A Bride for Isaac

Genesis 24:1-4

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.2 So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please, put your hand under my thigh,3 "and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell;4 "but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac."

To the western mind this seems somewhat strange. Abraham is now about 140 years of age, but he still has 35 years left. Isaac is about 40 years old. And although most people of Abraham's ancestors were married by 30 (see Gen 11:10-26). We do not know why this happened. It could have been the special attachment that Isaac had to his mother and his father.

The real problem for you and me is why does Abraham have the servant pick out his son's wife. We must understand it was common practice in that culture and in that day. But there are several things to be learned from this beautiful passage.

  1. Abraham did not want his son marring the wrong woman.
    1. He took an active role in the choosing of the wife for his son.
  2. He did not want Isaac to return to the land to get his own wife.
    1. Instead he sends his eldest trusted servant under a vow to God to follow the wishes of Abraham.
  3. God will guide you even in choosing a mate if you will let him.
    1. The servant formulated a plan
      1. Very simply he knew that there were a number of women who might be Isaac's wife but he believed that if he asked, God would lead him to the right one.
      2. So he determines to get to the well just outside the city just before the women would be coming to draw the water for the evening.
      3. He would ask the very first one that appeared to give him a drink from her picture.
      4. This would not be unusual, but then he would ask her to draw water for the camels as well.
        1. Now remember, he has 10 of them.
        2. And I am told that if they were on empty they could drink 25 gallons each.
        3. Now to find a girl like that, that would draw 250 gallons of water from the well for a man she does not even know.
    2. He then ask God to bless this effort.
      1. Before he had finished his prayer, God answered.
        1. God does not always answer that quickly but he does know what we have need of even before we ask.
        2. Matt 6:8 . . . For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
        3. Psalms 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.
        4. Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
        5. Psalms 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
        6. Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
      2. God can give us more than we could ever think to ask for. Eph. 3:20 20Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
        1. He had not asked for a beautiful woman but he got one.
        2. Many times we would find that if we would leave the choices up to God instead of forcing our own will, we would end up much better.
        3. Solomon chose wisdom and then God also gave him riches and fame.
    3. He follows the plan.
      1. Many have a plan that they believe came from God but when the moment comes their faith grows weak and they follow an more naturalistic approach.
      2. But even after he is amazed by God's guidance in this matter when the family wants to delay his departure for 10 days he will not allow it.
      3. We often get into trouble not because God has not shown us the way but because we do not follow the plain path He has for us.
    4. God not only leads the servant to the right place He also leads the woman to the right place.
      1. I have often wondered the talk at Rebekah's house that day when she took off for the well. I can hear her brother say something like, "Rebekah sure went to the well early today, I wonder what has gotten into her."
      2. It is possible to be a part of God's plan and not even be aware of it until God shows us.
      3. But the servant knew what he was doing and that he was depending on the providence of God to fulfill his plan.
        1. There is only one way to accomplish God's work and that is by God's power.
        2. We are not like those who have cunningly devised fables 1 Pet 1:16.
        3. Paul did not depend on his cleverness: 1 Corinthians 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    5. The Servant recognized the leading of the LORD.
      1. Gen 24:27 And he said, "Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren."
        1. We have to notice that he was first on the way and then the Lord led him.
        2. You cannot steer a parked car.
        3. You must be moving if the Lord is to lead you.
        4. Many Christians do not understand how it is that the Lord does not seem to me leading them, but even the Lord cannot lead a person stopped in their own life.
      2. Gen 24:21 And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.
        1. The word here is strange.
        2. It means to whirl to dizziness.
        3. It means to be destroyed on the inside to the extent to loose control.
        4. This is actually what happened.
        5. The servant had prayed for guidance yet was quite amazed at the remarkable, undeniable way in which God had answered.
  4. Love the old fashion way.
    1. Our concept of love is based upon the ability of our mate to make us happy and to fulfill our every need.
      1. No one can do those things for another.
      2. Only Jesus can make you happy deep inside.
      3. Only the Lord can fulfill our every need.
      4. Then it is no wonder if people end up getting married time after time.
    2. Notice the conditions of Isaac and Rebekah's relationship.
      1. They had never seen each other before the wedding day.
        1. The servant had been in charge of selecting his bride.
        2. I think there is some wisdom in that Abraham selected the oldest servant to pick the bride and not the youngest or even one that was Isaac's own age.
        3. Young people get in a hurry as if they don't go shopping early all the bargains will be gobbled up.
        4. There is that old adage, you get what you pay for.
        5. There is something worse than not getting one, it is getting the wrong one.
      2. Rebekah actually knew more about Isaac then he did about her.
        1. One thing that they both knew was the providential working of God in their getting together.
        2. Rebekah was no doubt amazed that she, quite unknowingly had been an answer to prayer and she saw how that the Lord had worked all this out.
        3. I think that Isaac was also quite excited as the old servant related how God had prospered his trip.
      3. Because of the veil that she used, he did not even see her face until their wedding night.
      4. Once he saw her, he was pleased, but took her not knowing what he was getting.
    3. I wish I could say they lived happily ever after, but that only happens in fairy tales.
      1. But I can say that they stuck it out.
      2. Neither Isaac nor Rebekah were perfect mates or even parents but that would be impossible in a fallen world.
      3. They tired for 20 years to have children and when they finally did they made a mess of it by favoring one child over the other and filling the family with conniving and deceit but they remained faithful.
  5. The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah a type of Christ and His bride, the church.
    1. The entire chapter is highly typical: From the Scofield Reference Bible
      1. Abraham, a type of a certain king who would make a marriage for his son (Mat 22:2);
      2. The unnamed servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, who does not "speak of himself" but takes of the things of the Bridegroom with which to win the bride (John 16:13-14);
      3. The servant, a type of the Spirit as enriching the bride with the Bridegroom's gifts (1 Cor 12:7-11; Gal 5:22-23);
      4. The servant, a type of the Spirit as bringing the bride to the meeting with the Bridegroom (Acts 13:4; 16:6-7; Rom 8:11; 1 Th 4:14-17);
      5. Rebekah, a type of the Church, the ecclesia, the "called out" virgin bride of Christ (Gen 24:16; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-32);
      6. Isaac, a type of the Bridegroom "whom having not seen" as yet, whom the bride nevertheless loves through the testimony of the unnamed Servant (1 Pet 1:8); and
      7. Isaac, a type of the Bridegroom who goes out to meet and receive His bride (Gen 24:63; 1 Th 4:14-17).

Are you a part of the bride of Jesus Christ? Has the servant, the Holy Spirit brought you to the Son of God to be a faithful companion to Him?

The only part that does not tell the whole story of Christ and is Bride is that Jesus died for His bride to purify and cleanse her for Himself and wash our sins away in His own blood.

 

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com