ISAAC AND REBEKAH
JAMES 5:13, ESV
Is anyone among you suffering?
Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful?
Let him sing praise.
Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful?
Let him sing praise.
Genesis 24:1-9, NIrV
1 By that time Abraham was very old. The Lord had blessed Abraham in every way. 2 The best servant in his house was in charge of everything Abraham had. Abraham said to him, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3 The Lord is the God of heaven and the God of earth. I want you to make a promise to me in his name. I’m living among the people of Canaan. But I want you to promise me that you won’t get a wife for my son from their daughters. 4 Instead, promise me that you will go to my country and to my own relatives. Get a wife for my son Isaac from there.”
5 The servant asked Abraham, “What if the woman doesn’t want to come back with me to this land? Then should I take your son back to the country you came from?”
6 “Make sure you don’t take my son back there,” Abraham said. 7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, took me away from my father’s family. He brought me out of my own land. He made me a promise. He said, ‘I will give this land to your family after you.’ The Lord will send his angel ahead of you. So you will be able to get a wife for my son from there. 8 The woman may not want to come back with you. If she doesn’t, you will be free from your promise. But don’t take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under Abraham’s thigh. He promised to do what his master wanted.
Abraham lived in Canaan, a land crawling with creeps and criminals. He didn’t want his special son marrying a wicked wife from that wild west of a place! He sent his servant Eliezer on a mission: “Return to my home country, find a wife for Isaac among my relatives, and bring her here.” Abraham was certain his servant would find success on his marriage mission. After all, God promised to grow Isaac's family into a great nation. To grow that great nation, obviously God would have to give Isaac a wife! So Eliezer put his hand under Abraham's thigh (sort of like shaking hands) and set off on his trip.
Why did Abraham believe his servant's mission would be successful? (vs. 7)
What did Abraham tell the servant he must not do? (vs. 8)
Genesis 24:10-21, NIrV
10 The servant chose ten of his master’s camels and left. He loaded the camels with all kinds of good things from his master. He started out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He stopped near the well outside the town. There he made the camels get down on their knees. It was almost evening, the time when women go out to get water.
12 Then he prayed, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Make me successful today. Be kind to my master Abraham. 13 I’m standing beside this spring. The daughters of the people who live in the town are coming out here to get water. 14 I will speak to a young woman. I’ll say to her, ‘Please lower your jar so I can have a drink.’ Suppose she says, ‘Have a drink of water, and I’ll get some for your camels too.’ Then let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. That’s how I’ll know you have been kind to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out. She was carrying a jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Milkah’s son Bethuel. Milkah was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The young woman was very beautiful. No man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring. She filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her. He said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18 “Have a drink, sir,” she said. She quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll get water for your camels too. I’ll keep doing it until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the stone tub. Then she ran back to the well to get more water. She got enough for all his camels. 21 The man didn’t say a word. He watched her closely. He wanted to learn whether the Lord had given him success on the journey he had made.
Abraham's servant loaded ten camels with piles of presents, then began the long trek to Abraham’s hometown. Hundreds of miles later, he stopped at a well just outside his destination. Eliezer was unsure where to start in his search for a wife for Isaac. So he made a wise choice: he prayed! He asked God to give him a sign: “I'll ask a woman for a drink from the well. If she offers to get water for my camels, too, let her be the chosen lady!” Incredibly, before he could even finish speaking his prayer, God answered it! A girl came to the well and spoke the exact words the servant was waiting to hear!
What was the name of the girl who brought water to Eliezer and his camels? (vs. 15)
How did God answer Eliezer’s prayer for a special sign? (vs. 13-14 and 19)
Genesis 24:22-28, NIrV
22 The camels finished drinking. Then the man took out a gold nose ring. It weighed about a fifth of an ounce. He also took out two gold bracelets. They weighed about four ounces. 23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? And please tell me something else. Is there room in your father’s house for us? Can we spend the night there?”
24 She answered, “I’m the daughter of Bethuel. He’s the son Milkah had by Nahor.” 25 She continued, “We have plenty of straw and feed for your camels. We also have room for you to spend the night.”
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord. 27 He said, “I praise the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. The Lord hasn’t stopped being kind and faithful to my master. The Lord has led me on this journey. He has brought me to the house of my master’s relatives.”
28 The young woman ran home. She told her mother’s family what had happened.
By getting water for the servant's thirsty camels, Rebekah was simply doing a kind deed for a stranger. But when this guy started giving her gifts of gold, she knew something special must be going on! Even more, after she shared that her grandfather was the brother of Abraham, this stranger started giving praise to his God! What made this man so merry? God had made his mission a smashing success! He'd been sent to find a wife for Isaac from one of Abraham's relatives. And the very first girl he met “just so happened” to be the granddaughter of Abraham's brother!
Besides asking who Rebekah's father was, what else did Eliezer ask her? (vs. 23)
What did Rebekah do after talking with Eliezer? (vs. 28)
Genesis 24:28-33, NIRV
28 The young woman ran home. She told her mother’s family what had happened. 29 Rebekah had a brother named Laban. He hurried out to the spring to meet the man. 30 Laban had seen the nose ring. He had seen the bracelets on his sister’s arms. And he had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said to her. So Laban went out to the man. He found him standing by the camels near the spring. 31 “The Lord has given you his blessing,” he said. “So come with me. Why are you standing out here? I’ve prepared my house for you. I also have a place for the camels.”
