Genesis 24:59
So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham's servant and his men.
Sermons
The Unfolding of the Divine PurposeR.A. Redford Genesis 24
Wherefore standest thou without? The character of Laban has been well explained by Blunt in his ' Coincidences.' It is one of consistent greed. He was sincere in inviting Eliezer because he saw the bracelets on his sister's hand, and expected still further favors from a guest who can so lavishly bestow gifts. Christ asks us to enter his kingdom, but he expects nothing from us in return but love. We may adapt this inquiry of Laban to souls as yet outside the Church.

I. THE POSITION OCCUPIED. "Without." Probably they have no realized pardon, no enjoyment in religion, no future prospects of joy. Life is a dread mystery to them. They are saying, "Who will show us any good?" They may be just awakened spiritually, like the Philippian jailor. They may be under the condemnings of law and conscience, and in dread of the consequences of sin. Those within the true Church know in whom they have believed, and rejoice in forgiveness and the prospect of heaven. They are no longer outside the gates of mercy. We may be in a visible Church without being of Christ's fold. It is penitence, faith, and character that determine our position, and not birth, rank, or ceremonial observances.

II. THE REASONS WHEREFORE MANY RETAIN A POSITION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.

1. Accustomed to the state, and unwilling to change. They are like the prisoner who, after many years' imprisonment in the Bastile, was liberated, and went forth only to find all his friends gone and himself a mere burden to society. He went back and entreated to be allowed to retain his cell until he should pass out of the world.

2. Many, because they are ignorant of the fullness of Divine mercy.

3. Others, because they think there is so much to be done ere they can be fitted to be received within, and are looking to their own efforts to prepare themselves.

4. Many, because they fear their opportunity of admittance is past.

5. Others, because undecided as to whether they shall give up the pleasures of the world for the privileges of Christian fellowship.

6. Others, because they lack faith in their faith and its power to justify.

7. Many stand outside because they think themselves as secure outside as within. They forget that Christ demands open confession, and that to be united openly, to his Church is one way of confessing his name before men. Let there be a personal and searching inquiry, "Wherefore standest thou without?" The invited guest passed within, and found his highest expectations more than realized, because God "had prospered his journey." - H.







They called Rebekah and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
I. DUE TO THE MANIFEST INTERPOSITION OF PROVIDENCE (ver. 50).

II. ACKNOWLEDGED BY SUITABLE ACTS OF DEVOTION.

1. By acts of worship (ver. 52).

2. By faith and ready obedience (vers. 55, 58).

3. By human benedictions (ver. 60).

III. FOLLOWED BY A GRATEFUL SENSE OF RELIEF (ver. 54). It is the mark of a pious mind when we esteem the commandments of God more than our necessary food.

(T. H. Leale.)

I. A LESSON TO THOSE WHO CARRY THE SUMMONS OF GOD.

1. Let us saturate our work with prayer.

2. We must also wait upon God for direction.

3. Let us say much in praise of our Master.

II. THE SUMMONS ITSELF. Such a call as came to Rebekah is sent to every soul that hears the Gospel. In yonder azure depths lives the great Father God. He has one Son, His only-begotten and well-beloved. He has resolved to choose from amongst men those who as one Church shall constitute His bride for ever. He sends this call to you, not because you are worthy, or wealthy, or beautiful; but because He has so willed in the counsels of His own heart; and He longs that you shall be willing to detach yourself from all that you hold dear.

III. How To DEAL WITH THIS SUMMONS.

1. We must find room for it.

2. We must bear witness.

3. We must not procrastinate, or confer with flesh and blood.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

I. HER HOME LIFE.

1. She was fair, chaste, and modest.

2. She was industrious, courteous, and kind.

3. She was deferential and obedient.

II. HER MARRIAGE.

1. Arranged for by proxy, according to Oriental custom.

2. This match was made in heaven. It was pre-ordained — love at first sight: love all through her life.

III. HER MISTAKES.

1. She consents to pass for Isaac's sister at the court of Gerar.

2. She is partial to Jacob.

3. She teaches Jacob how to deceive.

4. By the use of deception she secures the blessing for her favourite son.

IV. HER SORROW.

1. A divided household — the result of favouritism.

2. Esau's marriage with two Canaanitish women.

3. The separation from Jacob: for she never saw him again after his flight to Mesopotamia.

V. REFLECTIONS.

1. The choice of a wife is an appropriate subject of prayer, and worthy of grave deliberation.

2. Is it right for parents to be partial to their children?

(Lewis O. Thompson.)

1. God's favour being manifested in His providences, natural and comfortable refreshings may be used.

2. After refreshings needful, return to duty and just employments is beseeming God's servants.

3. Sedulity and speed concern faithful servants in their trust committed by their masters to them (ver. 54).

4. Natural affection will not easily part with near and dear relations (ver. 55)

5. God's call, if apparent, is reason sufficient to take of the delays of natural desire.

6. Nothing but haste with good speed will content faithful servants entrusted (ver. 56).

7. Answers from creatures may help to know God's mind, and so far we are to be consulted (ver. 5, "Call the damsel and know," &c.).

