Sometimes when I pray the Lord seems very distant, perhaps even detached from matters that concern me. I think to myself, “Where are you God? Why don’t You visit or answer me?” It is a very lonely feeling.
One day I thought about Abraham and his mighty men. Scripture doesn’t call them mighty men, but that is exactly what they were. With these three hundred and eighteen servants Abraham defeated armies. Now fast forward to the day Abraham sent out his oldest servant, in charge of his entire household, to find a wife for his son, Isaac, among Abraham’s extended family.
You know the story. The servant said to the Lord, “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 to 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.” Gen 24:12-14.
So Rebecca, who just happens to be Abraham’s relative, comes out, gives the servant a drink, then gives water to his camels laden down with supplies and gifts. He is then given hospitality in the home of Laban, Rebecca’s brother. We see this in Gen 24:32. “Then the man came to the house. And he unloaded the camels, and provided straw and feed for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.”
For some reason I never noticed the part about the men with the servant whose feet also were washed, mentioned later once again in verse Gen 24:54. I used to think, ‘wow, what a perilous journey for one old man to make with all the wealth he brought with him.’ But no, he was not alone at all. He was accompanied by men, but probably not just any men. In view of this important mission and of the need for protection, these were probably some of Abraham’s mighty men who, against overwhelming odds, had triumphed in battle. These were Special Forces, UDT Seals, Marines!
So often as I move through this life I forget that there are more with me than are against me. The role these men played in this story is understated. They are barely mentioned, yet they were there from the beginning to the end. They protected Abraham’s servant all the way there and back, then witnessed the precious moment that Rebecca saw Isaac approaching and asked,
“Who is this man walking in the field to me us?”
The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. Gen 24:65-67
Once upon a time Abraham, the father, was instructed to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac, just as God, our Father, sent Jesus into the world to be slain…for us. Some believe Abraham’s servant represents the Holy Spirit going to get a bride for the Son of God. Could be. If so, then might we wonder if those men accompanying Abraham’s servant represent the angels sent to protect the bride?
Regardless, we know from scripture that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groaning that cannot be uttered by men. So much for the idea that God might be indifferent to my prayers. We also know that angels, though invisible like the men of this story were to me, minister to us and fight battles on our behalf. So much for the idea that any of God’s children are alone. I am greatly comforted to know that the Holy Spirit groans for me and all that concerns me, and that the Holy angels are dispatched so that no true harm may come into my life as they command demons, “this far, but no further.”