Day 14

Isaac & Rebekah

from the Genesis reading plan

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.

Post Comments (89)

89 thoughts on "Isaac & Rebekah"

  1. Nicole says:

    Many times in my frustration of each day a single thought comes through my mind. Serve.

    Some times I’d rather stomp my feet and say “It’s not fair!”

    Sometimes I cast my eyes to the ground in shame and ask myself “How could I forget what God wants? How did I stray so easily?”

    Sometimes I close my eyes and pray’ “Help me. Help me serve you.”

  2. Kara-Anne says:

    I’ve been struggling with serving at church. I’ve been serving for a little over 2 years in the children’s ministry and constantly feel unseen. It’s not so much that I want credit for my work — I don’t. But it’s when you’re only noticed for the parts you do badly, rather than the parts you do well, that bothers me. It’s the self-righteousness of the other people you serve alongside that makes things difficult. I am no saint, and I HATE that I am complaining about serving — see the internal struggle?

    I dislike that people who serve the Lord cannot be punctual all the time, and expect us to wait on them. That people take for advantage the things we go out of the way to do (and again, I don’t mean credit) and expect us to wait up all day, or do the things we are uncomfortable to do, so as to make their lives easier.

    It sounds bitter. And I need to let it out because I hate being bitter. I feel like I want to work alongside servers who see MORE THAN THEMSELVES in the work they do for the Lord. Is that horrible? I am in a church where God’s grace and love and provision is preached beautifully… But sometimes to the point where self-righteousness negates all our sins.

    I am tired of this situation so I’m leaving it. But at the same time I feel bad because the work I do is not for them, it’s for the Lord. But it should also be JOYFUL work, not done begrudgingly because of the Lord.

    I know that God sees this all. I lift this up to His name.

    1. Andrea says:

      “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV

      “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”
      Ephesians 6:5-9 NKJV

      “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
      Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV

      1. Kara-Anne says:

        Thanks Andrea, for the enlightening scriptures.

        I think I just took it all quite personally – for instance, when I opened up my home for the Christmas serving party last year, even though my home was really small, I really knew it was to serve the Lord. Yet, every single one of them were late and not even slightly apologetic. And then, a server stepped into my home and immediately commented on how small it was. That hurt me.

        Another instance — I was early for an outing with the fellow servers. I was there 5 minutes before the time they said the leaders were to meet. I ended up waiting 1.5 hours for the leaders to arrive, and a further 0.5 hours for the rest of the group to arrive. When I brought this up, they laughed and asked me why I was there so early. I wasn’t, I was merely punctual.

        Those are just but two examples. Talking about it still makes me feel uncomfortable serving alongside these people. Also, the awful thing is serving here has made me NOT want children, and I’ve wanted them young since I was little. I am happily married, and now I’m just scared of children. Surely this can’t be right!

    2. Angela says:

      I was in a similar situation with service in the children’s ministry several years ago. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel appreciated, but felt a little taken advantage of my young age where I didn’t have the every day responsibilities of others serving around me. I felt pressured into serving in a capacity that I was uncomfortable with. I ultimately got burnt out and quit serving all together for a few years. Looking back, I take the responsibility of not praying about what I felt I was being pushed into and not saying no when I felt I wasn’t ready or interested in the responsibility.

      I recently completed a bible study from the book ‘Move Toward The Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life’ by John Hambrick on the YouVersion app where one of the days talks about burnout and how to avoid it. I wish I would have read these words a few years ago when I was faced with this situation, but it is helping now as I am learning in what capacity wants me to serve. The study also included these two scriptures that I found very comforting: Matthew 11:28-30 & Mark 6:31.

      1. Kara-Anne says:

        Thank you for sharing Angela! I am praying about it, and I know that God knows the struggle in my heart. I also know that I need to walk away from it for a while, so I’ve tendered my resignation (I still have to serve for 2 more months).

        I will search out the book! Thank you.

      2. Mandy says:

        Angela, thank you for Sharing about that study you did, my husband is a PK and is currently “burnt out” from the 20+ years of constantly serving . I’ve been trying to slowly get him back into some stuff but I’m finding no success. Hopefully this study (that you mentioned) will help him.

  3. Laurie says:

    It’s been such a tough road for me lately. My husband got deployed 4 months ago and I am now alone with our sons, a 22 month old and 2 month old. We have 7 more months to go until he comes home. The days are so long and exhausting… And some nights I just cry. I find comfort in reading these daily devotionals and I feel closer to God now more than ever. I pray for strength to get up every morning and to push forward, one day at a time. I know I am not alone and God is with me.