8. Children's consent as well as parents' must be had in marriage.

9. God sometimes giveth in answers of His will by moving the hearts of creatures (ver 58).

10. Fear of God in any measure will yield to God's will when so revealed.

11. Nearest relations must part to give way to the union of marriage.

12. Such dismission of relations should be suitable to the conditions of men (ver. 59).

13. The fear of God will not send away relations from a family without a blessing.

14. Fruitfulness of the womb is a great blessing from God on His people.

15. Tower and prevalency of the Church's seed over all enemies is a sweet blessing.

16. All this, even to the vanquishing of the gates of hell, is desirable by God's people (ver. 60).

17. Marriage should not be yielded without a blessing, especially in the Church. "And they blessed her and sent her away."

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I. AN EXCELLENT SERVANT. In the early days of the Jews, when a servant loved his master, he sometimes said to him, "I will not leave thee: I will serve thee all my days." The master then placed the man-servant against his door-post, and bored his ear through with an awl, as a token that he should serve him for ever. We are not told whether or not Abraham's servant had passed through this ceremony, but it is certain that he was one of the most faithful of servants. Now, beloved brethren, you have not to undergo any outward ceremony in order to become a servant of God. There are some who believe that partaking of the Lord's Supper, and being baptized, are processes by which we become the Lord's people. On the contrary, when we become His servants, we then, because we are servants, do the Lord's will in these two matters. Then, if you would become a servant of God, the first process must be an inward desire. "My child, give Me thine heart," saith the Lord. The Christian is a servant of the Lord, and, as such, gives up himself, body, spirit, and soul, to do the will of his Heavenly Father. He is a consecrated vessel filled with the Spirit of the Almighty.

1. This servant of Abraham was a trusted one. All that his master had was placed in his keeping. Beloved servants of the Lord, what a blessing I what a privilege! what an enjoyment I to possess the fulness of God! Seek it; pray for it; believe it; and God shall pour His fulness into your being. Then, surely your lives, like the angels of heaven, shall be shrines for the indwelling of love. The providence of God sent across my path some years ago a thief who had been in prison above twenty times, and who had been twice in penal servitude. I could find no work for him here, because he was well known, and therefore I sent him across the ocean to America, but his character followed him, and he was returned to England. At length we obtained work for him out of Manchester; and he turned out to be a faithful servant. One day the manager of the works was removing his goods to a new house, and the mistress — who did not know what the man had been — called him, saying, "John, this basket contains all our silver; will you please be very careful about it, and carry it to the new house." I said to the man, "And what did you do? " He replied "When I got outside, I looked into the basket and saw the silver shining. I lifted it up, and it felt very heavy." "Well, what did you do then? " He said, "I cried, because I was trusted." Of course, he carried it safely. Brethren, God knows the past sin of our lives, yet He takes us into His service and trusts us with human souls, bidding us to take them to the mansion in heaven.

2. The servant of Abraham was under a special vow. And are not all who are servants of God under a vow to render faithful service? A mother whose son was about to leave her to fight the battles between the Northern and Southern States of America, was called into her bedroom on the morning of his departure. She, weeping upon his neck and kissing him, bade him farewell; and drawing from her finger a ring which she prized exceedingly, she kissed it and placed it upon his finger, saying, "Promise me, my son, that you will not touch any intoxicating liquors whilst you are away." And he, looking at the ring, on which was the motto, "Never forget," kissed his mother and made the vow. When he joined the army, he manfully resisted the temptations of his comrades; but at length enticed beyond his strength, he went with them to the canteen. Lifting the foaming liquor to his mouth, he saw his mother's ring, and his conscience smote him. He dropped the glass upon the table, and rushing out, he prayed to God to forgive him and to help him to keep his promise. On the evening of that day, when the battle was over, he was found wounded and dying with his mother's ring pressed to his lips. Brethren, you also have made a vow not only to your parent, but to your God. And if the promise made to our earthly parents has such a power for good over us, how much more the promise we have made to our Heavenly Father! Brethren, will you not keep the vow? Will you not re-resolve it?

3. Abraham's servant was a believer. "O Lord God of my master Abraham." How sweet it is when the employer can lead the employed to God!

4. Abraham's servant believed in the Lord's presence. Beloved, our Saviour is not dead. He is here. All who are the Lord's servants have the inward testimony that Jesus Christ is a Saviour nigh at hand.

5. He believed in the Lord's guidance. If we acknowledge God in all our ways, He has promised to direct our paths. In Abraham's servants, we have an example of a man who trusted God. Brethren, trust Him also. Wherever you go your Father is with you; your path may be dark; but your Father holds your hand. The chart of every day's journey is before your God, and when you stand in the sunshine of heaven you shall then see that His hand did really direct your course. Go on!

