Editor's Note: Every Week, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.
Genesis Chapter 24 - Providence - Part 3
We ended last week with the servant meeting Rebekah, now we continue with the text.
Vs. 28-33 - “The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring. As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring. “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord,” he said. “Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.”
So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet. Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.”
“Then tell us,” Laban said.”
To the degree Rebekah was a real sweetheart, Lebon was a real swindler. And we’ll see just how bad he was in the weeks ahead.
Notice Lebon, when he saw the jewelry, he was like - “Come on in, blessed of the Lord.” We’ll see this guy worships everything under the sun BUT the Lord. He’s a complete idolater with a particular fondness for money. So he’s turning on the false spiritual charm here.
I want you to mark vs. 33 very carefully. Before he eats he brings the message, not the other way around. He places the delivery of his message over his own comfort. This is something we forget about in this culture. The Holy Spirit here is pointing out to us the importance, urgency, priority of the message that we carry is to be valued over our personal comfort. You and I as Christians are here for a reason, and that is to take the truth of the Gospel to those that have no hope.
So I think this is a beautiful picture of the order and priority and the urgency for which we are to handle our “business,” our message.
In Vs. 34-48 he tells his message and he’s essentially repeating what we’ve read in vs. 3-27, so we won’t go through that.
But what I want us to get here is that the Holy Spirit, whom we know has inspired the Scriptures, saw fit to tell this story twice! So God must really want us to get this! There is something I want us to mark in this passage though.
Let’s go to vs. 45 - “I was praying in my heart.” “Before I finished praying in my heart.” This is an additional detail. You don’t have to verbalize your prayers to be effectual in prayer! Sometimes people will feel self-conscience or uncomfortable praying in a group setting, so they pray in their heart or under their breath, kinda like I do when I’m singing worship songs around people. I think sometimes we give the impression that those kinds of people aren’t as “spiritual” as the rest of us, and that’s nonsense. Here it’s quite obvious that the Lord answers this guy’s prayer, so you don’t have to verbalize your prayer in order to be powerful in prayer.
So, he’s delivered his message now, and that takes us down to vs. 49, and I want you to notice there’s another great lesson, but notice how he’s prepared to handle their response, and then we’ll see what their actual response was.
Vs. 49-58 - “Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”
Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”
When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.
Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.
When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”
But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.”
But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”
Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”
“I will go,” she said.
There is some hesitation in letting their daughter go, and I think we can understand that. We can understand the families feeling. Rebekah is just a jewel. She’s this awesome young lady and there’s a very real possibility they may never see her again. Imagine taking your teenage daughter and putting her on a camel and setting her off into the sunset for all those miles.
So he gets up early in the morning, he’s packing up the camels, and their saying: Dude, where ya going?” And he’s saying: I’m heading back, mission accomplished, let’s go.”
So they don’t want her to go and want her to hang out for awhile, so they call her, and she’s committed to the deal: “Yes, I’m going to go!”
So, let’s wrap it up beginning in vs. 59.
Vs. 59-67 - “ So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
“Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.”
Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”
“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.
Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
Their marriage was immediate. Rebekah replaced Sarah by entering the dead matriarch’s tent, and Rebekah became at once the new matriarch of Israel. “And he loved her...” is the first reference to marital love in the Bible. They had married in the Lord and were one flesh.
The Scriptural doctrine of divine providence is that God has total, hands-on control of the world. God provides and controls in 3 arenas: history, nature, and the lives of individual people. God’s providence is illustrated in most every narrative in the Bible. The lesson from this story is NOT that we are to lay out every single criteria that God must fulfill as a way to determine His will, but rather, that the Lord will guide us as we are faithful to His Word.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”
Providence is God’s gracious outworking of His purpose in Christ in His dealings with us.
As God’s children, we must take to heart that it is God’s day-in, day- out providence who’s result is found in Rom. 8:28-30 - “ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
This story, and all of Scripture, teaches us that our lives are not ruled by chance or fate, but by God. God is always faithful to His children - ALWAYS!! Our challenge is to be faithful to Him!
God does NOT help those who help themselves. He helps those who entrust themselves completely to Him, as did Abraham and his servant.
Will you trust in Him today? Jer. 33:3!