January 7

Genesis 22-24, Psalm 7

As a physician I could have chosen many roads to pursue after residency. I felt called to do private practice rather than academic medicine. It may not sound like much of a difference at first glance, but in private practice one can establish long-term meaningful relationships over the lifetime of a career. This allows for multiple opportunities for ministering and sharing with patients as they go through the bumps in life. Academic medicine is more prestigious and certainly goes much further for name recognition. I noticed fairly early in my career that those who often were trying to climb the ladder of success if talking to me never seemed to be able to focus that much on what I had to say. Instead, they were continually scanning the room for someone who might be "more important". Now much older, many of my contemporaries who have chosen that path continue to seek for that recognition believing that will bring them fulfillment. As frustrating as this world seems, isn't this how most treat their prayer life with God? How often do we give a monologue or a laundry list of requests and statements at God? How often do we never wait for a response? How often are we so distracted that even if God was communicating with us, we're not listening? How often does God lovingly answer our prayers only to become unsatisfied moving on to the next thing? We must all decide whether or not we truly want to be in a real relationship with God?

Notice how Abraham, the man of faith, gives a difficult request of his servant, but completely trusts His God to handle it. We read in Genesis 24:7, "The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there." So the servant leaves on this extremely difficult mission, and like his master, Abraham, he reaches his destination and prays. We read this in Genesis 24:12-14, "O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 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 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. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master." Notice the prayer, not a monologue, as he now waits expectantly for God to respond. He continues to stay focused on God as it seems the prayer is being answered in 24:21, "And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not." When he realized that his prayers were answered, notice his response in 24:26-27, "Then the man bowed his head and worshipped the Lord. And he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren." Notice, though hungry and thirsty, the servant stays focused on doing God's work first before recreating and becoming distracted. We read this in 24:33, "Food was set before him to eat, but he said, "I will not eat until I have told about my errand." Many when recanting fulfilled prayer then resort to taking the credit or altering the story when before a potentially disbelieving audience. Abraham's servant gives all the glory to God and unashamedly tells the story in vivid detail.

We can learn so much from Abraham's servant. Like his master Abraham, he had a true relationship with God. When he prayed it was not a monologue but a dialogue. We can all learn from this example. Also, so many are closet Christians. Not wanting to offend any or afraid of being ridiculed they keep their prayers and faith to themselves. Paul tells us in Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Unbelievers are always watching us, whether we realize it or not. They want to know if our walk is real, and we never know when God may give us an opportunity to influence them. Abraham's servant was obviously influenced after a lifetime of viewing Abraham's authentic relationship with God. We read how we should act concerning our children in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." We are to lead our family, no matter what age our children are when we come into a relationship with a Christ. Notice what Isaac is doing when the servant approached him with a Rebekah in Genesis 24:63, "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming." We see in this beautiful account true prayer that is believed in and the evidence of an authentic walk with God.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster