Genesis 24: Lessons from Isaac and Rebekah’s Marriage on Selecting a Spouse.

Introduction: Genesis Chapter 24 recounts Abraham’s faith in sending his most trusted servant to find a bride for his son Isaac. This is also the longest chapter in the book of Genesis. Every chapter in the Bible is important and should be studied. But the relative length of this chapter compared to others establishes that God cares more about establishing proper relationships with Him and other people than He does in explaining scientific matters like the origins of mankind.

This account should be read on at least three levels. First, the account documents the union of the second patriarch and matriarch of Israel. Second, the account reveals seven truths for any believer to find a godly spouse. Third, this account foreshadows the future marriage between the Church (symbolized by Rebekah) and Jesus (symbolized by Isaac). The faithful servant who guides Rebekah and Isaac together foreshadows the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding believers.

The seven truths for a person of faith to find a godly spouse revealed in this chapter include: (1) faith in God; (2) purity in yourself and your spouse; (3) prayer for a spouse of virtue; (4) trust in God’s provision; (5) gratitude and joy; (6) praise for God; and (7) obedience and submission.

First, because of his faith, God blessed Abraham in every way. This included his family. From this, God reveals that faith is the first and most important step before He can bless you. This includes (but is not limited to) finding a godly spouse. Second, Abraham sent his trusted (but nameless) servant to find a spouse for Isaac. But the servant could not look for a spouse in Canaan where idol worship was rampant. He allowed his servant to briefly return to Abraham’s extended family in Haran. But Isaac could not leave the Promised Land to return to a place where he might be corrupted because his family in Haran were also idol worshippers. The Holy Spirit carefully selected one woman who would rise above her family’s idolatry and accept the one true God in faith. From this, God reveals that the second most important step for finding a godly spouse is ensuring purity in your spouse and yourself. You and your spouse must be careful not to become unequally yoked in your walk. Third, while in Haran, Abraham’s servant prayed for God to reveal Isaac’s future wife through tests of hospitality that would show her virtue. He did not ask God to bring a woman of beauty. From this, God reveals that you should pray for God to bring you a spouse of godly virtue. He wants you to focus on a person’s inner beauty and godly virtue, not their outward appearance. Fourth, because the servant did not ask for someone with external beauty, God rewarded his faith and wisdom by bringing a spouse for Isaac of exceptional beauty. From this, God reveals that He will provide for your needs when you trust Him in faith. Fifth, after finding Rebekah, the servant showed gratitude toward God. Rebekah in turn ran to her family’s tent with joy. From this, God wants you to respond when He provides for you and your spouse with a life filled with gratitude and joy. Sixth, the servant carefully recounted for Rebekah’s family God’s provision in guiding him to Rebekah. From this, God reveals that you can honor Him and help others come to faith by sharing His praise and your testimony of God’s provision in your life. Finally, Rebekah showed complete obedience and prompt submission to God’s will. From this, God reveals that you are to also give Him complete obedience and prompt submission. You and your spouse must also submit to each other in love.

1. Faith: God Will Bless You and Your Family When You Trust Him in Faith. Gen. 24:1.

  • God’s blessings for Abraham’s faith. The story of Isaac’s marriage to Rebekah begins with the blessings that came to them through Abraham’s faith: “1 Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way.” (Gen. 24:1). God extended at least seven types of blessings to Abraham. First, He blessed Abraham with a son passed child bearing age (Gen. 21:1-2). Second, on seven occasions, He blessed Abraham by promising to make him the father of a great nation ((1) Gen. 12:3(b); (2) 13:16; (3) 15:5; (4) 16:10; (5) 17:4-5; (6) 18:18; (7) 22:18). Third, He blessed his descendants with an eternal Promised Land: “for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.” (Gen. 13:15). Fourth, He blessed him with protection from his enemies: “Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.’” (Gen. 15:1(b)). For example, He protected Abraham in his battle against the four armies of King Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:13-16). Fifth, He blessed him financially: “Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold.” (Gen. 13:2; 12:16). Sixth, He blessed Abraham with a long life. Abraham, Joshua, and David were all called “old and advanced in years” to indicate their blessed long lives. (Josh. 23:1-2; 1 Kgs. 1:1). Finally, He blessed Abraham with forgiveness for his many sins. This included the blessing of eternal life through Jesus.

