Live By the Word (Genesis 24)

Genesis 24 represents a critical turning point in the history of God’s people. As we have seen, God chose Abraham and promised to make him into a great nation. And yet, even after the miraculous birth of Isaac (Gen. 21), Abraham is still far from having offspring as numerous as the stars in the heaven like God promised (Gen. 15:5). How is this promise going to be carried out? And when? This chapter begins to show us the answer. The same God who called Abraham and made sure that he was protected and blessed also made sure that the promised line would continue so that the promises could be fulfilled. God keeps His promises and carries out His plans – even when we do not understand how it can happen.

Genesis 24 is a long chapter but the plot is easy to follow. The story begins with Abraham sending his most trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac from Abraham’s homeland instead of from Canaan (v. 1-9). Clearly, Abraham knew the wickedness of the Canaanites and feared that one of the Canaanite women would draw Isaac away from worshiping the Lord. He wanted his son to walk with the Lord as he had done. Moreover, we see Abraham’s continued faith – even in his old age – as he expresses confidence that God will provide a wife (v. 7).

After receiving his mission, the servant travels to the city of Abraham’s brother, Nahor. Immediately, the Lord miraculously orchestrates a meeting between the servant and Rebekah – Nahor’s granddaughter (v. 10-21). The servant asks for a clear sign, and the Lord provides it. Without delay or hesitation, it is made apparent that God is doing exactly what Abraham believed – providing a wife for his son. Clearly, there was far more at work than simply the will of Abraham. God was working His will as well – keeping His promise and carrying out His plan.

After the initial meeting, the servant presents gifts to Rebekah and then travels to her house to tell the family the reason for his visit and to request that Rebekah return with him (v. 22-49). It is clear even in the servant’s words that God is the one at work. He recognizes that God has stone steadfast love and faithfulness to Abraham (v. 27). Clearly, God has ordained this as a blessing on Abraham – even as He had so many things before.

After the servant finishes speaking, the family agrees to send Rebekah with him, and she agrees to go. As a result, they send her with Abraham’s servant – singing songs as she goes, and she returned to the promised land and married Isaac (v. 50-67). Again, though it is not made as explicit as in other stories, God is clearly at work in this episode. God had promised to make Abraham into a great nation…which meant there had to be more children…which meant a wife for Isaac. God knew that, and God provided. As we will see in the coming chapters, God used this marriage to continue the line of promise so that God’s purpose would come to pass.

As we read this chapter, we should take a moment to remember its central lesson: God will keep His promise. His plan is certain. Even when it seems as if there is no way it can happen, God will do it. Even if we do not understand the plan, it will come to pass. The same God who was working in Abraham’s day is working now. In Abraham’s day, He was working to build a great nation so that the promised One could come into the world. Now that the promised One (Jesus) has come, He is still working to unite all things together under Jesus’ sovereign authority. The plan is still in place, and it is still being carried out. This story is meant to strengthen our faith and boost our confidence. The God who worked then is still working today. And the God who kept His Word then is still keeping His Word today.