Last night Simeon and I were reading Genesis 24, the beginning story of Isaac and Rebekah. Lately, I have been trying to examine the Bible from a different perspective. Not just reading it, but learning, examining, and meditating on it. Since I am pretty much completely emotional, I have focused on the humanity of these people. In Ecclesiastes, it says "there is nothing new under the sun", and I believe that human thoughts and emotions are no different.
There are somethings that I never realized about the story of Isaac and Rebekah. Things that were blatantly there, but I never invested the time or thought into them. One of them starts in Genesis 23:1, "Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old." Bear with me here for a little, one of the things Simeon and I have been trying to do is create a timeline to the best of our understanding. We are probably wrong about some things, but this is pretty basic math. Sarah was 90 years old (I think, give or take) when Isaac was born. So she was able to be on this earth for him for 37ish years before she died. I dialed in on this fact alone. He was 37 years old, and wasn't married. How would he have felt? Was he content? What was the average age of betrothal during that time? Was he impatient? Was he wondering, dreaming? Was an heir as important to him as it was to his father? What was his human condition at the time of his mother's death? Was he sad she would never see her grandchildren? Not much is said about Isaac's temperament at this time, so it left my imagination and thoughts wide open to all of the possibilities.
Fast forward, we know the servant Abraham sent found Isaac not only the woman to be his wife, but one of Abraham's relatives, unbeknownst to all until later. It intrigued me that the servant prayed "Lord, God of my master Abraham..." (Genesis 24:12). As I thought about it, I realized that Abraham probably had many servants with many different gods. Did this servant believe in the one, true God? If he didn't, did he believe after he witnessed God's hand in this story of Isaac and Rebekah? God wove these lives together in a completely intricate way, that none of them could have imagined.
This servant also gave specific instructions to God, to allow it to be known and recognized right away. He prayed to God for a woman with kindness, and hard work. Can you imagine drawing enough water for 10 camels? Did you know that one camel can drink up to 30 gallons of water in 10 minutes? Even if these camels didn't need that much, even a third of that, 10 gallons, multiplied by 10 camels is at least 100 gallons! How much water do you think Rebekah drew from the well? How much water do I draw from the source of living water? She did so, not only gladly, but offering. I also wondered if there was a selfish side, I wonder if she recognized these camels were laden with gifts, and if she wanted something in return. Even if she did, she got more than she bargained for. Our God is one that blesses beyond realization.
Rebekah's character also comes out when asked to go. Her family wanted her to stay behind for 10 days (I wondered why such a specific time, but I digress). The servant however wanted to go now. They decided to ask Rebekah and let herself decide. 'Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said.' (Genesis 24:57-58) I wonder if there was even a moment of hesitation. The way it reads is that there is not. Her character came out in a way that she stepped out in faith. She trusted not only her God, but her family, and Abraham's servant. So Rebekah was kind, trusting, and faithful.
The next few verses are about Isaac and Rebekah's 'meet-cute' if you will. (vs. 62-67)
"Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate,and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah,and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death."
In these verses I really wondered about some things. What was Isaac meditating about? Did Abraham tell his son the plans for his wife-to-be? Was he meditating on the Lord? Did he actually see Rebekah when he looked up or just a silhouette? Did he know that this woman was going to be his wife? Why did Rebekah cover herself up? Why did she put the veil across her face? Was she scared this man wouldn't like how she looked? Was she just plain scared of meeting him? After reading through a little more, I realized that Abraham did not tell Isaac what he was up to. In fact, the servant told him what had happened. Both Isaac and Rebekah stepped out in faith, to be united. What am I doing to step out in faith for the story God has tenderly woven me?
The last part "...and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." Goes along with another verse later on in Chapter 25. In verse 20 it says that Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. So back to the math. Sarah was 90(ish) when she gave birth to Isaac. She died when he was 37 years old. That means Isaac was grieving and mourning for his mother for 3 years until Rebekah showed up. Oddly, this comforted me. I have been feeling impatient of late. Impatient for this whole process to be done. To want to trust, and try for a child again. It comforted me that this man, was saddened for 3 years before true comfort and healing began. I don't care if he was a momma's boy, if he didn't feel the urge or need to get married, I just know that he was hurting that his mother was not with him.
As I have weeded through these thoughts, two things became abundantly clear. God demands trust and faith from me. God demands patience from me. Without any of these things, how can I truly allow Him to work in my life to the fullness He has for me? After this realization I imagined a child walking in a dark place with a parent. The child needs a hand to hold to, trusting that the hand they're holding will lead them to light. They need to keep walking and staying side by side to their parent, not knowing where they are going, but having faith that they will get there. And lastly, they need to be patient with their parent and themselves, knowing that in the end, there will no longer be darkness or fear, only the light.