  • God’s blessings to Abraham can extend to you through faith in Christ. The Apostle Paul advised that many of the blessings that God extended to Abraham can extend to you through faith in Christ: “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.” (Gal. 3:7-9). “May you be blessed of the LORD, maker of heaven and earth.” (Ps. 115:15). This includes the blessing of your eternal salvation: “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” (Lk. 6:23). “And men will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth!”’ (Ps. 58:11). You also receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit as a pledge for your salvation (Eph. 1:14). When done without a motivation of a reward, He will also reward your works of love and charity: “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” (2 Chr. 15:7). If it is part of His plan for you, He may also bless you financially: “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” (Prov. 10:20). “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, . . .” (Dt. 8:18). Like Abraham, your faith may also bring blessings to your family. Are you staying faithful so that God may bless both you and your family?

2. Purity: God Wants You to Remain Pure and Look for Purity in Marriage. Gen. 24:2-9.

  • Abraham’s tests for keeping Isaac pure in marriage. To find a spouse for Isaac, Abraham sent his most trusted (yet nameless) servant on a difficult task. He ordered him not to look for a spouse in the pagan-filled land of Canaan. He also could not take Isaac out the Promised Land to Haran where his pagan-worshiping extended family might corrupt Isaac: “Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, ‘Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.’ The servant said to him, ‘Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?’ Then Abraham said to him, ‘Beware that you do not take my son back there! The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.’ So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.” (Gen. 24:2-9). Many assume that the servant referenced in this account is “Eliezer”, the servant who would have inherited Abraham’s wealth if he had died without an heir: ‘“Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’” (Gen. 15:2). But the Bible does not record the servant’s name. He is instead remembered as the faithful servant who did the master’s will without any glory or attention to himself. In this way, the nameless servant foreshadows the Holy Spirit. Even if the servant was Eliezer, his name again foreshadows the Holy Spirit. His name translates as “God of help.” In a similar way, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the “Helper.” “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” (Jo. 15:26). If this was Eliezer, he also worked to fulfill the inheritance of a man who took the inheritance that otherwise would have gone to him. Just as this servant faithfully worked behind the scenes to do the master’s will, the Holy Spirit faithfully works behind the scenes to do the Father’s will in your life. This includes preparing you to be the bride of Christ where you will be joined together with Him in a spiritual union in the eternal promised land of heaven (Rev. 19:7-14). Paul also minimized his role as God’s servant by calling himself a “bond servant” (Ro. 1:1). Like the servant,will you humbly serve Jesus without drawing attention to yourself?

  • God’s prohibition against marriage with nonbelievers. As He did with Isaac, God prohibited the Jews from marrying the Canaanites. Isaac later repeated this rule to his son Jacob: “So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, ‘You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”’ (Gen. 28:1). Rachel later sent Jacob to Haran to find a bride through her brother Laban without asking God. Jacob then became trapped in the land. “Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, ‘Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country.”’ (Gen. 30:25). Moses and Joshua later warned Israel not to be unequally yoked: “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.” (Dt. 7:3; Ex. 34:16; Josh. 23:12). “and that we will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons.” (Neh. 10:30). God knew that intermarriage with pagan nonbelievers would cause the Jews to fall off their walk with Him. For example, it was Solomon’s foreign wives that caused him to turn his heart away from God: “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1 Kgs. 11:4). There is wisdom in God’s rules for believers today.

  • Don’t be unequally yoked. God wants you to be pure and holy for His use. He wants us to be holy because He is holy: “[B]ecause it is written, ‘you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16; Lev. 11:44-5; 19:2; 20:7). Thus, the definition of “true religion” includes being “unstained by the world.” (Ja. 1:27). Part of being pure and holy includes being separate from marriages to non-believers: “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” (Dt. 22:10). “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” (1 Jo. 1:6). Many believers marry non-believers expecting them to change. The result is typically sorrow. Are you entangling yourself in emotional or business partnerships with non-believers? Are you giving clear guidance to your kids about dating?

