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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Rebekah. Part 1—Genesis 24.

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REBEKAH.
PART I.


"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."- Proverbs 18:22.

Rebekah, Isaac's wife, was given him in answer to prayer. Many a marriage is entered into from purely human and selfish motives; such cannot prosper. The greatest judgment which ever visited this earth-the flood-was sent when "the sons of God," who were probably converted men, saw "the daughters of men," probably unconverted women, "and they took them wives of

ALL WHICH THEY CHOSE." (Gen 6:2.)

A young man is fascinated with the pretty eyes and bright manner of some young girl, and, thinking she is always the same, he falls in love with her; and for no higher object than to indulge and gratify himself, he seeks her hand in marriage. He does not inquire if that sweet look is just as sweet at home, when things are difficult in the family whether she is kind to younger brothers and sisters, and likely to make a good mother if God should give them children. No; he has taken a fancy to her, and he must have that girl for his wife. Another man is ambitious, he seeks a wife with money, family, or talent to recommend her, but again from selfish motives, that he may gain advantage, and he expects his wife, when he has married her, to minister to his ambition, his love of money, his pride of position, neither considering the will of God nor the happiness of his wife, but only his own interest.

It is the same on the other side very often. How many girls think of themselves, of the house they shall gain, the money they may have, the position they shall occupy, in marrying such and such a man, rather than the vocation which God gave to woman, to be "an helpmeet" to her husband.

There are some noble exceptions; some who weigh the matter before the Lord, and once clear about His will, take up the vocation of "helpmeet," and seek in everything-in the education of the children, in the earthly calling of the husband, in the circle of their friends, and more than all in their relation to God-to supplement their husband, making up for his deficiencies, watching and praying over his faults, cheerfully and patiently taking from the Lord all which may be difficult in his disposition or his circumstances, and trusting God to make him bear with them in like manner. Such partners in life are not found by chance;

GOD GIVES THEM IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.

Isaac did not seek his own wife, but that he prayed for her is clear (Gen 24:63); his father Abraham prayed for her, and Eliezer, the old house steward, prayed for her. There is something exceedingly touching in this. Eliezer was once the heir presumptive to all Abraham's Property. Once Abraham had said, "Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in mine house is mine heir." (Gen 15:2-3.) Yet he it was whom Abraham could trust with the important mission of going to his native land to seek a wife for his son! And the servant, instead of feeling hurt at having to take a lower place, threw all his heart into his mission. He alone could be trusted with such a momentous matter, he whose hopes of earthly position fell with the very existence of Isaac! But such are the ways of God. A conquered will is the one which He uses.

The praying master sent the praying servant away, with the assurance which himself must have received in answer to his prayer;

"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." (Gen 24:7.)

Abraham was sure of his God.

All the time of Eliezer's journey, his faithful master, and Isaac too, must have been bearing him up in prayer, and he too did everything in the spirit of prayer; so completely did each of them regard the choice of a wife as God's business.

Arrived at the outskirts of the city of Nahor, Abraham's brother, Eliezer kneels down to plead with God for a sign. In the greatest simplicity, he asks that when the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water, the damsel of whom he shall ask water, and whose answer shall be, "Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also" (Gen 24:14), shall be the one chosen of God to be the wife of Isaac. Perhaps at that very moment, away in Canaan, a father and son were praying God to guide that servant.

Before Eliezer had done speaking, Rebekah, Abraham's great niece, came out, and spoke the very words which Eliezer had proposed,

"Drink, my lord;" and after he had been refreshed, she added, "I will draw for thy camels also." (Gen 24:18-19.) O what a sense of

QUIET, HOLY AWE

creeps over us when an undoubted answer to prayer is given us! God comes so near, we seem to feel the very breath of His presence.

No wonder Eliezer, "wondering at her, held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not." (Gen 24:21.) And when he asked her name, and found that she was a near relation of Abraham, he must indeed have been thrilled with the nearness and goodness of God, who had so fully answered his prayer.

And Rebekah? The first impression she made upon him was of a fair, frank young girl, ready to do a kindness to a tired stranger. Next she showed hospitality:

"We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in." (Gen 24:25.)

No pretension, but frank, free, hearty welcome! How much this would grace the tent of Isaac!

"But when he discovered moreover in answer to his enquiries that she was the daughter of Bethuel, the man bowed down his head," (Gen 24:26) and worshipped the Lord. He was not ashamed to worship his God in the presence of this young girl with whom he was only just acquainted.

From Eliezer's prayer, not from his words, the maiden learned from whom the stranger had come. Rebekah was not constrained and unnatural because she was in the presence of a praying man; and this showed that she knew something of her God. She received earrings and bracelets from him, and ran to tell her family of the tidings from Abraham's tent; and her brother Laban came out to bring Eliezer into the house.

But how little did Rebekah think how intimately she was concerned in the purpose of his journey, or how great a change in her circumstances was at hand! How little she thought, when she so willingly drew water for the camels, that it was the last time she would render such a service in the land of her birth! When, before so much as tasting food, Eliezer unfolded his errand, and told in all reverence and simplicity how God had guided him, and at once demanded a decision, and her father and brother both said,

"THE THING PROCEEDETH FROM THE LORD;

we cannot speak to thee good or bad, behold Rebekah is before thee, take her, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken;" and when, still before taking food, she saw her new acquaintance again bowing down to worship,-Rebekah began to understand what the mind of the Lord was concerning her. O how different this from the levity with which young people often speak of, and enter into, the marriage relationship!

Now Eliezer was free to eat and to be at ease, the object of his journey was accomplished.

But after one night's sojourn, the servant longed to be at home again, and refused to tarry even another day.

"Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way."

There remained one thing to be done. The Lord had shown His mind. Her father and brother had recognised it, but how about Rebekah herself?

Wilt thou go with this man?"

"I will go."

The answer was prompt and definite,

At only one day's notice, this bride, who was prayed for, was ready to leave all that she might enter a praying family! Eliezer had spoken to her of Isaac, and her heart was taken captive; she had no fear to wed such an one.

Arriving on the scene of her future home, the first sight of her future husband was as he walked.in the field to meditate and to pray. (Gen 24:63.)

This history is a lovely

TYPE OF CHRIST's CALL TO HIS BRIDE.

Now, as never before, He is calling those whom His Father has given Him (Jhn 17:9-11) to leave all and follow Him. From earthliness and self, from pride and fashion, from glory among men, from the vain manner of life received by tradition from our fathers (1Pe 1:18), He calls His Bride to "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." (Rev 14:4.) How many are there who are ready to leave all and follow, and who from the depths of their hearts can say, "I will go with this Man?" (Gen 24:58.)

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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