Published May 12, 2005
Genesis 24:1-4, 12-16, 50-51, 61-67
Related Sunday School Lesson, Family Bible Series, May 29
As we advance in years we tend to become concerned about what we will leave to our children and grandchildren. We certainly want to leave them financially secure and with happy memories. However, the most important thing that we can leave the generations that will follow us is a godly legacy.
Abraham had that same concern in his later years and provides us with a great example for leaving a godly legacy to our children. The story of his providing a bride for Isaac also provides a good example of how that can be done.
Avoid relationships that compromise godliness Genesis 24:1-4
As Abraham approached the later years in his life he was concerned that the blessings that he had experienced in life would be passed on to his son, Isaac. He called his eldest servant and made him swear a solemn oath to seek a bride for Isaac from Abraham's country instead of from the Canaanites.
He also made the servant swear that he would not take Isaac away from the land that God had given to Abraham and his descendants (24:5-8). The oath taken by the servant was a solemn oath. Placing the hand under Abraham's thigh was a vow that if the servant did not fulfill the oath Abraham's descendants would avenge his unfaithfulness.
That Abraham would want Isaac to stay in the land that had been promised to his descendants is easy to understand, but why was he so concerned that Isaac not marry a woman who was a Canaanite? The Canaanites were deeply involved in idolatry, immorality, and perversion. Intermarrying with the Canaanites would result in the descendants of Abraham becoming involved in their evil practices.
Deuteronomy 7:3-4 incorporated a prohibition against the Jewish people intermarrying with the Canaanites into the Law and explained that intermarrying with them would lead Israel into idolatry. This would bring God's judgment instead of his blessings to them. We find that this very thing happened in the life of Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-11) and was a reoccurring problem in Israel (Judges 3:6; 14:3; Ezra 10; Neh.13:23-27; and Mal. 2:11).
A similar prohibition is found in the New Testament. Christians are only to marry other Christians. Paul instructs Christians to marry "in the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39) and warns them against being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor.6:14-18).
The spiritual lives of many Christians are hindered because they are married to unbelievers. The unbeliever does not share the Christian's convictions and priorities. This often creates conflict in the marriage. Christian parents should instruct their children about the importance of marrying in their faith and encourage them to marry someone who will serve the Lord with them throughout life.
Pray About People and Decisions Genesis 24:12-16
While parents can instruct and encourage their children, prayer for the guiding hand of God in the lives of our children is absolutely essential. Abraham's servant recognized this and prayed that God would guide him to the one that was to be Isaac's bride and that his guidance would be clear.
The servant positioned himself by the village well. He would ask a drink from the ladies who came to the well. He prayed that the woman who had been chosen for Isaac would not only offer him a drink, but would offer to draw water for his camels as well.
Her offer to do this would be an unusual offer and clear indication of God's choice. Ten camels (24:10) could require as much as 250 gallons of water. The young lady's willingness to draw that much water would be a clear sign to the servant.
Many decisions and choices are made in the life of a child. Some of those decisions are made by the parents while others are made by the child. More and more decisions will become the personal choice of the child as he or she matures. Consistent prayer by the parents for the guidance of God in the child's life is an essential part of leaving a godly legacy for that child. Just as the servant trusted God to guide in decisions related to Isaac's life, Christian parents must trust God to guide in the lives of our children.
Follow God's directions for your family Genesis 24:50-51,61-67
It became clear to Rebekah's family that her marrying Isaac was the will of God. They willingly accepted God's will for her life. This is a tremendous example for parents to follow. Parents often have our own plans for our children and struggle to accept God's will in their lives. God's will is always what is best for our children.
Christian parents must accept God's will instead of seeking to impose our wills on the children's lives. Having accepted God's plan for Rebekah's life, they allowed her to go with the servant and become Isaac's bride. She willingly went with him to Isaac (24:58). It brings great joy to see our adult children willingly following God's will in their lives.
This story has a happy ending as we see Isaac and Rebekah married (24:61-67). Abraham must have known great joy as he saw that the promises and blessings of God would continue to future generations. We, too, can experience that joy. We can leave a godly legacy for the generations of our family that will follow us. That is the greatest legacy that we could ever leave to those we love.
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