Life Lessons: Rebekah (Genesis 24:1-67)
As we’ve seen throughout our other “Life Lessons”, the Bible has universal and timeless information for believers. Some of this knowledge is great for spiritual growth, some for the everyday struggle and some is geared towards specific situations. One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that the message is both historical and present so we can view these Biblical biographies as the history they are AND great advice for the modern world.
Rebekah has one of these great stories, especially, the first time we see her appear. See, Abraham was concerned that his son, Isaac, had not settled down with a wife yet so, he made a trusted servant promise to find Isaac a wife which is where we meet Rebekah. I think we can glean several great pieces of advice on relationships and life from this moment.
First, we see Abraham make the servant promise that he will only find a spouse for Isaac from his own people which is why he had to travel so far to find a viable option. I’ve said it before but there is a reason the Lord tells us not to be unequally yoked. Marriage is hard enough without trying to do life with someone who doesn’t have the same values as you. Butterflies are great in the beginning but do you really want to spend a lifetime fighting over taking the kids to church, tithing or other spiritual matters? Don’t you want to know that your spouse is praying for you daily and for your children? That when tough times come y’all are both turning to the Father? Burdens are easier to bear when you are both leaning on the Lord.
The second lesson comes when Rebekah actually appears on the scene. We see in verse 12 that as the servant approaches his task, he asks the Lord to give him direction and guidance towards who he is meant to find. He specifically ask that the Lord will send out someone who will respond to a request for water with an offer to also water the camels. That may not seem like a lot to us but if you consider how much water one camel would drink, this response shows character, work ethic and hospitality. All great qualities for a godly wife. It’s like a modern man looking around to see which women have a servant’s heart. Is Miss Thing working in the nursery or setting up an event or does she only make an appearance when it’s convenient to her?
We are told Rebekah was beautiful but she must have stood out in other ways as well because this was the time of day when all the women would be out and about getting water. Beauty is one thing but not enough to bank such an important mission on. It says that as the servant was praying she came out but I wonder if the servant stood back and watched for a moment. Maybe he first noticed her beauty but was then captivated by the way she carried herself or how she was treating the other women. You can learn a lot about a person through simple observation. Whatever he saw made him praise the Lord right then and there for the blessing that Rebekah represented which I hope is how a husband would view his wife… an answer to a prayer.
Next, I think we can see in Rebekah’s story that she must have been in tune with the Lord as well because she listens to the servant’s tale of God’s provision and goes straight to her family to tell them all that has been done. Can you imagine a strange man approaching you out of the blue and saying, “Hi, the Lord told me you’re the one I’m supposed to marry”? Sounds like some of the chatter I heard around my private Christian university. (Just kidding…kind of.) But seriously, unless you were certain of how this was going to shake out you probably wouldn’t just accept this guy’s offer without at least a coffee date. However, that’s exactly what Rebekah did. Yes, I know that she was aware of the kinship but the supernatural working of the Lord was still overwhelming and I fully believe that she was assured that he spoke the truth from the Father. I think she recognized the movement of the Lord.
Finally, Rebekah shows boldness when faced with leaving her family and obeying God. The servant wants to leave straight away but Rebekah’s family wants a few days to get everything in order which makes sense but the ultimate choice is given to Rebekah, herself, and she decides to act intentionally and immediately. I think this shows that she truly trusted her heavenly Father to work out all the details. She didn’t necessarily understand how everything was going to go but if God arranged it so well already she could move knowing that he would keep providing. Once again, I think her ultimate trust was in the God of Abraham not in the servant, kinship or even herself.
Sometimes, I joke that dating would be easier if we had a Rebekah situation, you know? “Hi, I’m the one you’ve been praying for and the Lord has sent me now.” But the truth is, it only worked because of Rebekah’s character and obedience which is how the Lord can answer your prayers as well. I would love to know Rebekah’s backstory until Genesis 24. Was she praying for her future husband? Did she ask God for discernment? Was she just as filled with praise as the servant? I’d love to know! Whatever her thoughts prior to Genesis, this “yes” led to a lifetime smack dab in the middle of all that the Lord was doing and ultimately it led to being a part of the lineage of Christ. I pray that I can learn to follow the life lessons of Rebekah as I go about my daily moments and that I too, will boldly obey when the Lord puts His plan before me…even into the unknown.