Dependence On Gods Leading
This time, Abraham did everything Gods way. He followed what God had said about whom his son should marry. He did not just pick any girl from any land. Instead, Abraham believed that God would lead his servant to just the right woman.
Assured of heavenly guidance, the servant hit the road without delay. Listen to the faithful prayer of the servant, as he depended totally on God:
This solemn oath, sworn with the servant’s hand beneath Abraham’s thigh, binds the servant to carry out the request.
Then the servant gathered together 10 of his master’s camels and left, taking all kinds of valuable gifts from his master to give to his relatives. He traveled all the way to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.
Genesis 24:10 (VOICE)
Neither Abraham nor Isaac went to find the bride; the task was given to an anonymous servant, who was completely devoted to Abraham. His favourite name for Abraham was “my master,” which he used nineteen times in this narrative. He lived and served only to please his master, and that is a good example for us to follow today.
The servant got his orders from his master and did not change them. When he made his vow of obedience, he meant it and kept it. Whether his mission succeeded or failed, the servant knew he would have to give an account to his master; and he wanted to be able to do so without embarrassment. (See Rom. 14:10-12 and 1 John 2:28.)
Outside of the city, he made the camels kneel down by a well of water to rest after the long journey. It was nearly dusk, the time when all of the women were coming out to draw water from the well.
Genesis 24:11 (VOICE)
Since carrying water was women’s work, our road-weary servant parked his camels near the well, then prayed for Gods favor, pleading for a distinctive sign to identify Isaac’s bride-to-be.
But how would he go about finding the right woman for his master’s son?
The servant acted by faith in the God of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 24:12).
“O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—Let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”
Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah.
Genesis 24:12-15 (NLT)
Little did Rebekah know that doing a humble task for a stranger would make her the bride of a wealthy man who was in a covenant relationship with God?
She would become the mother of Jacob, and he would become the father of the twelve tribes of Israel!
The servant was evaluating Rebekah to see if she would make a good wife for Isaac. He could see that she was kind, pleasant, humble, healthy, and a hard worker. Watering ten camels is no easy job! After a long trek, a thirsty camel might drink as much as forty gallons of water; and Rebekah had to draw all that water by hand.
Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married,
Genesis 24:16 (NLT)
To his credit, the servant didn’t pray for a young woman of surpassing beauty; he was seeking Gods will, not man’s pleasure. Nonetheless, Rebekah was “very beautiful”. We imagine her as artists have depicted her over the centuries: a cascade of dark hair, luminous eyes, and pleasing features aglow with the innocence of a maiden.
… but she was still a virgin. Genesis 24:16
How could he know that just by looking at her?
Perhaps unmarried women wore their clothes or hair a certain way to indicate their marital status, though the Bible contains little description of how people dressed in the patriarchal years.
The girl’s purity wasn’t simply a moral issue: she had to be a virgin to ensure that the first child she bore came from the seed of Isaac and no other.
So far, so good: beautiful, “modest, and unmarried” (AMP), Rebekah headed for the well.
She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. Genesis 24:16
Toss out any notions of circular brick wishing wells fitted with pulleys and buckets. A spring-fed well “could be reached only by descending a flight of broad stone steps circling deep below ground” – sometimes as deep as 140 feet. Then, after filling her clay jar with about three gallons of water, a woman climbed back up those steps, being careful not to spill a precious drop.
Water was too hard to come by in the desert.
The minute Rebekah appeared from her subterranean errand, our man made his move.
The servant wasted no time; he ran down to meet her.
Servant: Please let me have a little water to drink from your jar.
Genesis 24:17 (VOICE)
He wasn’t asking for much. Just a “sip”. (NRSV).
“Yes, my lord,” she answered, “Have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink.
Genesis 24:18 (NLT)
We can picture Rebekah easing her clay jar off her shoulder in a single, graceful movement, then pouring a bit of water into her tightly cupped hand and holding it up for him to drink.
All the while he had to be smiling. Hoping she’d noticed his noisy, smelly, thirsty camels. Praying she’d make an offer only the Lord could prompt.
When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.”
Genesis 24:19 (NLT)
Well done, Rebekah.
Though he was deliberately a man of means – or in service to one – Rebekah knew neither his identity nor his mission. Her offer seems borne of a generous heart. She would water his beasts “until they have had enough.”
How much water would that be?
About twenty-five gallons per camel. Do the math: eight-four trips up and down those stone steps.
She quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw more water. She continued to draw water until all of the camels had drunk their fill.
Genesis 24:20 (VOICE)
Like Abraham hurriedly caring for his visitors’ needs, Rebekah moved at a swift pace, running back and forth from well to trough in a “a nonstop blur of motion.” Her good health and physical strength, both important for motherhood, were on full display. Still, the servant dared not introduce himself or disclose his intentions quite yet.
The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission.
That’s odd. Wasn’t “I’ll water your camels” the affirmation he was waiting for?
Genesis 24:21 (NLT)
Maybe he wanted to observe her mannerisms, her way of speaking to see if she was worthy of his young master. Or perhaps he wanted to see if she would finish what she had started, if she was a young woman of her word: “until they’ve drunk their fill” (MSG).
By the time the camels were satisfied, so was Abraham’s servant.
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out from his things a gold nose ring weighing about a fifth of an ounce, plus two gold bracelets for her arms weighing four ounces.
Genesis 24:22 (VOICE)
Rebekah gave water, which was free. All it took was a little effort. She immediately got back great wealth in these jewels and found the purpose and direction for her life. What a return on her giving!
“Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?”
Genesis 24:23 (NLT)
Notice that Abraham’s servant gave the gifts to Rebekah before he knew whose daughter she was. He was specifically charged by Abraham to find Isaac a wife from his kindred. So, if Rebekah had not been Abraham’s kin, then she would have just had these gifts as a reward for the service she had provided. This servant was very generous.
“I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.
Genesis 24:24 (NLT)
This was a miracle. The Lord led Abraham’s servant directly to Abraham’s next of kin. Things like this don’t happen accidentally.
Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.”
Genesis 24:25 (NLT)
Not only Rebekah but also her whole family was giving people. Rebekah could speak for them because she knew they would accommodate this man. At this time she didn’t know he was Abraham’s servant.
The man bowed low and worshiped the Lord. “Praise the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”
Genesis 24:26-27 (NLT)
It was God who had orchestrated this whole thing. The servant recognized the hand of the Lord in all of this and gave Him thanks.
How often do people not recognize Gods providence in their daily affairs?