Genesis 24:1–67: The Commissioning of Abraham
In Genesis 23, Abraham buried his wife, Sarah. Now, in Genesis 24, Abraham prepares for his own death by seeking a wife for his son Isaac. If Isaac does not find a wife, then God’s promises to multiply Abraham through Isaac and Isaac’s offspring will come to nothing. Nevertheless, Abraham does not want Isaac to take a wife among the pagan Canaanites in the land (Gen. 24:3), and he does not want Isaac to leave the land of promise to go back to the land of Abraham’s kindred (Gen. 24:6, 8). In order to find a wife for Isaac, then, Abraham makes plans to send his servant to Abraham’s kindred, who will then bring Isaac’s wife back to Canaan. Should Abraham actually make these plans, though? If God has promised that Isaac will multiply, doesn’t that mean that God already has a plan for bringing Isaac a wife? Is this another story like we saw in Genesis 16, where Abraham unbelievingly took God’s promises for offspring into his own hands by taking his wife’s maidservant Hagar as a second wife? Not at all, for Genesis 24 provides a model for how to believers should seek God’s will in our lives by teaching us that God provides what he promises through plans and prayers.
1. How do God’s promises prompt Abraham’s plans? How does God’s revelation regulate Abraham’s plans? How does Abraham weave into his plan a thorough dependence on God’s provision? What promises has God given to prompt and regulate your plans? How are you depending on God in prayer as you make plans for the future he has promised in his word?
2. What does Abraham’s example teach us about seeking the good of the next generation? Why must we remain aware of our mortality and the brevity of our lives in this world? How can you live now to seek Christ’s glory among the next generation? How might you apply the words of John the Baptist, spoken of Jesus?: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
3. How does Abraham’s servant model praying for God’s direction? How does the servant model praise and thanksgiving when God fulfills his prayers? If God is working, though, why does the servant need to put his proposal to Rebekah’s family so winsomely? Do you both work diligently for the prayers of your heart and pray fervently for the success of your work?
4. How does this passage present Rebekah as a new Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah? What does this tell us about God’s purposes for Rebekah? What does this tell us about her faith? What kind of call does God have for his church? Why must God’s call on his church require sacrifice? What blessings does God promise for those who respond to Christ’s call in faith and obedience?