Rev. Heys is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
When Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, asked Rebekah’s parents for permission to take her to Isaac the very day after he had come there seeking a God-fearing wife for Isaac, Rebekah’s parents called her and asked her whether she would be willing to go that day. They had, we read, told Eliezer that they wanted her to stay with them at least ten more days. For after her departure they would never see her again. In effect it would be as though she had died, for, as pointed out last time, without mail service, telephones, or trains and planes, they would have no contact again, but instead complete separation.
When they called Rebekah and asked her whether she was willing to go that day, she replied, “I will go.” She was willing to go because she had been informed not only that Eliezer had come for a wife for Isaac, but also of the astounding work of God whereby He had moved Eliezer to ask for a woman who would draw water for him and his camels. For that, Eliezer had prayed to God. And do not overlook the fact that Eliezer, although an aged man, had taken servants with him. And they could have drawn that water. Our God did work an amazing thing here; and Rebekah realized that it was not merely Abraham’s desire to have her be Isaac’s wife, but also God’s plan which she must not ignore or reject.
So they did leave that day. And a few days later they met Isaac in a very striking way. By God’s providence and grace Isaac had been caused to go out into the field to meditate. Undoubtedly he did not expect Eliezer to come back so quickly with a wife for him. Very smoothly and quickly our God arranged all things for the fulfillment of His covenant promises to Abraham. There can be no doubt that Abraham had told Isaac why Eliezer was sent to Mesopotamia. We do not read of such a revelation to Isaac by his father; but we can be sure that he did tell Isaac that Eliezer was getting a wife for him.
Let us not forget that there was no God-fearing woman there in that land of Canaan for Isaac to have as a wife. Recall what an unbelieving wife Lot had obtained there in Canaan. Abraham was not fussy and concerned about facial beauty. He did not send Eliezer to go and look for that kind of woman. There were several there in the neighborhood where Abraham lived. He wanted a believing child of God. He was not interested either merely in getting a blood relative for Isaac. He sent Eliezer there because he wanted Isaac to have a believing wife, a child of. God who would with Isaac train up their children in the fear of God.
Our children must also be thus trained, and therefore we must have Christian schools where they can be taught the truth, and where they can have contact with believing children of God. Our young people also must hold fast to the truth that their calling is to seek a husband or wife who will help them, not hurt them, in training children in the fear of God’s name. Behind all love and seeking of a loved one is the call to love God. THAT comes first! Indeed it is a good motive to want to build up someone else in spiritual strength. But never overlook the fact that our own spiritual life must be strengthened day after day and year after year; and we should take no step that would turn our lives the other way.
In that light Isaac’s meditation, while he was there in the field, was a spiritual meditation. We may be sure that he meditated and prayed to God that Eliezer would bring him a wife who would not harm his spiritual life, but help him in it. And we find in Genesis 24:67 that, having met Rebekah and having known and learned about her spiritual life – not her physical beauty, which is not at all mentioned here – Isaac loved her, and was comforted. This was not a physical comfort and delight in her appearance, but in the fact that they were one from a spiritual point of view, and could help each other in service to the almighty and holy God who brought them into being.
We may believe that Isaac loved Rebekah and was comforted after his mother’s death, not merely because now he did not have physical loneliness, but because he found her to be a believing child of God; and he would then enjoy fellowship with her be: cause they believed in the same God and wanted in all things to serve Him together. God gave Isaac a blessed; wife; and they strengthened each other spiritually because of their common faith in God, and were able to bring up children in a faith in Him.
Sarah, his mother, had died; and spiritual companionship was gone in the degree that he had before enjoyed it. And there were no believing young men or women for Isaac to have companionship with, and join in spiritual matters. We therefore can also be sure that when Isaac saw a host of camels coming in the distance, he was very interested in seeing whether this was Eliezer coming back already; and whether he did have a wife for him. He may even have wondered whether perhaps Eliezer had failed in his mission and was therefore returning so quickly because things were different over there than they had thought.
