The Success Of The Mission
After all those steps and all those clay jars full of water, Rebekah still had enough energy to dash home, jingling her bling for all to see.
Rebekah ran home to tell her family what had happened at the well. It was not every day that girls were lavished with gifts by strangers from a far-away land!
As soon as Rebekah’s brother, Laban, saw the gold and heard the story, he went out to meet this mysterious man.
A Decent Proposal
The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring. He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?”
Genesis 24:28-31 (NLT)
That heads-up word “now” alerts us to a pivotal shift in the story with the introduction of this new character. Though his name “Laban”, means “white” suggesting innocence, you can trust me on this: Laban is the sort of person you’ll find “easy to resent later on.”
Brother Laban kept a “sharp eye on the precious gifts” while he listened to his sister’s story, then hustled out to meet the servant.
Remember how the ancient rule of hospitality meant understating one’s stores and extending a low-key welcome?
Laban’s magnanimous greeting “leaves the unmistakable impression that his hospitality was motivated by self-interest.”
Notice Laban speaking of the Lord. Yet, later we see that he was an idol worshiper (Genesis 31:30-34). It appears that he didn’t start out that way.
Notice also that he called Abraham’s servant “who are blessed by the LORD.”
Did Abraham’s kin recognize he had been singled out to be blessed above all others (Genesis 12:2-3)?
So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.”
“All right,” Laban said, “tell us.”
“I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained.
Genesis 24:32-34 (NLT)
The camels were unloaded and fed while the visitors were provided water to wash their feet. No sooner was a meal served than our mission-minded servant held up his hand to bring things to a temporary halt. Although famished from traveling, he insisted on attending to his master’s business first.
“And the LORD has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The LORD has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys.
“When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns. And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’
Genesis 24:35-38 (NLT)
It had been close to sixty-five years since Abraham departed from his kindred. I’m sure some contact or news probably came through occasionally, but Abraham had never been back or even been mindful of the country he left (Hebrews 11:15). So this was probably news to Bethuel’s family.
I imagine this servant filled in all the details of how miraculous Isaac’s birth was and that he was the promised seed. This would have made the offer to Rebekah to marry Isaac more enticing.
Laban was Abraham’s great-nephew, and Rebekah was his great-niece. You can’t get much closer in relation than that and still marry.
“But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’
Genesis 24:39 (NLT)
By saying this, this servant is giving them an out. If they refused his offer, he would be free to return to Abraham. The servant was so sure God had orchestrated this whole thing that he didn’t have to pressure them. He believed the Lord was in this.
When we truly trust the Lord, we don’t have to add any pressure to circumstances to make God’s will come to pass. One of the sure signs that we truly trust the Lord is a supernatural detachment from the outcome. We simply obey the Lord and leave the results in His hands.
He responded, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family.
Genesis 24:40 (NLT)
This servant’s success wasn’t just because of his faith. Abraham prophesied this would happen. I suspect Isaac believed for this too.
Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’
Genesis 24:41 (NLT)
This servant was responsible for making the connection and the offer, but not for their response. That’s the same with us. We are debtors to share the Gospel with others (Romans 1:14), but we aren’t responsible for their response.
“So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’
Genesis 24:42-44 (NLT)
Abraham’s servant was revealing that this wasn’t just coincidence. This was an answer to prayer. This was supernatural. This was God.
Notice that Abraham’s servant was seeking for a virgin. Those who have already been married bring baggage with them. That is not to say that a person who has been married before isn’t to be married. David married Abigail (1 Samuel 25). But there is a lot to be said for a virgin marrying another virgin.
“I had barely finished offering this prayer, when Rebekah arrived, her jug on her shoulder. She went to the spring and drew water and I said, ‘Please, can I have a drink?’ She didn’t hesitate. She held out her jug and said, ‘Drink; and when you’re finished I’ll also water your camels.’ I drank, and she watered the camels. I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel whose parents were Nahor and Milcah.’ I gave her a ring for her nose, bracelets for her arms, and bowed in worship to GOD. I praised GOD, the God of my master Abraham who had led me straight to the door of my master’s family to get a wife for his son.
Genesis 24:45-48 (MSG)
So we find that the whole of this prayer, so circumstantially related Genesis 24:12-14, and again Genesis 24:42-44, was mental, and heard only by that God to whom it was directed. It would have been improper to use public prayer on the occasion, as his servants could have felt no particular interest in the accomplishment of his petitions, because they were not concerned in them, having none of the responsibility of this mission.
So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.”
Genesis 24:49 (NLT)
This is amazing. It had only been an hour or so since Abraham’s servant had met Rebekah, and he already wanted an answer. This has to be one of the quickest engagements in history. They were engaged to be married before they met. Yet they stayed together till death parted them. Isaac and Rebekah didn’t make this happen; God put this together.
The Willingness Of The Bride
Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The LORD has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say. Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.”
Genesis 24:50-51 (NLT)
It seems amazing to us today that Bethuel and Laban would respond this way so quickly without any thought or consideration. But the times were different then. Not only were marriages arranged, but also dowries, such as what Abraham sent with his servant, were very sought after. Also, people were more aware of providence in those days than they are now. The miraculous circumstances that had just taken place were very convincing to those who believed that God orders man’s steps (Proverbs 3:5-6).
