Thursday, September 14, 2006

Isaac and Rebekah--Love and Marriage

Genesis 24:62-67
"Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. Rebekah lifted up her eyes and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. She said to the servant, 'Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?' And the servant said, 'He is my master.' Then she took her veil and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

This is the telling of when Isaac and Rebekah first met. Around 3,500 years ago, in a time and place where marriages were arranged, a story of love is shared, in spite of our idea today that any kind of arranged marriage keeps people from experiencing "true love."

Here in Genesis what is revealed is the power of God and His desire for love in a marriage relationship. The writing and imagery is very romantic, as the picture painted is of Isaac in a field meditating or strolling with his head down, waiting, thinking about what God has in store for him. He may have been contemplating of his future bride. As the account shares, while he was pacing around the field, his eyes lifted up to see camels in the distance...

Rebekah was of pure blood, a virgin untouched by men. Her life changed one day when she routinely went to get some water for her and her family. Upon arrival, a man was waiting there by the spring; this man proceeded to ask for a drink of water (since she had containers). Graciously, she provided not only for him, but also gave water to his camels as well. The man then asked her if he could stay in her household, testing Rebekah's generosity. Without hesitation on her part, she responded kindly and allowed him to join her and her family. Little did she know this all began with another man and his trust in God...

Abraham had sent his servant on a mission back to his homeland. Not wanting his son, Isaac, to marry a foreign woman, Abraham was trusting in God's promise which was made to him decades earlier: "To your descendants I will give this land." Abraham believedthat God was going to provide the proper wife for Isaac according to His promise. Here, through Abraham's faith, is where the romance began...

With Isaac's eyes lifted up, looking intently in her direction, Rebekah was approaching on her camel. As she lifted her face, her eyes connected with his for the first time. She dismounted curiously while Isaac approached them and though she did not know who he was, she inquired because there was something special about the moment. When the man told her that it was Isaac, his master, she prepared herself for what seemed to have been confirmed at first sight. She prepared herself for marriage.

After hearing how faithful God was in providing her, Isaac took Rebekah to be his bride. It all began with God's original promise. Then, because of one man's trust in God, a servant's obedience to his master, and a woman's graceful submission, God honored all of them and the marriage. At the end of the passage we as readers are given a glimpse of just how God rewards:

"and he loved her..."

A marriage will result in "true love" if arranged--by God.