An Arranged Marriage

It’s a fascinating story. A father sends his servant on a trip of over 500 miles to find, convince, and retrieve a bride for his son. The servant goes and carries out the wishes of his master. Through much providence, God leads the servant to identify “the one.” “The one’s” name is Rebekah. She is God’s clear choice to marry the master’s son, Isaac.

In an amazing sequence of events, Rebekah elects to leave with this stranger. She is willing to abandon her family, country, and comfort to travel over 500 miles to marry a man she has only ever heard of.

What is the driving force of her decision to leave? It must be faith. Her willingness to leave home and cleave to a stranger was compelled by a belief that God providentially ordered the steps of her great-uncle Abraham’s servant. God led him to her.

Rebekah willingly went to a new country with a man she met less than twenty-four hours earlier. She met her groom Isaac and was immediately joined to him in marriage.

A Pattern

This amazing biblical account teaches God’s people about his loyal love and his sovereign providence for sure. But there is something else for God’s people to see in this narrative. The story of a Father sending a servant to retrieve a bride for his son foreshadows an important reality about how Christians are saved.

Henry Morris writes, “Not only is it a heart-warming love story, but it chronicles a very important episode in the history of man’s redemption.”

Abraham reminds us of God the Father who sends his Holy Spirit to gather a bride for his son Jesus. The bride is called before she knew anything about the groom. This coincides with how Christians are chosen by God before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).

The servant went and revealed God’s leading to guide him to find the bride. This is reminiscent of the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction and the effectual call on God’s chosen people. As the servant convicted Rebekah of the certainty of God’s providential leading, the Holy Spirit convicts Christians “concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).” Conviction is essential before true faith can be exercised.

The servant prompts immediate obedience from Rebekah. Despite the desire of her family for her to delay, the servant pressed. “We must go now!” Rebekah agreed and traveled to the land of Canaan in order to meet her bridegroom.

Nothing is said of this long journey to meet Isaac. In many ways, this was a sanctifying journey for Rebekah. She was being prepared and set apart by the servant to meet her future husband face to face. This is akin to the Christian’s journey in this world. Sometimes it feels as though we are traveling across a desert through the wilderness. The Christian life, in fact, is compared to the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:1-13; Heb 4:1-13). In this life, the Holy Spirit is helping to sanctify us and prepare us to meet our Savior face-to-face. God’s work to save us is obvious, but don’t minimize what is expected of us. Rebekah typifies the church’s response to the Spirit. We must believe and obey–– but of course only with his help.

How does God gather the church, the bride of Christ? Genesis 24 gives us a glimpse of the process. The Father sends the Spirit to retrieve the bride for His Son. Don’t waste this journey! We, as the bride, must believe, obey, and make the most of our journey through the desert. This is a journey of preparation and expectancy. We will soon meet our bridegroom. There will be no greater event in our lives.

Here are three ways we can make the most of our journey through the wilderness to meet our Lord:

1.) Practice Repentance

This journey is not accomplished in a day, and neither is our sanctification. As the psalmist prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! (Psalm 139:23),” we must always be asking the Spirit to investigate us and convict us of the sins that creep into our lives. As he convicts, we must pray for God’s grace to help us repent and turn away from our sins.

2.) Prompt the Servant for information about the Bride Groom

I would have to imagine that Rebekah spent much of those 500 miles asking the servant about her future husband. Even now, the Holy Spirit helps believers gain greater insight into the person and work of Jesus. It is the Spirit who illuminates the Scriptures, which all points to Jesus. We would be wise to pester the Spirit as we open the Word, asking for his help to know Jesus better.

3.) Picture the Beauty of Jesus

As we journey and learn more about our groom-to-be, we can’t help but be mesmerized by his glory and magnificence. Meditate on the glory of the Lord. As we behold his glory, we will be gradually transformed into his likeness. It is the Holy Spirit who does this (2 Cor 3:18). Use this time on earth to mine the depths of our salvation. Rejoice daily in your redemption. Let the reality of the gospel change your life. For soon we will see him and we will be like him ( 1 John 3:2).