Connections 07.09.2023: Isaac and Rebekah

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49

In today’s lesson text, a servant of Abraham does the patriarch’s bidding. He goes to Abraham’s people to “get a wife” for Isaac, the beloved miracle son (v. 38). Isaac and Rebekah are background players here. Their futures are arranged for them, seemingly with no say on their part.

This was, of course, a different time. Marriage was more for political and economic benefit than for love. Rather than the romance of Isaac and Rebekah falling in love and getting married, we get the servant’s narrative of asking God for signs as to which woman was right for Isaac. God delivered. Rebekah came to the well, and the servant noticed her for his master’s son.

After telling his story, the servant offers Rebekah’s father and brother a choice: “…if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left” (v. 49). This arrangement is not settled until her family agrees to it, which they do (see vv. 50-51).

We would like this to be different. We would like Rebekah to be the one with the choice, rather than having her life decided for her. But that is not the story from biblical times. Fortunately, though, God is involved, so Rebekah’s life had bright moments. Isaac indeed “loved her” (Gen 24:67). She was infertile, but God gave her children anyway (Gen 25:21). She adored her son Jacob and lavished care and protection upon him (Gen 27). Her life also had darkness—favoritism led to betrayal, discord, and family feuds (Gen 27–28).

Did the servant correctly interpret the events at the well as signs from God? If he had waited longer, would another woman have come along who was better suited for Isaac? Was there truly just one right spouse for Isaac? We can’t answer any of those questions.

The same is true in our lives. We pray to God and hope for signs. We see what we think are answers to our prayers, and we take the best next steps. Sometimes the outcomes are wonderful; sometimes they are difficult. Regardless of where we end up, we can know that God is involved. When we look to God, pray, and practice discernment, even difficult outcomes can help us grow.


• What can we learn about Abraham’s servant from the way he tells his story to Rebekah’s family?
• Why do we sometimes pray for signs from God when we have decisions to make?
• Have you ever received what you interpreted as a sign from God? If so, what was it?
• How did you act on the sign, and what was the outcome?
• Even if we misinterpret some events as signs from God, how can God help us take the next best steps in a difficult outcome?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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