THURSDAY, AUGUST 17
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 24
We have come to the longest chapter in the book of Genesis. I suspect that comes as a bit of a surprise. We might expect that chapter one would be the longest. But the creation account is told in 31 verses. So, why does this chapter consist of so many verses to tell the story of how Rebekah became Isaac’s wife?
For one thing, the entire chapter focuses on separation. To begin with Abraham made it most clear that Isaac was not to marry a Canaanite. Later in the Old Testament story when the Law was given, Jewish men were forbidden to marry heathen women (Deuteronomy 7:1-11). As we fast forward to the New Testament, we find in 1 Corinthians 7, and 2 Corinthians 6 that believers should not marry unbelievers.
None of that means that God’s people, whether Jewish or Christ follower, are better than other folks. But by nature and nurture we should be very different from those who are not believers in the one, true God. While most differences that exist between men and women are actually strengths in marriages, the difference of believing in the one, true God or not is more often than not a detriment to a healthy marriage.
Later we see separation when Rebekah leaves her birth family to travel to a far away land to marry a man she had never even met before. As crazy as that seems to us who live in a culture that is saturated by romance and love, in the Bible days, parents typically made the marriage arrangements. Couples would get married and then learn to love each other. We would say couples should love each other and then get married. It is hard to say which is right.
Another focus we find in this chapter is on faith. Obviously, Abraham was a faithful man. In this story, he had faith that God would provide a wife for his son Isaac.
The servant that Abraham sends on the wife hunt was a faithful man. He went on what may have been a 2-3 month one way journey to find a wife from a group of strangers for Isaac. Throughout his journey he kept mentioning the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. Interestingly enough, he never claimed a personal relationship with God or that God was “his” God. But he did place an incredible amount of trust in Abraham’s relationship with god.
Rebekah was a faithful woman. She would journey a long way from her family and the place she grew up to meet and marry a man she had never met.
Isaac was a faithful man. He waited many weeks, actually several months for God to provide a suitable wife.
Of course, the main reason that all of this is so important is Isaac is another link in the chain that would lead to Jesus. His is another name in the genealogy that would trace Jesus’ human heritage. As a result, Isaac being a man of faith is important. Rebekah being the right woman is important. And to see God orchestrate all of that is even more important.