Have you ever watched the classic 1971 movie “The Fiddler On The Roof” ? In my opinion, it was nothing short of a masterpiece. The producer, director and actors artistically combined a bit of history of the typical Jewish immigrant family in the old Russia. You might recall Tzeitel the eldest daughter of Chaim Topol singing “Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, Find me a find. Catch me a catch” ?
My mind travelled far beyond the movie to another Matchmaker, this time not one from a movie, but a real person, in fact a Biblical character. His name was Eliezer, a servant of the Patriarch Abraham. I chose him for a specific purpose; it is quite a story and definitely worth reading. As Eliezer was a servant, I felt his name might not have come up in the “who’s-who” list of warriors, kings, Seers and prophets of the Old Testament. There is more to it; a lot more in the entire chapter Genesis 24.
First we will look at Eliezer’s background. Second, I like to find what Abraham his master thought of him. Third and finally, this is very important- how this servant faithfully fulfilled or executed not only his master’s directions but a glimpse or sample on Almighty God, Jehovah’s plans.
So who was Eliezer? There are all kinds of speculations among theologians as well as Jewish scholars. Some hold that Abraham brought Eliezer from Damascus. History corroborates with the Bible. giving the historical details. Abraham’s nephew Lot was captured as a prisoner by the neighbouring kings. When word reached Abraham, acting like a king or a Sheik, took his 318 home trained soldiers, went after these kings, conquered them and rescued Lot. Theologians think Abraham got this young man as a bounty and took him home and named him Eliezer. The name in Hebrew means “My God is help”.
The patriarch, as we read, had to face some difficult domestic situations. After letting go of Hagar and Ishmael, and later after Sarah’s death Abraham took another wife by name Keturah and had children. As though that was not enough, a few Hebrew historians feel that Eliezer was an illegitimate son from an unknown maid servant. They claim their opinion based on Abraham’s talk with God saying “if there is no male offspring Abraham had no choice but accept Eliezer from Damascus. as the inheritor.” (Genesis 15:1)
Whatever the case, Abraham noticed Eliezer’s integrity and trusted this man from Damascus implicitly. He was given the important matchmaking mission but also, an important mission that was to synchronize with God Almighty’s plan for all mankind through the incarnation of Jesus through this lineage.
Eliezer was commissioned with the pivotal roll to go back to the old country, hundreds of miles riding on camels and search diligently and bring a bride for Isaac. The whole responsibility was squarely pinned on Eliezer, the man from Damascus.I will not be out of place to mention, coming from the East, finding a bride or bridegroom for sons or daughters is always on the top of the list in the parent’s job description. I know customs and cultures have changed and are changing but the wishes, prayers, searches and maneuvers remain the same!
On a lighter note I tell my grandkids “If you have or are looking for a life mate, bring them first and foremost home and introduce them to your parents! Believe me, most parents have a third eye and great far sight, and that too with a clear 20-20 vision in this particular field!
With the matchmaking process of finding a match for Isaac in full swing, did this servant from Damascus know the full ramifications? Possibly. But he prepared for it diligently. Did you notice that Eliezer was great in details?
- First and foremost he prayed, verse, 24:12
- He clarified with his master, for example “what if the damsel refused to follow him shall I take Isaac to her ? Abraham was adamant; ”No” !
- He was thorough in travel details, the mileage was approx. 500 miles. He took ten camels for his caravan
- He brought appropriate gifts for the damsel; one ring and ten bracelets for Rebekha, in solid Gold
- He did everything he could within his control. For what was beyond him he devised a plan to put a proverbial “fleece”, This is beautiful; read it for yourself: Genesis 24:11-20 so that you do not miss the beauty of the old narration. God answered his prayer. I wondered if Gideon learned about putting the fleece from Eliezer? By the way, camels can drink 53 gallons of water in three minutes! And Rebekah drew water for all ten camels !
Finally, God chose Abraham to be a Patriarch. God also chose a humble servant, Eliezer from damascus for a special mission! Thinking of Damascus I couldn’t help but refer to “a certain disciple by name Ananias” chosen by God to minister to Saul of Tarsus, who became St.Paul, on the Damascus Road, Acts 9. God chose you and I. Father, show us your mission in our lives and grant us your grace to fulfill for your glory!
God bless, Danny Paul
PS:.No surprise, Moses named one of his sons Eliezer.
PPS: I preached the above sermon at the Florida Holiness Camp Grounds, Lakeland, Florida on Thursday, 1 February 2018. I thought my Blog Readers would love it as well.