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.
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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.