Isaac & Rebekah
Open Your Bible
Genesis 23:1-20, Genesis 24: 1-67, Genesis 25:1-18, Romans 9:9-24
BY Debbie Eaton
Text: Genesis 23:1-20, Genesis 24: 1-67, Genesis 25:1-18, Romans 9:9-24
On cold Sunday nights in January, our family gathers around the TV with hot chocolate and popcorn to be transported into the lives of wealthy aristocrats and their faithful (and not so faithful) servants. Those servants who go rogue make for good TV, but it’s the faithful ones who inspire us by their show of loyalty, humility, and sacrifice.
Our Sunday night ritual reminds me: servants and their roles may at times seem invisible, but they carry a quiet weight of influence with those they serve.
As we engage in the storyline of Isaac and Rebekah, we find Abraham’s servant as an unlikely key character. Abraham’s long-standing relationship with his chief servant is a beautiful picture of the value of trust in relationships. The two men experienced the whole of life together—success and secrets, testing and tragedy, hardship and happiness, failure and faith.
With the death and burial of his beloved wife Sarah, Abraham’s attention turned to the task of finding Isaac, now 40 years old, a wife of his own. But this would be no ordinary coupling. This marriage would preserve the family line leading to the ultimate servant, “the Son of Man [who] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
And so Abraham called his servant—“the elder of his household who managed everything he owned”—to his bedside (Genesis 24:2). It seems fitting that this man, who’d been entrusted with every other area of Abraham’s household, was given this responsibility as well.
In a posture of humility, the servant was asked to place his hand under his master’s thigh in a binding oath to both Abraham and his God (Genesis 24:9). And under the cover of God’s promise to him, Abraham gave his servant instructions to return to his homeland to find the woman God had chosen to carry on the family legacy.
The journey to the homeland was long and tiring. How would he ever find this woman? This was a task the servant knew to be far bigger than himself. But for years, he had witnessed Abraham’s dedication to the Lord, how he’d learned to pray with expectancy. He’d seen the impossible come into fruition (Genesis 21:2), and could testify to God’s faithfulness to those who love Him.
So he turned to the Father in prayer—expectant for an answer even as he prayed.
“Lord, God of my master Abraham,” he prayed, “give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”
– Genesis 24:12
And he was quick to praise the Lord when that prayer was answered.
“Then I bowed down, worshiped the Lord, and praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who guided me on the right way…”
– Genesis 24:48
God not only uses Abraham in this story—He also uses Abraham’s faithful servant to show us that each and every one of us has a purpose. Like Abraham’s servant, our prayers are heard by God, too, regardless of our power or position in the world. In Christ, we all have the same direct access to God (Hebrews 4:16).
Your servant heart is dear to God. Your work done unto Him is also seen by Him. It is a great gift from our loving Father, that we get to participate in that work. And while Abraham’s servant played a role in ushering in the Messiah into this world, it is Jesus—the “suffering servant” (Isaiah 53:10-11)—who is always the true hero of the story.
May this serve as an encouragement to us, friends, that God uses those behind the scenes to carry out His plan. A faithful servant’s work is never invisible to the God who loves them. They, too, have a profound influence on the Kingdom.