Memory Verse: Ephesians
5:25 “ Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the
church, and gave Himself for it.”
What was the one thing in
our lesson today that really made you think? Was it that Isaac let his
father Abraham pick out a wife for him without ever having seen her?
Was it that this wife was someone that Abraham didn’t even know?
Was it that Rebekah agreed to leave her family and marry a man she had
never met nor talked to? Maybe. These were all cultural things. It was
common practice for the parents to choose mates for their children.
It is only recently that the practice of dating was started.
The one thing that I saw
in this lesson was total reliance on God’s help and a servant
attitude by all concerned. What is a servant attitude? It is an attitude
of service to others. It is the attitude that Jesus displayed toward
others all through His life on earth, treating them with consideration
Marriage is an especially
important place to live this servant attitude. The husband gives to
his wife 100% and the wife gives to her husband 100% and they both share
with each other what has been given.
This lesson talks about the
influence of God in a courtship and marriage relationship. Abraham wanted
Isaac to have a wife, but he didn’t want just anyone to be a wife
to his son. The local women were all pagans, but Abraham wanted a godly
wife for his son – a woman who believed in the one and only true
God. Abraham sent his chief servant back to the country of his people,
with lots of jewels and fine clothes, to find a wife for Isaac. This
servant had no idea of who he was supposed to find only that he was
to travel to Abraham’s old homeland, seek out his relatives and
secure a wife for Isaac. We find out later that Abraham didn’t
consult Isaac either. He found out about it when Rebekah arrived.
1 “Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him
in every way. 2 One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man
in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand
under my thigh. 3 Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that
you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women.
4 Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there
for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman
who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac
there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?”
6 “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take
my son there. 7 For the LORD, the God of heaven, Who took me from my
father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this
land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and He
will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. 8 If she is unwilling
to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But
under no circumstances are you to take my son there.”
9 So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of
his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions.
10 Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive
gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There
he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled.”
Abraham’s servant obeys,
traveling to a far land to a city where Abraham’s brother Nahor
lived. This servant still did not know which of the people in this land
belonged to Nahor’s family. So he prayed to God that God would
show him this woman who was to be Isaac’s wife. He didn’t
just march into this strange place on his own. He obeyed Abraham and
then asked God to help him, thus displaying his servant attitude.
11 “He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town.
It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water.
12 “O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please
give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham.
13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of
the town are coming out to draw water. 14 This is my request. I will
ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’
If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels,
too!’—let her be the one You have selected as Isaac’s
wife. This is how I will know that You have shown unfailing love to
15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah
coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter
of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his
wife, Milcah. 16 Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married,
but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her
jug, and came up again. 17 Running over to her, the servant said, “Please
give me a little drink of water from your jug.”
18 “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.”
And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink.
19 When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw
water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.”
20 So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back
to the well to draw water for all his camels.
21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the
LORD had given him success in his mission. 22 Then at last, when the
camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and
two large gold bracelets for her wrists.
23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please
tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?”
24 “I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My
grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. 25 Yes, we have plenty of straw and
feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.”
26 The man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. 27 “Praise the LORD,
the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown
unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for He has led me straight
to my master’s relatives.”
God answered the servant’s
prayer to the letter.
How did Rebekah display a
servant attitude? She gave water to the man and then went beyond that
to give water to ten camels. At first this does not seem so special
– watering camels – until you realize that camels can go
a long time without water. However, when they do drink, they drink a
LOT! A camel can drink 20+ gallons of water at a time. Rebekah may have
had to carry 220 gallons of water for the ten camels. Each gallon weighs
8.34 pounds. 220 gallons would weigh 1,834.8 lbs. That took time, patience,
effort, and a servant’s attitude to do!
Then she ran home and told
her brother Laban about the man with ten camels. Laban went out to the
man, invited him home, unloaded the camels, provided food and straw
bedding for ten camels, provided water for ten camel drivers and the
servant to wash their feet. Then he fed them.
28 “The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that
had happened. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out
to meet the man at the spring. 30 He had seen the nose-ring and the
bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what
the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was
still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him, 31 “Come
and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD! Why are you standing
here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place
prepared for the camels?”
32 So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave
him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man
and the camel drivers to wash their feet. 33 Then food was served. But
Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until
I have told you why I have come.”
“All right,” Laban said, “tell us.”
