Summary: This story is a story, not about a faithful servant, a willing bride, or a happy marriage. It’s a story about God’s providence. Whether we admit it or not, God is in charge of all that happens in this universe.
This story is a story, not about a faithful servant, a willing bride, or a happy marriage. It’s a story about God’s providence. Whether we admit it or not, God is in charge of all that happens in this universe.
While it’s true that we have free will and can make choices, God knows all the possibilities and will make his plan and promises come about regardless of what we do. This is pretty much what the whole Bible is about. Obviously, as in the case of Abraham’s servant he would like to work through our surrender, but he doesn’t need our obedience to fulfill his plan.
An author named Stanley Jones said, “Prayer is surrender – surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boat hook from a boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God”.
Denise and I are convinced that God wanted us here, because He basically made two “sure things” (or so we and others thought), that in hindsight we didn’t really want, He made them fall through at the last minute. He also made it very clear to both of us when we arrived here, that this was the place, and the rest is history.
We see this providence played out in Jesus’ life, and in our story here in Genesis 24 we see another great example of how God fulfills his plans through people.
Let’s begin by looking at:
I. The Glorification of the Lord (24: 22-27) after Abraham’s servant finds Rebekah.
Imagine how the servant must have felt. Rebekah seems pretty excited too. What woman wouldn’t be excited when a stranger whips out a bunch of gold jewelry? After watering all these camels she should be exhausted but she runs back home to tell her household about the events that took place.
Then this faithful servant is only concerned about one thing - worshipping and praising the Lord, firstly for being faithful to his master Abraham, then as a sort of afterthought, for his own success.
I’d also like to point out the progressive praise that the servant gives the Lord. 1) When he first prays for his request he is standing by the well. 2) Then when he finds out who the girl is in verse 26, he bowed his head and worshipped the Lord. 3) Finally, when he gets permission to take her and the task is finished, he bowed himself to the earth.
He starts by making his request standing, then gives thanks for the first answering of prayer by bowing, and finally when the prayer is fully answered he gets down on the ground and praises the Lord. Progressive humility as he sees God working in front of his eyes.
Now contrast that with:
II. The Motivation of Laban (24:28-33a)
In contrast to Abraham’s servant, we read that immediately Rebekah’s brother Laban sees dollar signs and starts to butter up the servant. We get to see a little of Laban’s greed a few chapters later when he deceives and takes advantage of Jacob. He ends up getting 14 years of service from Jacob just so Jacob can have his daughter Rachel to marry.
I want to point out a couple things about God’s people that we see here in the past few chapters. First Abraham is willing to pay way too much for the land to bury Sarah, but he just pays it without haggling. Then we see Abraham and his servant willing to do anything to get a wife for Isaac. Then later we have Jacob getting taken advantage of and giving way too much to get Rachel as his wife.
The point here is that when God’s people are truly dedicated to doing His will, we are willing to give up more than seems reasonable. We put our own needs aside and sacrifice to get what God wants. I’m not saying we should all let ourselves be taken advantage of, but I do believe God will ask us to sacrifice and maybe be willing to put up with some unreasonable things in order to witness in a special way and receive his blessings.
Laban and the world are primarily motivated by personal desires and greed, while God’s people should be motivated by what is best for others and what God desires. Trusting that our rewards will come from Him.
Regardless of the motivation, God is sovereign and again we witness:
III. The Orchestration of the Events (24:33b-49) by God.
The servant again shows patience and commitment to his mission by getting straight to business even before he allows himself to eat what is likely his first home cooked meal in three weeks.