Let me ask you, what is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear her name? If you are like most, you probably thought about her beautiful love story found in Genesis 24, it is a unique story for sure. While there are several beautiful ways God brought two people together, such as Adam and Eve, and Boaz and Ruth, yet Issac and Rebekah have the sweetest story. The little details of how God led Abraham’s servant to the well, and answered his prayer right as he finished speaking it is absolutely amazing.
Not from here
Sarah has died, both her husband and son have grieved deeply for her. At some point, Abraham realizes that he needs to begin thinking about the future and that includes a wife for his son, after all Isaac was 40 years, and I would say that he was definitely old enough, don’t you think?
He calls his eldest servant and asks him to go to his country to find a wife for his son. Abraham understood the importance of having someone on equal ground, if Isaac married a women who did not have the same heart and desire as his son, it would create a problem. He would settle for nothing less than the best for his son, the promised seed. This is a great lesson for those who are single and for parents who are praying for a spouse for their children. The world is not the place to look for a spouse, we are not to marry a lost person. You need to be on the same page, and have the same goals otherwise there will be conflict in the home. Abraham knew it was essential to get his son a wife from his homeland, a woman who would follow Isaac as he followed the Lord.
The key to the story
After clarifying a few things with his master, the servant begins his journey back to the country of Abraham. Now if you think like me, I picture a few days over a few hills but this trip actually took several months and it was quite the caravan he had with him, ten camels which were loaded with the wealth of his rich master. Finally he arrives in the city of Nahor located in Mesopotamia. He makes the camels kneel by the city well and then he does something that would be the key to the whole story, he prayed.
“O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master." Genesis 24: 12-14
This has to be one of the sweetest prayers in the Bible, and one of the most specific, this servant’s only desire is to honor his master, to do what he was sent to do, get a wife for Isaac and he did not take it lightly. He begs God to show him but in a very detailed way, down to the very words she would speak to him. I love the last phrase, let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac. The word appointed has the idea to be right. This servant was only interested in having the woman that was right for Isaac, the one the God had prepared for him. She would need to be a special young woman, willing to leave her home, all the family she had ever known to marry a man she have never met. She would need to be a very special woman which is why the servant knew he needed God’s guidance. Those who are in the season of singleness, know that God has not forgotten you, He has someone prepared for you, someone is just right for you and at the time appointed He will bring you together.
A place of preparation
Now I do want to make a mention however that while the servant did ask God to provide, he put himself in a position of provision. It is probably safe to say that it was common knowledge that a well meant girls would come to draw water for their family since it was their job, and a girl is just what he was in need of. Sometimes the place and setting of where we choose to wait on God’s answer is just as important as the prayer itself.
What does it mean to be a virgin?
The next part of the story is amazing, before he could even finish his prayer, Rebekah steps on the scene, and she was beautiful but that was not all. The Bible also goes on to describe that she was a girl who was a virgin and neither had any man known her. I have always thought that virgin meant you were a true virgin, a girl who had kept herself pure. But this verse gives new insights into the meaning of virgin. To be a virgin is to be seperate while the phrase “known by man” carries the idea of a more intimate knowledge. Rebekah was pure both physically and emotionally. She has kept herself separate from the things that could defile her, that would corrupt her mind. This is such an important lesson for us, it is much harder to keep the mind pure than the body because it all begins in the mind, this is where the true battle lies.
Our choice of companions, entertainment, music, books, and activities have far reaching and long lasting effects. We are told over and over again to guard our mind and lead our heart. Rebekah was a woman who had formed good habits in her youth which were key to her future.
A girl of character
Not only was she a girl of purity, she was a girl of character. The servant approaches her and asks if she would be willing to let him drink from her pitcher...he must have held his breath as he waited for her reply and she spoke the words he had prayed to hear. She tells him,
"And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels." Gen 24:18-20. She responded without hesitation, she gave this stranger a drink without question and then she offers to care for his camels. I want to read a little from my Bible commentary that sheds some light on just how remarkable her yes and her offer were.
“A typical ancient well was a large, deep hole in the earth with steps leading down to the springwater. Each drawing of water required substantial effort. Camels can consume up to twenty-five gallons of water in ten minutes, and the servant had ten camels with him...A typical water jar held about three gallons of water. All of this together means that Rebekah made many descents into the well. Her labors could have taken well over an hour.”
That is incredible, this girl goes to all this trouble for someone she doesn’t even know which speaks volumes about the kind of girl this was.
