This is one of the most beautiful and romantic stories in the Bible of two people, Isaac and Rebekah, who in their young lives want to follow God and obey His way of doing things. It starts with an attractive bachelor, the promised son of the most wealthy man of the time (Genesis 24:36), saved from sacrifice by God, watching the fulfilment of an amazing covenant promise given to his father, Abraham. Abraham wants to finish the job God called him to fulfil in being the father of many nations, Genesis 15:1-6. He wants above all to provide a bride for his son from his own family. He gives strict instructions to his servant Eliezer how to return to Haran, where he had left his family, and God would show him the right girl to be the perfect wife for his precious son Isaac.
Eliezer is not used to talking to the God of Abraham, but he understands the vital importance of making the right choice. He knew from years of serving Abraham, what his God had promised him. He heard how He was a God of miracles, for example the birth of Isaac. Abraham had no difficulty sending Eliezer to his brother’s place as he was sure that if he chose to obey God’s will, God would smooth the difficulties and give realistic guidance and practical help, so that His purpose would be fully accomplished.
Rebekah started the day like any other; she was a teenager with dreams of marriage like all other girls. She knew about the stories of her great uncle Abraham and his faith. How he had moved with no worldly security, just a Word from God. She went to the well when all the daughters of the townspeople would go to draw water. She was approached by an elderly man who asked her for a drink. Rebekah had no difficulty doing this and also noticed that his camels, which were laden with wealthy gifts, had not been watered so she offered to do this to help the gentleman. This offer was greatly appreciated as this was an answer to Eliezer’s prayer for guidance. The job of watering the camels was a big one as after a distance of 500 miles over about a week the ten camels would drink about 25 gallons of water each, Genesis 24:19.
This just showed Eliezer that she not only
……. was a very attractive beauty,
……. but the attitude of her heart was of a servant
……. who was willing to go far beyond the call of duty and
……. also had perseverance to see the job through.
When Eliezer asked her about her family she confirmed that she was God’s choice for Isaac by sharing “I am the daughter of Bethuel, who is the son of Milcah and Nahor (Abraham’s brother)” showing that she both knew and believed in the one true God, the main stipulation from Abraham. He did not want Isaac to be unequally yoked, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.
Guidance comes when three strategic points come together.
1) Circumstances through answer to prayer.
2) Always in line with the Word of God
3) Peace in our heart as the plumb-line of any decision
Always check your motives and bring them under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If we are seeking God’s guidance and help for success in our work we need to be careful not to take any praise to ourselves, but to give all the glory to God. God of Abraham becomes Eliezer’s God as he prays and experiences God’s blessings for himself, Genesis 24:26-27; Genesis 24:52. He praises God with every successful step and gives Him all the glory. Having decided that Rebekah is God’s choice for Isaac, Eliezer knows he must take immediate action. He approaches the family who recognise the hand of God on the whole relationship and gives the go ahead. Rebekah still has her own choice to make and her decision would affect her eternal decision. She risked her all upon her belief in God’s call on her, she stepped out by faith in the invisible God just like Abraham had done and He gave her signs to encourage her. She looked up and saw Isaac (Genesis 24:64) and from the first moment Isaac loved her and had no other wife, Genesis 24:67.
Like Abraham’s wife, Sarah, Rebekah was intelligent, energetic, strong-willed and very lovely. As a young unknown girl, through her obedience to God’s call she became part of the line of Abraham, the father of Faith and of the Jewish nation.
This chapter is a beautiful picture of God the Father, sending out His Holy Spirit (Eliezer) to draw and win the consent of the individual to be the Bride for His Son, Jesus. Also note the Father’s great concern about the right Bride. Also understand the Holy Spirit’s selfless care and desire to win the girl for the Father’s Son and see the tenderness of the Son towards His Bride.
Genesis 27:1-30 and Genesis 27:41-46.
