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Covenant Father 16: Marrying Isaac - Genesis 24

The death of Sarah left some gaping holes in the life of the Covenant family – no wife for Abraham, no mother for Isaac, no matriarch to lead the Covenant household. And at this point, since Abraham is quite old, he sees that the time has come to transfer leadership to his son Isaac. And this means that Isaac needs a wife. The covenant cannot move forward without a marriage. But while this chapter is all about marriage, it’s not about your marriage and your family, although you can learn a great deal about that. The main point is keeping covenant; what we see in chapter 24 is that the Lord provides what His covenant people need. Our faith should grow when we see that He does provide, and we should be moved to worship by how He provides.

God provides through Abraham’s practical wisdom in seeking a faith-filled wife from the line of Shem, rather than a Canaanite woman. His servant raises the possibility that such a woman might be hard to find, but Abraham expresses absolute confidence in God to raise up just such a woman for Isaac. Whatever happens, though, the covenant progress must not be undone – Isaac may not go back to Ur. For Abraham, marriage needs to be guided by covenant concerns more than anything else.

In order to carry out Abraham’s charge, Eliezer seeks God’s provision through prayer, entreating God to give him success according to His covenant love for Abraham. He proposes a sign by which he will know God’s choice, which sign will also demonstrate the godly character of the girl who fulfills it. By her generous hospitality and hard work, Rebekah shows herself to be God’s choice for Isaac, and Abraham’s servant praises God for answered prayer.

Eliezer then presents Abraham’s proposal and a short history of God’s leading to Rebekah’s family, who bow to the Lord’s evident will and agree to let Rebekah marry Isaac. In Eliezer’s haste to return, he goes against custom and asks Rebekah to forego her betrothal festivities and leave at once. Rebekah is being given Abraham’s test: she is asked to leave her family and her country based on nothing more than God’s leading. She demonstrates the faith of Abraham by going without hesitation. Her family sends her away with a blessing that matches the blessing that God spoke over Isaac in chapter 22: innumerable descendants, and victory in enemy gates. Isaac and Rebekah will be a perfect match for God’s covenant purposes: many generations down the road, Isaac and Rebekah’s many times great grandson Jesus will bring thousands of ten thousands to glory, and the gates of hell will not stand before His family!

When Isaac and Rebekah meet, there is complete harmony between God’s overarching covenant purposes and their individual desires. Isaac and Rebekah are not cogs in God’s covenant machine. They are individual members of God’s covenant family – God brought Isaac a woman he could love, and he gave Rebekah a man she could respect. Rebekah enters Sarah’s tent as the new Covenant Mother, and Isaac loves her.

And so while this whole time I’ve been hammering the point that it isn’t about you and what you should learn about marriage, but about God’s covenant-keeping love, I want you to see that God’s covenant love is not so big and abstract and for the whole world that your role in the covenant personally isn’t important. When God arranges the circumstances of your life according to His all-wise, all-good, all-perfect plan, don’t believe for a second that He’s only interested in His own plan of what’s good for the world. Everything that He brings into your life is also good for you. God cares about you when your mother dies. God cares about your marriage. He cares about when your marriage struggles and suffers. He cares when your children are born, and He cares when you are unable to have children, or when your children die.

What we see in every circumstance of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah is that God has a plan, God hears your prayer, and God provides everything you need, not just to bless the world in general, but to bless you in particular. In the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, and in the fruit of their marriage in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, hear the testimony of God’s commitment to keeping His world-blessing covenant promises, and hear the comfort of His steadfast love for you, His covenant child.

Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 by CJ Bowen