Isaac: 11. Bride Called for Isaac: Genesis 24:22-29

From: Isaac By: William Kelly
Genesis 24:22‑29  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
There was astonishment in the servant's mind at the immediate and punctual answer to his prayer. To call it unbelief, as Calvin does,1 is unwarranted. It is the picture of the Holy Spirit's working in man, which never wrought so fully as since redemption, and never will work so again while he is on the earth. But if the servant rightly felt the gravity of the oath taken of him by his master, and the delicacy of the task for his master's son, he was deeply and believingly impressed with the speedy fulfillment of all he had laid before Jehovah, his master's God. The first sight of her could not but impress him. Still more was he struck, when, running to meet her, and asking as he had been led, she simply and completely responded to his petition just spread before God. Even our Lord, perfect man as He alone was, “wondered” at the Gentile centurion's faith. If this expressed His delight, where not a particle of unbelief could be, we need not disparage the servant's “wondering” at her, when he received so marked and ready a token of favor on his mission, “remaining silent to know whether Jehovah made his journey prosperous or not.” His action that follows is the best proof of his faith. “He that believeth shall not make haste;” and this absence of the haste, into which flesh rushes, is what really comes out in one content to take a single step at a time, as becomes man however blessed.
“And it came to pass, when the camels had done drinking, that the man took a gold ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets of ten [shekels] of gold, and said, Whose daughter [art] thou? tell me, I pray thee. Is there in thy father's house room for us to lodge in? And she said to him, I [am] daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nachor. And she said to him, [There is] both straw and much provender with us, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed down and paid worship to Jehovah, and said, Blessed [be] Jehovah, God of my master Abraham, who hath not withdrawn his mercy and his truth from my master; I [being] in the way, Jehovah hath led me to the house of my master's brethren” (vers. 22-29).
What a testimony to “the riches of grace” we have here from the outset! Where in all the Bible do we find anything to compare with those precious gifts on such an occasion or at so early a stage of it? The Christian reader can read the counterpart in Eph. 1. There as here we have purpose in the early verses, followed up by the boon of redemption in verse 7—the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God's grace, before the proper privileges of union with Christ are spoken of, or those peculiar gifts which He gave as ascended on high, the type of which we shall not fail to see later on. So, anticipating the gospel of God's grace, our Lord shows how the Father receives the returning prodigal: the best robe, a ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, and a feast of joy greater far to Him than to the son thus wondrously received or to any that shared the feast. The gospel accompanies but precedes the church; and the call of grace is marked variously in both. Can any with open or intelligent mind fail to trace in our chapter the divine design, which is the constant and unmistakable witness of inspired scripture, and which makes it differ from every other book?
But in the history before us, how confirmatory was the maiden's reply to the inquiry of the servant! Truly dependent on God, he tries even the brightest concurrence of circumstances by the word which guided his way and defined his aim. This does not suit the self-confidence of man; but is it not the one path, the inalienable duty, of the saint? For we walk by faith, not by sight. The Holy Spirit, as He thus led the Lord Jesus always and perfectly while here below, deigns now to conduct us after the same blessed pattern. What Rebekah said fell altogether and distinctly within the requirements of Abraham in the bride he sought for his son Isaac. No doubt her character even in this brief interview shone out in love and lowliness, in unaffected respect and readiest service, a meet daughter-in-law for Abraham, a pure and gentle wife for Isaac. Yet this was not everything that the servant sought, true to the interests of the son and to the words laid down by the father. “Whose daughter art thou?” Was she of Abraham's kindred? Her answer was just what he sought, and she assures him and his retinue of a suitable reception.
This draws out another characteristic in the account. For the man bowed down and paid worship to Jehovah. Worship, worship in spirit and truth, distinguishes the Christian and the church. So the Lord told the Samaritan woman. The hour for it is come and now is. The true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and truth, in contrast with Jerusalem no less than the mountain of Gerizim. A people in the flesh, a worldly sanctuary, earthly priests, material sacrifices and offerings, are unacceptable. The Father seeks and has children. They are sons, not distant bondmen nor yet infants; but redeemed and with the Spirit of adoption they cry, Abba, Father. Nor is it less true of the church than of the individual; as we read in 1 Cor. 14 where the Lord enjoins that all be with the spirit and with the understanding also, prayer, and singing, and blessing, and giving of thanks. For not literal circumcision is now of account; but we, Christians, are the circumcision, who worship by God's Spirit, and boast in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence or trust in flesh. Forms avail not, nothing but Christ, our life.
And the man said, for it is intelligent worship, “Blessed be Jehovah, God of my master Abraham, who hath not withdrawn from my master his mercy and his truth; I in the way, he hath led me to the house of my master's brethren.” It is confiding and adoring acknowledgment of His faithful goodness. So in our case the Son of God is come and has given us an understanding to know Him that is True; and we are in Him that is True, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life; without which, and the Holy Spirit given now that He is gone, we could in no way rise to such worship. But what a wondrous prefiguration of it is the scene before us! It is just where it should be; nor is there a scene like it elsewhere.
1. “Admiratio haec servi Abrahae ostendit fuisse animi dubium. Secum tacitus explorat an iter suum Deus fortunaverit,” &c.-Opera, i. 127. folio, Amstel. 1667.