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July 2, 2024

Genesis Part 24

As I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, there have been younger, single men who sought my advice about life.




GENESIS 24:1-17

As I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, there have been younger, single men who sought my advice about life. There are many important things I can tell them based on my own experience and based on principles from God’s Word. One of the most important pieces of advice I can pass on to them is a truth I received as a young man and it is this: “marry well.” Take your time. Don’t rush into marriage. Ask God to lead you to a good, godly woman who loves you for who you are and will be your best friend. Ultimately, marry well.

I recall once when I was pining over the fact that I was still single into my late 20’s and early 30’s, my mother told me, “Well, Chris, there is something worse than being single and that is – being in a bad marriage!” In our lesson today it is clear what Abraham wants for his son Isaac and that is for him to marry well.

Isaac is the child of promise. He is the miracle child through whom all the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant would be passed down through. He is now a full grown man. In Genesis Chapter 23 Sarah, Isaac’s mother died and was buried in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre (Hebron). This cave and the field it was located in were purchased by Abraham specifically as a burial site. It would be the only piece of land in all of Canaan that Abraham would actually possess himself. Thirteen years has passed since Sarah’s death. As we come to Chapter 24 Isaac is around 40 years of age, which makes Abraham 140 years old. Isaac is still single. Yes, he is the covenant son but he needs a wife to bear children in order to carry on the family line and provide the multitude of descendants that God had promised to Abraham.

So, with that, let’s pick up the narrative in Genesis Chapter 24…

READ Genesis 24:1-4

The servant is not named. Many Bible scholars believe, based on the description given of him in verse 2, that he is most likely Eliezer of Damascus who was mentioned back in Genesis 15:2. But we do not know for sure. Abraham has an important task for his servant to perform and he has him swear an oath to the Lord Himself that he will do exactly as Abraham directs. What’s the task? To go find a wife for his son Isaac.  

The land of Canaan in which Abraham lives, but is merely a sojourner is filled with pagan people that do not fear God. In an earlier lesson we established that the Canaanites were wicked even back in Abraham’s day. They were idolatrous and sexually promiscuous. Temple prostitution was practiced in their worship of various fertility gods. Abraham realized that if he was going to find a good wife for Isaac it would definitely NOT be in the land of Canaan. She would have to come from his homeland, where his relatives lived, and where years before Abraham had found his own good wife, Sarah.

Just a quick observation here – if you want your child to find a good husband or wife, then direct them to look in those places where such individuals are most likely to be found. I have been critical of the ever increasingly popular on-line dating thing. But, in my humble opinion, going through a Christian website like E-Harmony to find a potential mate is better than the local bar scene. For Christian singles I recommend that they be active in their local church. You would be well served to seek out a potential mate there. In this passage Abraham directs his servant to look for a wife for Isaac where he knows a good wife might be found.

READ Genesis 24:5

The servant asks the obvious question: “What if the woman is unwilling to come back here with me?” He thinks he knows the answer to his question – he will just have to take Isaac to where she is – “back to the land from which you [Abraham] came.” But Abraham makes it clear that this is NOT the plan.

READ Genesis 24:6-8

Why would Abraham be so adamant about Isaac not returning to his homeland but remaining in the land of Canaan? I believe it goes back to the covenant promises we have been talking about for the last several weeks. One of these was a land promise. This land – the land of Canaan – is the land which God will give to Abraham’s descendants as a permanent possession. It is, quite literally, the Promised Land. Abraham never returned back to his homeland after God moved him away to Canaan and his son Isaac would not either. Isaac was the heir to the same promises that God had given to Abraham. This land right here was where Isaac would remain. By the way, this was an important insight on Abraham’s part. Later on, in Genesis Chapter 26 God will direct Isaac to remain in the land. And Isaac would do just that. He is the only one of the patriarchs who never left the land of Canaan during his lifetime. And that was an act of obedience to the Lord.

Notice what Abraham tells the servant in v 7 – don’t miss this – “the God of heaven…will send his angel before you.” They didn’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide them the same way we Christians have today. But Abraham is a man of faith and he knows that his God would direct his servant to find the right woman for his son. If you will remember from a previous lesson, the object of Abraham’s faith is God and what He has promised Abraham.

