When God Gets Real: Isaac and Rebecca

Mesu Andrews Featured Articles

Our new home in North Carolina

Our new home in North Carolina

We’ve just sold a house, bought a house, and are preparing for a cross-country move from WA State to North Carolina. While in NC looking for that perfect home, we offered on a new construction. Log cabin on a hill, beautiful view, perfect. The offer fell through, but Roy and I somehow knew God had something better for us.

We just felt His assurance.

The next day we found OUR house. Another log cabin. This one not new but not old. It’s furnished—so we only have to drive one rental truck across the country. It has an invisible fence for our dog, Zeke. And—are you ready for this—the seller threw in an ATV! Roy will be able to get down the mountain in the snow to his car parked at the bottom. In that moment, I felt my REAL God very near. These “little” details about our new house were like divine kisses on my cheek.

When Was Isaac Ready for Marriage?

In today’s study, we find Abraham, too, is searching–but not for a house. He’s seeking out a wife for his son Isaac. Sarah died when Isaac was 37 years old. Isaac is now 40 (Genesis 25:20) and he’s sill grieving. The guy needs a wife!

How do we know it was Isaac’s grieving that motivated Abraham’s search? Because when Moses wrote Genesis, he specifically drew our attention to the gaping hole in Isaac’s heart that his new bride filled:

“Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”                    Genesis 24:67 (emphasis added)

Steer Clear of the Canaanites!

By this time in Abraham’s life, God was as REAL as the sheep in his pasture. He and the Lord had evidently been chatting about Isaac and his need for a bride. (A good thing for a parent to do when you’re worried about a child.)

“Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household…‘swear by the Lord…that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.’”     Genesis 24:1-4

Abraham could entrust his son’s future to this servant because he had already entrusted his son to God.

Why Not Women from Canaan?

I won’t pretend to know the mind of Abraham, but here’s a thought. Abraham knew the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah both by reputation and by special revelation from the Three Visitors—God Himself. And Abraham must have known what happened to Lot after the destruction, or we wouldn’t have the story of Lot and his incestuous daughters in Scripture, right? (Read Genesis 19:16-38 for the whole sordid story—Eee-gad!)

Knowing the kind of corruption birthed in Canaan, Abraham chose to marry his son to a more moral (though still idolatrous) and familiar culture in Haran—his extended family. How could he be sure his family was the right choice? Because God said so:

“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.”          Genesis 24:7 (emphasis added)

A Unique Search Process

There was no internet, no phones, and likely no written map. How did Abraham’s servant, traveling to Paddan Aram (the city of Nahor, Abraham’s relatives), find Isaac’s bride? He prayed…to Abraham’s God.

“Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham…May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.”    Genesis 24:12-15 (emphasis added)

Before the journey, El Shaddai was Abraham’s God. Answered prayer proved He was a servant’s God too:

“Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham…As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.’” Genesis 24:26-27 (emphasis added)

The servant personally experienced God’s presence because he was courageous enough to pray specifically.

How Did Isaac Feel About a Wife?

Nowhere in Scripture do we hear Isaac’s opinion on the wife idea. In fact, when Rebekah shows up on her camel, Isaac seems a bit surprised. The servant has to fill him in on the whole story from start to finish.

“Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?’ ‘He is my master,’ the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. Then the servant told Isaac all he had done.”      Genesis 24:62-65 (emphasis added)

Why was Isaac Living in the Negev?

Abraham lived in Beersheba (Gen. 22:19). Sarah lived in Hebron when she died (Gen. 23:2). And we discover that Abraham took another wife (unknown if before or after Sarah’s death) named Keturah, who bore him six more sons (Gen. 25:1-2).

Some commentators speculate that Isaac’s “almost sacrifice” on Mt. Moriah created a permanent wedge between Abraham and Sarah. The over-protective mama may never have forgiven her husband for his faithfulness, which might have caused the separate camps (for twenty years or more).

What did the “almost sacrifice” do to Abraham and Isaac’s relationship? We talked in last week’s podcast about Isaac likely being a willing and obedient participant, but did it put a strain on their father/son relationship? We can’t know for sure, but there’s a bigger question to be considered…

What affect did the “almost sacrifice” have on Isaac’s relationship with God? Did the boy Isaac hear the angel halt his father’s hand and restate the covenant?

“I swear by myself…I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me.”  Genesis 22:16-18 (emphasis added)

If Isaac heard the angel, God became REAL to him, and Isaac knew he was included in God’s eternal plan. If Isaac didn’t hear the angel…he would need a whole lot of faith to maintain a relationship with his father—and with his father’s God.

Is God Personal to You?

We’ve talked about how Abraham’s servant prayed to God and saw a very personal answer. We looked at a crucial point during Abraham’s almost sacrifice of Isaac when we could hope God made Himself known to the boy on the altar.

What about you? Can you point to a time or to a specific answered prayer in your life when God was especially real and present? If not, I encourage you to change that today. Pray. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. He’s a REAL GOD, waiting to be known by REAL PEOPLE like you and me.

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Today’s Question:

  • Can you point to a time or an answered prayer when God was real and present to you?