” Abraham responded.
“Be careful never to take my son there. For the LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” (Genesis 24:6b-9)
Abraham’s faith in God’s promise had never been shaken under any circumstances, and Abraham believed that God would fulfill His promise by providing Isaac’s wife from his people. However, he required one condition: as he left his native land and relatives in faith, Isaac’s future wife would do the same. Abraham firmly believed his son Isaac’s further wife would have the same faith that he had. He shared his faith with Eliezer, and promised Eliezer that God would be ahead of Eliezer and prepare for Eliezer. Again, what faith of Abraham! Eliezer had been observing Abraham for so many years, and Eliezer saw, again and again, Abraham’s faith.
So Eliezer took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim, Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor, about 900 Km away (about 560 miles) from where Abraham lived, which was not a short distance at that time. It took about one month to travel through many wildernesses and barren lands with many dangers of animals and even vicious people. It was indeed an act of real courage to travel such a long distance which required taking a huge risk. Even so, Eliezer faithfully took an oath to Abraham, his master.
Then Eliezer traveled to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. He traced back Abraham’s initial journey starting from the promised land. As soon as he arrived, he modeled after Abraham. He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water.
“O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” (Genesis 24:12-14)
Eliezer’s prayer shows how much influential Abraham’s life, faith, and prayers were. Eliezer took care of all things in Abraham’s household. There was nothing unknown to Eliezer about Abraham’s life. He saw Abraham praying every day. He also saw Abraham when Abraham struggled to trust in God and believe His impossible promise of getting a son from Abraham’s barren wife. Eliezer remembered that Abraham suggested him to God as Abraham’s heir. It was a dark time for Abraham. Abraham’s faith was so low, and his doubt was so high because the cold reality bombarded his faith — his barren wife could not have a son. Even so, at the end of his struggle, Abraham returned to God and believed His promise again. Then God’s miracle happened. Abraham finally received Isaac from God. He saw what God did to Abraham, who kept following God in faith. Eliezer prayed as Abraham did. In his prayer, he referred to Abraham’s name. He, indeed, prayed not for himself but for Abraham. It was truly a great faith of Eliezer. Abraham, in extraordinary faith, also had Eliezer in extraordinary faith. God blessed both Abraham and Eliezer.
Giving water to a stranger was a common custom at that time. But Eliezer asked God to make him see the extraordinary hospitality from the future wife of Isaac – watering his camels, although he did not ask to do so. He believed God would. He even called God who had unfailing love, and his prayer pleased God.
Yes, God’s love never fails. Please look back on our lives. One fact alone that we are still His beloved children is more than enough to prove His unfailing love. If God graded our faith right now, then we all would fail while receiving a failing grade. Thanks to God for His mercy and love! His love never fails, and we are His children forever, Amen!
Even before Eliezer had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. God does not delay at all. God’s timing is always punctual without missing even one split second and without the slightest error.
Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again.
Running over to her, Eliezer said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” Yes, my lord,” Rebekah answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. She had a beautiful serving heart too.
When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels.
Eliezer watched Rebekah in silence, wondering whether or not God had given him success in his mission. He prayed to God, and God gave him the answer for which Eliezer prayed. Rebekah was indeed the woman prepared by God for Isaac, his master’s son. Eliezer was joyful before God because God answered his prayer and blessed his mater.
Eliezer took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists in thanksgiving to God as soon as the camels had finished drinking.
Whose daughter are you?” Eliezer asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?” Eliezer decided to see her parents.
“I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.”
As soon as Eliezer heard Rebekah’s answer, he bowed low and worshiped the LORD.
“Praise the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” (Genesis 24:27)
Eliezer fully experienced that God was faithful to Abraham, his master, and He showed unfailing love and faithfulness by leading him straight to his master’s relatives. Nothing was accidentally before God, especially to those who pray faithfully in unfailing faith. God answers our prayers with His unfailing love. Surely, we can lean on God under all circumstances because His love never fails.
Eliezer followed Rebekah and met Bethuel, her father. Eliezer shared what had happened, his prayer, and Rebekah’s kindness to both him and his camels. He again gave thanks to God for leading him straight to his master’s niece to be his son’s wife. Then he requested an answer from Bethuel,
“So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.” (Genesis 24:49)
Then Bethuel and Laban, Bethuel’s son and Rebekah’s brother, replied,
“The LORD has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say. Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” (Genesis 24:50b-51)
When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he again bowed down to the ground and worshiped God. Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her father, mother, and brother. Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight.
The following morning, Eliezer wanted to go back with Rebekah, and all family members asked Rebekah. It was the last requirement that Abraham set before choosing the future wife of his son, Isaac.
“Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her.
And she replied, “Yes, I will go.” (Genesis 24:58)
Rebekah, without any hesitance, answered; she would go. She decided to leave her native land, relatives, and her father’s family as Abraham did. Rebekah knew it was not an easy journey to the unknown land, Canaan, where she had never been before. At that time, there was no Internet, and she had no way to google and learn about the promised land. Her answer came from faith. The extraordinary faith of Abraham was with Isaac. Isaac did not resist when he was offered as a sacrifice to God, but God saved Isaac at the last moment. Rebekah, Isaac’s future wife, also boldly proclaimed herself in faith to join Abraham’s family by leaving the native land, relatives, and her father’s family. Rebekah’s family saw her firm faith and gave blessings as Rebekah parted:
“Our sister, may you become
the mother of many millions!
May your descendants be strong
and conquer the cities of their enemies.” (Genesis 24:60b)
Both people and God bless one who is truly faithful in God. Rebekah’s family saw her faith and blessed Rebekah, but it was not a blessing from their human mouths but from God. Rebekah’s family just uttered God’s blessings, as God provided the blessed words for Rebekah in their hearts.
God loves and blesses one who has extraordinary faith, and to the one, God also brings those who also have extraordinary faith to encourage further and build up together. God loves those who possess extraordinarily faithful and follow God under all circumstances.
Of course, nobody is perfect. Even Abraham had failed multiple times. This is encouragement for us from God because we are far from the perfect faith. When we fail, we should not fear God. God knows us and our limitations. Especially, God knows our struggles in faith. As we struggle to keep our faith in Him, God reaches out His merciful hand to hold us tight in His love. Don’t forget our struggle against the world to keep the faith pleases God, Our Ever-Loving Father.
Yes, whenever Abraham struggled, God was there. God was always with Abraham. Throughout Abraham’s life, God’s love never failed and led him to live out his Godly and victorious life in faith. Surely God will do to us, which is our faith in God today.
Walking in sunlight all of my journey
By Henry J. Zelley
1 Walking in sunlight, all of my journey,
over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,”
promise divine that never can fail.
Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
flooding my soul with glory divine:
hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
singing His praises, Jesus is mine.
2 Shadows around me, shadows above me,
never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the light, in Him is no darkness;
ever I’m walking close to His side. [Refrain]
3 In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing,
pressing my way to mansions above;
singing His praises gladly I’m walking,
walking in sunlight, sunlight of love. [Refrain]
For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even till death. (Psalm 48:14)