In today’s Bible reading, we read the story of when Rebekah falls in love with Isaac. The culture of the Twenty-first Century Western World is very different than that of Isaac’s day. Abraham sends his servant to the land of his relatives to find a wife for his “firstborn son” Isaac.
Abraham was concerned that Isaac might marry an unbelieving woman from Canaan, forget who he was, and abort God’s plans for Abraham’s descendants. I mean, what good father wouldn’t be concerned with the spiritual condition of his kids and their spouses?
I find it striking that we’re never told the name of Abraham’s servant. (Perhaps it was Eliezer cf. Genesis 15:2?) And yet, Rebekah’s brother Laban and Rebekah’s mother let her (and her maidservant) leave with this unnamed man!
As Abraham’s servant and Rebekah come near to where Isaac was working in the field, the servant identified to her who Isaac was. Moses tells us, “Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she got down from her camel.” Genesis 24:64 (CSB) Looking at the Hebrew wording, it’s quite humorous to see that another way of translating this is that “she fell off her camel.” In other words, when she sees him for the first time, Rebekah “falls” for Isaac!
It’s not wise to force a Twenty-first Century Western World worldview onto the Biblical times and culture, insisting things should be the same in both ages/cultures. We feel uncomfortable with the idea that marriages were arranged by their parents, and people didn’t “fall in love” with each other before deciding to marry. But that doesn’t mean that people didn’t fall in love back then. It doesn’t mean that married couples back then didn’t enjoy their arranged marriages. On the contrary, today’s reading includes a comment that Isaac and Rebekah were quite frisky outside the bedroom. (Genesis 26:8) Marriages were different back then. But in some ways, marriages were similar to today, in that they were relationships based on a covenant.
I’ve made a bit of sport with a wordplay on the word fall. Perhaps I’ve gone a bit far. But please don’t miss a very important part of this story. Abraham was a very wealthy man. Abraham had a lot of stuff. And Abraham had a lot of servants. Abraham, in looking out for the welfare of his son, sent an unnamed servant to find a wife for his son. That took a lot of trust on Abraham’s part!
But what do you think the servant was thinking? How honored do you think he felt when his master sent him to bring home his master’s future daughter-in-law? Abraham didn’t send him empty-handed. He sent him with precious jewelry. The servant could have run off with Abraham’s gifts and never returned, much less returning with the right girl. But Abraham knew he could trust this unnamed servant with his riches. Abraham knew the servant would be faithful to complete his task. Abraham gave the servant everything he would need to accomplish his task.
If you are one of God’s kids, God has entrusted you with His gifts and He has empowered you with everything you need to accomplish your task of furthering His Kingdom. (Acts 1:8)
How faithful have you been in accomplishing the task? What else do you need to do? How can I or others around you help you in accomplishing your Kingdom tasks? We need each other and God has given us each other to carry our load together.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
This devotional was originally published on January 12, 2021.