This appears that Rebekah had no say-so in the matter. However, this servant had already mentioned to Abraham that the damsel might not want to marry Isaac (Genesis 24:5), implying that Rebekah did have a say. Marriages were arranged, but I imagine that Bethuel wouldn’t have made Rebekah do this if she absolutely opposed it.
When Abraham’s servant heard their decision, he bowed in worship before GOD. Then he brought out gifts of silver and gold and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and mother. He and his men had supper and spent the night. But first thing in the morning they were up. He said, “Send me back to my master.”
Genesis 24:52-54 (MSG)
Laban, Rebekah’s brother, was an idol worshiper (Genesis 31:19). Yet Laban and his father, Bethuel, acknowledged God’s hand in this matter (Genesis 24:50). They didn’t have a problem with Abraham’s servant worshiping the Lord, as recorded in this verse.
Either Bethuel and Laban hadn’t turned away from the Lord at this time, or it was common for the people of that day to worship multiple gods.
Just as when we say yes to God’s invitation for us to become His bride, He gives us His glory (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
There were many pleasures to be had if the servant had stayed with Rebekah’s family and enjoyed their hospitality, but he was single-minded on his purpose. He wasn’t serving himself; he was serving his master, Abraham. This was what made him a faithful servant and why Abraham chose him for this mission. We should be so faithful to our Master.
“But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.”
Genesis 24:55New Living Translation (NLT)
This was certainly a reasonable request. This time the day before, none of them had any inkling that Rebekah would be leaving. There were goodbyes to be said and things to be done.
But he said, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.”
Genesis 24:56 (NLT)
The Lord had put all this together so quickly that Abraham’s servant didn’t want anything to delay him returning to his master. This was unusual, but the way God had done this was unusual.
“Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.”
Genesis 24:57 (NLT)
Rebekah really didn’t have a say in whether or not she would marry. Abraham’s servant and Bethuel and Laban arranged this. But they did consult her on the timing of when she would leave. Her eagerness to go would indicate she was all for it.
So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her.
And she replied, “Yes, I will go.”
Genesis 24:58 (NLT)
This indicates Rebekah was excited about this and not just forced to marry Isaac. I suspect the Lord had prepared Rebekah for this.
So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her. They gave her this blessing as she parted:
“Our sister, may you become
the mother of many millions!
May your descendants be strong
and conquer the cities of their enemies.”
Genesis 24:59-60 (NLT)
What motivated Rebekah to make the right decision?
She heard the word about Isaac and believed it. She saw the proof of his greatness, generosity, and wealth and wanted to belong to him for the rest of her life. She had never seen Isaac (1 Peter 1:8), but what she had heard about him convinced her to go to Canaan with the servant.
Her parents and friends could have given Rebekah many arguments for waiting or even for saying no.
- “You have never seen the man!”
- “Maybe the servant is a fraud!”
- “It’s nearly 500 miles to where Isaac lives. That’s a long trip!”
- “You may never see your family again!”
But she was determined to make the long, difficult journey and become the wife of a man she knew only by hearsay.
The entire story makes it clear that God had chosen Rebekah for Isaac, for His providential leading is seen each step of the way. Yet Rebekah had to make her choice of Isaac. There is no conflict between divine sovereignty (God’s plan) and human responsibility (man’s choice). In fact, Jesus taught both in one statement: “All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me].” (John 6:37).
“We make our decisions,” wrote Frank Boreham, “and then our decisions turn around and make us.” From the minute she left her home, Rebekah was under the special providential care of God and was now a part of a thrilling plan that would bring salvation to the whole world. Had she stayed in Mesopotamia and married one of the local men, we would never have heard of her again.
Father, I thank You that You have blessed me greatly. You blessed my substance (my income) and my employment (my business). You promote me to positions of leadership and give me employees that are loyal and wise. My production increases continually, and my salary (my income) is blessed by Your anointing.
Father, I thank You for the angel that is assigned to me. I recognize that he is here with me as a ministering spirit. He is here to help me in my finances and every area of my life. You are good to me, Father. Thank You for sending me an angel to prosper me in my way.
I pray in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
The Lord has blessed me with His abundance. He has placed upon me the mark of heavenly nobility and has granted me the ability to produce a surplus in my life. I always have much more than what I need and I abound to every good work.
I walk in the ways of the Word and never fail to recognize the help that I am given. My angel is preparing the way to make me prosperous and successful in everything that I set my hand to do. This very moment he is taking the words that I speak and bringing them to pass in my life.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’ name. Amen.
|The Complete Personalized Promise Bible on Financial Increase
By James Riddle / Harrison House
The Complete Personalized Promise Bible on Financial Increase is a simple yet potent tool to unleash the power of faith and prayer in your life right now and to receive the financial blessings God has for you today. You’ll find every Bible promise on finances along with a powerful declaration of faith and a conversational prayer for you to speak directly from your heart to the heart of God. Discover God’s promises for your financial life today!
|Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible: Flawed Women Loved by a Flawless God
By Liz Curtis Higgs / WaterBrook Press
Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible is the latest of Liz Curtis Higgs’ “girlfriend theology” Bible study. Combining contemporary fiction with a verse-by-verse commentary, she explores the “slightly bad” lives of a few Old Testament women. Far from evil, yet slightly bad, these women from the book of Genesis stubbed their toes along the rocky path of righteousness. Sound familiar? These ancient sisters aren’t a whole lot different from us. Laced with humor and built on solid research, this book will bring you to the realization that God loves you just the way you are. Flaws and all! Each chapter concludes with a series of questions for personal reflection.