Saturday, April 18, 2020

2020.04.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 24:59–67

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Bethuel’s household send away in Genesis 24:59 (cf. Genesis 24:61)? Whom does Bethuel’s household bless in Genesis 24:60? What blessing do they give her? Where was Isaac in Genesis 24:62? What was he doing in Genesis 24:63? What did he see? Who sees him in Genesis 24:64, and what does she do? What had she asked in Genesis 24:65? What did the servant say? What did she do? What does the servant tell Isaac in Genesis 24:66? Where does Isaac bring her (Genesis 24:67)? What does she become? What does he do for her? What does she do for him?
The Lord cares for His people in things great and small. Here, He has overseen the obtaining of a bride for the son of promise. He is bringing the Christ into the world.

And we see that in the benediction. Rebekah’s family says, “Our sister, may you be thousands of rebebah [multitudes].” It’s a clever play on words, for the sending away of their dear one. But it’s also an echo of the blessing from when Isaac had been spared on Mt. Moriah, “blessing I will bless you, and multiplying [harbah] I will multiply [arbeh] your descendants […] and your descendants shall posses the gate of their enemies” (cf. Genesis 22:17). It’s as if they are saying, “May all the Messianic promises about your fiancé and you come true!”

The Lord has His eye to His great saving plan, and by that plan the great and ultimate good of all His people. But He also has His eye to the everyday care of His people. The finding of a good wife. The comforting of a man who, three years after his mother’s death, still takes a stroll with God every evening in his sorrow.

Isaac has struck out on his own, leaving Abraham back in Hebron. But, he has taken his mother’s tent with him (perhaps, living in it himself), and has not been comforted for her loss (Genesis 24:67). We (and Rebekah, her nurse, her maids, Abraham’s servant, and his men) find Isaac out in the field in the evening.

It’s likely that the text intends for us to view this time of meditation (and, perhaps, strolling) as his normal habit. Certainly, he is a man of prayer. Doing the math from Genesis 25:20 and Genesis 25:26, we discover that the “pleading” in Genesis 25:21 describes twenty years of responding to his wife’s barrenness by prayer. Isaac will soon become a cautionary tale for allowing our spiritual vigor to lapse in old age, but thus far we see the Lord providing for His servant’s comfort by stirring him up to prayer and by answering that prayer.

And what an answer to prayer! The parallel language in Genesis 24:63 and Genesis 24:64 of Isaac lifting his eyes and looking, and Rebekah lifting her eyes and seeing, implies that this occurs at the same time. Each has been some time in intense expectation of the other. She had heard the servant’s stories, he was undoubtedly sharing in the servant’s prayers, and now the expectations were being realized.

Love at first sight! Rebekah surely seems to be hoping for a particular answer in Genesis 24:65. Isaac must have been delighted with the account of Rebekah’s character given in Genesis 24:66. And the tent of the matriarch of the clan is empty no more. Rebekah takes her place as the bride of the covenant head. But the conclusion of the passage focuses on something that took place not in Isaac’s home, but in his heart: Isaac was comforted. The God who is bringing Christ into the world is the God of all comfort: both the eternal and infinite, and also the circumstantial, but just as real, to His people.
About what do you need comfort? What greatest comfort, and also small ones, has God given?
Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear” or TPH128 “Blessed the Man That Fears Jehovah”

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