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Recounting the Story

A Year In Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

Last week we looked at the story of Sarah’s death and burial. This week, we shift on to happier things: a marriage. As with last week, however, this story serves as an important pivot in the story of Genesis. The author is slowly shifting us away from Abraham and on to his son, Isaac. Abraham’s part in the story is over, and now Isaac is coming on to center stage. A major step in becoming the next patriarch is, however, getting married.
And what a romantic image we’re given:
The New Revised Standard Version The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. 64 And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, 65 and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

You can almost picture the hollywoodesque moment happening here:
Isaac’s walking int he fields, he’s probably not wearing a shirt, those six-pack abs are glistening in the sunset. Then, over the hill on a white horse, no a white stallion, rides in this beautiful young woman. They run towards each other and embrace. It’s the most romantic thing you could imagine.
While it can be fun to throw our favorite Bible characters into a scene out of Hollywood, there’s actually a bit of humor here. First, the Hebrew word for what Isaac is doing, “walking”, isn’t all that clear. We’re not really sure what Isaac is doing in this field. What we do know, however, is that when Rebekah sees him doing it, she doesn’t “slip quickly” off her camel. The Hebrew is closer to “Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she fell off her camel.”
Regardless of how romantic or unromantic the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah is, the point here isn’t actually about the marriage at all. So how did we get here? Why are we being told this story? Why does it matter to us that Isaac is getting married?
Then Rebekah sees him and she flid A better translation, actually, would be “

Looking for a Sign (and Studying it too)

It all started with Abraham sending out his servant, who remains unnamed throughout the story, to go and find a wife for Isaac. He makes the servant swear that he will go back to the place Abraham and Sarah had come from to find Isaac’s wife, not in Canaan. Of course, that seems a little absurd to the servant. Abraham’s homeland is a 500 mile journey. Canaan is right next door! This will become a prevalent theme in the Old Testament, however. Choosing a wife from the Canaanites, time and time again, leads the Israelites astray. Abraham seems to have the same danger in mind here.
But, what is even more interesting, is that Abraham doesn’t want Isaac to return to Haran, their homeland. He doesn’t want Isaac to marry a woman from Canaan, but he does want Isaac to live in Canaan. This is because Abraham still remembers the promise of God. God has promised to give his descendants this land, and Abraham believes in that promise. Abraham is also confident in God’s promise to provide offspring for Abraham, “so numerous that they cannot be counted.” So, even though the servant has his doubts, Abraham is confident in God’s provision.
“The God of heaven,” Abraham tells his servant, “will send is angel before you. And you will find a wife for my son.”

Seeing God in the Small things

Servant arrives: expects to see God
His request requires a lot from the woman, but he expects God to work nonetheless
The New Revised Standard Version The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.

The servant studies what’s happening, searching for God’s work.
The man recounts the story (like Louis from Antman). Why?
So he can see God’s work more clearly in hindsight, and Laban can as well.
Story about Ryder

He’s Working for our Good

[How Did We Get Here?]
B- Looking for a Sign
C-Studying the Sign
D-Seeing God in the Small things
E- Providence in the midst of the Mundane (Romans 8)

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

This verse is familiar, but we should pay attention to what comes before it:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Paul knows God works all things for our good, and yet he lives in a world where that can be hard to see sometimes.
We often wonder why God doesn’t part the red sea all the time. But we must understand such grand miracles aren’t normative. Few of us will live a life like Moses. Many will, instead, live the life of the servant. But even the servant saw God at work in his life, because he knew how to look for him.
Most of the time, God does not part the red sea, or speak in a voice from heaven. Most of the time he works in small ways, and we won’t even know he was at work at all, until we recount our own stories.
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