Genesis 24 — Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way

It is well with my soul


Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.

Genesis 24:1


We last left Abraham burying Sarah in the cave of Macpelah, a cave that he bought from the Hittites. Now, here, in Genesis 24, the Lord begins the chapter in a somewhat peculiar way: Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way.

The Lord had blessed him in every way… hmmm. Blessed in every way? You might be thinking. Didn’t Abraham have to leave his homeland without a plan of exactly where he might be going? (Genesis 12:1) Didn’t Abraham and his household live through a severe famine in Canaan? (Genesis 12:10) Wasn’t Abraham’s wife taken into Pharoah’s harem? (Genesis 12:11-20) Wasn’t Abrahams nephew taken as a prisoner of war? And didn’t Abraham have to go to battle against four kings to save him? (Genesis 14) Didn’t Abraham have to send away his oldest son? (Genesis 21:8-21) Wasn’t Abraham circumcised at the age of ninety-nine? Genesis (17:24)

Yes, Abraham experienced trials, but the Lord blessed Abraham in every way because of the trials not in spite of the them.

“How to Avoid Stress at Work”

“10 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress”

“How to Reduce Stress in Daily Life”  the article headlines read.

We live in a time when we’re taught to avoid stress, but in reality, experiencing zero stress, or living a life without trials, is a terrible way to live. Think this through with me. A life without trials? You don’t want to go there. It would be like boxing against a kindergartner. It would be like fishing in a barrel. It would be like arm wrestling Paris Hilton. It would be pointless. It would be boring.

Trials in your life are a part of God’s plan — for five reasons.


1. To draw you closer to Jesus Christ:

I think this is very obvious to anyone who has walked with the Lord for a time. When we’re at our lowest is usually when we’re at our closest with God. He desires fellowship with you. Sometimes trials seem to be the only way to get our attention.


2. To prepare you for the future:

I doubt if Abraham would have had the faith to take Isaac up to the top of Mount Tabor and sacrifice his only begotten son, had he not experienced God’s loving, merciful, and gracious hand on his life during the trials he’d experienced previously. Abraham’s faith resulted in a beautiful prophetic picture of the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. A prophetic story of Christ that has been read by millions of people over thousands of years. Abraham’s faith produced something truly great. And Abraham’s faith was born out of his trials. Abraham’s faith grew out of those trials. Are you walking in a valley right now? Are you struggling to find a job? Is your relationship failing? Is your health failing? Take heart. Take hope. It’s hard, I know, but like Abraham, God will use this to grow your faith and to prepare you for something truly great in your future.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)


3. To help you to help others:

You know, one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had in life has been praying for, visiting, counseling, and supporting a few of my friends who have had by-pass operations. Of course, for me to be used by the Lord in that way required that I had to experience a by-pass operation myself. But having survived it I now have the privilege of helping others who are going through the same thing. The people who God uses to help the most are usually the people who have been through it before. After you’ve survived your trial, you’ll have the privilege of helping someone else.


4. To allow others to see the Lord’s hand on your life:

The famous hymn, It Is Well With My Soul, was written by a man named Horatio Spafford during a time of terrific trial in his life. He had recently lost his only son at the age of four. Shortly thereafter he was ruined financially as a result of the great Chicago fire. Just a few years later he arranged a trip to Europe on a ship with his family, but he was delayed on business. So his wife and children took the voyage ahead of him. He would come later, on a different boat. Tragically, the ship carrying his wife and four daughters collided with another and sank. Only his wife survived. Horatio received a now famous but tragic telegram from his wife that read, “Saved alone…” It was in the middle of this storm of tragedy that the Holy Spirit inspired Horatio Spafford to write the hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. Written in the late 1800’s, for more than one hundred years now, millions have been inspired and encouraged by the Holy Spirit’s presence in Horatio’s life during that incredibly difficult time.

When you or I are going through a trial people are watching. They’re wondering if this whole Jesus thing is real or what. They want to see how you’ll respond to the challenge you’re going through. Abraham influenced the Hittites in chapter 23 of Genesis during a time when he was experiencing the loss of his wife Sarah. (see previous post) I have found this to be the case in my own life. When I’m in the midst of a trial is when I’ve found people to be most open to be influenced for God’s kingdom. When people see the Holy Spirit in you and upon you, when people see you maintain your attitude, when people see you walk through the valley gracefully and full of God’s grace, that’s when God’s power is manifested. That’s often when others will find you to be someone who attracts them to Christ.


5. To prepare you for eternity:

From the Lord’s perspective your life is all about your eternal condition, not your current comfort. It’s similar to why we train our kids for adulthood. We know that for them to enjoy being an adult they’ll need to learn how to build relationships, they’ll need to learn discipline, and work ethic, and honesty, and integrity, and… the list goes on. For our kids to learn these things we put them in situations that they sometimes feel are painful. We make them get up in the morning, we send them to school, we require them to perform chores, we kick them off the X-box and send them outside to play. As a father, as a mother, we’re more concerned with their being prepared for adult life than we are with their current comfort. It’s the same with you and the Lord. He’s more interested in preparing you for eternity than He is in your current comfort.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)


I’m not saying that it’s enjoyable while you or I are in the midst of a trial, but I am saying that after you’ve experienced closeness with Him in your suffering, after you’ve experienced God’s merciful and gracious hand on your life during your trial, after you finally come out of the other side of the crucible, you’ll be blessed.

Show me a man without trials and I’ll show you a man without growth!

Hold on.

Hang in there.

Persevere.

Trials are a blessing in the end.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.


James 1:2


It Is Well With My Soul:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.



References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

One thought on “Genesis 24 — Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way

  1. Pingback: Genesis 24 — LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today « bennett's blog

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