Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.
In chapters 23, 24, and 25 of Genesis the scene shifts from Abraham’s story to the story of Isaac, his son. There is solemnity here in the simple telling. Considering the trials and challenges of Abraham, his years of sojourning in a foreign land, making it his home according to the Lord’s promise, dealing with Lot, the King of Sodom, countless Hittites, Hagar and Ishmael, and finally the climax of his trial of faith in the sacrifice of Isaac, now in the final years of his life the story becomes almost pastoral.
Integrity in Financial Matters: We learn here that God had blessed Abraham and made him wealthy. Yet we also see that he never let the desire for wealth rule his heart. He gave up the best land for his nephew Lot. He dealt honestly in business dealings. In purchasing a burial place for his wife Sarah – Macpelah – he refused to receive the use of a tomb as a gift, but rather out of love and respect for his lifelong mate insisted on purchasing the site. His dealings with people showed he was a man who knew business and treated people respectfully, and held them accountable, also. He never set out to become wealthy. Rather the goal of his life was to serve his God. Wealth escaped those who greedily grasped for it, but for Abraham who was careful, honest, generous, and faithful, he became wealthy.
Faith in Future Matters: In his final years he desires to find a wife for Isaac, not one from among the Canaanite people, but one from his own people. A faithful but nameless servant is entrusted with this task, and the servant has but one single commitment – to do the will of his master Abraham. God leads the servant to Rebekah, a niece of Abraham. The servant prayed for the Lord to show him, and God answered the prayer even before it was completely prayed. Here we have an example of how every believer ought to live and go about our business. Like this servant, we should know our Master’s will and be committed to it. And, like this servant, we should talk to God and ask Him to lead us when we do not know the way we should take, and expect Him to answer! Abraham’s faith rubbed off on all those around him, and he became a blessing to even his servants as well, who wished to know their master’s God and learned to follow His leadership.
Maturity above His Relatives: As with Lot, now so it was with Laban, Rebekah’s brother. There was a man you would not want to do business with, whom showed dishonesty and unbelievability in his dealings. Our relatives will either lift us up or drag us down. Blessed is the person who has inherited a legacy of faith and humility from his family. But it seems that most of us have a mixture of relatives, some faithful and some not, some encouraging and some discouraging, and we must learn to put Christ first, and follow Him.
Isaac’s Example of Meditative Worship: As the servant arrives with Rebekah, we find Isaac out in the field one night meditating, or worshiping God (Gen. 24:63). This is the first time in Scripture since Adam someone is described in such an attitude of worship. They had not abandoned the sacrificial rites, and here we find a human being out in nature, alone, speaking to God, worshiping Him, meditating on Him. Christ often went out alone to pray, and we have this same privilege, to spend time alone with God. Isaac, who was neither a prophet nor a priest, enjoyed the reality of personal worship.
The weaknesses of these patriarchs are well spelled out for us in the Scripture, but we should also see them in light of their strengths. They stood in contrast to unbelieving relatives, and the common Canaanite culture of their day. They are examples for us of integrity, faithfulness, hope, and worship. How do we measure against the standards of these people?
- Are we people of integrity, honest in our dealings with others?
- Are we about our Master’s business and give it a higher priority than our own plans?
- Do we pray to God as we go about our work, looking for His hand at work in this world?
- Are we more committed to the will of God than to the will of our relatives?
- Do we engage in meditative worship? Do we spend personal time alone with God in prayer?