26 September 2015

Genesis 24:1-9, 62-67

“And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel.” (v. 64)

Psalm: Psalm 98


The task of seeking a partner is complicated; there are many factors involved! We may feel it is hard enough today with the fast paced nature of our lives and the sheer busyness of the modern world. I wonder though if Abraham had an even harder job on his hands? Abraham wants Isaac safely married and producing heirs. (Isaac's mind in this is not explored.) He wants Isaac to meet someone from his own ethnic group, which is difficult as they live in Cana and not Israel. A Canaanite woman will not do. But Isaac must stay where he is and not go back home, or the land so hard won will be lost, and Abraham's sense of destiny and purpose will be denied. You could almost wish that they had the Internet and a dating site with enough boxes to tick to cover the complicated essentials that are demanded.

The story is told as another example of Abraham's faith even in the sadness of his own loss and concerns of his advancing years. God will somehow work it all out for them, plus the aid of a faithful go-between. Isaac is again a remarkably passive part of the story; not this time to be sacrificed, but married off to fulfil his father's will. There is something, deeply touching and restrained about the way that the two do eventually meet. It takes Jane Austen many hundreds of pages to fix Elizabeth up with her Darcy. It takes the author of Genesis two lines. Rebekah slips from the camel, puts on her veil, and trusts God. Love will find a way, and despite the huge number of assumptions about the role of women, their status, the highly constrained choices that are being made, there is a sense of love.

To Ponder

  • In what way do you think God is concerned with human relationships in all their complexity?
  • What would you like to share with God about your own relationships at the moment?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Born in Africa to missionary parents, Mark Wakelin is a Methodist minister, He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Chuch.