Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 6, 2021

a behind-the-scenes servant

We just jumped into 2021, and sadly it doesn’t seem much different than the year we just left behind … and never want to mention again. In reading through specific passages from Genesis, it becomes obvious the earth’s early days were also filled with unsettledness, immorality and family failure. But yesterday morning, I was reminded of hope in my Lord who answers specifically and miraculously.

Who is the most godly, wise, behind-the-scenes person you know? I am speaking of a man or woman who doesn’t live for recognition but who certainly deserves it. When you need encouragement, a kind or gentle word, prayer for a need, or a special favor, you know this behind-the-scenes friend will be there for you. Several years ago, I was given a magnificent book called Lead for God’s Sake, by Todd Gongwer.  The book exemplified the person just described in the words above. Joe was his name, and the value he added to the fictional story has never left me.  In Scripture, we tend to focus on characters who are well-known like Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah. There are also great lessons to be learned from the not-so famous characters of Scripture. Yesterday’s reading led me to a little-known man (not named Joe) who God used in a marvelous way.

Abraham was old and very blessed.  His wife Sarah had gone to be with the Father and Isaac, their son of promise, was approximately forty years old.  Abraham determines that his chief servant should go to the land of his birth and get a wife for Isaac. So, he made a covenant with his servant to go to the land of Mesopotamia and bring back a wife.  In that day, matrimonial arrangements were made by parents, and the chosen partners were to come from one’s own tribe.  Without this context you may be wondering why Abraham was leading the charge for Isaac’s wife (at Isaac’s age). This whole scenario is rich with meaning and could fill hours of discussion, but for purposes of this article, what about the behind-the-scenes servant?

Genesis twenty-four doesn’t mention the servant’s name, but some writers feel this was none other than Eliezer, who had risen to the position of chief servant.  He is mentioned in Genesis (15:2) as the one who would have received Abraham’s estate if he had no son.  Isaac was born and obviously the inheritance became his. So, if the servant was Eliezer, he earns my admiration for being a loyal, yet displaced servant.  Even if the servant wasn’t Eliezer, his actions in this chapter are wise, godly, and an example to all Christ-followers.

Abraham’s servant headed out with ten camels and lots of gifts from his master.  His dependence on God is quite evident in his prayer after arriving at the well in the town of Nahor.  Note his prayer in Genesis 24:12-14.

“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.”

Rebekah appears on the scene, and the servant asks for a little water from her jar.  Verse nineteen states, When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.”  What an answer to prayer!  By the way, a single camel could hold up to twenty-five gallons of water … but she watered all the camels.

So, what’s the big deal?  God chose to use a behind-the-scenes “Joe” to seek out the wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob and Esau. We don’t know much about him, but his legacy for me will always be that he prayed specifically, and God answered miraculously.  Most of us will never be in the limelight or have an easily recognizable name; we are literally behind-the-scenes in the master plan of God. But if our legacy is that we prayed specifically, and God answered miraculously … wow!

The God who answered then, still answers in 2021.  Are you praying specifically … Joe?!

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