6. This servant judged his errand to be more important than himself. He would not partake of food until he had told the mission on which he was sent. Brethren, we should not consider ourselves more important than the work which Christ has given us to do. Let us pray for grace to be enabled with Paul to say, "For me to live is" — not myself — but "Christ." Our purpose is to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son, and to live in the spirit of His loving life.

7. His heart was in it. In crossing over the Atlantic Ocean once, on the second day of the voyage, an unfortunate fellow was pulled up from the hold — a "stowaway." Desiring to go to America, and being too poor to pay his passage, he hid himself on board the ship. But the captain said, "You must work out your passage now that you are here." He was set to wash the decks, and do other rough work on the ship, but I noticed the man had no heart in it; he did it because he was compelled. How different with the true sailors! When they ran up the rigging they sang out with delight, and did their work with all their heart. It did one good to hear the hearty song of the man up near the top of the mast, but the hang-dog look of the stowaway caused gloom in the midst of sunshine. NOW, brethren, do your work for Christ with all your heart; put your soul into it; do it with enthusiasm. It is the earnest men only who succeed in temporal things; and it is only God's earnest ones who bring in a plentiful harvest to the heavenly barn. Servants of God, awake! awake! When you speak to people about their souls, let them see that you mean it.

II. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION. Rebekah was asked, "Will you go with this man?" And now I ask you, will you come with us to heaven? God gives every one of us at some period of our lives an opportunity of becoming His servants. It is said that "time and tide come to every man once in his life." I feel persuaded that salvation's tide has come to your very heart, and that every one of you may enter Christ's lifeboat and sail with us to paradise. This is your opportunity. Do not reject it.

III. THE LOVING ANSWER. Will you not say, as did Rebekah to Abraham's servant, "I will go." Have you ever thought when you have read this chapter of the meeting? Isaac was walking in the field at eventide, and whilst he meditated, he lifted up his eyes and beheld the camels on their return, and noticed that all of them carried burdens. His heart filled with joy, and he said, "She is come." Will you come? Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world I Trust Him.

(W. Birch.)

I. THE DOMESTIC COUNCIL.

1. The family of Bethuel. Evening. Work of the day nearly over. The daughter gone to the well. Her long delay. Growing wonder. Rebekah's return. Shows the presents, and relates the story to her mother. Laban, hearing the tale and seeing the jewels, goes out to the well (ver. 29) and invites Eliezer to come into the house (ver. 31).

2. Eastern hospitality. Provision for man and beast.

3. The council.

(1)Eliezer states his mission (vers. 33-41).

(2)States how he wished for a sign, and had it fulfilled in Rebekah (vers. 43-47).

(3)Intimates that God is in this matter (vers. 42-48).

(4)Bethuel and Laban reply. They see the hand of God (ver. 50), and give their consent (ver. 51).

(5)Eliezer again acknowledges the good hand of the Lord (ver. 52), and produces more presents.

4. This council conducted with frankness and piety on the one hand, and a due respect for the will of God on the other.

II. THE EARLY DEPARTURE.

1. Eliezer having performed his mission, is anxious to return. Thinks of his master, aged and anxious. Life uncertain.

2. Laban and her mother plead for delay. Suggestive of the lovable character of Rebekah, and her value in the household. Perhaps never more prized than now that she must go. Reminds us of the tenacity with which we cling to dear objects in the moment of separation.

3. Rebekah decides for a prompt departure. Having been a faithful daughter, she would now do her duty in her new relation. Her husband should not hear that she had been an unwilling bride.

4. She bids adieu to home scenes, in company with her nurse; and dowried with the blessing of her family.

III. THE HAPPY MEETING.

1. The home of Abraham. The patriarch following his servants with his prayers. Reliant on God.

2. Isaac waits the issue of this negotiation for his marriage.

3. Goes out into the open country to meditate and pray (see marg. ver. 63). Much in the past and present and future for him to pray and think about.

4. Sees the camels and goes to meet them.

5. The well of the "living one that sees me." Happy would it be for the future life of many if their early meetings were ruled by the thoughts suggested by the name of the well near which Isaac first met Rebekah. Much sin and sorrow might be avoided.

6. Rebekah's modesty, the veil, and cordiality. Alights at once.

7. Isaac's welcome. He conducts Rebekah to the tent that had been his mother's. Learn:

I. The advantage of family union in matters of domestic importance.

II. The duty of consulting parents in affairs of such consequence.

III. To be diligent in business, like Eliezer.

IV. To have times and places for meditation and prayer.

V. To remember "the Living that sees us" in all our intercourse with friends.

(J. C. Gray.)

Bayley's Family Biblical Instructor.
After Mr. Philip Henry, who came to Worthembury a stranger, had been in the country for some time, his attachment to Miss Matthews, afterwards his wife, became manifest; and it was mutual. Among the other objections urged by her friends against the connection was this, that although Mr. Henry was a gentleman and a scholar, and an excellent preacher, he was quite a stranger, and they did not even know where he came from. "True," replied Miss Matthews, "but I know where he is going, and I should like to go with him."

(Bayley's Family Biblical Instructor.)

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