"Hinder Me Not"

It will not be necessary to explain to our readers that the twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis is one of the most striking and beautiful typical chapters in the Old Testament. They know that Isaac — the beloved son of his father, who had in chapter 22 passed through death in the figure — foreshadowed Christ, the risen heavenly Man; that Abraham's purpose to secure a suitable wife for his son told out the Father's purpose that Christ also should have a wife, made entirely suitable to Himself; that the nameless servant who journeyed afar in order to carry out his master's will and bring Rebekah to his master's son, set forth the mission of the Holy Ghost, who is now in the world, gathering out of it the bride of the Lamb. All this our readers know well; they and we have often gone over it; we would that the blessedness of the truth was as powerfully in our souls as it is plainly in our heads.

Everything in the chapter is beautiful, and Isaac is the centre and object of it all. Abraham loved him and gave him all that he had (v. 36); so also it is written of God's beloved Son, "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands" (John 3:35). The nameless servant who went forth to do Abraham's will sought nothing for himself, nor spoke of himself; all he did was for Isaac; and it is said of the Holy Spirit, "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come … He shall not speak of Himself … He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine and shall show it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you" (John 16:13-15). Rebekah, though she had not seen Isaac, was attracted to him, and went forth to be united to him, solely on the testimony that the servant carried from Isaac to her; and of the Christian it is stated: "Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).

Abraham's purpose, the servant's labour, and Rebekah's love, were all for Isaac. It is a great day in the spiritual history of any Christian, when he wakes up to the fact that all the Father's thoughts and purposes have Christ as their one and worthy object; and that the chief labour of the Holy Spirit who has come from the Father is to unfold the glories of Christ to him so that his heart becomes entranced with Him. The result is that nothing will satisfy the love thus awakened but union with the beloved, all-absorbing Object of the heart. In this way are we drawn in our affections away from the world and its vanities to Christ, where He is, to wait and watch for Him.

THE SERVANT'S MISSION WAS TO FIND A WIFE FOR HIS MASTER'S SON, and Abraham had made him swear a solemn oath that he would not take Isaac back to the land out of which he had come, but that he would bring the wife out of a place where she was to Isaac where he was. Nothing could be of greater importance than this, and we shall fail utterly to understand the truth as to Christ and His church, and the present work of the Holy Ghost on earth if we miss the great truth that the church is being gathered out of the world for Christ where He is. Christ is the risen Man in heaven; and the church, which is the bride, for whom the Holy Ghost has come into the world, must be conducted to Him where He is. Ignorance of this great truth has led many earnest Christians into foolish attempts to connect the name of Christ with great movements which have nothing beyond this present world in view, and others to connect Him with the circumstances of this life merely, as though the end of all was that they should live lives free from burdens here.

DEAL KINDLY AND TRULY WITH MY MASTER, pleaded the servant. It is the appeal of the Holy Spirit today. No Christian who ignores the exclusive claims of Christ, deals kindly and truly with Him or with the Father. To deal kindly and truly in this matter is to follow the One who gave Himself for us to the place where He has gone, turning our backs to the world that would tempt us to be unfaithful to Him; and we shall not follow Him unless He has become an Object brighter and better than the best things that are here. The Christian who flirts with the world, forgets that the church is espoused to one husband, to be presented as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 2:2).

But it is not the world only that bids for the hearts that should be wholly Christ's; natural relationships intervene sometimes and would, retain the heart and retard the feet from going after Christ. So Rebekah's mother and brother Would have detained her from going to Isaac. There was no haste, they pleaded; let her abide with us a few days, at last ten. "HINDER ME NOT, " was the sharp response of the servant.

HINDER ME NOT. It is this that I would stress. It seems to me that the Spirit's voice sounds out in these words, and he that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says. Worldly ways and entanglements hinder the Spirit in His great work; lukewarmness towards Christ grieves Him sorely; pride and self-complacency quench His activities, and there is no pride so hateful to Him as religious pride. He cannot take of the things of Christ and show them to us if we are indifferent or inattentive or self-centred. Worldliness is bad, very bad, it shows a divided heart, but religious pretension is worse, for SELF is the A and the Z of it, and Christ and His things are made subservient to self. It is as though Rebekah adorned herself with the jewels that the servant brought from Isaac and went among her friends, displaying herself and saying, "See how rich and increased in goods I am. I have need of nothing." But Rebekah was not so unnatural; she was true as steel to the one who sought her heart and hand; there were no half measures with her, and when the decision was left with her she was decided; she needed neither to ask advice nor time for consideration; "I WILL GO, " was her answer to those who would have detained her, and that answer must have delighted the servant's heart. Rebekah did not hinder him.

How patient the Holy Spirit is with us. He has sealed us for Christ and taken possession of us, and will never leave us. His work is to bring us into unison with Himself, so that His desires and yearnings may be ours and that we may cry in concert with Him, "Come, Lord Jesus." The Spirit longs for the day of gladness, when the church shall be presented to Christ, a glorious church; when He shall find in her a full recompense for all His travail and woe. That will be the day of days in heaven, described by John in Revelation 19:6-8, "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of great thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Shall we hinder the Spirit in preparing the bride for that day? God forbid. Let us yield ourselves unreservedly to the gracious work of the Holy Spirit and say as said Rebekah "I WILL GO WITH THIS MAN."