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A wife for Isaac Genesis 24
A wife for Isaac
Genesis 24

For the last few weeks we have been considering the person of Abraham.

Abraham is an important Biblical figure- being mentioned repeatedly in both the Old Testament and New Testament and taking up about 25% of the writing of the Book of Genesis. He is the father of the Jewish nation.

In our first week we considered the call of Abram from Genesis 12 and the awesome promises that God made to him

Last week we considered the visitation of God to Abraham-- Wherein God appeared in the flesh and reaffirmed his promise to Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son-- through whom the promises of God would continue.


One of the great distinguishing marks of Abraham was this: He was a man of faith. When God told him something, he believed Him. By his life and faith, Abraham set for us the pattern of how to come into right relationship with God and how to please Him-- by faith. (Genesis 15:6 "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited to him as righteousness")

This morning we are going to take a look at Genesis 24

-Sarah (Abraham's wife) is dead.
-Abraham is old --and though he will live another 35 years-- he is intent on putting his affairs in order (By the way-- if you don't have a will and you have money or property, etc, write one).
-As it regards putting his affairs in order, Abraham is concerned for his son Isaac-- and most specifically he wants his son to have a suitable wife.

For Abraham, a suitable woman did not include any woman from the land he was living in (the land of the Caananites)

-Abraham's neighbors were idolaters (worshipping made up God's) and as we discovered from the account of Sodom and Gomorrah there moral, sexual, and ethical practices were most corrupt.
-To marry such a person would result in bonds being forged with the nations God was going to remove from the land and children being raised-- not as the worshippers of God, but as idolaters.

Goal: acquire for his son Isaac a wife from his own family back from where he came (1000 plus kilometres away)


The challenges associated with finding Isaac a wife. Dramatic tension in Genesis 24

a. Who will go to get Isaac a wife- since Abraham was too old and he was not supposed to leave the land God gave
b. Will Isaac accept what his father was doing (arranged marriages don't always work)
c. Will a suitable bride be found and how will God's will be determined? See v.50
d. Will the woman's family be supportive?
e. Will the woman herself be willing to leave her home and go where Isaac was and marry him? v.8, 41,58
f. Will Abraham's line be continued. Will his son have a son. What of the continuence of God's promises to Abraham?


READ TEXT ---Note: Genesis 24 is the longest chapter in Genesis


LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE TEXT

A curious thing to note: The literary reason for why the account of Abraham's servant finding a wife for Isaac is essentially repeated twice in Genesis 24

I asked to myself "What is the literary purpose behind Abraham's servant repeating everything that Abraham said and everything that he did? For it makes the chapter very long." The answer is found in v.50 and concerns the knowing of God's will beyond a shadow of a doubt. The end result is that all parties are convinced that Rebekah is the right girl for Isaac- the woman of God's choosing for Isaac.

Verse 50 says; "Laban and Bethuel answered, "This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other."

This of courses raises the question for us "How can I know God's will beyond a shadow of a doubt?".

Tips: Pray. Is what you doing in accord with the scriptures? Surrender yourself to God's will, answer the question of whose will you are pushing. Ask yourself "Do you have peace in your heart?" Seek godly counsel. Ask for a sign of confirmation or a NO sign.

FURTHER LESSONS OF THE TEXT

1. REGARDLESS OF THE TASK, PRAY ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING- pray about everything

-If you are trying to find a spouse, pray that God would lead you to the right person. Pray also that God would equip you to be the right person
-If you are pondering a new job, pray
-If you are having trouble in a relationship pray
-If thinks are going really well, talk to God about it-- thanking Him, and asking for strength that you might be found faithful in your time of blessing
-When life is tough, persist in prayer
-Whatever decision lies before us, we need to pray seeking God's will and direction

Philippians 4:6 says; "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Psalm 37:5-6 says; "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."

