Eliezer devised a test in order to find the right wife for Isaac. As he stood at the central well in Abraham's birthplace with his men and ten camels laden with goods, he prayed to God:
"Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall say, 'Please tip over your jug so I may drink,' and who replies, 'Drink, and I will even water your camels,' her will You have designated for Your servant, for Isaac" (Genesis 24:14).
To his surprise, a young girl immediately came out and offered to draw water for him to drink, as well as water to fill the troughs for all his camels. Rebecca continued to draw water until all the camels were sated, proving her kind and generous nature and her suitability for entering Abraham's household.
The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. - Abraham speaking to his servant, Genesis 24:7
Text: Genesis 24:14, 34-67
Prop: a gold bracelet or a poster of camels
Summary: The story of how Rebekah became Isaac's wife. We learn to trust Jesus by trusting our parents when they make decisions for us.
Today I want to tell you the Bible story of Isaac and Rebekah. It is a love story of promises made and promises kept, a story of trust and patience, and a story of how Jesus works in your life in ways you may not realize. Sometimes your parents make decisions for you. If you go to buy clothes, they help you choose the right clothes to wear. If you need to be in bed at a certain time, they decide what time is best. You may not always agree with their decision, but they love you and try to do what is best for you. You show Jesus that you love him when you obey your parents. You learn to trust Jesus by trusting your parents when they make decisions for you. But what if your parents decided whom you would marry? Would you trust them for that? Today young men and women choose whom they will marry. A long time ago that was not how it was done. The parents would choose for them. That doesn't sound very romantic, does it?
A very long time ago, God made a promise to Abraham. God kept his promise by giving Abraham a son named Isaac. When Isaac was forty years old, Abraham decided it was time for Isaac to marry. Abraham kept Isaac at home and sent his oldest servant to find a wife for Isaac and bring her back. He wanted a wife for Isaac that knew the true God, that was from his own people. The servant left Hebron and traveled over 500 miles to Abraham's home city of Nahor. He took ten camels and everything he needed for the long journey. It probably took two months to get there. When he arrived it was late in the day. He stopped at a well just outside the city. He prayed and asked God to show him whom to choose. [Read Genesis 24:14.]
Abraham's servant had not even finished praying when a beautiful young woman named Rebekah came to the well. Rebekah gave him water to drink after he asked. Then she offered to fill the trough with water for his camels. Whew! Rebekah was not only kind but also a hard worker because ten camels can drink a lot of water! God had prepared her heart for this day. She had no way of knowing that she was an answer to prayer. Then the servant gave her a gold nose ring and two gold arm bracelets for her kindness and asked for a place to stay the night. [Show children the gold bracelet. Explain that women wore nose rings instead of earrings and gold bands on their arms.] Rebekah ran home and got her brother Laban to come back with her to the well. Then they invited Abraham's servant home to meet her father Bethuel. They all sat down to eat and the servant told what happened and how God answered his prayer (see Genesis 24:34-49).
Rebekah listened as Abraham's servant explained he was on a mission to find a wife for his master's son, who was a wealthy man, blessed by God. He asked Rebekah's father and brother for permission for Isaac to marry Rebekah. By the way, Rebekah and Isaac had never even seen each other!* Bethuel and Laban said the thing proceedeth from the Lord and gave their approval. Then the servant gave Rebekah gold jewelry, silver jewelry, and expensive clothes; he also gave her brother and mother precious things. In those days it was a custom for the father of the groom to give presents to the bride's family. It took a lot of faith for both Rebekah and Isaac to trust their parents to make this decision. The next day Rebekah left to return with the servant and meet the man she would marry.
A few months later back in Hebron, Isaac was in the field at sunset spending some quiet time with God. He had waited patiently for nearly four months while the servant was gone. He must have been happy to see the caravan of camels coming home, hoping to meet his bride! Rebekah saw a man waiting across the field. She was so excited that she slid down off her camel. Somehow I think she knew it was Isaac even before she asked who it was. She covered her face with a veil so he would be surprised how pretty she was later on their wedding day. That is how God brought them together in an amazing way, even though they grew up miles apart. They fell in love and lived happily ever after.
This story has some similarities in how God works in our lives today. The descendant of Isaac was our Lord Jesus. God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, asking us to accept Jesus as Lord, and become the bride of Christ. When he finds us he asks us to leave behind our old life and come join him in a new life as a Christian. We have to decide if we will follow him or not. It is our choice.
Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Help me to trust my parents when they decide things for me. Help me to trust you more each day. Amen.
* Although Rebekah was a granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham's brother, she may have been close in age to Isaac because he was born when Abraham was 100 years old.
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