3. Pray for Virtue: Ask God for a Spouse of Virtue over Looks. Gen. 24:10-14.

  • The servant’s tests for Isaac’s spouse had nothing to do with looks. The unnamed servant (who symbolized the Holy Spirit) did not ask for God to bring Isaac the most beautiful wife in the land. Instead, he prayed for God to reveal Isaac’s spouse at a well through rigorous tests of hospitality for both himself and his animals: “10 Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11 He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 He said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; 14 now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’—may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.” (Gen. 24:10-14). The servant prayed for God to reveal the woman whom God had “appointed” for Isaac (Gen. 24:14). This reveals that God has appointed one spouse for each person. He has not appointed multiple different people for each person. Thus, although many men in the Old Testament had multiple spouses, that was not part of God’s will. Isaac was blessed with a happy marriage because he was the only patriarch to marry only one woman. Persons today are also not free to have multiple sexual partners. Staying faithful to the same person will also help to ensure a happy marriage.

  • External beauty can corrupt and does not last. The godly servant did not pray for a woman of exterior beauty because exterior beauty can be a source of vanity: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Prov. 31:30). Satan, for example, became prideful because of his beauty: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you.” (Ez. 28:17). External beauty will also fade over time. “For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off,’” (1 Pet. 1:24). Have you placed an unhealthy emphasis in your outward appearance or the outward appearance of your future spouse? Are you teaching your children the dangers of looking for a spouse based upon external beauty?

Abraham’s servant prayed for God to guide him on his mission1

  • The purity of Isaac’s bride. Rebekah was beautiful. Yet, more importantly, she was also a virgin who stayed pure for her future spouse (Gen. 24:16). In preparing for your future spouse, God also wants His people to remain virgins until marriage. This may sound difficult in the modern age. But it is God’s will that you must follow. You must also teach your children the importance of purity. Finally, you must also stay pure for Jesus.

  • Show godly virtue through service to strangers in need. Rebekah was a godly woman because she put the needs of a stranger before her own needs. She offered to help not only the servant but also all of his camels. Solomon advised that a virtuous spouse is revealed through selfless service: “She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.” (Prov. 31:20). As the future bride of Christ, He also expects this from you as well: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2). “contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Ro. 12:13; Dt. 15:11). “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress . . .” (Ja. 1:27). Jesus will also bless you by clearly seeing His will when you stay pure for Him: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8). Like Rebekah, are you reaching out to help others in need?

  • Jesus will test you the same way the servant tested Rebekah. Like the servant, Jesus will also test you to see if you will help the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the incarcerated: “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” (Matt. 25:34-45). Are you passing Jesus’ test? If not, pray for the Spirit to guide your heart.

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to also guide your path. Like the servant, you are also encouraged to pray for God to guide your steps. Moses later reminded the Jews that they were blessed to have a God “near them” who could answer their prayers. But they needed to take advantage of this by constantly searching out God’s will through prayer: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?” (Dt. 4:7). By being “near” this meant that God was present to answer their prayers, direct them, protect them, and provide for them. Today, believers are similarly blessed because the Holy Spirit dwells within them (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14). The Spirit will guide you when you read God’s Word in faith: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). The Spirit will also guide you when you pray. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5). “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” (Ps. 51:6). “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6). “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.” (Job 32:8). You also can have your prayers answered if you confess your sins and pray in faith: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Ja. 5:16). If you sin, God will not forsake you or leave you (Heb. 13:5). Yet, when you openly sin, your prayers will be “hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7; Jo. 9:31; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 28:9; Isa. 1:15). The reason for this is that sin cannot be in God’s presence, and He “cannot look on wickedness.” (Hab. 1:13). Have you confessed your sins and asked for the Holy Spirit to guide your steps through the Word and prayer?

4. Trust: He Provides When You First Seek Inner Beauty. Gen. 24:15-21.

  • God’s reward for the faithful and righteous prayers of the servant. Because the servant did not pray incorrectly for things of the flesh, God rewarded both him and Isaac with a woman of both virtue and exceptional beauty: “15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder. 16 The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. 17 Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar.’ 18 She said, ‘Drink, my lord’; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19 Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, ‘I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking.’ 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. 21 Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the Lord had made his journey successful or not.” (Gen. 24:15-21). God showed His faithfulness by answering the servant’s prayer before he finished speaking: “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Is. 65:24). He also knows your needs before you ask. But He wants you to pray for your needs so that you will show gratitude.

  • Trust God and He will guide your decisions. Here, God reveals that believers are to rely upon Him and not to lean upon their own understandings: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “Trust in the Lord forever, for we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isa. 26:4). “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” (Ps. 37:3). “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;’” (Jer. 9:23). Do you trust God to guide your decisions?

