Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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SCRIPTURE: Genesis 24:12-21, 61-67
KEY VERSE: And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way (Genesis 24:61).
BACKGROUND: This is the true story of Rebekah and Isaac. It is a picture of Pentecost. Here is Abraham standing for God the Father sending his unnamed servant into the far country to take a bride for his son -- to invite her to come, to call, to woo, and to win her -- to bring her back at last to the Father's house where the son is waiting to claim his bride for himself. How beautifully that portrays how God, at the Day of Pentecost, sent his Spirit into the world! It is the Spirit's job to call out a people for God's name, to win a bride for Christ; he has been at this task for almost 2,000 years now, and the Son is waiting to receive that bride. We read in the book of Revelation of the wedding supper of the Lamb, and of the Lord coming to claim his bride for himself, (see Revelation 19:7-9). -- By Ray Stedman, sermon: Here Comes the Bride, date: unknown
INTRODUCTION: Genesis 24 gives us Rebekah and Isaac’s love story.
· There are three great events in the life of Isaac.
The first was his birth, and the second was his being offered by Abraham. The third is the obtaining of his bride. They say there are three great events in a man’s life -- his birth, his marriage, and his death -- and that he has no choice except with the second one, marriage. These are the three great events in a man’s life.
· We come now to the story of how Isaac secured his bride.
Abraham sends his trusted servant back to the land of Haran in Mesopotamia to get a bride for Isaac -- and we will see the success of the servant in securing Rebekah. This is a very wonderful love story. It reveals that God is interested in the man whom you marry, young lady, and He is interested in the young lady whom you marry, young man.
· There are two institutions that God has given to the human family: one is marriage, and the other is human government (God permits man to rule himself today).
These are two universal and very important institutions. When these are broken, a society will fall apart. The home is the backbone of any society -- God knew that -- and He established marriage, intending that it give strength and stability to society. The same thing is true relative to human government -- a government must have the power to take human life in order to protect human life -- that is the purpose of it. Because human life is sacred, God gave such laws.
· The point here is that God is interested in your love story, and it is wonderful when you bring God into it.
The first miracle that our Lord performed was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. I do not know how many weddings He went to, but He went to that one.
· The twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis is one of the richest sections of the Word of God.
It tells a love story that goes way back to the very beginning. A very dramatic account is given here of the way that a bride was secured for Isaac, and again, a fantastic spiritual picture is also presented to us.
· There are two things that we should notice as we go through this chapter.
One is the leading of the Lord in all the details of the lives of those involved. It is a remarkable statement that is made, time and time again, of how God led. Even in this early day, there were those in that social climate who were looking to God and following His leading.
INSIGHT: Some would have us believe that this took place in the Stone Age, when man was a caveman and pretty much uncivilized. Don’t believe a word of it! Here is a record that shows that man did not start out as that kind of man at all – and we find here the leading of God.
· If God could lead in the lives of these people, God can lead in your life and my life.
The second thing to notice in this chapter is the straightforward manner in which Rebekah made her decision to go with the servant and become the bride of lsaac. This is a tremendous thing which we will notice as we go through.
I. A SERVANT JOURNEYS. (Genesis 24:12-14)
(Genesis 24:12-14) 12 And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
A. The servant was faithful.
Neither Abraham nor Isaac went to find the bride; the task was given to an anonymous servant, who was completely devoted to Abraham. His favorite name for Abraham was “my master,” which he used nineteen times in this narrative. He lived and served only to please his master, and that is a good example for us to follow today too.
B. The servant was obedient.
The servant got his orders from his master and did not change them. When he made his vow of obedience, he meant it and kept it. Whether his mission succeeded or failed, the servant knew he would have to give an account to his master; and he wanted to be able to do so without embarrassment. (See Rom. 14:10-12 and 1 John 2:28.)
C. The servant was a believer.
How would he go about finding the right woman for his master’s son? The servant acted by faith in the God of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 24:12). The servant believed the promise of God and trusted the providence of God to direct him (Gen. 24:27). The servant took time to pray and to ask God for help. The servant kept his eyes open to see what God might do. (In fact, while he was praying, God was sending the answer (Isa. 65:24).) The servant was not impulsive but waited on the Lord to see what He might do (Gen. 24:21).
“Whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa. 28:16).
II. A SERVANT SERVES. (Genesis 24:15-21)
(Genesis 24:15-21) 15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. 16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. 18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. 21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.
A. This servant brought the bride to Isaac.
In a spiritual sense, the servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit whose work is to bring the lost to Christ and thus make up His bride. The servant’s name is not given, for the ministry of the Spirit is to point to Christ and glorify Him.
