Monday, October 3, 2005

Isaac and Rebekah

In the last two postings, I wrote a bit about the delight in the heart of God over mankind, his rejoicing over creation as he prepared a place to meet with us, the longing He placed in Adam to mirror His heart and finally the way Eve was created as a foreshadowing of the Son's death and the church's redemption.

Now, I'd like to consider the story of Isaac and Rebekah. The story is familiar, so I won't include it all here. For reference it's found in Genesis 24.

In synopsis, it begins with Abraham wanting a bride for Isaac. But this bride had to be special, someone from their country and relatives. He wanted someone with the same background, values and beliefs. So, Abraham commissions his head servant, probably Eliezer, to the task. A caravan of gifts is loaded and Eliezer sets off to the old country. Upon arriving he meets Rebekah and finds her willing to water, not only himself, but the camels too. He woos her in Isaac's name and she consents. Finally, the story concludes with Rebekah returning back through the wilderness with Eliezer. Scripture doesn't say, but I suspect much of this time was spent with Eliezer telling family stories of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac, preparing her to meet and marry Isaac.

I want to focus on two parts of this story: The first part is Eliezer going, meeting and wooing. This is a foreshadowing of the incarnation. The Father sends the Servant to humanity with sufficient gifts to reveal his heart and intentions, but not so many as to overwhelm and coerce. The Servant looks for another servant, not because he has need of servants, but because his heart is to serve and he's looking for one with a heart like his.

The second part is the return trip. This is a picture of our journey with the Holy Spirit guiding us through the paths in this wilderness here on earth which will conclude with the wedding feast of the Lamb.

We probably all remember the story of Isaac's birth and that his name means 'son of laughter'. What may not be quite so well known is that Eliezer means 'God is help' and Rebekah means 'snared by beauty'. So, even in the names of the historical characters, we see the New Testament story of the Helper/Comforter capturing the hearts of the redeemed with the beauty of the one who was anointed with joy/laughter over all others.