    1. Kara-Anne says:

      Praying for you, Laurie! A tough season, but I know that God is in the works and has something beautiful for you and your boys during this time. That you will discover Him in ways you didn’t and couldn’t when your husband was not deployed. And that He will keep your husband safe! :)

    2. Tina R says:

      Oh Laurie, my heart is hurting for you!! I have a 1 and 3 year old, with my husband here, and I’m often absolutely exhausted by the time he gets home from work, I can’t even imagine what you are going through, with a new baby no less. Do you have any family close by? Friends or a church family local? If not, I would strongly urge you to think about hiring a mother’s helper or sitter to come in even just now and again so you can get a break and a rest. I know that’s hard, especially if you’re nursing, but if It’s an expense you can spare then please do. It will do wonders for your spirit, believe me! I worry about post partum for you. :( One day at a time, one day at a time, don’t look to far in advance, that can be discouraging. Rely on God to give you the strength, and give yourself some grace if you need to baby proof your room, lock the door, and put a movie on in your room for your toddler while you and the baby nap. This stage can be all about survival mode. Praying for you! Feel free to email me to vent our if you need prayer! [email protected]

  4. Michelle says:

    I have felt so discouraged lately that God doesn’t want to use me in His plan. What good am I compared to Paul, Peter, Abraham, and the other disciples and prophets in the Bible? I feel as though I don’t have the faith they did nor go through the same struggles. However, just because we don’t experience the same things as them doesn’t mean we can’t be used by God. Through my discouragement I have seen The Lord act in ways I never could have imagined! I was able to share the gospel with a coworker a few weeks ago and I still am in awe that God really used me to speak the truth to this person. I barely knew the man and now I know more about him than I do some of my friends. When I turned my doubts over to God and was honest with Him about how I felt, He reassured me! It is so cool that this story is here in the Bible to remind us that any one of us can be used in God’s plan :)

  5. oyinade says:

    I can imagine how Abraham’s servant felt accomplishing such a huge task especially since he wasn’t sure ‘the bride’ would be willing to follow him. He then remembered his master had a God- a God he had also come to realise is able to do all things!
    So he prayed to him and God answered Him and He bowed in praise- FAITHFUL GOD!
    I also learnt from today’s text that after his prayer had been answered, they tried to delay him (Gen 24:55-56) but he DECLINED! God will play His part, it’s up to you to play your own part!
    Thank you

  6. Joanna says:

    I’m sorry to stray from the devotional today, but I just have to take a moment and give thanks.

    My mom is at the doctor for her post cancer check-up and it feels weird to write this, but I don’t remember there being a time I was this peaceful. I prayed with my parents this morning, which we’ve never done before. I read Philippians 4:6-8 to my mom, which I have not done before. Usually during these visit (my dad goes with her, emotionally I can’t) I had dread in my stomach and anxiety attacks. Today, I have been reading SRT and a book called Jesus Calling a friend just gave me. There is a part in there that talks about the price of peace and it was there that I was overwhelmed because for the first time in my life, the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice for me finally sunk in. I am able to feel this peace because of Him.

    1. Sophie says:

      Amen, this is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes in the middle of my day. Prayers for you and your family and I’m so happy you know Jesus and get to experience that. <3

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Joanna, I’m praising God for His peace today! So grateful for the calm you felt and praying it continues. We love having you in our community!


    3. Kylee says:

      Amen Joanna! I am praising God for his provision of PEACE!

  7. Chelsea says:

    “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.”

    As a mom, I feel like I’m behind the scenes and struggling to be content with that. While my child is not able to recognize all I do for her, if I act in service to the Lord then I am an instrument in God’s plan for his kingdom. What a beautiful reason to serve.

    1. Kylee says:

      Yes Chelsea! And you are being used as an instrument of God’s love to your family, & you know what? Someday they WILL notice all you do! My daughter never noticed much either until one day she did. And now God uses her, at just 8 years old, to minister love to ME daily! Your work into the Lord & behind the scenes will result in a beautiful harvest in the most rewarding ways.

  8. Joan says:

    Seems like all of this Genesis plan has been giving me glimpses of His divine plan for me & my husband as we are being led out into new territory of looking at retirement communities…reassurance of God’s guidance in this new journey. We are praying, expectantly & resting in His ability to take us step by step to our new home….a place where we can continue to serve Him….now Lord, help us to wait on You…to listen & watch & be obedient, trusting You on timing & place… Open our eyes & ears to see and hear You ….in Jesus Name & only for Your glory!! AMEN <

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Praying with you, Joan! We love having you in our community!


    2. Melinda says:

      Amen Joan, saying a prayer that He will shine His light on you and lead you on a straight line to your new home and ministry!

    3. Lynda says:

      Joan, my husband and I are in the same e

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