A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now a very old man. The Lord had made him rich, and he was successful in everything he did. 2One day, Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said to him, “Solemnly promise me 3in the name of the Lord, who rules heaven and earth, that you won't choose a wife for my son Isaac from the people here in the land of Canaan. 4Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for him from among my relatives.”
5But the servant asked, “What if the young woman I choose refuses to leave home and come here with me? Should I send Isaac there to look for a wife?”
6“No!” Abraham answered. “Don't ever do that, no matter what. 7The Lord who rules heaven brought me here from the land where I was born and promised that he would give this land to my descendants forever. When you go back there, the Lord will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son. 8If the woman refuses to come along, you don't have to keep this promise. But don't ever take my son back there.” 9So the servant gave Abraham his word that he would do everything he had been told to do.
10Soon after that, the servant loaded ten of Abraham's camels with valuable gifts. Then he set out for the city in northern Syria, where Abraham's brother Nahor lived.
11When he got there, he let the camels rest near the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when the women came out for water. 12The servant prayed:
You, Lord, are the God my master Abraham worships. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today. 13The young women of the city will soon come to this well for water, 14and I'll ask one of them for a drink. If she gives me a drink and then offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen and that you have kept your promise to my master.
15-16While he was still praying, a beautiful unmarried young woman came by with a water jar on her shoulder. She was Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. Rebekah walked past Abraham's servant, then went over to the well, and filled her water jar. When she started back, 17Abraham's servant ran to her and said, “Please let me have a drink of water.”
18“I'll be glad to,” she answered. Then she quickly took the jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19-20After he had finished, she said, “Now I'll give your camels all the water they want.” She quickly poured out water for them, and she kept going back for more, until his camels had drunk all they wanted. 21Abraham's servant did not say a word, but he watched everything Rebekah did, because he wanted to know for certain if this was the woman the Lord had chosen.
22The servant had brought along an expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets. When Rebekah had finished bringing the water, he gave her the ring for her nose and the bracelets for her arms. 23Then he said, “Please tell me who your father is. Does he have room in his house for me and my men to spend the night?”
24She answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Nahor and Milcah. 25We have a place where you and your men can stay, and we also have enough straw and feed for your camels.”
26Then the servant bowed his head and prayed, 27“I thank you, Lord God of my master Abraham! You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him.”
28Rebekah ran straight home and told her family everything. 29-30Her brother Laban heard her tell what the servant had said, and he saw the ring and the bracelets she was wearing. So Laban ran out to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well. 31Then Laban said, “The Lord has brought you safely here. Come home with me. There's no need for you to keep on standing outside. I have a room ready for you in our house, and there's also a place for your camels.”
32Abraham's servant went home with Laban, where Laban's servants unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then they brought water into the house, so Abraham's servant and his men could wash their feet. 33After that, they brought in food. But the servant said, “Before I eat, I must tell you why I have come.”
“Go ahead and tell us,” Laban answered.
Faithful, hard-working, decisive, prayerful and nameless. Abraham’s servant inspires me.
I work full-time for a Member of Parliament. My job has taught me much about politics, but even more about what it means to serve and represent Jesus Christ.
During sitting weeks in the House of Commons, my employer remains in Ottawa.I work from his constituency office, thousands of miles away. Nevertheless, he is a constant presence I cannot ignore. We are in frequent contact – and his picture is on my desktop.
In my role as his representative, all public words I write are signed with his name. Each hand I shake, problem I solve, call I take, speech I write (or make in his absence) is done on his behalf. Every door that opens to me does so at his name alone.
In my private writing life, my books feature my own name, as do my newspaper columns and radio spots. When I’m asked to speak, my name and photo are on the publicity bios. But when I put on my “political staffer hat,” I must disappear.
Scarcely a day passes without amazement that my employer trusts me as he does. Like Abraham’s servant, I pray frequently for clear guidance. Mistakes reflect poorly on my boss and make him less effective.
My successes are never my own. Any expressions of gratitude for something I have done are not mine to keep, for the one I represent has done the work through me. And when an angst-filled call or letter arrives, I roll it over to him – those barbs are not mine to extract.
Abraham’s worthy old servant, sent by his master to locate a bride for Isaac, understood all that. He knew who he represented, and he knew how to please him. He listened well to instruction and asked relevant questions. He made practical preparation. He prayed. Took decisive action. He remained focused on his mission, and praised God for answered prayer.
He fulfilled his master’s will perfectly.
Lord and Master, as I strive to represent your Son, make me more like this nameless one.