A Servant Attitude

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 and respect.

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.

Genesis 24:1-10
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.

Genesis 24:11-27
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 my master.”
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.

Genesis 24:28-33
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.

Genesis 24:34-58
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 and donkeys.
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 my son.’
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 my oath.’
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 wrists.
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.

Genesis 24:59-61
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 Rebekah.

Genesis 24:62-67
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 the servant.
And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. 66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done.
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.

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