Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor.
And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. Abraham's care to prevent the leaven of idolatry entering his family (cf. Exodus 34:16; 1 Corinthians 15:33; James 1:27). Worldly wisdom would have led him to seek a wife for his son among the families of Canaan, so as to give him a firmer footing in the land; but he solemnly charged his steward, in sending him on a marriage embassy, not to do this (cf. 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14). A wife was to be sought from his brother's family. Out of the earnestness of this godly desire came the trial of his faith. An obvious difficulty; what if the damsel should not be willing to follow a stranger? There had been little intercourse between the families. The news is Genesis 22:20 was plainly the first for many years. Must Isaac go in person to take a wife from her father's house? Much might be urged in favor of this. If the presence of Isaac were of importance, might he not return for a little, though Canaan was his appointed home? Was it not hindering the very thing Abraham desired, to refuse to do so? Was it not unreasonable to look for a blessing and yet to neglect obvious means for obtaining it? Not for a moment would Abraham listen to the suggestion. At God's call he had left Mesopotamia forever. To send his son back would he contrary to the principle of his whole life. It would be to put expediency above faith, to distrust God's promise, to think his will changeable (cf. 1 Kings 13:19). Contrast the faithlessness of the Israelites in their wilderness journeys. Abraham would not allow even a temporary return. They "in their hearts turned back again into Egypt" (cf. Luke 9:62).
I. IN A GODLY LIFE THERE IS OFTEN A TEMPTATION TO TURN BACK FOR A LITTLE. With a laudable aim, some step which seems likely to lead to it is not quite what in itself we know to be right. To gain the means of doing good, some little departure from truth may seem almost necessary. In the eagerness of some plan of usefulness the time for prayer can hardly be found, or the ordinary daily duties of life seem to interrupt the greater and higher work; or, to gain an influence over the gay and worldly, it may seem the course of wisdom to go, a little way at least, with them. And is not a Christian, under the law of liberty, freed from strict observance of the letter? Does not that savor of the spirit of bondage? Nay, "to obey is better than sacrifice." Always danger when men seek to be wiser than God (Proverbs 14:12). We cannot foresee the difficulties of returning.
II. TRUE FAITH POINTS TO IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE. Can we not trust God to order all - not only the ends towards which he would have us strive, but the means to be used? We are to live by every word of God, not by some special saying only. Promise and precept, instruction and direction, are alike his words, by which every step should be guided. It is want of faith which leads to departure from obedience; want of full trust in God which leads to ways of fancied wisdom. We have to do -with efforts, not with results; these are in God's hand. Where obedience is not in question we rightly use our judgment; reason was given us to be our guide, but not to take the guidance out of God's hands. - M.
1. God sometimes answers His in the instant of prayer.
And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out.I. IN THE PROMPT AND COMPLETE ANSWER GIVEN TO HIS PRAYER. The maiden appeared on the scene which he had pictured to his mind's eye, and displayed all the qualities which he had looked for in a bride for Isaac. She was civil and courteous, open and sincere, kind, simple, and unaffected.
II. IN THE CONTROL OF APPARENT ACCIDENTS.
III. IN THE IMPRESSION MADE UPON THE STEWARD HIMSELF.
1. He pauses to see whether Divine Providence is still leading on (ver. 21).
2. He acts upon the favours of Providence already received (ver. 22).
3. He engages in an act of praise (vers. 26, 27).
IV. IN THE RECOGNITION OF GOD BY ALL CONCERNED (vers. 27, 28, 31).
(T. H. Leale.)
Essex Remembrancer.I. THE PROMISES OF GOD LEAD US TO EXPECT HIS BLESSING IN THE PATH OF DUTY.
II. BY ATTENDING THE MEANS OF GRACE, WE ENJOY COMMUNION WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD. We should attend the means of grace too.
III. BECAUSE BY THIS WE SHOW TO THE WORLD OUR ATTACHMENT TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST, AND SET THEM AN EXAMPLE FOR IMITATION.
IV. ANOTHER ADVANTAGE ARISING FROM THUS "BEING IN THE WAY" IS, THAT IT LEADS US OFTEN TO INDULGE IN THE DELIGHTFUL ANTICIPATION OF ENGAGING IN THE PERFECT AND NEVER-ENDING WORSHIP OF THE REDEEMED BEFORE THE THRONE ABOVE.
2. Providence orders motions for time and place in fitting persons for marriage according to His will.
3. The fittest wives and husbands are such who are the answer of prayer.
4. Goodness of family, honesty of calling, comeliness of person, purity of conversation, industry in labour, concur sweetly to make a good consort (vers. 15, 16).
5. After praying to God, there must be acting by man to find God's answer.
6. Humble addresses become strangers in desiring courtesies as answers from God's mercy (ver. 17).
7. Ingenuity is quick and active in doing courtesy unto strangers.
8. Much kindness sometimes is shown in giving but a little water (ver. 18).
9. Ingenuous spirits are free to do good to beasts as well as men (ver. 19).
10. It is a sweet disposition to satisfy man and beast until they be full.
11. Providence makes good the signs He gives to His to the uttermost (ver. 20).
12. Wonderful are God's providences many times in answering prayer, and so to be admired.
13. A silent and serious consideration there should be about the rare events of God's providence.
14. The knowledge of God's mind in all providences is to be laboured after for man's duty and God's glory (ver. 21).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Courtesies being finished, it is time to prepare for thanks.
3. Ornaments best suit with them that are of pure minds and ingenuous conversations.
4. Gifts are not unlawful, being justly bestowed in gratefulness, and in pursuance of lawful desires (ver. 22).
5. Prudence finds out by queries such as are appointed unto marriage by God's providence.
6. Inquiry for a night's lodging may conduce under Providence to further great affairs (ver. 23).
7. Providence ordereth the desired answer concerning persons sought for to them whom God sends.
8. Answers of abundant provision God maketh unto strangers sent about His business. All suits well (vers. 24, 25).
9. Whatever answers of good men have from creatures, they should produce worship to God (ver. 26).
10. Gracious hearts bless God by praising when He blesseth them by prospering.
11. Good servants bless God for mercy and truth to their masters as for guidance to themselves.
12. Though angels minister to us, God alone must have the glory of all good events (ver. 27).
13. In such returns God speeds instruments to further on His own designs of good to His servants (ver 28).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
(M. M. Malisch, Ph. D.)
Blessed be the Lord God. —1. The piety of it. He does not ascribe his success to chance or fortune, but to God. Moreover, he adores God by His covenant name as the Redeemer.
2. The confidence of it.(1) Founded upon God's dealings in the past. He had never failed in His mercy and His truth to Abraham. Therefore He might be thanked for the past with that confidence which is encouraged to hope much for the future. It is safe to trust Divine mercy and truth.(2) Founded upon a consciousness of his own integrity.
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