Just what he had been looking for
She was thoughtful and kind and sought to be a blessing to others, she had a caring heart that was willing to serve in any way she could. This was just the kind of girl the servant had been praying for and he sprang into action in almost a humorous way. Here this girl has just finished a very big job and probably had worked up a sweat, maybe she turned to tell him goodbye and wish him well in his journey when she is showered with beautiful, expensive gifts. Two gold earrings and two solid gold bracelets. She may have thought that they were in payment of her good deed but she didn’t even get a chance to ask before being bombarded by questions from this interesting if not odd stranger. He asks who she is and if there is room for him and the caravan at her father’s house. She tells him who she is and that there is plenty of room. I was trying to figure out the family connections so I actually wrote it out step by step.
Rebekah is the daughter of Bethuel who is the son of Nahor who is Abraham's brother making Rebekah Abraham’s great niece. This also means that she and Isacc would be cousins.
Meet the family
Rebekah runs ahead to tell her family what has happened, of course her brother Laban is quick to notice the beautiful gifts she is wearing and wants to know who would give her such gifts. Once she tells him the story her brother goes to the servant and welcomes him to their home. There the servant tells the incredible story of how God answered prayer and guided him to Rebekah. At the conclusion of the story both her father and brother agree to the marriage and they spend the evening celebrating together. In the morning the servant was ready to go much to the surprise of her family as they were not ready for her to leave just yet but the servant pleads with them not to hinder him. He was dedicated to his mission and wanted nothing to delay him in completing it. The only reasonable thing would be to let Rebekah decide, now I have a hunch that they thought she would agree to wait a few days like they wanted but she was a girl who was willing to say yes. In less than 24 hours she had gone from offering to water a strangers camels, to becoming engaged to marry a man she never met, and leaving her family with the high possibility that she would never see them again. I have to be honest, I don’t know if I could have said yes that quickly, I would have been tempted to stay, to say all my goodbyes but not Rebekah, she had a heart that was willing to follow where the Lord was leading. This is a lesson to us, are we willing to say yes to God’s plan in His timing? Sometimes we have said yes to God, but hesitate to move. We allow the things around us to hold us back. We need to be willing to move at the moment God stirs our hearts, we can always trust His timing. Rebekah was ready to leave her familiar home, and past in exchange for a future God had planned and there is great peace in following after God.
A new life
That morning she began her journey to a new life, one that she had unknowingly been preparing for her whole life. I love the next verses in the chapter. They have arrived at her uncle’s home near the end of the day. As Rebekah is looking around she notices a man walking toward them from the field, she asks the servant who he was. When he tells her that it is Isaac, her intended husband, she grabs a veil, and jumps off the camel ready to meet him. The servant tells the story once more of how God lead him to Rebekah. Isaac was no doubt delighted, after all he had been waiting for months and now he had the privilege of marrying a girl he knew without a doubt was the one God had intended for him. There is such a peace in knowing that God has planned our steps, we can move with a confidence that cannot be shaken. The last verse almost reads like fairy tale. “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her.”
Just a few last words
Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged and let our dismal circumstances lead us to make poor choices. It would have been so easy for Abraham to look around and think that it was hopeless, how would he ever find a godly wife for his son? But instead Abraham believed God’s promises, the He could provide someone perfect for his son, just as He had provided a lamb on the day he almost sacrificed his son many years ago. For a single person, it can be discouraging as we look around, it seems that there are so few single Christian people who want to serve the Lord, who want to follow in His ways but God’s hand is never short and we need to believe that. Never be willing to compromise your standards in order to have a spouse. Compromising standards never yields good results. Trust God, stay in His word, and believe that He will provide.
Don't put your life on hold
I know that it is easy, especially as girls, to put our life on pause until God brings the man into our life but that is wasting our season of waiting. We should use our time of singleness to be serving wherever we can. You never know but it might put you in a place where you are ready to receive God’s answer to your request. Rebekah simply went to the well like she did every day and offered to help a stranger which is probably something she had done before. She never once thought it would change her life. There are so many stories of people who God brought together because they first said yes to His calling and at the right time, God introduced them. I encourage you to keep your eyes on Him and your hands busy in His work. At the right time He will bring your Isaac to you.
I know that there are many of you who are going through some difficult times. So many changes have taken place in the last few weeks that it is almost difficult to remember what we used to call normal. College students are having to complete their classes online, seniors, both high school and college, are more than likely not going to celebrate their achievement in the way that they hoped, brides are having to adjust their special day and have only close family attend.
The workforce has also been hit as many are having hours reduced and others have been temporarily laid off which is causing financial difficulty for families. It is an easy time to be discouraged and with Easter just around the corner, we have been informed that we will not be able to gather together and celebrate the resurrection of our Savior as a church. I believe, however, that this holiday could not have come at a more perfect time. Why? Because it is a holiday of hope and I want to share three aspects of this holiday that give us hope and encouragement during this time.
