“An Officer And A Gentile” – One Year Bible Reading – January 10

Old Testament:   Genesis 23:1-24:51

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Genesis 23:1-24:51     The Perfect Match

Summary:   Sarah died at age 127.

Abraham sent one of his servants out to find a wife for his son, Isaac. The servant acted like he had a drinking problem. Rebekah solved it and so confirmed she was the one for Isaac.

In Chapter 23, Sarah dies at age 127.  That seems pretty good.  (Organic food and no meds.)  

Abraham needs a place to bury her.  So he bargains up  from $0.00 (v. 11) to $3,294.00 (vv. 15-16, if a shekel is half an ounce and silver is $16.47 an ounce).  Abraham didn’t want to take anything from Ephron, the Hittite and paid him for the cave he wanted as well as the field.  Ephron would have to had paid dues to the authorities (cf. Ryrie) if he sold only the cave so Abraham paid for the field where the cave was located. Later Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob were also buried in the same cave (cf. 25:9; 49:31; 50:13).  

Abraham wouldn’t take the field for free.  David was the same way (cf. 2 Sam. 24: 24; also cf. 1 Tim. 5:17 -18; 1 Corinthians 9:9-14).

In Chapter 24, Abraham was about 140 years old and figured it was a good time to get his 40 year-old son a wife (cf. Gen. 25: 20).  He sent his servant out to find one for him (v. 4).  The servant used the “fleece” technique later popularized by Gideon (cf. A Wooly Situation).  He prayed and asked God to point out the right girl by asking her for a drink and if she answered, “Take a drink and I’ll water your camels, too” (vv. 13-14).

A girl named Rebekah turned out to be that girl.  She was Abraham’s grandniece (cf. v. 48).  She was something, beautiful, a virgin and a great worker!  Abraham’s servant had ten camels who could have consumed up to 40 gallons each!  She would have to draw all that H2O by hand (v. 20).

The servant gave the girl the present of a ring and gold bracelets worth about $6,422.85 (v. 22, 5.25 ounces of gold x current gold price of $1223.40 an ounce).  He asked if he could have lodging at her house.   She said she had some straw for the camels and a room at her Dad’s place (v. 23).

Her brother Laban seemed to be in charge of the household at her family’s household.  His eyes lit up when he saw his sister’s new jewelry (v. 30).  We will find out what kind of a guy Laban is in chapters 29 – 30 when Rebekah needs a wife for her son, Jacob.

The servant told the family his story, how he met Rebekah and was searching for a wife for his master’s son (vv. 33-49).  After they heard the story, both Rebekah’s father and brother agreed that the whole thing sounded like it was from Yahweh.  So they said, “Yeah, you can have the girl” (v. 50-51).

(More on this story tomorrow.)

New Testament:  Matthew 8:1-17

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Matthew 8:1-17   An Officer And A Gentile

Summary: Jesus healed a leper, symbolic of His ability to cleanse sins. Then he healed the son of a military commander over a hundred people. The officer said he knew Jesus could do it because He had authority over all things just like he had authority over a hundred soldiers. Jesus said He wished He had seen more people with this kind of faith, especially out of His own people, the Jews. Then Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. It was a good thing because then she made them all dinner.

 

After a great sermon like the Sermon on the Mount, you would expect the crowd to follow Jesus around.  They did (v. 1).  A leper came to him for healing.  Jesus said He’d heal him if he wanted to be healed.  Are there some people, really, who want to stay sick?  Yes, there are.  Jesus was having the man check his own heart.  There would be quite a change coming in his life.  Jesus healed him . . .  immediately (v. 3).  Jesus didn’t want the man announcing the kingdom before He did so He told him to show himself to the priest as was the Mosaic custom (cf. Lev. 14:2-32) and to shut up about the whole thing (v. 4).

Leprosy is symbolic of sin.  Some people may want to wallow in it.  Others come to Jesus and want to be cleansed.  If they ask Him, He will cleanse them immediately (cf. John 5:24; 1:12).

There is a second healing in this chapter.  A Gentile officer of an hundred men in the Roman army told Jesus he understood authority and that he understood that Jesus had authority over sickness.  He said his servant was tormented by his sickness (v. 6).  Jesus offered to come to the man’s home and take care of things but the centurion said he knew that Jesus could just “phone it in” (v. 9).  Jesus was amazed by this Gentile’s faith saying that He hadn’t even seen that kind of faith in any Jew (v. 10, cf. the other time Jesus was amazed, Mark 6:6).  Jesus predicted that many Gentiles would come to faith (“come from east and west”) but many Jews would be chucked into “outer darkness” aka H-E double hockey sticks (v. 12).  The end result was Jesus told the centurion to go home.  He did and found that his servant was healed at the moment that Jesus told him to go home (v. 13).  Jesus heals us the moment that we trust Him.  We’ll see another  long distance healing of a Gentile, the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, in Matt. 15:21-28.

In a third miracle of healing in this chapter, Peter’s mother-in-law had her health restored.  She was in bed with a fever (v. 14).  But she was needed to make food for everyone.  A woman never gets any rest!  Jesus touched and her fever absconded (v. 15).  Many came to Him that night that were demon-possessed and ill (v. 16a).  He took care of all of them (v. 16b).  Matthew points out that all these healings were a fulfillment of Isaiah 53: 4.  This does not mean that anyone who trusts Christ for salvation will automatically be healed physically.  Matthew is saying that Isaiah was fulfilled here in the healings.  Peter uses the same verse to refer to Jesus’ healing us of sin for all time (1 Pet. 2:24).  Jesus may heal now or may choose not to heal.  But anyone who comes to Him for salvation after the cross will not be turned away (cf. John 6:37).

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