Genesis 24 – New Sunrises
A friend of mine asked me the other day when I had listed off my check-list of to-dos for the following day –
“What’s something fun you’re going to do tomorrow?”
And I kind of laughed and couldn’t answer right away. I hardly ever look at my days while planning them and intentionally plan something fun to include – something purely for the sake of joy. And it occurred to me that the practice I have wanted to foster to create art for the joy of creating has been lost in commissions, in work, in trying to find a job. So the following day I sat down with a piece of watercolor paper, a pencil and paint, and an open Bible.
I opened to Genesis 24, one of my favorite books of the Bible and one of my very favorite stories. In this passage, Abraham sends his oldest and most trusted servant back to his homeland to find a young woman to bring back as a wife for his son, Isaac.
“Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me back to this land,” the servant says, “Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?”
And Abraham answers, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.”
The rest of the chapter goes into a beautiful story of how the servant meets a young woman named Rebekah, and she follows him back and becomes Isaac’s wife, and he loves her and is comforted after his mother’s death.
But what stuck out to me, words that have never struck me as significant before, was Abraham’s command to his servant:
“See to it that you do not take my son back there.”
And then again, he repeats himself, “…only you must not take my son back there.”
Why is Abraham so adamant that Isaac not return to the homeland of his father?
The Lord, the God of heaven, had called Abraham up and out of the land of his ancestors. He was calling him out to something new, into a land that was not Abraham’s, but into a future that fit perfectly into the glorious will of a Holy God that Abraham had not known before.
It brought to mind a verse from Isaiah, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19).
Abraham knew the will of his God, he knew that he had been called out of his past, out of his old life. We are not meant to look back, to return to the places from which our Lord has brought us out. Behold, He is doing a new thing! Like a sunrise that is new every morning. And with each new morning come new mercies from our Heavenly Father. So sing a new song! New, new, new!
That was a long explanation for the thoughts and pondering that filled my mind as I began to add paint to my palette. The color that flashed across my mind as I chose my palette was yellow. It sings joy and newness in my mind. I started without much thought, but most things I start turn into a landscape one way or another. I thought of a field of wheat, inspired by the description of Isaac meditating in the fields when Rebekah sees him for the first time after coming back with the servant (Genesis 24:63).
At the bottom of the painting, I added darker, blue tones – representing the past, the land we have left behind us that fades in the glorious light of where the Lord is bringing us.
And in the sky is a sunrise, colorful and dazzling – the wonders of the days ahead of us as we walk hand in hand with the Father. There is no need to look back, to long for the past or days that sometimes feel like they were better.
God is not calling us from behind. “I am doing a new thing!” he says, “Now it springs forth!” (Not back) “Do you not perceive it?” He makes a new way before us, a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
So I want to look forward into the light, to live life to the fullest in the land of his will.
He makes our future a sunrise!