A distinguishing mark of Abraham's chief servant (and he shines in this passage) is that he was a man of prayer

In v.12-15, after arriving where Abraham grew up, the man (who remains anonymous through Genesis 24), prays and asks God for success in finding the right girl for Abraham's son

Being blessed with an immediate answer (which is kind of unusual --v.15), he bows down and worships the LORD in prayer and praise v.26-27

After a successful visit with Rebekah's brother and family (and its a bit odd and there is some tension there-- because it's not Rebekah's father who is running the show-- it's Rebekah's brother and mother who seem to be in charge), the servant again bows down before the LORD in prayer and worship v.52

Note this: The servant wasn't concerned in the least that other people saw him praying in public.


2. A BIG PRAYER OF OURS SHOULD BE THIS: LORD, DIRECT MY STEPS-- LEAD ME ON IN YOUR WAY

One really neat thing of the account of Abraham's servant finding a wife for Isaac is this: God directed his steps. God led him to the right city, to the right well, to the right family, to the right girls, at the right time.

Some folks like to believe in coincidence and chance. The Bible doesn't go with that. Rather, the big picture is this: God directed Him. God's hand was over everything that happened. God was at work.

It ought to be our prayer that God direct our steps, that God lead us, provide for us, etc.

God needs and must be at the centre of what we do and how we live--- Such is critical to His favour and blessing in our lives.

As Christians we are indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. Our goal is to live Spirit led, Spirit, Spirit empowered lives-- Such happens as we surrender ourselves to God in worship, prayer, and heartfelt obedience.

Good verse: Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight."


3. HONESTY AND FORTHRIGHTNESS ARE VERY IMPORTANT CHARACTER QUALITIES

In Genesis 24 good and godly character is a big emphasis.

a. Abraham: Godly man. Wanting a good wife for his son. God's promises were on his mind. Obeying God was a big concern to him
b. Rebekah: She's also a star in the passage. She had a servants heart. She was willing to go above and beyond what was asked of her. She was committed to sexual purity. She was willing to step out in faith (leaving her homeland to marry a stranger)

As a counter to there good character is Laban

In the chapters to come he will be featured as mean and conniving person. We get a hint of that in our text. It's also interesting that Rebekah's father is not prominent at all. Laban does almost all the talking and there is a distinct hint in the text that he and Rebekah's mother are in charge.

Standing at the centre of Genesis 24 as it regards godly character is Abraham's chief servant

-It may be Eliezer (but he is purposefully unnamed in Genesis 24)
-He was obedient, faithful, hardworking, a man of prayer, a follower of God, and he was as honest as the day is long

Note what he says to Laban and Rebekah's family in v.32ff

-He tells them everything. He held nothing back (Abraham's instruction, his prayer, the test for how he would now the right girl, etc)

I've chosen to highlight the servants honesty and forthrightness because when it comes to telling the truth and giving people the details of a situation- we don't always come through like we should.

-We tend to highlight only the things we want people to know
-We face outright temptation to lie and deceive
-We struggle with the attitude of "What they don't know won't hurt them"

We are to honest, speaking the truth in love of course, answering peoples questions clearly, telling people the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

A couple of verses

"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy." Proverbs 12:22
"Do not lie to one one another" Colossians 3:9

4. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SPOUSE, GENESIS 24 CONTAINS A FEW TIPS

I'd like to preface this point with the following....

-Marriage is not for everybody.
-The Bible upholds singleness just as much as it esteems marriage
-Our responsibility as a church is to be family to each other (following the teachings and example of Christ)

Tips from Genesis 24

a. If you are looking for a spouse pray about it-- ask God to guide your steps
b. Your character and the character of the other person is key. In Proverbs 31:30 it says "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised". The more godly and christlike the person, the more attractive they will be.
c. Resolve to enter into marriage as virgin (and if have messed up), resolve to go from this day forward into marriage as a sexually pure person (This point comes from the mention of Rebekah's purity v.16)
d. Include your parents and family in the process

Yes I know this sounds strange but family members can be insightful and see some stuff in the other person that you might be missing because of your emotions.

When it comes to marriage and any big decisions, the counsel of godly and wise people is very important. So, start with your family and go from there


CONCLUSION


In the end, Isaac was very happy with the girl brought home to him. As the text tells us; he loved her and he was comforted after his mothers death--- and more than this: From Isaac eventually came Jacob (through whom God carried on his promises to Abraham)