Genesis 24 is a rather lengthy chapter about a servant of Abraham searching for a bride for his master’s son, Isaac. What could we possibly get by reading about such an antiquated system of securing a bride? What treasure can we glean from a seemingly unimportant chapter of the Bible?
First of all, it is important to understand that finding a wife for Isaac was crucial to passing on the blessing of God to (eventually) the whole world. Abraham needed to get this right. He (and his trusty servant) invite God throughout this chapter to be in every step of the process. As Abraham sends him out on the task he tells the servant: “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, “To your descendants I will give this land.’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son…” (24:7)
Second of all, it is important to acknowledge how difficult this task was going to be… even with God’s help! Even if he found someone and she was willing to return… would she be the right one? Remember they had to get this right.
Newspaper columnist, Ann Landers, once received a letter from a reader that went like this:
Dear Ann Landers:
Why would any husband adore a lazy, messy, addlebrained wife? Her house looks as if they’d moved in yesterday. She never cooks a meal. Everything is in cans or frozen. Her kids eat sent-in food. Yet this slob’s husband treats her like a Dresden doll. He calls her “Poopsie” and “Pet,” and covers the telephone with a blanket when he goes to work so she can get her rest. On weekends he does the laundry and the marketing.
I get up at 6 a.m. and fix my husband’s breakfast. I make his shirts because the ones in the stores “don’t fit right.” If my husband ever emptied a wastebasket, I’d faint. Once when I phoned him at work and asked him to pick up a loaf of bread on his way home, he swore at me for five minutes. The more you do for a man, the less he appreciates you. I feel like an unpaid housekeeper, not a wife. What goes on anyway?
—The Moose (That’s what he calls me.)
Ann’s response: A marriage license is not a guarantee that the marriage is going to work, any more than a fishing license assures that you’ll catch fish. It merely gives you the legal right to try.
How could this servant do more than find a willing girl? He lays out a fleece before the Lord. Verse 14 says: “now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels, also’–may she be the one whom You have appointed for your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to master.”
Is he testing God here with his fleece? Actually he is testing the quality of the potential bride. To give a drink to this man at the well would display kindness… to water his camels as well… would be going the extra mile. It would take a lot of water to satisfy a camel’s thirst. This was an investment of time that Rebekah was offering when she indeed makes this offer to Abraham’s servant. It displayed a depth of kindness that reassured the servant that he had found the one for Isaac.
When I was dating my wife, Janine, she will tell you that I showed up for our first date with the most awful looking pair of pants she had ever seen. But she will also tell you that I showed up with a pink rose and a pair of devotional books for us to go through together. She thought at the time… I can get rid of those pants… but I won’t find that level of devotion just anywhere.
How do you find the love of your life? Make sure you get close enough (before the vows) to see their character come through in different life situations. If you find someone with a depth of character… don’t let them get away!
How do you stay in love? Continue to find those moments in which your spouse displays that rich depth of character that blew you away. Then express to them (not just on your anniversary or their birthday) your appreciation of those characteristics which drew you to them to begin with. And as time goes by… seek to discover even more kindnesses they exhibit. You will if you endeavor to look. Did you know that the love and care of the one you love is actually lovingkindness from the God of heaven and the God of earth? Rejoice in that!