BLOG ENTRY#8 February 1, 2012
From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:
“The next day the chief servant is up early and ready to return to Abraham and Isaac with Rebekah. However, after a night to think it over, momma and older brother are not quite ready to let their daughter/little sister go off with this stranger, regardless of the gifts he has brought and the nature of his mission. It could also be conjectured that Laban was scheming up on how he could get a little more from this obviously well-heeled visitor (recall his encounter with Isaac’s son, Jacob). They say, `let Rebekah stay for a few days’. When the chief servant gently insists on returning to Abraham, they even try to make it an issue with Rebekah based on familial ties (Gen. 24: 54 – 57). This vignette provides Eliezer with the opportunity to exhibit other important characteristics of a disciple, that is dedication to the task assigned (Luke 9: 51) and balancing. The chief servant knows that his job is not complete until he returns toCanaan with Rebekah and she marries Isaac. Of course, the Scriptures reveal that Rebekah says, “Yes, I will go with him”, and she leaves with her family’s blessings.
THE DEVOTION OF DISCIPLES
Dr. Anthony Evans has pointed out on several occasions that soldiers in service to their countries may be required to give “the last full measure of devotion”. They are prepared and primed for this purpose through their experiences in boot camp, the rigorous training leading up to active service. In battle, they may be killed, upon which occasion they will be buried as heroes. Dr. Evans has often challenged us with the truth that we should be willing to do more for Christ since, as Paul writes, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”(Philip. 1: 21)
What we learn from the example of Abraham’s chief servant is that the first important characteristic or attribute of a disciple is that a disciple is devoted to one’s master. Devotion has three important aspects: desire, dedication and discipline. Desire is the willing inclination of the disciple towards his Master and his Master’s will. Dedication is the constant and consistent preparation to do his Master’s will. Discipline is the diligent application, follow through and follow up in the pursuit of his Master’s will. All of these comprise the devotion of a disciple.
There are several Scriptures that support this assertion. Beginning with the chief servant in Genesis 24, at verse 2, “And Abraham said to his chief servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he (Abraham) owned, Please place your hand under my thigh.” And, in verse 34, the chief servant identifies himself thusly, “I am Abraham’s servant.” Now Abraham’s testimony and the word of the chief servant are not all we have as evidence of this man’s devotion to his master. Notice, as pointed to earlier, when the chief servant prays for success, his prayer is focused on his mission as given him by his master (v. 13 and 14). Also, in v. 49, he says, “if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master“- not “with me”! He stands in the place as if he embodies his master, not just represents him.
Every expression of why he is there in Bethuel’s house is made in the context of his mission on behalf of his master. In verse 56, he gently insists on being sent away so that he may go back to his master.
Another scriptural example of devotion to one’s master on the part of disciples is found in Exodus 33:13-15. Moses, God’s friend, prays, “Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider too, that this nation is Thy people. And He said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. Then he (Moses) said to Him (God), If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” Moses prays for God to bless him by teaching him His ways, so that he may know God’s ways and thus, know God. There is an intimacy, a closeness, a revelatory knowledge connoted by the Hebrew meaning for the word for knowledge, yada. Moses is bold, because he says, if I have found favor in Your sight, please teach me Your ways- what to do next– (compare this with Solomon’s request for wisdom at I Kings 3: 9) so that I can be intimate with You, close to You. To what purpose? So that he can find favor in God’s sight. But, isn’t that where he started? Yes, and Moses knows that this is where he must necessarily end and therefore should never leave. This is DEVOTION, the same kind exhibited by Ruth towards Naomi. “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1: 16 NAS.), Devotion is not possible without love as a foundation. Love gives birth to devotion. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Joshua 24:15 offers another example of devotion to one’s master. The Israelites have subdued the Canaanites and conquered the land. Joshua then recounts their history and gives the Israelites an admonition. Joshua says in verse 14, “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River (Jordan) and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Deuteronomy 24: 14ff. Devotion is always a matter of choice. You must decide to accept Christ; He will not force Himself upon you!”