The Folded Napkin
First, let’s discuss the folded napkin found inside the empty tomb. In John chapter 20 verses 3 through 7 it says, Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
Did you catch that? Verse 7 goes to great length to tell us about how the napkin, used to cover the face, was not with the rest of the linen clothes but set apart, neatly. I discovered this simple explanation about why this little detail is important.
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, we need to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the master and servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating.
The servant would not dare touch the table until the master was finished. Now if the master was finished eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers and mouth, clean his beard, and wad up the napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, “I’m finished.”
But if the master got up from the table, folded his napkin and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the folded napkin meant, “I'm coming back!”
Is that not some of the best news you have heard! And that is our first hope, Easter signifies that our Lord is returning for us. His work on the cross is finished, our sin debt has been paid, but that is not the end. He is coming back one day and He left us a little something to remind us.
Next, I want to talk about one of my favorite characters in the Easter story, Mary Magdelene. She is such an amazing and interesting character to say the least and one, with the most memorable moments. Her love for Christ was great, she only desired to be with Him, to soak up every word He spoke and learn of Him. She was among the last to leave His side at the cross, and the first to arrive at the tomb. I believe she counted the hours until she could be at His side to complete the burial tasks, to have one last chance to show her love. He who had given sight to the blind, life to the dead and healing to the sick, now sat in a cold, empty tomb.
Mary was the first to discover that the body was gone and she with the other women quickly told the men. But unlike the other women who stayed behind, she returned to the garden with the two disciples. After Peter and John left, with only questions in their mind, she remained in the garden still desperately searching for the body of her Lord, her heart broken by the thought that she didn’t know where the body had been taken. She couldn’t bear the fact that she was denied this final opportunity.
It seems that she took one more look inside the empty tomb just to see if maybe the body had returned and it was there that she witnessed something amazing, two heavenly beings sitting inside the tomb who asked her what the problem was. What’s interesting is that it did not startle her at all. She seemed unaffected by their presence and merely answered their question. She then just turns away without a second thought to who she had just spoke to. This is a testament to the power of grief, it can make us miss out on the extraordinary.
He took the time
Especially in times like this it is easy for us to get caught up in the news and uneasy events that are being reported each day but sometimes this can make us blind to what God is doing today for us. Mary was so wrapped up in her grief that she walked away from angels. But something else was getting ready to happen and there was no way she would miss it. As she turns away from the empty tomb she comes face to face with the one person she has been so desperately looking for. This is where the story gets interesting for me and here’s why, there is great significance at what happens next.
Jesus speaks to Mary, "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" And Mary, thinking He was the gardner asks him if he knows where the body of her Lord was located. Even though she was face to face with the Master, she still couldn’t see it was Him. But then He says her name and everything changes. There was no one who spoke her name like He did and she immediately knew it was the one she adored. Now here is what I want to point out, something that touched my heart when I realized it for the first time.
Mary was so excited to see Jesus that it seems she wanted to reach out and touch Him but He quickly tells her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God and your God.” Jesus’ words reveal something special. He had paused His mission. Think about that, He has not ascended to His Father yet, why? Because there was someone who needed Him. It was as if He said “I will be right there Father, I just need to talk to Mary for a moment and let her know that I am no longer dead but risen.” When I first had this thought I was blown away, Jesus took the time to see Mary, to allow her to be the first person who saw Him.
This should be an encouragement to you and me, we are loved and our God cares about us, He always has time for us, and will never be too busy to hear our cries. So when the news weighs you down and the cares of life overwhelm you don’t forget that you have the privilege to lay it all at the Master’s feet. We were never intended to hold onto these cares, but are told to cast it all on the One who cares for you.
A Holiday of Completion
Lastly, I want to talk about the holiday itself. Christmas is a celebration of beginnings, it is when Jesus came to the earth, the start of His journey as man but Easter signified the end. The work of Jesus was done, it was complete, there was nothing left but to ascend to the right hand of the Father and prepare a place for those that love Him. A plan that was born almost from the beginning of time was now finished.
Because of Easter we have hope beyond the grave, that when we die our life is only just beginning. I have to say that this thought filled me with such joy and excitement. We are in the middle of very trying and difficult times. The news is filled with discouraging reports and is only heightened by the fact that we are unable to gather together in worship and fellowship. But Easter is the perfect time to remember all that is to come, God’s work is complete, our sin debt is paid in full and we can look forward to the day when we will be with Him never to face sickness or sorrow again. Because of Easter we have the hope of a bright future.
I hope you have a great day and a very Happy, hope filled Easter!
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
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