Passing the Promise to the Next Generation
This is a sermon preview for the fourth sermon in the “Promise & Threat” sermon series. To watch the recording of any of the sermons in this sermon series, visit our website.
“And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’ “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’ “He replied, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family.’” –Genesis 24:34-58
Amidst the BBQs, swimming, and fireworks, Independence Day is an interesting day of reflection. Perhaps more than any other American holiday, we gather to celebrate the unique freedoms we have in this country while also dreaming of how to keep these freedoms alive and well for the generations to come. This hope is even written into the Preamble of the U.S. constitution itself: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
This concern for the next generation isn’t new or unique to our American context. Abraham was worried about what would become of his son, Isaac. God had certainly been faithful to Abraham. God had certainly followed through on each promise so far. But Abraham is old and can’t be around forever. So what’s to be done? What can be done to pass on the promises of God to the next generation?
So Abraham does what any normal, concerned father would do: he makes a plan.
Abraham sends his servant back to his home clan to find a wife for Isaac. (The hope being that a wife would help secure Isaac’s future and provide the family with more heirs.) As you can read in Genesis 24, the servant's journey to find a wife for Isaac is long and filled with threats:
How will nature treat him on the dangerous journey back to Abraham’s clan?
How will he know that he’s selected a good match for Isaac?
Will anyone even believe his story and trust him enough to send their daughter to be married to someone they don’t even know?
I would not want that servant’s job. Good luck with that!
Thankfully, the servant doesn’t need luck. In Genesis 24:34-58, the servant retells the story of his journey and how he chose Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife. But it’s not just a dull retelling of human events. The servant’s story is interesting because he retells the narrative as a testimony–as a story of how God has been working in the world.
As it turns out, Abraham didn’t need to secure Isaac’s future.
The servant didn’t have to stress about the oath he gave to find Isaac a wife.
God prepares the way and cares for each generation.
There are many things that rightfully should concern us about the current state of the world. There are many things that God is calling us to do to care for the world and for one another while we are still here.
But the story of Rebekah agreeing to be Isaac’s wife is a reminder that, ultimately, God is the one who gives the promises. And it is God who is faithful not only to an individual–but to the generations. We need only to place our trust that God cares for our young even more than we do–even unto death on a cross–and to help our young learn to see how God is already at work in their lives.
Reflect: What is something about the future that worries you for the next generation? How is God already at work in that area? How might God be calling you to join in that work as God prepares a way for the next generation?
Pray: Who do you know that is in the generation below you? How can you specifically pray for them this week?
Share: How do you already see God at work caring for the next generation? How can you help this younger generation learn and see the promises of God that are active in their lives? How can you encourage them to live faithfully in response to God’s grace?