As the patriarch Abraham faces the death of his beloved wife Sarah and ponders his own mortality, he realizes there is an important task left undone. The son of his old age, his heir Isaac, is in need of a wife. Appalled by the immorality of the people around him, Abraham decides that the only suitable wife for Isaac would be a woman from his own clan, and from the faraway land of his origin.
Accordingly, Abraham makes his servant swear to search out a wife for Isaac in the land of his ancestors. As the servant approaches Abraham’s homeland he devises a plan and prays, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’-let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master” (Genesis 24:12-14).
Amazingly, things happen just as the servant asked, and the lovely Rebekah comes to draw water for him and his camels. He follows her home and explains the situation to her family. Realizing that Abraham is kin and now extremely rich, they are happy to approve of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. But there is one difficulty.
The servant expects Rebekah to accompany him back to Abraham immediately. They suggest a ten day delay to allow her to prepare and to say goodbye to family and friends. When the servant insists, they put it to Rebekah herself, “Will you go with this man?” – (Genesis 24:58)
Would you say yes? Imagine the trust it would take to leave family and friends, to travel far from home to marry someone you had never met! But Rebekah replies, “I will go” (Genesis 24:58). And so she does. She leaves her home immediately to go to marry Isaac. It is one of the greatest stories of love and sacrifice in the Bible.
There is much merit in holding lightly to the things that are dear to us. Christ reminds us to store our treasure in heaven, as we never know when we might be asked to leave the things of this world behind. Children leave home as they grow into adulthood. A bride and groom leave their parents behind as they start a new life as a married couple. Some are called to leave an old career to begin a new one in ministry or missions. As we move into the last stages of life, we say goodbye to family and old friends.
Some day we will be required to relinquish everything, worldy possessions, our homes, and loved ones to answer God’s final invitation. There is no avoiding that last call. Death is the inescapable fact of life.
Are we living lightly enough to say, “Yes, I will go”? Are we trying hard to hold on to things that are meant to be left behind? God help us to hold loosely to the things that we must relinquish, knowing that at the end of our journey a better, richer life awaits us in eternity. Christ himself is the bridegroom of our dreams. God help us always to be ready to say to him, “Yes, I will go.”
“Will you go with this man?” (Genesis 24:58)
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