Salomon de Bray 1597 – 1664 (Rebekah and Eliezer at the Well) (painting 1660)2

5. Gratitude and Joy: Show Gratitude and Joy To Him in All Things. Gen. 24:22-31.

  • The servant’s gratitude for God’s guidance. After God rewarded the servant, the servant praised God for His provision and guidance: “22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, 23 and said, ‘Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?’ 24 She said to him, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.’ 25 Again she said to him, ‘We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.’ 26 Then the man bowed low and worshiped the Lord. 27 He said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the Lord has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.’” (Gen. 24:22-27). The Holy Spirit had carefully guided the servant’s steps to the house of Bethuel, Abraham’s nephew. He also prepared the female version of Abraham, a godly woman who would leave her pagan family for a higher calling in the Promised Land. For all this, the servant humbly praised God’s holy name.

Antonio Bellucci 1654 – 1726 (Rebekah at the Well) (painting 1700)3

  • Rebekah and Laban’s joy and gratitude for God’s guidance. Rebekah showed her joy by running to her brother Laban. Laban in turn ran to greet the servant: “28 Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran outside to the man at the spring. 30 When he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, ‘This is what the man said to me,’ he went to the man; and behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31 And he said, ‘Come in, blessed of the Lord! Why do you stand outside since I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?’” (Gen. 24:28-31). The joy of Rebekah and Laban are an example to all believers.

  • Be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Like Rebekah, God promises you joy when you run to Him: “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17). Paul once commanded a person who had never walked to stand up. Yet, filled with the joy of the Spirit, he did more than that. He “leaped up and began to walk (Acts 14:10). Likewise, “[w]hen Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. . . . For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:41, 44). Peter and John also ran with joy upon hearing of Jesus’ resurrection: “So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;” (Jo. 20:3-4). David also writes, “in Your presence is fullness of joy;” (Ps. 16:11; 21:6). Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Rom. 14:17; 15:13). Are you filled with the joy of the Spirit?

  • Make your life a living sacrifice for God. Like the servant, Rebekah, and Laban, you are also called upon to give thanks for Christ’s provision in your life. You can thank Him by making your life a living sacrifice for Him: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Rom. 12:1). “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). Is your life a living sacrifice of gratitude for what Christ has done for you?

6. Praise for God: Bear Witness to Others When God Provides for You. Gen. 24:32-49.

  • The servant’s detailed praise for God’s guidance and provision. The servant then showed that he was a man of God by carefully bearing witness to all of God’s miracles in guiding and providing for him on his journey: “32 So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33 But when food was set before him to eat, he said, ‘I will not eat until I have told my business.’ And he said, ‘Speak on.’ 34 So he said, ‘I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has greatly blessed my master, so that he has become rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys. 36 Now Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him all that he has. 37 My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; 38 but you shall go to my father’s house and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.’ 39 I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman does not follow me.’ 40 He said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s house; 41 then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my relatives; and if they do not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’ 42 ‘So I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful; 43 behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar’; 44 and she will say to me, ‘You drink, and I will draw for your camels also’; let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’ 45 ‘Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew, and I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’; so I drank, and she watered the camels also. 47 Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 And I bowed low and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 49 So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.’” (Gen. 24:32-49). It might at first seem like redundant details for God to repeat each detail in the servant’s account. But the repetition is recorded as an example for believers to follow. Like the servant, you are called upon to recount each detail of God’s faithfulness to others.

  • Be a witness like the servant. The servant represents what a believer is called to do in sharing the Word. “Abraham commissioned his servant Eliezar and sent him on a mission to seek out a suitable bride. In Hebrew, a person sent on a mission is called a shaliach, which means “sent one.” The same word translates into Greek as apostolos, which in turn enters English New Testament translations as “apostle.” In that sense, Abraham commissioned and sent Eliezer as his apostle. Yeshua commissioned His apostles with a similar assignment. He sent them to make disciples for Himself. These disciples, in turn, constitute the Assembly of Messiah, which the New Testament metaphorically refers to as the ‘bride of Messiah.’ When read in this light, Genesis 24 becomes a textbook for evangelism and transmitting the good news of the kingdom.” (First Fruit of Zion, Torah Club (2016), Vol. 2, Shadows of the Messiah, Chayei Sarah p. 98). Christ’s light burns inside you as a beacon to others (Matt. 5:14). You are also encouraged to share the hope that lies within you with gentleness: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Pet. 3:15; Matt. 28:19-20). God will bless you when you respond to His calling and share your testimony with others: “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” (Ro. 10:15; Is. 52:7). Do you share your faith with others and also support missionaries? If you cannot answer yes to both questions, pray for the Spirit to guide you..

