< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Choosing Isaac's Wife

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Choosing Isaac's Wife

The next chapter in Genesis deals with Isaac’s marriage and is a great illustration of how we ask and receive direct guidance from God concerning matters of daily life. The key thought of this chapter might well be Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We will see that it’s NOT difficult to know God’s will and it’s not impossible to do it!
Genesis 24:1-8 Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3 I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.
5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”

6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. 7 “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. 8 If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.”

Isaac was the first heir of God’s promised inheritance. He was the firstborn of what would be called “God’s chosen nation.” The woman who would become his wife was very important. If he was married off to one of the people in the land she could have led her family into paganism.

So Abraham decided to have his servant go to his relatives for the wife. And convince her to leave her home and travel 600 miles to marry a man she didn’t know!

But Abraham had learned that when he chose to obey God’s will, God would smooth out the difficulties and give guidance and help so that His purpose would be fully accomplished.

Genesis 24: 9-27 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.

12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 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. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.

19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. 23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.” 25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”

26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”

The servant set off with tangible proofs of Isaac’s ability to support a wife. He got there safely and then he prayed that God would show him which woman was the one He had chosen for Isaac. A commentator said that he prayed a “believing prayer”. He prayed specifically and expectantly. In James we are told that there are many things, many blessings, many victories we don’t have because we do not ask in prayer for them. There are four points to notice about his prayer:

1.      His prayer was for Abraham’s sake. He was confident because he had lived with Abraham and seen first hand how God loved Abraham and had answered his prayers in the past. Jesus told us to pray in His name!

2.      His prayer covered everything. The whole enterprise.

3.      His prayer was also practical and specific. He asked for simple, specific signs to indicate the direction in which God would have him move.

4.      His prayer was expectant. Therefore in faith. He acted as though he knew God would help him in answer to his prayer. We shouldn’t pray for guidance if we aren’t prepared to act upon what we receive.

How do we know God’s answer for guidance is really God’s answer for guidance? 1. There will be confirming circumstances after the prayer. 2. The guidance received will be in accord with the basic principles of God’s Word. 3. You will have a deep peace concerning the move.  And you really should have all three of these things because you can have a false sense of peace, or read something into a scripture passage or it might seem that circumstances have lined up. But not all three unless it is God’s answer.

Genesis 24:26-27 26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”

The servant asked God for guidance. He received it and he gave God the glory for the outcome.

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