Introduction: The faith which God gives His people is always meant to be passed on. By commissioning his most trusted servant to go and search for a wife for his son Isaac,
(Gen. 24:1-4), Abraham passes on the inheritance of faith in this week’s readings to Isaac and Rebekah, the wife which his servant finds for Isaac in the land of Abraham’s fathers.
Monday: read Genesis 24:1-17. In Genesis 24:15-17 we are re-introduced to Abraham’s brother Nahor’s family. We see Nahor’s grand-daughter Rebekah come to the well where she meets Abraham’s servant who has been sent by the patriarch to find a wife for his son Isaac. Through the prayers of the faithful servant for guidance in verses 12-14, God orchestrates the encounter with Rebekah, proving to us once again that it is God’s counsel alone which will stand and succeed. Proverbs 19:21 puts it this way: ‘Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ God desired to find the right wife for Isaac, and His plan is bound to succeed.
Meditate and Pray: The only reason that the servant of Abraham was successful in making the connection with Abraham’s relatives and finding Rebekah, who would prove to be the best choice of a wife for Isaac, is because he simply followed in the steps which the Lord God laid before him. Commit your steps to the Lord anew right now; ask Him to establish all your plans and steps: especially in the momentous events of life such as marriage. God promises to hear such a prayer: ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.’ (Proverbs 16:3)
Tuesday: read Genesis 24:17-30. When it comes to guidance, some mistakenly think that God will make His plans known by momentous events and dramatic encounters. The truth is, however, that God often works through simple and humble means to reveal great things. What did Abraham’s servant look for when it came to seeking the character traits which would identify a godly wife for Isaac – someone whose kindness to strangers and even their animals would show the tenderness of a godly heart? That is exactly what he looked for and found in Gen. 24:17-21! And he watched in silence as God lead him exactly to such a person (verse 21).
Meditate and Pray: Who was it that was responsible for producing such a tender heart in Rebekah? Was it simply family upbringing? Alas, no, for the brother of Rebekah, Laban, who is introduced in Gen. 24:29, will entirely lack the godly servant’s heart of his sister! He turns out to be a dangerous man from whom Rebekah’s son Jacob will have to flee (Gen. 31:2) years later. No: it is the Holy Spirit alone who prepares the hearts of men and women to show the compassion and kindness of God. Thank the Holy Spirit now for the way He works to produce changed lives and good hearts in even sinful, idolatrous families like Rebekah’s. Thank God for this heart-changing work of the Holy Spirit in Hymn # 334 in our Red Trinity Hymnal: ‘Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.’
Wednesday: read Genesis 24:31-48. Eager to complete his mission for his master even before eating after his long journey (Gen. 24:33), the servant of Abraham recounts every prayed-over detail of his mission and its success. In the hearing of all of Rebekah’s family, the servant gives all the credit to God for guiding him thus far: Gen. 24:48. In fact, he even recites Abraham’s promise in Gen. 24:40 that it would be none other than the ‘Angel of the Lord’ who would go before him and guide him successfully to the wife chosen for Isaac.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God the Father that He orders all the successful events of our lives, sending His servants, the angels, before us to prepare every important transaction and every interaction with the men and women of this world. All of heaven works for God the Father. If those very servants the angels ‘rejoice’ over our repentance when we are God’s enemies (Luke 15:10), how much more do you think they eagerly serve us in our every need: even in our marriages? These angels are, after all, ‘servants’ of God’s children (Hebrews 1:7).
Thursday: read Genesis 24:47-59. It is not only Abraham and his servant who view the search for a wife for Isaac as under God’s control, but even Rebekah’s brother and father say ‘This is from the Lord,’ (Gen. 24:50). The hearts of men, even unbelievers like Laban, can be moved like water when God’s hand is directing their thoughts. Rebekah’s whole family realizes the importance of what is going on. Even Rebekah herself agrees to leave immediately, moved by the God who urgently wants to keep His promise that it would be ‘with Isaac’ that He would establish His covenant as an ‘everlasting covenant for his descendants after him,’ (Gen. 17:19).
Meditate and Pray: What would have happened to the ‘family of faith’ who would come from Isaac and to the ‘Christ child’ who would be born from Isaac’s line if Rebekah had refused to leave her family and travel to the far-off land of Abraham and Isaac? From a human perspective, all would have been lost! But thank God that He is able to build the family of God, making every family member, like Rebekah, ‘willing volunteers in the day of His power,’ (Psalm 110:3). Let us sing with Rebekah of our willing commitment to go wherever the Lord leads us:
‘Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise, let them flow in ceaseless praise.’ (# 585)
Friday: read Genesis 24:59-67. It is surely very moving to hear Rebekah’s family sing in farewell a prayer for her ‘thousands upon thousands’ of offspring and for their victorious possession of the ‘gates of their enemies,’ (Gen. 24:60). Once again we marvel at the Holy Spirit who moved Rebekah’s family to prophesy of what would actually happen. Through Isaac’s birth, the establishment of the family of faith would be carried on – until one day we along with Isaac would be part of that family of believing Abraham, as Galatians 3:9 and 3:29 make clear. Moreover, the victory of their enemies was fulfilled when Isaac’s greater Son Jesus, defeated sin and Satan on the cross. The Spirit of God inspired Rebekah’s household to sing of nothing less!
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for His romantic plan not only to find a wife for Isaac, but also to send no one less than the ‘Angel of the Lord,’ (Gen. 24:40), to find a family of faith for His Son to marry by dying for them on the cross. As the bride Rebekah recognized her husband in Gen. 24:64-65, so we recognize Jesus our Bridegroom who comes seeking us as His bride. May we bring joy to the Lord Jesus, even as Isaac found great comfort and joy in his newly-found bride Rebekah!
‘Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear Desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.’ (# 196)