SUMMARY: The overview of the story in Genesis 24 is simple and yet profound. Abraham, the man with the promises, “the father of many nations,” calls his servant and gives him the mission of bringing back a bride from the far country for his only son (Genesis 22:2), Isaac, the child of promise. What we will see is that this narrative is much more than a tale about getting a wife for an old man’s son. It in fact is a picture of the entire history of redemption as God the Father sends out His servants to bring back a holy bride for the Son.
APPLICATION: After we look at the whole story itself, we will take a closer look at the servant and see that the servant in this story is a model servant and one whom we, as disciples of Jesus, should emulate.
GENESIS 24 – THE STORY
As the story opens, we see that Abraham is very old and he realizes that he needs to accomplish at least one more thing before he dies; he needs to find a wife for his son Isaac. With this in mind Abraham calls his servant and binds him under oath to accomplish the mission of bringing a wife for Isaac from his people. The details of the narrative are carefully chosen by the author because they foreshadow events far in the future, and so we need to pay attention to these details.
The servant is bound by a solemn oath to accomplish his mission. The mission is spelled out very clearly by the father; the servant is to bring back a bride for the son.
The mission given to the servant is “Plan A,” and there is no “Plan B.” The servant is entrusted by the father with the mission, and if the servant does not complete the mission, then the son will not have a bride.
The servant was not free to do whatever he wanted to do, nor was he free to say whatever he wanted to say. Rather, he was bound by his oath to his master to say what the father commanded him to say and to go where the father had sent him to go.
Notice that the servant is nameless. Everyone else in this story has a name, but this one sent out on the mission does not. The identity of the servant is not significant, but his mission is of paramount significance.
Rebekah is specifically said to be a virgin, so she is pure and chaste, having no spot or wrinkle of any such thing (Ephesians 5:26-27).
Rebekah agrees to be the son’s bride without ever seeing the son (1 Peter 1:8). She goes only based on the words and the testimony of the servant about the son.
The servant declares that the father has given the son all that he has (Genesis 24:35-36; John 17:10).
This marriage is the only explicitly arranged marriage in the Bible. Here the father goes to great lengths to find exactly the right bride for the son. Of all the wives in the Bible, Isaac’s wife is the only one who is carefully chosen by the father. This is because Abraham wanted a very specific bride for Isaac.
THE MEANING REVEALED
Hopefully by now I have painted the picture in “gospel colors” and you can see that the story of Abraham, the father, sending out his servant on a mission to bring back a bride for his son is the story of the entire New Testament era. God the Father has commissioned His servant, the church, and has sent them out into the world with the mission to win and bring back a holy and chaste bride for His Son (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). The Lord Jesus now awaits the day when His bride, the whole church, is brought to Him to dwell with Him forever in heaven.
This story has a hero, and the hero is the nameless servant. He is the one who faithfully carries out his assignment despite obstacles and potential distractions. The next post will be about this model servant and how we need to emulate him.
SDG rmb 4/25/2019