As I mentioned in a recent post, my goal this year is to pay closer attention to the stories of the Old Testament and their theological implications. I recently listened to a David Pawson’s sermon and two things that I’ve never noticed or heard before stood out. I’ve definitely heard people preach on, and witnessed for myself the parallels between Isaac and Christ, Abraham and God the Father. For example, Abraham sacrificing Isaac as a burnt offering (Genesis 22). Here we find Abraham as a type or parallel with God the father. Isaac, being his his “only son” (according to God’s will), as a type of Christ dying on the alter as a sacrifice for sin.
This is where it got interesting. What Pawson brought to light was as the story unfolds (chapters 24-25) we get an even broader view, and the Holy Spirit is introduced. Through Abraham’s senior servant, Eliezer, we see a type of the Holy Spirit. Abraham’s servant, a helper, is sent out to find a bride for the son, Isaac. I was blown away by this! Wow! This is heavy stuff.
Pawson, then went on to explain how these texts (Genesis 22-25) therefore can serve as a beautiful handbook on effective evangelism led by the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 24:17, we find Eliezer stopping to pray –
“Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka[c] and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.[d] 23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.” 25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
There’s some beautiful imagery here that deserves some serious thought. Here we find Eliezer stopping to pray for guidance before seeking out the bride. But, he’s not just praying for the Lord to send him the right person, he prays for a sign, asking the Lord to lead him to the right person(s). His seeking did not initiate through an abrupt/uninvited evangelistic outreach. I.E. – “Do you know the Lord, or have you ever considered giving your life to Christ……?”. Not at all to say that more aggressive street evangelism has no place, but this lends credibility to the need for “relational evangelism” as well. Especially since it’s taken such a brutal beating from those who find it repulsively weak-minded. However, I love the parallel found between the text here and the filling of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts (in several instances Acts 4, Acts 10). Before Eliezer can even finish his prayer, God is busy answering – “Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.” God, as usual, was way ahead of the game 😉 Yet that’s not the end. Notice how Eliezer does his part in obedience to his own prayer request: When the servant sees Rebekah he “hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” That’s real faith! It’s more than a prayer, it’s obedience to see it through, to believe that God will move according to his promise (albeit according to his timing and purposes). This text can and will now serve as my handbook on Holy Spirit-led evangelism.
1) Pray and don’t be scared to be specific
2) Look and believe in faith for God to move
3) Go, and act on what you believe in faith