Isaac and Rebekah
- Recall the promises God gave to Abraham and Sarah.
- Tell how God answered the servant's prayer.
- Give a personal example of answered prayer.
- Feel sure that God hears and answers prayer.
Leaping over a couple of decades, Sarah has died and Abraham is old. Now the focus is on the future of Isaac, the covenant son. It's time for Isaac to get a wife. Strangely, Isaac is the one person who is in the background of the story. This reflects the times as well as the marriage practices of millions of people still today. Whatever its drawbacks, we can also recognize the strengths.
The story that follows is intricate, beautiful, even romantic. It begins when old Abraham calls his unnamed senior servant to make him swear that he would not get a wife for Isaac from among the neighboring Canaanites, but go back to his family, which he had left years before. But Isaac is not to go. Abraham's fear is that Isaac may settle back in the land from which Abraham had come and abandon the promised land.
If you're going to get a good wife for your son, there needs to be a display of wealth. So the servant's camels are loaded with all kinds of good things. But the selection process involves more than money; it requires great wisdom and discretion, and, most of all, great faith.
Abraham's servant recognizes his need for divine help in order to make the right choice. His prayer is very specific, setting out a test for the prospective bride. The girl who is willing to draw water---a hard task for both the traveler and his camels---will be the chosen one. The bride must be someone who shares Abraham's ideals of hospitality and the obligation to help others, both touchstones of Abraham's own faith.
Amazingly, the test leads directly to the family Abraham had left many years before---to Rebekah, Abraham's grandniece, and her brother Laban. Clearly God was leading the way, but the gold nose rings and bracelets played their part as well. Everything falls into place.
When Abraham's servant meets Rebekah's family he tells the story all over again, emphasizing how Rebekah's appearing was an answer to prayer. Her brother Laban and her father, Bethuel, agreed and were ready to send her, along with Abraham's servant, back home to Canaan. Then Abraham's servant unloaded all his gifts for Rebekah and her brother and her mother. Abraham was obviously a worthy and wealthy prospective father-in-law.
On seeing all that wealth, Rebekah's brother Laban tries a new tactic---delay. Most likely, the request to have them remain for a few more days was not because they were going to miss Rebekah so much as that it might lead to more gifts. Abraham's servant wisely insisted he must leave soon, and they give in with Rebekah's consent.
Like the ending of a romantic novel or movie, this story comes to a close with Isaac looking out over the countryside, watching the camel's approach. Rebekah veils herself for meeting her husband. Isaac loved her, and she became his wife.
Faith, determination, cunning, drama, and love, all wrapped up in one wonderful story. Above all, a covenant remembered, renewed, and kept.
Step 1 Breathe
Use this time to focus your attention on God.
Do this with me: calm your head, heart, and hands as you slowly breathe in . . . and out. (Demonstrate a few deep "in and out breaths" with eyes closed.)
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DWELL helps kids find their place in God's Big Story. Learn more about this popular and trusted children’s ministry curriculum.