He tells Rebekah’s
family that his master has been blessed by God with many flocks, servants,
gold and silver, etc. He tells that he was sent to find a wife for his
master’s son, how God led him to this place and how God answered
his prayer so specifically. He mentions that if the woman chosen refuses,
that he is free to return without her. After hearing all this, Rebekah’s
family tells the servant to take Rebekah and go, since God is obviously
indicating by answered prayer that this is His will. The servant want
to leave the next day but Rebekah’s family wants her to stay for
another ten days so they can spend some more time with her before she
has to leave them, possibly for forever. So they ask Rebekah if she
wants to leave or stay for another ten days. She agrees to go immediately.
34 “I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained. 35 “And
the LORD has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man.
The LORD has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a
fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels
36 “When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave
birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything
he owns. 37 And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not
allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 38 Go instead
to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for
39 “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find
a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ 40 He responded,
‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send His angel
with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a
wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family.
41 Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my
relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from
42 “So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer:
‘O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on
this mission. 43 See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is
my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her,
“Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.”
44 If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for
your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be
the wife of my master’s son.’
45 “Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming
out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring
and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’
46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes,
have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank,
and then she watered the camels.
47 “Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied,
‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and
Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her
48 “Then I bowed low and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD,
the God of my master, Abraham, because He had led me straight to my
master’s niece to be his son’s wife. 49 So tell me—will
you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master?
Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.”
50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The LORD has obviously brought
you here, so there is nothing we can say. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her
and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the
LORD has directed.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to
the ground and worshiped the LORD. 53 Then he brought out silver and
gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave
expensive presents to her brother and mother. 54 Then they ate their
meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. But
early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me
back to my master.”
55 “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,”
her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.”
56 But he said, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my mission
successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.”
57 “Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and
ask her what she thinks.” 58 So they called Rebekah. “Are
you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied,
“Yes, I will go.”
Rebekah has given her agreement
to marriage to a distant relative that she has never seen. Her brother
and parents agree to submit to the will of God by letting Rebekah and
her servants travel with the servant and his men back to Abraham and
her husband-to-be Isaac.
59 “So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s
servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood
nurse went along with her. 60 They gave her this blessing as she parted:
“Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions!
May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed
the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way.”
Her obedience shows just
how much of a servant’s attitude she had. Rebekah and her servants
traveled with a bunch of strange men to a place that she had never been
to a husband that she had never met. Wow! What courage and faith that
must have taken! She had to trust in God to keep them safe and get them
safely there. She trusted that God knew what He was doing. She submitted
to God, she submitted to the decision that she would go – her
parents didn’t ask her about it until the servant wanted to leave
immediately. She even submitted to the fact that she would be marrying
a man she had never met. I am astounded at her courage and trust and
faith in God.
When they arrived at Abraham’s
camp, Isaac found out that his father Abraham had secured a wife for
him. He submitted to his father’s decision and married and loved
62 “Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned
from Beer-lahai-roi. 63 One evening as he was walking and meditating
in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming. 64 When Rebekah
looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel. 65 “Who
is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked
And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her
face with her veil. 66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had
67 And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and
she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort
to him after the death of his mother.”
Everyone, from the servant
who was sent, Rebekah, Laban, Bethuel, and Isaac, displayed the servant
attitude. It was second nature to all of them. They were raised with
it – it was a part of their lives and culture. The masters did
not “lord it over” their servants. Men and women didn’t
“lord it over” each other, and husbands and wives served
each other and their families.
We don’t see that in
today’s culture. Today’s culture is more getting than giving.
Too often the people with a servant attitude get stomped on or get taken
advantage of by those who think they deserve to be served by everyone
else. Every aspect of our culture today is overshadowed by an overblown
attitude of competition and selfishness, even marriage.
How would marriages today
be different if mates served each other instead of themselves or expecting
to be served but not serving their mates also?
Servant: One who expresses
submission, recognizance, or debt to another.
How can you develop and practice
a servant’s attitude. Is this something that would be a worthwhile
thing to bring into relationships with others? If we would try to help
and serve each other instead of living with the “what’s
it got in it for me” attitude, all relationships would work more
smoothly and peacefully. Jesus set the pattern for how we are to live
our lives with others. His servant attitude enables you to have a relationship
with God and have your sins forgiven. By coming as a servant and not
as a king He showed all of us how to love others, treating them with
kindles, respect and consideration. All these characteristics are important
in any relationship – especially marriage.