Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Isaac and Rebekah

I'm reading Genesis 24 and really enjoying it. It's a most remarkable story.

Here's Abraham who makes his servant swear to go to his family and find a wife for Isaac, sight unseen. Isaac may NOT go with him. Talk about arranged marriage! What a difficult task for the servant.

The servant must have been very nervous about this and afraid he would fail, but Abraham comforted him saying "Well, if it doesn't work out, don't worry about it, I won't hold you to this promise. Just do your best."

So off goes the servant, seemingly scared out of his wits as he's praying pretty dang hard when he reaches the well. It seems he doesn't know anyone and doesn't know where to go.

So he prays, "Lord, please let the girl who gives me water, and who willingly gives the camels water be the one."

Thing is...drawing water for camels is a big deal. They drink an awful lot, especially after a journey like that. The idea of a young girl willingly offering to do that is astonishing. That's probably why the servant asked for this particular sign. It would be so out of the ordinary that he'd know without a doubt that she was the one for Isaac.

Think about the kind of woman it would take to do that. She would be willing to serve. She would be willing to work hard. She must come from a family that has taught her these principles and thus she would know them well enough to raise her children in like manner.

So out comes Rebekah who was, by all accounts, an absolute stunner. And the servant thinks "Woah. Might as well start at the top."

So he asks her for water. She doesn't give it grudgingly, she willingly "hasted" and gives water to him. Then of her own accord says "Hey, how about I get water for your camels too?"

I love this scripture:

Genesis 24:21 - And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.

To me that says "The servant had his mind blown by her absolute awesomeness and couldn't believe the Lord had answered his prayer exactly as he'd asked it." =D

It actually makes me wonder: was she amazingly awesome? Or was there some stuff going on back at the house that she wanted to avoid and so she didn't mind the backbreaking work of hauling water for the camels? =P It was probably the former because of her later behaviour, but it's fun to think about the latter. =D

Then here comes the kicker - He gives her massive ring and bracelets - that must have made her eyes widen a little - and then asks firstly if he can stay with her family and secondly, "who the heck are you anyway?

It must have blown his mind that she was the granddaughter of Abraham's brother.

WITHOUT EVEN ASKING IF IT'S OK, she offers her family's house to him. This tells me that she knew her family would welcome a stranger and all his camels (and those things aren't cheap to feed) as a matter of course - this tells us that her family had done this kind of thing in the past - that's the kind of family they were.

So when Rebekkah hears the servant is a servant of Abraham, the brother of her Grandfather, she runs off to tell her family.

Laban, Rebekkah's brother, takes one look at the ring and bracelets and goes "woah!" He hears her story then runs out to Abraham's servant and says "What the heck are you still doing standing out here? Come in and be comfortable!"

They take good care of the animals and the servant...but the errand is weighing heavy on the servant's mind. He must have been a man of great integrity, wanting to do all he can to fulfill Abraham's wishes. This also tells us somewhat of what kind of man Abraham was, to inspire such service and loyalty in another.

So the servant tells Laban that Abraham is stinkin' rich - and, furthermore, Sarah had a child when she was amazingly old. That must have blown Laban's mind. So Isaac is an only child - and Abraham is stinkin' rich - which means Isaac's wife would be stinkin' rich...

And the servant spills ALL the beans to Laban and finally gets to the point: Can I have Rebekah for Isaac?

Laban and his father, Bethuel recognize that Heavenly Father has had his hand in this whole affair from the beginning, and willingly give Rebekah to the servant for Isaac.

Wonder what Rebekah thought of that, hmmm? Doesn't matter what she thought really, as she didn't have much say in the matter. But still...was she excited to be going off to a rich family? Was she bummed to be leaving to go live with a bunch of provincials and be married to a guy she'd never met who probably smelled of sheep? She'd been living in a house her whole life - was she excited/nervous or disgusted and horrified at the thought of living in a tent?

Was she thrilled to pieces or overwhelmed by the riches poured upon her by the servant?

What the heck is the servant's name, anyway?

Then THE VERY NEXT MORNING the servant's like "ok, I'm off baby, say your goodbyes."

And the family are like "Woah! Hold up soldier!! We need at least ten days to get her ready and say goodbye!"

Which means either they wanted more gifts heaped upon them, or they really loved Rebekah and it was killing them to see her go. Maybe she cried quite a bit in the night about leaving her family.

The servant says "Nope, I'm off"

"Let's ask Rebekah" say her family. Interesting! Were they assuming she'd say she wanted to stay? Or did they really respect her opinion so much? Astonishingly, Rebekah agrees to go with this complete stranger immediately. Go figure!

So after her family blesses her with a blessing that may actually be a curse (mother of thousands of millions? That's a lorra lorra pregnancies)- though it must be nice to know that they'd be victorious in any battle - off she goes with her nurse, Deborah, into the wild blue yonder.

So here's Isaac thinking some pretty deep thoughts in the field. He must have been just a tad bit nervous wondering about the woman that was going to be brought back to him. He was probably freaking out. What if she was awful??

He sees them coming. Can you imagine it? His stomach must have been in knots and his heart in his throat. He must have been ready to vomit, but amazingly full of courage as he starts walking towards them.

And Rebekah sees Isaac. She asks the servant, "Who's that dude there?" And he says, "That's Isaac" so she covers herself with a veil (hmmm. what's the significance of it being spelled "vail"?) and gets off the camel to meet him.

Can you see it? These two young things (ok, maybe not so young as Isaac was 40...wonder how old Rebekah was?) terrified out of their wits, but trusting in the Lord that all would be ok?

So they got married. And Isaac must have been thrilled to pieces to have such an amazingly gorgeous woman, a hard worker, who had been taught to serve.

"and he loved her"

Is that not the sweetest thing ever? That just makes me heave a huge sigh. What an amazing story. I love Genesis 24.

1 comment:

Ritsumei said...

I stopped by earlier, but Monkey was going crazy on my lap and I couldn't comment.

This is cool. Very thought-provoking. It's definitely an awesome story. Gotta wonder, with so many of these Old Testament stories, what's going on between the girls' ears?! I mean, that's a whirlwind upheaval of Rebekah's life, what kind of help did the Lord give her so she'd be ABLE to go along with this plan? But it's not in the record. There's sooo much that's not in the record, early on. Still, definitely an amazing faith/love story.