Friday, November 28, 2008

Genesis 24:15-21 Was There Success and Was It from God?

Genesis 24:15-21: And it came about before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder. And the girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar.” And she said, “Drink, my lord”; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink. Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking.” So, she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the Lord had made his journey successful or not.

Abraham’s servant had not finished his prayer yet and Rebekah, Abraham’s grand-niece, the grand-daughter of his brother Nahor, comes to the well with her jar. Sometimes, once God gets the desired attitude from His servants, He moves very quickly to bring about an answer to our prayer. He certainly did in this case.

Neither Abraham nor the servant have made any demands on what the woman God chose for Isaac should look like or what her past history should have been. All that was requested is that she satisfy the short-term criteria that the servant had asked for as a sign. Yet scripture says that this woman was very beautiful and had never had sexual relations with a man. Bonus. Oftentimes, God does not only grant us what we ask for, but He satisfies that request beyond our wildest dreams or expectations.

Nor was Rebekah a dilly-dallier. From the text we see that she came down, filled her jar, and then started back up towards the city. She wasn’t at the well to gossip or chat. Abraham’s servant actually had to run to catch her. When he met her, he asked her for a drink in accordance with the plan. Rebekah obliges him right away in a most polite manner and moves quickly to give him a drink. When he was done, she quickly informed him that she would draw as much water as necessary for all of his camels to be satisfied. She did not ask if she could do this; she simply did it. This was not a young lady being disrespectful, but one who knew what the right thing to do was. The text says she drew water with her jar and emptied it into the trough for the animals to drink and she kept doing that until they stopped drinking. Rebekah would have done well working today at IBM where employees are taught to do “complete staff worker”. Rebekah was certainly thorough in her approach to her work, responsibility and in this case, hospitality.

Now the words she used were not exactly those that the servant had told God he would be looking for, but they were close enough if not better than expected. A cynic or a fool may have been looking for the exact words and anything else could have indicated that this was not of God. But the wise servant realized that God had arranged for the response of Rebekah to be far beyond what the servant had hoped for.

Now you would think with all this reassurance the servant would have been jumping up and down and rejoicing in his success and the blessing God had bestowed on his master, Abraham. But instead, he kept gazing at Rehekah in silence in order that he may know whether it was indeed God that had made his journey successful. What are we to make of this? Let me suggest that either the wise and cautious servant did not want to be fooled by his own emotions (which may have been ill-founded) or he simply felt the gravity of making a wrong judgment with respect to his assignment should what he was experiencing not have been from God. We would do well to follow suit as we allow God to direct our lives. We need to remember that the Enemy is also very much interested in causing us to falter in how we interpret things that happen to us.

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