In Genesis 24 we find Abraham seeking to find a wife for Isaac. He sends his eldest servant to his own kindred. It is a lengthy record, but ultimately, Rebekah, Isaac’s second cousin, consents to become Isaac’s wife.
vv. 1–9 - Abraham is getting older, and he calls upon his most senior servant to help him obtain a wife for Isaac. The whole point of this chapter is about God’s promise being built upon Abraham’s seed. Therefore, the promised son needs a bride. The seriousness of the matter is highlighted by requiring an oath. The form of this oath is odd. Some say it was an ancient form of oath taking, but there is no evidence that is the case. The practice is only found here and in Genesis 47. Since Abraham’s descendants came from his loins, there appears to be something here relating to the covenant of circumcision or reference to Abraham’s seed. Whatever the case, the oath is made in a fashion that has reference to Christ, since He is the seed Abraham was trusting in. The servant, realizing that asking a young woman to move hundreds of miles from home would be no easy task. Abraham assures him (v. 8) that if the woman will not follow him, he is not responsible. What is Abraham so concerned about? First, he knows the Canaanites will be destroyed, so mingling with them militated against God’s promises. Second, his brother’s house may not have been the most godly, but it is likely that Abraham’s conversion and life had some influence. The best hope for a God-fearing wife not of a nation under judgment, was there.
vv. 10–14 - so the servant sets off. The journey probably takes several weeks, covering around 500 miles. Once he gets there, he prays so specifically, that if it happens as he prays, he would be in no doubt concerning the will of God.
vv. 15–28 - before he finishes his prayer, Rebekah appears, and she does precisely as Abraham’s servant had prayed. Some have guessed about 80 trips to the well. Rebekah is like an iron woman! Furthermore, she did it with haste, showing willingness rather than reluctance. So he stands wondering whether God had answered his prayer. There remains one test, who is her family? When he realizes that she is Abraham’s great-niece, he immediately falls down and worships the Lord.
vv. 29–69 - detail how Abraham’s servant goes to the home of Bethuel, explains who he is, who he represents, his obligations and what happened, to which Laban and Bethuel confess, “The thing proceedeth from the Lord” (v. 50).
vv. 60–67 - Rebekah is blessed, and goes with Abraham’s servant and marries Isaac.
Those who are in Christ are blessed in all things (v. 1). This is not unique to Abraham. God had kept His Word to Abraham, and He will keep the same Word to us, causing all things to work together for good to them that love God.
God guides His people sovereignly. Abraham was often guided by a revelation of the Son of God. But that is not necessary. We can know God’s leading without His visible presence, as is the case here. Abraham knew God would lead, “he shall send His angel before thee” (v. 7). But the assurance of God’s guidance not only comes by this promise but by His providence. It was the providence of God that convinced Rebekah’s family of God’s will.
God’s promises do not exempt His people from faithful activity. The fact that God had promised to continue His plan through Isaac, did not remove responsibility from the family to find a faithful wife for him. Avoid the trap of fatalism.
God’s people ought to have wise qualifications for those they marry. Here we see Abraham’s concern is that it is someone separated from the world and knows the living God. Going by v. 14, I think I perceive a desire to find someone kind, generous, and hardworking. Those are good qualities to look for.
Prayer is crucial if you are to find the best spouse for you. Young people, while there are things you should look for in a spouse, knowing who to marry needs divine guidance. I remember being told of a group of young women who were still not married in their late 20s. They met once a week for prayer together, and within a year 4 out of the 5 were engaged to be married.
God’s people are expected to be practical. Criteria and prayer are essential, but v. 13 records that Abraham’s servant stood in the place where he knew he would meet eligible candidates. Some young people desire to be married, sometimes they even pray about it, but they avoid the places where they are likely to meet eligible people. This is unwise.
Mourning is not an excuse to rob God’s people of a productive life. I mentioned this before, but the fact that Isaac was only found relief from his grief when he married Rebekah, tells me he has been mourning for 3 years in a way in which his life may have stalled. God is greater than our grief and deserves our joyful service no matter who or what we lose.
There are matters of gospel encouragement here. Like Abraham’s servant, who sought to find a bride for Isaac, this is the work of the Holy Spirit and the people of God. By the power of the Spirit leading us, God’s people should be about the business of finding Jesus’ bride. In addition, in v. 58, when Rebekah is asked, “Wilt thou go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” This is what we call sinners to do. Will you follow Jesus? May we say, “I will go” and by our evangelism, may we help many others to say the same.
“There are two great certainties about things that shall come to pass—one is that God knows, and the other is that we do not know.” — Charles Spurgeon