One last point – If for whatever reason the woman would not return with the servant, then he would be free from his oath. Just looking at this story in the context of everything we have been studying regarding the Abrahamic Covenant, I firmly believe that Abraham knows that God has a wife out there for Isaac. And not just any old wife but she will have those same godly characteristics as Sarah. If God’s plan is to establish a covenant people for Himself through whom He will bless the nations, then it stands to reason that Abraham’s descendant must fear God and follow Him. And a key ingredient to that is to have godly parents. Abraham and Sarah had raised Isaac to follow God. If Isaac was going to, in turn, raise his children to follow God then he must have a wife who fears and follows Him.

READ Genesis 24:9-10

The servant swears an oath, gives Abraham the assurance that he will do exactly as instructed. He takes 10 camels, provisions for the trip and “choice gifts.” This is no doubt the dowry to be used for acquiring the bride-to-be.

He sets out on the long journey, which will take 2-3 weeks, heading northward from Hebron, up the Jordan valley, past Damascus, around the Fertile Crescent, across the Euphrates, to Mesopotamia. The Bible says that the servant goes to the city of Nahor. Nahor was Abraham’s brother and we know from Genesis Chapter 11 that all his Abraham’s siblings lived around Haran. So, it makes sense that this is where the servant goes.  

READ Genesis 24:11

It’s been a long tiring trip. The servant is on a mission to find a wife for Isaac. But first things first. He must water all of his camels. Notice God’s providence at work here. The servant arrives in the evening. He just happens to go to the same well at the same time the women of the city are out drawing water. Is this mere coincidence or good planning? No, I do not think so! I believe it is a God thing, God ordained.

READ Genesis 24:12-14

The servant does the right thing. He prays. There is a great lesson there for us! Notice how specific his prayer is. Whenever you study some of the great prayers of the Bible do not forget this one! His prayer declares praise and dependence on God. His prayer is also very specific. And I believe his prayer was Spirit directed.

We have seen in previous lessons that God’s plans are carried out in His way and in His time. God’s time may come several years after His plan has been revealed – as in the case of Abraham. Not so in this case. Notice how quickly God answers the servant’s prayer…

READ Genesis 24:15

“Before he had finished speaking…” That’s pretty quick!

READ Genesis 24:16-21

God answers the servant’s prayer exactly as he had asked. And Rebekah appears to meet all the qualifications you would want for a wife for Isaac. She’s from the right family. She’s physically attractive. She’s sexually pure, possesses godly character. She’s hard-working. She’s kind and she’s respectful. I mean, everything adds up! The servant just sits there watching her in silence. He’s amazed! God is so good! But is this woman really the one? It just seems almost too good to be true. Well, it’s time to find out for certain… 

READ Genesis 24:22-28

At this point the servant realizes that Rebekah indeed is the one to whom God has led him. And what does he do realizing that God has answered his prayer? He thanks God. He worships the Lord. There is another lesson for us there! How often have we seen God come through and not only answer our prayers but do it far better than we ever anticipated? And what is our reaction? We should, like this servant, praise and worship God.

An important part of worshipping God is remembering what He has done for us. My favorite Psalm is Psalm 103. It begins, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” It goes on to say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.” Then David, the psalmist, proceeds to list some of those benefits in his own life. And the first thing on David’s list is being pardoned from all his iniquities. The second thing is physical healing. And he goes on from there for 20 more verses and ends with “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” Our prayer life needs to be more like that – petition, certainly (see Philippians 4:6), but heavy on remembering and thanking God. We need to thank the Lord for what He has done for us already, what He is doing, and for who He is.

I love the servant’s prayer, how he recognizes the character of God in v 27: “…who has not forsaken His steadfast love and His faithfulness toward my master.” That’s the character of God – steadfast love and faithfulness. And aren’t you glad for that!

Well you know the rest of the story. The servant meets Rebekah’s family. He relates for them the whole story about why he’s there. He requests that Rebekah be allowed to return with him. They agree and Rebekah willingly goes back with Abraham’s servant and becomes Isaac’s wife.

At the end of Genesis Chapter 24 we read these words: “Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So, Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Genesis 24:67). God provides for Isaac. He gives Him a good, godly wife. After 13 years of grieving his mother’s death, Rebekah comforts Isaac. She fills a void in Isaac’s life. God is so good.

When I taught this class originally, I had each person write down five things they were thankful to God for – blessings that God had already provided them. I challenged them then to go home and to thank God for each one of them.

GENESIS 24:1-17

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