To be honest I struggled with this message. I tried to avoid it. I looked through several messages I have written in the past and strongly considered just posting one of those. But I kept coming back to Genesis 24. But I did not want to do a post on marriage or dating, and those are the topics associated with Genesis 24. I felt like this was the passage I should study and prepare, and perhaps there is more to this story than just lessons on dating and marriage.
I find it interesting that certain passages in the Bible are used for certain sermons and it becomes difficult to see anything else in the text. I enjoyed studying Genesis 24 and I hope this post will be a blessing for you. I strongly recommend listening to the audio above as it will contain comments not present in this post.
Genesis 24 clearly has great principles that deserve the attention of anyone considering taking that step in their lives. The person you marry will have an incredible impact on every area of your life and too many people fail to realize that. In Genesis 24 we see the great lengths that Abraham goes to make sure his son Isaac, marries a good wife. At the core of Abraham's concern is that his son marries a believer, a woman of character. As the story develops we witness that Rebecca is not only of the right lineage (a descendant of Abraham's brother [verse 15]), she is also hospitable, kind, and hardworking (verses 18-20).
I believe everyone who is interested in marrying someone one day ought to spend much time in prayer asking for God's guidance. It is of utmost importance to have the same beliefs regarding God, though that is not all that one should look for, a failure to meet this most basic criterion is enough grounds to walk away from a relationship. If your significant other is unwilling to commit to Jesus how can you expect them to fulfill their wedding vows to you?
Like I mentioned in my brief introduction, Genesis 24 is not only about marriage. I believe this story is really about God's involvement in the lives of His followers. God had blessed Abraham in all things (verse 1). Yet Abraham lacked something, well, his son lacked something. A suitable wife. Abraham did not want his son to marry an idol worshiper, that had the potential of derailing the spirituality of the family. To make matters more difficult, a suitable wife would only be found, if at all, back where Abraham came from, Mesopotamia. Some believe the journey took about a month.
The place was far away, the woman would need to be a virgin (unmarried), she would have to be willing to travel to a place that she has never been to, to marry a man she has never met, and did I mention that it was far? I am talking 30 days on the road far! It's not like she could just come home and visit on the weekends.
All these obstacles, however, serve to highlight God's providence. Things will only work out if God is in control guiding each aspect of these events. Interestingly, God comes in when things are beyond the control of the characters in our story, but each character has decisions to make.
Abraham had to decide to send his servant to find a bride for Isaac (Genesis 24:1-9). This meant Abraham recognized the influence a spouse has on his or her partner and was willing to do all that he could to find the best spouse possible for his son.
Abraham's servant decided to pray and ask God to guide and provide and show him the right person (Genesis 24:12-14). Abraham's servant chose to allow God to guide and reveal to him His will. He chose to pray, and God answered his prayer!
Rebekah chose to be hospitable and friendly and to go out of her way to be a blessing to a stranger (Genesis 24:15-21). Later she also chose to follow him back and be a bride for Isaac (Genesis 24:57-58).
God was guiding in this but each step along the way the characters in this story chose to follow God's will. They chose to involve God in their plans and decisions. They chose to trust and follow as they witnessed God's leading.
In the audio recording, I go into greater detail discussing the story verse by verse and I strongly recommend you listen to it. But the main lesson I took away from this story is God's willingness to be personally and deeply involved in our lives. I believe that we don't witness more of God's power in our lives because we don't involve Him as much as we should in our decision making.
God repeatedly reveals to us that He cares. The death of Jesus on the cross ought to be more than enough to convince us that He cares. Then add all these stories from the Bible and we have overwhelming evidence that God has a plan for our lives and that He is willing to guide if we are willing to follow Him. When we allow Him to guide, and when we are willing to follow, we experience His blessings that go above and beyond what we could ever expect to take place by mere chance.
Trust in God. Depend on Him. Invovle Him more in every aspect of your life.
He always provides for those who love Him.