  • Labor for the Lord. The servant found Rebekah working at the well. Jesus is also looking for a bride who will labor for Him in the field of evangelism. “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:35(b)-36). You are saved by your faith alone in Christ. Yet, out of gratitude, Jesus wants you to labor for Him to save the lost and those in need.

  • Offer Christ’s living waters to those who are thirsty. Isaac (Gen. 24:15-21), Jacob (Gen. 29:4-10), and Moses (Ex. 2:15-16) all found their brides by a well. Jesus twice met Hagar at a well (Gen. 16:7; 21:19). He also met the woman from Samaria at a well: “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’” (Jo. 4:7). Jesus is the living water who quenches the thirst of those who are sorrowful. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-39). According to one commentator, this reveals that “Our best prospects in evangelism are people who are thirsty and seeking. The thirsty soul seeks out many wells, but none satisfy except the well of living water that is Messiah.” (First Fruits of Zion p. 102). When you come across those who are filled with sorrow or pain, are you offering to them the living water that Jesus offers?

  • Sing God’s praises. The David also gave regular thanks through songs of praise (e.g., Ps. 18:49; 26:7; 30:4, 12; 50:14; 69:30; 75:1; 79:13; 92:1; 95:2; 97:12; 100:4; 106:1; 107:1, 8; 116:17; 118:1, 119:62; 140:13; 147:7). Do you sing songs of praise to God?

  • You are not responsible for those who reject Christ’s water. Abraham told the servant that he would be released from his oath and any obligation if the bride refused the invitation to come to the Promised Land: “But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.’” (Gen. 24:8). In a similar way, you bear no guilt if others reject your witness. “We share the gospel because that is our responsibility, but it is not our job to coerce anyone against their will. If we try to win people to Messiah, even if we fail, we have fulfilled our obligation.” (First Fruits p. 102).

7. Obey God and Submit: Promptly Obey God and Submit to Your Spouse. Gen. 24:50-66.

  • Laban and Betuel’s consent to Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac. Each person at the conclusion of this account showed obedience and submission to God. This began with Laban and Bethuel: “50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, ‘The matter comes from the Lord; so we cannot speak to you bad or good. 51 Here is Rebekah before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.’” (Gen. 24:50-51). Rebekah’s brother and father could have insisted that either Isaac or Abraham make the request in person for Rebekah’s hand in marriage. Instead, they trusted in faith the unknown servant. Moreover, they consented before any discussion of a dowry for her hand in marriage.

Bethuel consents to Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac4

  • The servant’s refusal to delay the preparations for the wedding. After rewarding Laban and Bethuel for their faith with a dowry, the servant then showed his obedience and submission to God by asking Rebekah’s family not to delay them on his journey: “52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the Lord. 53 The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, ‘Send me away to my master.’ 55 But her brother and her mother said, ‘Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.’ 56 He said to them, ‘Do not delay me, since the Lord has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.’” (Gen. 24:52-56). It might have seemed rude to deny Rebekah ten last days with her family. But this was a test of faith. The servant was testing her heart to see if her heart was in the Promised Land with her unseen bridegroom. Or, would she long for her old life with her pagan family?

  • Rebekah’s prompt obedience to the servant’s calling. Rebekah showed her faith with her prompt obedience and submission by agreeing to leave with the servant without delay for the Promised Land: “57 And they said, ‘We will call the girl and consult her wishes.’ 58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?’ And she said, ‘I will go.’ 59 Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah and said to her, ‘May you, our sister, become thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them.’ 61 Then Rebekah arose with her maids, and they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.” (Gen. 24:57-61). The blessing that Rebekah’s family gave her is commonly given to women at Jewish weddings. It was also a prophecy. Through her, God’s promises to Abraham of countless descendants would be fulfilled.

