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February 2017

 
 

paSTOR`S PAGE

February 2017

 

February 5  

    

   Eliezer of Damascus, whose name means “helper of God” and was the most trustworthy of Abraham’s servants, was sent by the elderly patriarch to choose a wife for his son Isaac. Both the responsibility of the mission to form the Messianic nation and the awareness that he was old and near death pushed Abraham to organize the marriage of his son with a woman of Mesopotamia, his native land. Abraham’s painful experiences with Lot, Hagar, and Ishmael were a true life-lesson for him in regards to ties with people of pagan origin.  Eliezer leaves for Mesopotamia with ten camels and many jewels. Safely arriving at his destination, he stops at a fountain outside the city in order to pray for divine guidance. Eliezer’s prayer begins with a with a respectful address, “Lord, God… “ (Genesis 24:12). For him, God is the Creator and Master of heaven and earth, not simply someone or anyone. In addition, his prayer is humble, placing himself in an inferior position with respect to his master, Abraham: “O Lord God of my master Abraham” (v. 12b). In his prayer, Eliezer expresses his dependence on God, recognizing his own helplessness and his need for help: “please give me success this day” (v. 12c). In his faithfulness toward Abraham, he prays a selfless intercession prayer that identifies with the interest of his master: “show kindness to my master Abraham” (v. 12d). Continuing his prayer, Eliezer asks God for concrete things: “Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac.” (v. 13-14a) The elder servant prays to God to guide him to the right woman for Isaac, asking the Creator for an identifying sign for Isaac’s future wife: “And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master” (v. 14b). The sign regarded the girl’s behavior and character, not a random series of certain events, useless in the long term for marriage.  Eliezer’s prayer refers to moral qualities that define the girls’ character. For example, of the 11 qualities that Genesis chapter 24 enumerates, 10 of them are acquired and only one is innate. The innate quality is beauty while the other acquired qualities present Rebecca as being hardworking, honest, compassionate, responsible, polite, generous, hospitable, transparent, faithful, respectful. It is interesting that Moses, the author of Genesis, remarks Rebecca’s hardworking quality first and only afterward, her beauty.  This elder servant had seen enough things in his life to know that the virtues of a woman are the best indications of a special future wife. Whoever desires a good wife needs to seek a good woman. A successful courtship is the indication of a good marriage and a beautiful character is the assurance of a choice that leads to happiness and a peaceful marriage.

The elder servant prays to God to guide him to the right woman for Isaac, asking the Creator for an identifying sign for Isaac’s future wife: “And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master” (v. 14b). The sign regarded the girl’s behavior and character, not a random series of certain events, useless in the long term for marriage.  Eliezer’s prayer refers to moral qualities that define the girls’ character. For example, of the 11 qualities that Genesis chapter 24 enumerates, 10 of them are acquired and only one is innate. The innate quality is beauty while the other acquired qualities present Rebecca as being hardworking, honest, compassionate, responsible, polite, generous, hospitable, transparent, faithful, respectful. It is interesting that Moses, the author of Genesis, remarks Rebecca’s hardworking quality first and only afterwards, her beauty.  This elder servant had seen enough things in his life to know that the virtues of a woman are the best indications of a special future wife. Whoever desires a good wife needs to seek a good woman. A successful courtship is the indication of a good marriage and a beautiful character is the assurance of a choice that leads to happiness and a peaceful marriage.

In his prayer, Eliezer expresses his dependence on God, recognizing his own helplessness and his need for help: “please give me success this day” (v. 12c). In his faithfulness toward Abraham, he prays a selfless intercession prayer that identifies with the interest of his master: “show kindness to my master Abraham” (v. 12d). Continuing his prayer, Eliezer asks God for concrete things: “Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac.” (v. 13-14a) The elder servant prays to God to guide him to the right woman for Isaac, asking the Creator for an identifying sign for Isaac’s future wife: “And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master” (v. 14b). The sign regarded the girl’s behavior and character, not a random series of certain events, useless in the long term for marriage.  Eliezer’s prayer refers to moral qualities that define the girls’ character. For example, of the 11 qualities that Genesis chapter 24 enumerates, 10 of them are acquired and only one is innate. The innate quality is beauty while the other acquired qualities present Rebecca as being hardworking, honest, compassionate, responsible, polite, generous, hospitable, transparent, faithful, respectful. It is interesting that Moses, the author of Genesis, remarks Rebecca’s hardworking quality first and only afterwards, her beauty.  This elder servant had seen enough things in his life to know that the virtues of a woman are the best indications of a special future wife. Whoever desires a good wife needs to seek a good woman. A successful courtship is the indication of a good marriage and a beautiful character is the assurance of a choice that leads to happiness and a peaceful marriage. 

 

 February 12

 

    The born-again believers that make up the Church are the property of God. They are defined through sanctification and ministry. The Church is called and empowered to demonstrate the character of God and to fulfill His interests on Earth. Its mission is to continue the work begun by the Savior and His disciples, recovering people from sin through repentance and faith. Simply waiting for people to come to church to hear the message of salvation is the definition of irresponsibility of a church. The definition of mission is for us to go to other people, in other words, this is the mandate entrusted to the Church by the Savior. Before he left the world, Jesus Christ insisted that the disciples would go into the world and preach the Gospel, empowered by the Holy Spirit inside of their hearts. People are called to salvation, but in equal measure are sent in ministry.
    The apostles neglected their mandate for missions, forgetting what the Lord entrusted them to do, and they remained in Jerusalem for fellowship. This put God in the situation to allow persecution so that the apostles would be constrained and then run out of Jerusalem. Is it possible that our generation also needs such a method in order to fulfill the mission we have from God? Missions, evangelism, ministering to others – this is the supreme mandate of the Church even today.
    What are missions? It is the spiritual work of the Church done in the midst of other people, using any method that is according to God’s will in order to bring people to salvation and edification. The Savior healed and fed people, but mainly, He preached the Gospel and taught people how to live for the Kingdom. He did this in the synagogue very rarely; instead he went in the midst of people. The Church should care about people as much as God cares about them. The Church should care for others as much as God cares for us.
    Why do we need to go on missions? It is God’s initiative and commandment (Matthew 28:19-29, Acts 1:8). It is the way of life of the Savior (Matthew 4:23 – 25). It is the main activity of the apostles (Acts 16:6-7). The filling of the Holy Spirit, miracles and signs are done in the context of evangelism, of missions. People’s salvation hurries the return of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:11-12). Today, evangelism and missions seem to be a “whim”, as the Church no longer has this as a priority because of the mediocrity it lives in.
    Where should we do missions? Upon all the earth, beginning with …. HERE (Acts 1:8) – to those we know and those who are strangers, to our enemies and our friends (Acts 11:19-20); wherever people accept and receive our ministry (Matthew 10:14); wherever the Holy Spirit leads us (Acts 16:6-10). The contemporary tendency is for us to go only to the poor. Paul and Peter aimed for leaders; where it isn’t done, where no one goes, but where there is a great need.
    The spiritual life of a Church pendulates between its relationship with God that it calls worship and its relationship with other people that it calls missions, evangelism, and edification. Too many churches come to God in worship and then people don’t leave to evangelize, while others leave to go to other people in order to evangelize them, but no longer come to God in worship.
What kind of people should we be when confronted with the mandate entrusted to us by the Master? What kind of church should the church we worship in be, given that it finds itself in such a dramatic situation in the world today? Regardless of the answer, remember that these questions will be repeated on judgment day, and our answer will make a big eternal difference.