A Strange Way to Live

A Strange Way to Live January 9, 2024

Photo by Tormius on Unsplash

The world often considers following Jesus to be a strange way to live. Based on the world’s priorities, it is – but it is the best way to live!


Genesis, chapters 23-24; Luke, chapter 9

Genesis 24:34-41 (CEB):

The man said, “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has richly blessed my master, has made him a great man, and has given him flocks, cattle, silver, gold, men servants, women servants, camels, and donkeys. My master’s wife Sarah gave birth to a son for my master in her old age, and he’s given him everything he owns. My master made me give him my word: ‘Don’t choose a wife for my son from the Canaanite women, in whose land I’m living. No, instead, go to my father’s household and to my relatives and choose a wife for my son.’

I said to my master, ‘What if the woman won’t come back with me?’ He said to me, ‘The Lord, whom I’ve traveled with everywhere, will send his messenger with you and make your trip successful; and you will choose a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s household. If you go to my relatives, you will be free from your obligation to me. Even if they provide no one for you, you will be free from your obligation to me.’”


A Strange Way to Find a Wife

Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90. In chapter 23, we read that Sarah died at the age of 127. This means that Isaac was 37 at the time. Chapter 24 tells us that Isaac was still unmarried. So Abraham sends his servant on a mission: go back to my homeland and find a wife for Isaac from among my people.

Reading that with modern sensibilities, we think: “Didn’t Isaac have any say in the matter?” No, he didn’t. He was still in his father’s house, and his father was going to find a wife for him. Abraham’s concern is with the Canaanites among whom he was living; he did not trust them to worship God the way he did. So he sent his servant back to Aram-naharaim, where Abraham’s brother Nahor and his family lived.

A Strange Way to Choose a Wife

Abraham’s servant made a plan: he would ask a young woman for water, and if she offered to provide water for his camels as well, she would be the one.  (Suddenly, dating apps don’t seem so strange!) But Abraham’s influence on his servant was obvious. “He said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, make something good happen for me today and be loyal to my master Abraham” (verse 12). He prayed that God would bless his plan, and lead the right woman to him to be Isaac’s wife.

Well, Rebekah comes along and does everything the servant prayed that she might do. She then tells the servant that she is the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor (see verse 24). At that point, the servant praises God: “The Lord has shown me the way to the household of my master’s brother” (verse 27). He gives Rebekah a gold ring and two gold bracelets, and she runs back home to tell her family.

A Strange Way to Live Your Life

Rebekah’s brother Laban comes out to meet the man and welcomes him, bringing him into the house. (Laban “had seen the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms,” verse 30. We’ll encounter Laban again later, in the story of Jacob and his family.) That’s when Abraham’s servant gives the speech that I’ve quoted above. He tells Rebekah’s family that God has blessed Abraham with wealth, and with a son. Now, Abraham wants the servant to find a wife for Isaac from among his own people. And God led him straight to them.

It may seem to us that this is a strange way to live life. But the verse that stands out to me is verse 40. The servant quotes Abraham as saying, “The Lord, whom I’ve traveled with everywhere, will send his messenger with you and make your trip successful.” The Lord, whom I’ve traveled with everywhere. Why would Abraham stop trusting God now? It may seem strange to live that way, trusting in God’s direction. But to those who actually do live that way, it seems strange to live any other way.

Application: A Strange Way to Live Your Life

We’ve read the whole story of Abraham’s life. We know that he hasn’t always trusted completely in God’s protection; twice he has tried to pass Sarah off as his sister to protect himself. But he and God worked through those “blips.” Abraham’s testimony is true: The Lord, whom I’ve traveled with everywhere. God has been with him:

  • Leading him to the land of promise
  • Protecting him in both Egypt and Canaan
  • Blessing him financially
  • Giving him the son of promise, Isaac, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90
  • Proving that He is “the God who provides” in the story of the binding of Isaac (see yesterday’s reflection, “The Binding of Isaac”)

Now, in Abraham’s old age, God goes with his servant to lead him directly to the wife that God had selected for Isaac. God also prepared Rebekah to go with the servant, and to marry Isaac sight unseen. So when you think that God is asking you to do something strange, remember: God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8, NIV). A strange way to live? By the world’s standards, yes. But by God’s standards, the world’s way is a strange way to live!


Father, thank you for reminding us today that we travel with you everywhere we go. And when we recognize that your ways are not the world’s ways, we can embrace the strange way to live that Your word reflects. Help us to walk in your way today.  Amen.


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