  • Respond to Jesus’ calling in your life without delay. Both Abraham and Rebekah showed faith and obedience by promptly responding to God’s calling to leave for the Promised Land (Gen. 12:1-4). Rebekah was like one of the wise virgins in the parable of the ten virgins. The wise ones prepared for the unseen groom. The foolish ones delayed in their preparations (Matt. 25:1-12). Believers are also urged to be pure and ready at all times for Christ’s return: “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” (Matt. 25:13). When one disciple asked Jesus, “‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father,’” He responded, “‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’” (Matt. 8:21-23). If you long for your old life, Jesus warns that you are not ready for His Kingdom: “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”’ (Lk. 9:62). He does not want you to wait for a convenient time before you serve the Him. He has also given every believer “talents” that are to be used for His Kingdom (Matt. 25:14-30). If you have been given gifts like teaching, preaching, hospitality, or prayer, He wants you to use those talents without delay for His Kingdom. If you are successful or have money, that money can also be used to further His Kingdom. If you are failing to promptly use your talents for His Kingdom, you have committed the sin of slothfulness: “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” (Prov. 20:4; 21:25). “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Prov. 10:4; 12:24). Are you promptly fulfilling the Spirit’s direction in your life?

  • Isaac and Rebekah’s submission to their arranged marriage. Finally, both Isaac and Rebekah showed their submission to God and each other as they joined together in marriage: “62 Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. 63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65 She said to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?’ And the servant said, ‘He is my master.’ Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Gen. 24:62-66). Rebekah covered herself so that Isaac would marry her because of her inner and not her exterior beauty. The veil in that time was also a sign of submission. Isaac previously submitted to God’s will by carrying the wood to his own sacrifice and by not attempting to break free from his older father (Gen. 22:4-6). God rewarded Isaac’s submission and obedience with a wife with the same heart of submission to God’s will. Just as Christ submitted Himself to the Church, the husband and wife must submit to each other under Christ’s leadership (Eph. 5:22-30). Are you submitting to your spouse under Christ’s will? Or, do your own needs come first?

Arent de Gelder 1645 – 1727 (Isaac meets Rebekah) (painting 1665)5

Isaac marries Rebekah6

  • Submit to Christ in preparation for your future wedding to Him. In Genesis Chapter 22, Isaac foreshadowed Christ with his willingness to be led to the sacrifice without opposition. Abraham then returned without Isaac (Gen. 22:19). Isaac is not seen in the text until the unnamed servant finds his bride. This foreshadows Christ’s return and His future marriage to the Church (Rev. 19:7-8; 21:2; 21:9). God was betrothed to Israel (Jer. 2:2). He was faithful to His bride (Ps. 18:25). He therefore implored the Jews to return to their husband: ‘“Return faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband.’” (Jer. 3:14). And at Mount Horeb, He made a marriage contract. The Jews accepted His marriage proposal: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” (Ex. 19:1-8). But a wedding contract must be signed by a friend of the bride and a friend of the groom. The Holy Spirit was the friend of the groom, and Moses was the friend of the bride, Israel. But God did not allow Moses to sign the contract. Instead, Moses broke the Ten Commandments (Ex. 32:19). The sin that caused the people to break the wedding contract was spiritual adultery and idolatry. Rather than accepting their bridegroom and waiting on Him, they made for themselves a new bridegroom out of a golden calf (Ex. 32:24). Jesus will one day complete His marriage with His church (Rev. 19:7-14). The bridegroom and the bride then are able to dwell together (Rev. 20:4). Thus, this entire chapter foreshadows the future union between Christ and the Church: “In all this, we see the coming together of Isaac and Rebekah as a remarkable picture of the coming together of Jesus and His people. A father desired a bride for his son. A son was accounted as dead and raised from the dead. A nameless servant was sent forth to get a bride for the son. The servants name was actually Eliezer, meaning God of help or helper. The lovely bride was divinely met, chosen, and called, and then lavished with gifts. She was entrusted to the care of the servant until she met her bridegroom. . . . Summarizing the pictures of Isaac, Rebekah, Jesus, and the Church. Both Rebekah and the church: Were chosen for marriage before they knew it (Ephesians 1:3-4). Were necessary for the accomplishment of God's eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:10-11). Were destined to share in the glory of the son (John 17:22-23). Learned of the son through his representative. Must leave all with joy to be with the son. Were loved and cared for by the son. Both Isaac and Jesus: Were promised before their coming. Finally appeared at the appointed time. Were conceived and born miraculously. Were given a special name before birth. Were offered up in sacrifice by the father. Were brought back from the dead. We're the head of a great company to bless all people. Prepared a place for their bride. Had a ministry of prayer until united with the bride.” (Davis Guzik on Genesis 24).7 If you are grateful, are you filled with the same kind of joy and gratitude as Rebekah?