Like Sarah, Rebekah had an infertility problem for twenty years (Genesis 25:26) but Isaac prayed (Genesis 25:21) and God answered with a double portion, Esau and Jacob. God told her that they represented two nations and that Esau the older would serve Jacob the younger, Genesis 25:23. Having children should have been such a blessing to Rebekah and Isaac but it seems to have caused division as she favoured Jacob because of the promise of God over him before he was born and he was always around the house, a mummy’s boy! Isaac preferred Esau because he was a rough man physically and in his personality. Isaac also loved the meat he brought home from his frequent hunting trips. Communication between the parents was strained. Esau cared little for his birthright and had given it up to Jacob in exchange for a cup of soup, Genesis 25:31-34. He had also married heathen women, which caused much sorrow to his parents. Isaac should not have allowed it. Earlier when there had been problems with childlessness they had prayed about it and God had answered but they didn’t pray about things together any more.
Now was the time for Isaac to prepare to die and he had to give the Blessing from God, passed on to him through Abraham, usually kept for the eldest son, Genesis 27:4. Rebekah was alarmed because although she knew God’s promise for Jacob she thought that it was going to falter and God needed help, so she stepped in and did her own scheming (Remember Sarah) Genesis 27:6-10. The woman who once had sufficient faith to trust God for an unknown future; now lacked the confidence that the God who had provided her with two sons, was mighty enough to fulfil the promise He had given (Genesis 25:23) about her favourite son, Jacob. She decided, without any talk with her husband or her heavenly Father, to deceive both her husband and her son, Esau. She was prepared to do anything and if Jacob was caught she was even willing to take on a curse for him, Genesis 27:13. Had she lost her fear of God because of her obsession with her scheming son? Idolatry?
Jacob stole the blessing but Rebekah lost on every point. Isaac was heart broken. Esau was so angry he vowed to kill his brother and lost respect for his mother. Jacob gained the birthright by lying and cunning but had to run for his life and never saw his precious mother again. Rebekah didn’t speak one word of sorrow to her husband for her actions. She didn’t see the far-reaching effects of her actions in favouring her son Jacob or in getting the birthright by deception. The hatred kindled in Esau’s heart continued for many centuries through the Edomites. Herod Antipas who ridiculed Jesus at His trial was an Edomite. Jacob did meet up with his brother Esau again many years later and he was very frightened so he sought God alone at the ford of Jabbok. There Jacob was so fed up with his life, running, deceiving, scheming, swindling that he wrestled with God and would not give up ‘I will not let you go until you bless me’ Genesis 32:26. His hip was dislocated and he was given a change of name, ‘Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for you have contended and have power with God and with men and have prevailed’ Genesis 32:28 AMP. We need that real determination to get right with God, hold onto the promises whatever it looks like and keep our relationships right.
Favouritism for a child
- Generational curse.
- Looking for love not found in marriage.
- Reliving our own youth.
- No fear of God.
- Wrong priorities.
- Conditional love.
- Break all generational curses, 2 Timothy 1:5.
- Only speak God’s Word over each child, no comparisons, Proverbs 18:21.
- Pray over each relationship especially where there is a personality clash, 1 Timothy 5:21.
- Love each child with God’s love, not according to their behaviour, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
- Put your energy into restoring your marriage priorities, Proverbs 31:12.
No.5 – Rebekah the perfect Bride – Challenge Questions.
- What remains in your heart from the previous study?
Read the notes about Rebekah
- From the story about the choice of Rebekah as the wife for Isaac, was there anything you found that was helpful in your situation?
- Can you apply the principles that Eliezer used to any situation in which you need guidance today?
- Do you recognise from the story of Rebekah and Jacob that you have a problem with favouritism? Can you recognise the cause of the problem? Repent and pray now asking God to give you balanced unconditional love and wisdom to restore Godly relationships.
Read 2 Kings 4:8-37
- What was the social status and characteristics of this lady from Shunem? What did she prepare for the man of God, Elisha?
- What desperate need did she have that she did not voice? What word of promise did Elisha give her and what was her reaction?
- What went wrong with the child? 2 Kings 4:19-20.
- What amazing words did the woman say to her husband? (2 Kings 4:23) Who did she go to for help? What did she say to Gehazi? 2 Kings 4:26.
- Describe what Elisha did in your own words and the result for the boy. Can you remember a person that Elisha would be copying?
Read 2 Kings 8:1-6
- What did the prophet Elisha tell the Shunammite woman to do? What did she do?
- Where did she go when she returned to her country and who was there at the same time?
- What did the lady get restored to her? Was it increased? What would this mean to her?
- Sum up in a short sentence what you have learnt from this lady?