Our text is from the book of Genesis, Chapter 24, verse 58. Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. The son that GOD had promised him was now forty years old, and was still single. Sarah, his mother, had passed away three years ago, and lay buried in the cave of Machpelah
, in Hevron, and Isaac, her only son, felt her loss keenly. His wise father, thereupon, summoned his faithful steward and commanded him under oath to find a bride for Isaac from their own family in Mesopotamia. This steward took the journey to the city of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, and stopped at the well outside the city. He then prayed to the LORD GOD of his master, Abraham, to guide him in his choice of the right young woman, and suggested that the one who agreed to give him drink from the well, and who would also volunteer to water his camels, would be the one.
He had scarcely finished his prayer when Rebecca, the granddaughter of Nahor, arrived at the well. She not only gave him drink from her pitcher when asked, but volunteered to water his camels as well. In this way, GOD answered the steward’s prayer, and pointed out the young woman He had chosen to be Isaac’s bride. Of course, she was oblivious of this until the steward identified himself and explained his errand to the rest of the family. Their unanimous response was:
Here is Rebecca before you. Take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife as the LORD has spoken.
There was, however, one more decision to be made; that of Rebecca herself. Was she willing to be the wife of a man she had never met, who was indeed a near relative, but whom she had never seen? Her mother and her brother called Rebecca and said to her,
Will you go with this man? And she said, ‘I will go.’ So they sent away Rebecca and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. As it turned out, the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca was a happy one, and a loving relationship in spite of the trials and troubles that befell them.
We cannot help admiring Rebecca’s faith and resolution when asked to make a life-long decision like this. It was her firm belief that GOD had led her to it, that made her respond so unhesitatingly. In this, she is a shining example of what it means to trust and obey the LORD GOD of Israel. We can learn some important lessons from this account. The first is, that long before this happened she had already committed herself to GOD. What we read about her decision was just the culmination of a life-long exercise in faith and obedience. We can see that in her generous and hospitable treatment of a complete stranger. So like the GOD she served, who Himself loves the stranger. Deuteronomy, Chapter 10, verse 18:
He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. We too, need this whole-hearted commitment to GOD. As we walk with Him, we shall become like Him in this and many other ways.
Another lesson we can learn from Rebecca is to accept His will for our lives, even when sudden and unexpected demands are made upon our faith and obedience. The GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has sent us the Messiah, as He promised. He asks us today,
Will you go with this Man? We have not seen Him, but He asks us to give Him our hearts! Are we ready to comply? He is our near relative. He was born into the nation of Israel. Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, verse 15:
The LORD your GOD will raise up for you a Prophet like Me, from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, wrote our teacher, Moses. Sadly, we hear GOD saying through His servant, Isaiah,
He is despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him. He was despised, and we did not esteem him.
The family of Rebecca were not willing at first to let her go to Isaac. They tried to hold her back. You, too, will find many who seek to stop you from giving yourself to our Messiah. To you the question comes again,
Will you go with this man? She replied, ‘I will go,’ and would not be deterred. What do you say?
In all fairness, we have yet to identify the One we are speaking of. After all, Abraham’s servant gave her, and her family, some idea of his master’s greatness and the happiness that awaited the one he took for his wife. In the same way, we identify the Messiah from the Tanakh. Psalms 72, verse 17:
His name shall endure forever; his name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in him, all nations shall call him blessed. Or again, in Isaiah, Chapter 9, verse 6:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty GOD, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
From these and other texts, describing the Messiah, the Tanakh makes it clear that Messiah is the Eternal One of Israel, Who chose to become one of us, and so fulfilled the prophecy of Moses we quoted earlier. We need to look for a Divine-human Messiah, and, paradoxically, the strongest proof of His identity is that He would be rejected of His people, as Moses once was. So the questions remains: Will you also go away; or,
Will you go with this man; give your life to Him, and follow Him wherever He leads? The choice is yours.