In Genesis Chapter 24 we see how Abraham secures a bride from his relatives for his son Isaac. Isn't it remarkable how it occurs? It could only have been orchestrated by God.
1. God is the main actor or influence in this story. How does Abraham, Abraham's servant, Laban, and Buethel regard the role of God in this story according to the verses below?
Abraham has his servant swear or promise by God in verse three to give him assurance that the servant will obey him explicitly. Then Abraham explains to his servant that God promised his descendants (Isaac) the land he was in. So he forbade his servant from taking Isaac away to his homeland and assured him that God would ensure his success because He would send an angel before him.
Overall, Abraham knows that people are weak and can fail but God cannot, so he relies on the strength of God for his success in this quest for a bride for his son. We see this in his servant's oath and his prophecy of God's provision of an angel for his servant.
Many see Abraham's servant as the main character of this story, but really he's just the faithful and obedient servant who's following the guidance of his master and his master's God.
First, he swore an oath to Abraham in the name of God (verses 3 and 9) that he would not take a Canaanite wife for Issac and would do as Abraham asked and get a wife for Isaac from his homeland.
Secondly, he prayed that the God of his master would give him success once he was finally at the place and point of potential provision. When God did in fact provide him success he praised Him for his "leading him to the house of his master's relatives" (verses 12 and 27).
Third, he attributed his master's success in life and his riches to God (verse 35).
Fourth, he recounts to Laban and Rebekah's family:
1) how Abraham prophesied that the angel of the Lord would ensure his successful journey (verse 40);
2) how he prayed to God when he arrived at the well for His provision and the specific sign he asked and received from God which identified Rebekah as God's appointed wife for Isaac (verses 42 and 44);
3) how he bowed to thank God for His assurance of success (verse 48).
Finally, he asks Rebekah's family not to delay him from returning with Rebekah since the Lord had given him a successful journey (verse 56).
In summary, Abraham's servant attributed the hand of God to his master's success in life and to his success in this long and important journey. He humbly attributed all that had happened not to his perseverance or power or strength, but to God's provision and providence.
Laban greeted Abraham's servant at the well and the first thing he says to him is "Come you who are blessed by the Lord" as he invites him to his home (verse 31).
Then after hearing the servant's story, both Laban and Buethel consider that what has happened is from the Lord and therefore they have no choice in the matter but to give Rebekah as a wife for Isaac "just as the Lord has spoken" (verses 50 and 51).
Laban and Buethel both considered the matter settled not by them but by God. However, by the next day they reconsidered (verses 55-58). They were not faithful and steadfast but Abraham's servant was not to be delayed because God had made his journey successful.
2. The first recorded prayer in the Bible for something specific is in verse 12 where Abraham's servant asks for God to identify the woman He had appointed to be Isaac's wife. This was not a prayer for himself but for his master; if fact, it was for his master's son and was toward the promise of God for His provision of his master's descendants.
Some may wonder - "How can I know that God might grant a specific thing I ask Him for in my prayer?
God's Word is our guide to understand what He might provide for us. We can't expect that God will allow us something that's contrary to His Word. A great thing for Christ followers to do is to find the promises of God in the Bible and claim them in prayer.
However, like Abraham, we must be patient and wait for His timing and provision. God is not a magic genie in a bottle that grants our wishes. He is sovereign and knows what's best for us; and in that regard, we can't always get what we want.
Jesus taught us that God knows what we need before we even ask Him for it (Matthew 6:8). We need to pray and rely on God while remembering that He knows what we need and He has provided us eternal life which is more valuable than anything else He could possible give us.
Examine your prayer life. How often do you pray to specifically ask for something you need? Or, do you often start your prayers by praising and thanking God and petitioning Him on behalf of others before you ask for yourself?
Your answer here
3. In verse 49, Abraham's servant says he will go elsewhere if Laban and Bethel won't show kindness to his master. Where else could he have gone and still have been faithful to his master's guidance given in verses two through nine?
According to Genesis chapter 22, verses 20-23, Abraham's brother Nahor had seven other seven sons:
Therefore, Abraham's servant would have been within his master's guidance to take a wife for Isaac from one of the other families of the other seven sons of Nahor; i.e. Abraham's "family".
4. Rebekah was very hospitable and a hard worker. She not only offered the servant a drink when asked, but then offered to water his ten camels.
According to The IVP Bible Background Commentary on the Old Testament,
So Rebekah graciously offered to draw roughly 250 gallons of water so that the camels "would have enough to drink" according to verse 19.
It seems it would have been necessary for Rebekah to refill her water jug at least 83 times to provide enough water for the ten camels.
A gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds, so three gallons weighs about 25 pounds. Therefore, it's likely Rebekah offered to haul 25 pounds of water 83 times to provide enough water for the ten camels.
Rebekah's remarkable offer of hospitality was unusually gracious. It demonstrated to Abraham's servant that she was the one appointed by God to be Isaac's bride (verse 14).
What ways can you think of to offer hospitality to strangers that will glorify God?
Your answer here
5. The last recorded words of Abraham in the Bible are provided in verses 6, 7, and 8. They reflect God's promise from 25 years before this which is recorded in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham had remained focused in faith on God's promise of the Promised Land to his offspring.
How does Rebekah also act in faith and how does she play into the story of the promise of God?
Once Rebekah realized why Abraham's servant had come and the unusual sign that he asked for, she knew the request for her as a bride was of God. She knew more than anyone why she offered to water the ten camels. She couldn't have known about the gift of jewelry when she finished. Perhaps she didn't understand why she did it or maybe she felt compelled to do it and didn't quite understand - we don't know because the Bible doesn't tell us.
What we do know is that she understood that Abraham's servant asked God for an unusual sign and it was granted through her willingness to show unusual hospitality. Then she found out he was the servant of her grandfather's brother and had come to find a bride. She also found out that God had indicated to the servant that she herself was chosen to be the bride of his master's son.
This must have given Rebekah a strong assurance that her marriage was made in heaven. Based on her faith in this, she willingly departed to a far away land to marry a man she had never met. She acted in faith when her family acted by sight. Like Abraham, by faith she left the land of her family because she believed it was God's will. Like Abraham, because of her faith, she became the ancestor of the chosen people of God. Like Abraham, it was by Rebekah's faith that she played a part in the fulfillment of the promise of God.
6. What can we say about the character of Abraham's servant from Genesis chapter 24?
7. Sarah had Isaac when she was 90 and she died at the age of 127. So now Abraham seeks a bride for his only son when Isaac was 37 years old. There's no indication of why it had taken so long, or if there were any previous attempts.
Still, by sending his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac, Abraham acted on the promise of God that he would have innumerable descendants and they would inherit the Promised Land. Undoubtedly, Abraham wished to have Isaac live under and by the promises and provision of God.
In 2006, Josh McDowell wrote a book called The Last Christian Generation. He called for a new process-driven and intergenerational approach to Christian education similar to the ancient Hebrew model. He called for a spiritual formation process which focuses the results of learning not just on knowing biblical truth, but more so on the relational response of having learned biblical truth.
Today in America, we've seen a decline in faith over several generations. McDowell's concerns are realized when we see the Barna Group reports that show there's been a steady decline over the past several generations in the beliefs that:
What can we do to help ensure that we'll have godly descendants?
Your answer here
We pray these Genesis Chapter 24 questions and answers have been a blessing to you.