32 So the man went to the house. The camels were unloaded. Straw and feed were brought for the camels. And water was brought for him and his men to wash their feet. 33 Then food was placed in front of him. But he said, “I won’t eat until I’ve told you what I have to say.”
“Then tell us,” Laban said.
When Rebekah came home wearing brand-new gifts of gold and speaking about a stranger by the well, her brother Laban ran to go see what was going on. Like Rebekah, Laban was kind to Abraham's servant. “Stay at our house!" Laban offered. "Wash off your dirty feet and have some food!” But this stranger refused to take a single bite of his supper until he could share his story. Eliezer spilled his guts to Laban about everything: his mission to find a wife for Isaac, his prayer to God for a sign, and how Rebekah had said the exact same words he'd been praying to hear.
How did Laban know Rebekah? (vs. 29)
What did Abraham’s servant want to tell Laban? (vs. 34-49)
Genesis 24:50-60, NIRV
50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “The Lord has done all of this. We can’t say anything to you one way or the other. 51 Here is Rebekah. Take her and go. Let her become the wife of your master’s son, just as the Lord has said.”
52 Abraham’s servant heard what they said. So he bowed down to the Lord with his face to the ground. 53 He brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing. He gave all of them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and her mother. 54 Then Abraham’s servant and the men who were with him ate and drank. They spent the night there.
When they got up the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.”
55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman stay with us ten days or so. Then you can go.”
56 But he said to them, “Don’t make me wait. The Lord has given me success on my journey. Send me on my way so I can go to my master.”
57 Then they said, “Let’s get Rebekah and ask her about it.” 58 So they sent for her and asked, “Will you go with this man?”
“Yes, I’ll go,” she said.
59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way with Abraham’s servant and his men. They also sent Rebekah’s servant with her. 60 And they gave Rebekah their blessing. They said to her,
“Dear sister, may your family grow
by thousands and thousands.
May they take over
the cities of their enemies.”
Rebekah’s father Bethuel and brother Laban listened closely as Abraham’s servant shared his story. After hearing about his prayer by the well and God’s instant answer, both men agreed: “The Lord God has made all this happen! We give our blessing for Rebekah to marry Isaac.” But there was one person they had not asked yet: Rebekah! Knowing she had been an answer to prayer, Rebekah agreed to leave with Eliezer. As she hugged and kissed her family goodbye, Rebekah’s dad and brother prayed a prayer of blessing: “May God grow your brand new family into a nation of thousands!”
Who were Laban and Bethuel?
What gifts did Abraham’s servant give to Rebekah and her family? (vs. 52-53)
Genesis 24:61-67, NIRV
61 Then Rebekah and her female servants got ready. They got on their camels to go back with the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and left.
62 By that time Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi. He was living in the Negev Desert. 63 One evening he went out to the field. He wanted to spend some time thinking. When he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel. 65 She asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”
“He’s my master,” the servant answered. So she covered her face with her veil.
66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done. 67 Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent that had belonged to his mother Sarah. And he married Rebekah. She became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother died.
Back in Isaac’s time, there were no phones or computers. He couldn’t pull out a device from his pocket and send a message to Eliezer that said, “Have you found her yet?” Instead, he just had to wait.. and wait… and wait! One day, as he was waiting, Isaac decided to head out into a field and do some thinking. When he did, what did he see? Eliezer and Rebekah riding into town on their camels! Because of this happy timing, Isaac got to be the very first person to welcome Rebekah to her new home.
The story of Abraham’s servant’s search for a wife had a happy ending. Isaac married Rebekah and loved her very much. But that should come as no surprise to us. After all, Rebekah was the exact girl that God had chosen for Isaac!
From the very beginning, Abraham was certain that his servant’s search would be a smashing success. Why? Because God had made a promise to him and Abraham had no doubt that God was going to keep it!
Long before the day Isaac first met the lovely Rebekah (65 years before, in fact), the Lord God spoke to Isaac's dad. Way back then, God promised to take Abraham's tiny family of two and grow it into a great nation of thousands and thousands. Not only that, God also promised to give this nation the land of Canaan as their home.
Because he believed God's promises, Abraham was certain Eliezer’s quest for Isaac's wife would have a happy ending. After all, Isaac was going to need a wife if his family was going to grow into a nation of thousands and thousands!
And God didn't let Abraham down. He made Eliezer’s search surprisingly simple! He guided people to be in just the right places at just the right times and to say just the right things. God made things so easy, Eliezer’s prayer for help was answered even before he could get the words out of his mouth!
Like Abraham, we can count on God to keep his promises. As the God of the Universe, he is in control of everything. He's in control of the big things that happen, like the rising of the sun or the storms of the sea. But he's also in control of the little things, too, like what women say when they get water from a well!
The rest of the Bible tells the story of God keeping his promises to Abraham. Isaac and Rebekah's family grew into a nation of thousands and thousands, just like God promised. And around 1,800 years later, the greatest of Isaac's great-grandchildren was born. You can probably guess who I'm talking about... it's Jesus, the Son of God who was sent to save us all from sin and death!
What did the servant say to Isaac? (vs. 66)
Why was Abraham so certain that the servant would find a wife for Isaac?