Steadfast Love: Genesis 24:1-27

Steadfast Love: Genesis 24:1-27


This week we begin a new study. Yes, we are still in Genesis but the main character that the Bible points us to is changing. Abraham is still alive and still has a role to play in the remaining years of his life. Abraham remains a background character for the rest of Scripture. He never completely leaves the story of the Bible. But the focus of God’s word does shift from Abraham to follow his descendants. Abraham is an old man now and his life is drawing to an end. The question remains: What will happen to the promise of God concerning the multitudes of descendants after Abraham is dead and gone? Will the covenant that God made with Abraham stand? We’ve seen threats made against the covenant. How will God see this through? Will God see this through?


Many months ago we saw the beginning of the promise that developed into the covenant that God made with Abraham. In Genesis 3:15 we heard it. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head.” That’s the promise and the forerunner of the covenant of Abraham. We’ve seen the promise work its way through history. We saw how God ordered history and protected his promise. This is what we call divine providence.


I’ve mentioned it before and will continue to do so as we go through Genesis. Divine providence is a key theme throughout this book. What is this great doctrine of Divine Providence? People used to know and believe it. The signers of the Declaration of Independence said they were relying upon the protection of divine Providence as they defied the tyrant king. What is this great doctrine of providence? Charles Spurgeon said, “Blessed is that man who is done with chance, who never speaks of luck—but believes that from the least, even to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping of an aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence—as the march of a pestilence through a nation! Believe this, for if the least thing is omitted from the supreme government, so may the next be, and the next—until nothing is left in the divine hands. There is no place for chance, since God fills all things.” Matthew Henry said, “God who feeds the sparrows—will not starve His saints! God controls all the concerns of His people, even of those that are most minute, and least regarded. This is an encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God’s providential care!”


The story we have before us is one of providence, the fulfilling of a promise, and steadfast love. We are going to look at the story over two weeks. This week we find Abraham commissioning his servant and declares his faith in Providence in verses 1-9 and then we’ll see the journey of this servant as he obeys his master and trust in the Lord and his steadfast love and faithfulness toward Abraham in verses 10-27.

The Everlasting God

We saw in the previous chapter that Abraham had moved his household to Gerar. Abimelech, the king of that area, took Sarah into his household because he believed that Sarah was an unmarried woman. Why did he think that? Because Abraham and Sarah used the line that they had come up with in Ur; Sarah was Abraham’s sister. They chose to not mention that she was also his wife. And as the story went, God intervened, corrected Abraham and restored Sarah back to him.


Then we read of the birth of Isaac. Sarah rejoices over the miraculous birth and Abraham is once again obedient to God as he circumcises his son on the eighth day and gives him the name Isaac as God had told him.


A about 5 years pass and the time for Isaac to wean from Sarah came. Abraham threw a great party for the occasion which brought the mockery and scorn from Abraham’s firstborn, Ishmael. Sarah witnessing this tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away because Ishmael was not a part of the covenant. God confirms this and tells Abraham it is right for him to break cultural norms and send Ishmael away. Abraham didn’t have to worry though, because God promised to take care of him.


That brings us to our text today where we find Abimelech coming back into the scene. The previous stories I just mentioned are more well known but I feel that our text today is probably unfimilar to most people. When you think of Abraham, I’m guessing your mind doesn’t go immediately to this story of Abraham’s treaty with Abimelech.


Before we get into the story, I want to make a side note about Abimelech. This is not the only Abimelech recorded in the Bible. There are several Abimelech mentioned and so it is assumed that the name is either a common name, a royal name that is passed on to the different generations or it is a title like the name Pharaoh. We see a Abimelech here, with Isaac several chapters later, which is the same guy but he would probably be an old man. There is one in the time of the judges and there is one in David’s day.


In the text we have before us I want to point out three main ideas to you. First, we are going to see the obviousness of God’s blessing upon Abraham’s life. Second, we find Abraham entering into a covenant with Abimelech and an offering of earnest money for the rights to a well and we’ll finish up by see Abraham publicly worshipping God again and calls God the El Olam or the Everlasting God.

Cutting the Covenant

Why do we fear and why is it that when God speaks in the Old Testament or Jesus in the New, many times the first phrase is, “fear not,”? Let’s look at Abram here and see if we can’t find answers to those questions and maybe we’ll find a cure for our fear.