We also read that Rebekah saw Isaac in the distance, and asked Eliezer who that man was. Then, learning that it was Isaac, whom she was being brought to marry, she got off her camel and put on a veil to cover herself. Then when Isaac came before them, Eliezer told him “all the things that he had done.” He told Isaac how he had been led by God to know that Rebekah was to be his wife. Rebekah’s physical beauty was hidden by that veil, and Eliezer did not call Isaac’s attention to what a beautiful woman he had brought to be his wife. Notice that simple yet profound statement. “The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.” He told Isaac basically what he had prayed to God, and wanted as the sign that this was His, that is, God’s, choice of a wife for Isaac. Isaac must know that God has sent Rebekah to be his wife.
And by all means note that it was not a case of love at first sight when Isaac saw her. He may have been very pleased that Eliezer succeeded in getting a wife for him; but Isaac must know that this is God’s will and that she was a spiritual woman who agreed to become his wife, because she knew that she was the fulfillment of Eliezer’s, prayer unto God.
We read that Isaac took her unto his mother’s tent, and that shortly thereafter Abraham died. Abraham had, according to Genesis 25:5, given Isaac all his earthly possessions. Plainly Isaac was to take Abraham’s place, and he, was the one through whom God would fulfill His covenant promise, and would therefore bring forth covenant seed.
When Abraham died, Ishmael, that other son of Abraham, came for his burial. This must have been quite an experience for Isaac. For one thing we read that Ishmael begat children while Isaac and Rebekah remained childless for some time. In Genesis 25:13 we read that Ishmael was given twelve sons. We read inGenesis 25:21 that Isaac prayed to God because Rebekah was barren. And that prayer of Isaac was answered; Rebekah begat a set of twins whose names were Esau and Jacob. It was because he believed God’s covenant promise that Isaac prayed for a son.
And let us bear in mind that, in our two previous installments in this department of The Day of Shadows, we noted that the church is Christ’s bride. InIsaiah 61:10 we read, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
There are then truths for us to hold on to for our comfort, and for the strengthening of our faith. First of all, there is that truth that our God made us to be Christ’s bride. By nature we do not want that. Genesis 3:15presents two people in this world, namely, the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. There, too, we are clearly taught that there is by God an enmity implanted in the seed of the woman against the devil and his spiritual seed. Our God implanted that new life in us in order to make us Christ’s bride. And as Rebekah was brought from Mesopotamia to Canaan, we will by God’s grace and power be brought out of this vale of tears and sorrows, and away from sins of every kind, into that heavenly Canaan where we will love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and enjoy fully His love. As Rebekah was by God’s grace brought to be Isaac’s wife in a different land, we will by that grace be brought to be Christ’s bride in a new creation which our God will bring into being.
Then, too, let us take hold of that other comforting truth, namely, that all this will happen because our almighty God decreed it eternally, and most assuredly will cause it fully to come to pass. He moved Abraham to go to the promised land. He caused him to want a believing wife for Isaac. He implanted in Eliezer that for which he prayed as a sign indicating what woman he was to bring to Isaac. He caused Rebekah to go with Eliezer to be Isaac’s wife. He moved Isaac to receive her and love her.
Enjoy then that truth in Revelation 21:1, 2 that we shall be Christ’s “bride,” adorned for Him as our husband. And make no mistake about it, ALL is well for every elect child of God. For that union between Isaac and Rebekah presents to us a picture – a shadow, if you will – of our being brought out of the Mesopotamia in which we now live, and of our being brought unto the heavenly land of Canaan where Christ now is. Our souls will come there the moment we die. Be sure of that! Be sure also that even as God wrought all this for Isaac and Rebekah, we will with our bodies soon be brought to live with Christ in that promised land presented in Revelation 21, where God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. That new heaven and earth, that holy city, the new Jerusalem, where as Christ’s bride we will live with Him in a bliss and blessedness, our present words cannot fully now present.
All IS well! All that God promised us will come to pass in minutest detail. Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our earthly life, and we will dwell with God, and with His Son as our Bridegroom, and as His bride. All is well and working together for our everlasting good.