Welcome back to the second in our new series of 24 Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus.” Did you attempt my challenge from yesterday? Several of you suggested names of candidates (including Adam, Eve, Cain and Noah to name just a few) as the first person in the Bible to give thanks to God.
When I began searching for that person, I was sure it would be someone like Noah or Abraham, but I was surprised to find no record of them offering praise to God. The first time someone clearly offers thanks to God, it is not one of the great patriarchs of the faith but a humble servant.
Abraham asks his most trusted servant, likely a man named Eliezer of Damascus who was earlier named as Abraham’s heir (Gen. 15:2), to seek a wife for Isaac. Eliezer sets off on a journey that, if he is successful, means he himself will lose a huge inheritance. The servant prays and God answers by pointing him to Rebekah. When she agrees to give him a drink and to water his thirsty camels as well, he knows God has answered his prayer. Gen. 24:27 records his words of thanks: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham. The Lord has been kind and faithful to Abraham, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”
Since Eliezer was from Damascus, he came from a pagan background. He must have learned how to pray to God by watching his master, Abraham. He also must have learned to give thanks by observing Abraham. Who is watching you and learning about faith in God? Are they also learning to give thanks?