WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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THE MARRIAGE OF ISAAC
(GOD blesses a servant heart)
Genesis 24 shows how the providence of GOD is worked out in the lives of those who are faithful to him. Here we see chronicled, the special case of a man named Eliezer, a faithful servant of Abraham, and how he successfully answered the call of his superior when he was put to the task.
This lengthy passage can actually be simplified if it is broken down into four special and distinct segments, and we’ll entitle this first segment “the calling, “charge”, or “commission” of Eliezer (Vs.1-9), and any of those terms are applicable here. In this section Abraham charges Eliezer, the man in charge of all things concerning his household, with the even more special task, of finding a wife for his son Isaac, shortly after the death of Sarah. The aging patriarch wanted to ensure that Isaac wouldn’t end up marrying one of the local Canaanite women, after he had passed away.
And so he commissioned Eliezer to go to his own (Abraham’s) homeland, to his brother Nahor’s house, back in Aram-naharaim, in the northern section of Padan Aram (Mesopotamia), located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and choose a woman from among his relatives there. Abraham also made Eliezer swear a solemn oath that he would never take Isaac to Padan-aram, but instead, that he brings the young lady back there to Canaan, which was Isaac’s promised inheritance from GOD. And if by chance the woman refuses to come back to Canaan with him, then Eliezer would free from his oath.
The second section of this chapter (Vs.10-27) reveals “the faith and trust” that Eliezer shows in the “GOD of Abraham” to lead and guide him into a position to make the right choice for his master’s son. After receiving his instructions from Abraham, Eliezer loaded ten camels with gifts that consisted of the best of everything that Abraham owned, and set out on this 450-mile journey.
When Eliezer arrived in Padan Aram where Nahor had settled, he rested by a well just outside the village of Aram-naharaim. There he prayed to the GOD of Abraham to help him accomplish his mission. He asked GOD to show him a sign by which he would ask the women who come to the well to draw water, to give him a drink. If the woman answers by saying “Yes, I will give you a drink, and I will water your camels too” (it would take considerable time and water to accommodate ten thirsty camels) let her be the one YOU have appointed to be Isaac’s wife. And the LORD honored his request, and that woman turned out to be a young virgin named Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
In the third segment (Vs.28-60), we see the success of Eliezer’s mission as he and his entourage, are invited into the home of Laban and his father Bethuel, who quickly concluded that Eliezer’s mission was truly a commission from GOD. In those days it was not unusual to see the brother of a woman negotiating along with the living father concerning her marriage, and that is why here we see, both, Laban and Bethuel actively involved. And so they entrusted Rebekah into Eliezer’s hand, and she went willingly with them back to Beersheba.
And finally, in section four (Vs.61-67) we see the mission of Eliezer winding down to a conclusion, as they wrap up their 900-mile journey to Padan Aram and back. This final segment opens up as we find a, now 40-year old Isaac, who had just returned home himself from Beer-lahairoi in the Negev, strolling through a field meditating, when he looked up and saw Eliezer’s caravan approaching from the east.
When Rebekah looked and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted and asked Eliezer who Isaac was. He replied, “He is my master’s son”, and so Rebekah covered her face with her veil. Soon after they met they were married and moved into the tent of his deceased mother Sarah, and Isaac loved her very much, as she was a great comfort to him after the death of his mother whom he had missed very much. Abraham was 140 years old at that time, and he lived another 35 years, and he himself re-married before he died and passed the torch to Isaac at the ripe old age of 175.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander