In last month’s blog we looked at Genesis chapter 24 and the story of Isaac and Rebecca. We saw Abraham coordinating a marriage for Isaac at the end of his life. Abraham sends a trusted servant with specific instructions; Abraham said in Genesis 24:4, “but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” The faithful servant puts a fleece before the Lord so that he can be certain that this woman is definitely the woman for Isaac. The fleece is answered when Rebecca offers to water the camel’s “until they have finished drinking”. Now let’s see what happens next!
We ended in part one with verse 27 but, we need to back up to verses 22-23. In these verses the servant gives Rebecca a gold ring and two bracelets for her wrists and asks her two questions; “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to stay overnight at your father’s house?” At this point Rebecca in verse 24 says, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah’s son, whom she bore to Nahor.” The servant has found the household of Abraham’s family but, look at Rebecca’s response to the servant’s question regarding a place to stay. Rebecca says in verse 25, “We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to stay overnight.” At this point we can see Rebecca’s character. Look at all of the active verbs used throughout this chapter up to verse 27, “she came out with her jar on her shoulder”, “she filled her jar”, “she came up”, “she quickly lowered her jar to her hand”, “she gave him a drink”, and “she quickly emptied her jar into the trough”. She is energetic, physically strong, she knows her mind, does not hesitate, and acts without asking her parents. She has a confidence in her judgment which is admirable but, at the same time her rashness will bring her grief later on in her life with Hagar.
The servant follows Rebecca back to her home and meets her brother Laban along with the rest of the household. Laban welcomes him, unloads his camels, gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with the servant. The servant is encouraged to eat, but in verse 33 he says, “I will not eat until I have stated my business”. I find this so interesting because the servant is focused on his master’s business. The servant could have enjoyed himself with the food that was being laid before him along with probably wine but, he is laser focused on the assignment that he was given. How many times do we get side tracked from an assignment that God has given us? How many times do we know that we need to perform a task that is important to God but, we find excuses for not accomplishing the task? This servant is being faithful to his master to conduct the assignment that he has been given. In verses 34-48, the servant recounts the task that Abraham has entrusted to him and how he prayed for a sign that the right woman would be shown to him. The servant ends his story in verse 49 by saying, “So now if you are going to deal kindly and truthfully with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me now, so that I may turn to the right or the left.” Laban and Bethuel reply in verse 50 by saying, “The matter has come from the Lord; so we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebecca before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.” At this point. both Laban and Bethuel know that this is the Lord guiding and directing the servant. The Lord Himself is the one who placed Isaac and Rebecca together as a couple to continue the blessing that He had promised Abraham. There is an interesting midrash which states that God does not cause the sun of one righteous person to set until He causes the sun of another righteous one to rise, as it is said (Eccl. 1:5); “The sun rises, and the sun sets.” Before God caused the sun of Sarah to set, He caused the sun of Rebecca to shine (Gen. Rabbah 58:2). Rebecca’s birth (Gen. 22) is mentioned before the death of Sarah (Gen. 23), because God prepared the next matriarch before Sarah died. This reminds us of the prayer that the servant uttered to God which was answered before he finished speaking (v.15). In our lives, our God is on His throne and as I said in last month’s blog God is not surprised, confused or trying to make up for lost time because He is caught off guard. He prepared Rebecca from birth to be a matriarch and prepared her to be Isaac’s wife with her talents, giftings, skills, personality, strengths and weaknesses.
When Laban and Bethuel agree to the marriage the servant is overjoyed and wishes to leave the next morning. Laban and Bethuel wish to delay him for ten days at which point the servant objects to the delay and asks them to send him back to Abraham. Rebecca is summoned and asked in verse 58, “Will you go with this man?” and she responds, “I will go.” The response given by Rebecca is so typical of her personality but, it might also suggest her youth with its lack of fear and boldness. One of the midrashic traditions suggest that Rebecca may have been fourteen years old when she married Isaac. It also reminds us of Abraham’s and Sarah’s courage in leaving their land and their family to follow God’s leading. Rebecca was following in their footsteps in leaving her family and her home.
The journey was long for her to meet her future husband. The trip was approximately 500 miles, which would have taken about three weeks for her to arrive at her new home. I can only imagine her thoughts as each day they drew closer. She was probably homesick, missing her parents, her familiar routine, yet excited for her new life that was awaiting her along with a husband that she had never met. Would he find her beautiful? Would he be kind? Those questions were answered when she saw him in the fields and dismounted her camel. Rebecca took her veil and covered herself as the servant told Isaac the entire story of God’s faithfulness. Then all of the questions that Rebecca had about Isaac were answered in verse 67, “Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her; so Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” When Isaac brought Rebecca into Sarah’s tent it announced that she was now the Matriarch. God had not forgotten his promise to Abraham (Gen. 22:15-18) and now God continued his faithfulness through Rebecca.
If you are waiting in line for your promise to come to fruition do not abandon hope. Wait on His timing, continue to wait in your line and wait to see God’s faithfulness!