Notice how often the servant mentioned his master and his master’s son. He lived to please his master, for the word “master” is found twenty-two times in this chapter. The Spirit has been sent to represent Christ and do the Savior’s will here on earth.
The servant carried with him a portion of his master’s wealth (Gen. 24: 10, 22, 30, 53), just as the Holy Spirit today “is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (See Eph. 1:14), sharing with us but a small portion of the great wealth we shall one day enjoy in glory.
B. This servant is a model for Christian believers.
The servant is also an example for us as we seek to serve the Lord. As already mentioned, the servant thought only of his master and his master’s will. In fact, he was so anxious to finish his task that he cared nothing for food (v. 33; John 4:31-34).
Too often we put physical things ahead of the spiritual. The servant received his orders from his master and did not change them one bit. He believed in prayer (see Isa. 65:24) and knew how to wait on the Lord. There is no place for rash impatience in the service of Christ.
C. This servant had his faith in the God of the Bible.
The servant knew how to trust in the leading of the Lord: “I being in the way (of willing obedience), the Lord led me” (Gen. 24:27). (Also see the claim of John 7:17.) Once he knew what God’s will was, he did not delay, but hurried to perform his task (Gen. 24:17). The hospitality of the home was appreciated, but he had a job to do for his master and everything else could wait.
III. A SERVANT PRAYS. (Genesis 24:61-67)
(Genesis 24:61-67) 61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
INSIGHT: The last words of the servant are here. When Rebekah sees Isaac walking in the field, she says, "Who is this man!" And the servant's words are, "It is my master." This is the place to which we are to bring men and women. The time comes in our dealing with them when we must stop talking about our own personal testimony. We must turn them to look at the one who is winning their hearts, and say, "There he is, it's the Master. You deal with him now, just talk directly with him."
I think the conversation here when the two met was probably rather stumbling at first. She was very shy and he very reserved. She got off her camel, all a twitter inside. She put her veil over her face so he wouldn't see how she was blushing. This strong, manly man came up to her, and said, "Hello."
She said, "Hello." He said, "Are you Rebekah?" She said, "Yes," and dropped her eyes.
Then he said, "I'm Isaac." (She knew it all the time.) He said, "You can call me Ike."
She said, "Well, my friends call me 'Becky.'" And off they go, hand in hand.
But look at the servant standing by. Can't you imagine him grinning from ear to ear, registering the joy in his heart at the fulfillment of his mission in bringing a bride for Isaac. Doesn't it remind you of those words of John the Baptist when he introduced the Lord Jesus to Israel and his disciples left him and went to follow the Lord? Someone asked him how he felt, and he said, "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore, this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease," (John 3:29-30). We are like that servant.
We can expect the same brimming of joy in our own hearts as we watch someone join together with his Lord in new life.
Do you see now that the story of Abraham's servant is your story as well?
-- By Ray Stedman, sermon: Here Comes the Bride, date unknown
A. The servant was a man of prayer.
Genesis 24 tells us that the servant prayed three times. (1) The servant prayed requesting a sign (Gen. 24:12-13). (2) The servant praised God for His leading (Gen. 24:26-27). (3) The servant gave thanks for the fulfillment of his mission (Gen. 24:52).
B. The servant changed his posture when praying.
The servant STANDS to make his request. (2) The servant BOWS his head at evidence of God’s leading. (3) The servant BOWS “DOWN TO THE GROUND” when it is clear that God enabled him to complete his assignment.
Answers to prayer deepen our reverence of God. As we see God working in our lives, we are moved to praise and to worship the Lord.
By M.R. DeHaan
While Isaac was out in the field, he saw the camels in the distance, carrying his bride. At the same time Rebekah saw Isaac afar off also, and we read, “Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; for she had said to the servant, ‘Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It is my master.’ So she took a veil and covered herself” (Gen. 24:64-65).
How immeasurably rich, how inexpressibly precious is this wonderful, tender scene. Rebekah’s traveling days were done. Her long journey through the wilderness was over, and as was customary she covered her face before she met the man who would soon become her husband.
We today as believers have almost reached a similar point in our journey. For nearly 2,000 years the Holy Spirit has been here preparing the Bride and guiding her on her way home. Soon, yes, we believe very soon, we too will lift up our eyes, and lo and behold, Jesus our lover, our Savior, will break through the clouds to meet us. And we, like Rebekah getting off the camel, will leave our earthly dwellings and rise to meet Him in the air with glorified bodies! Perhaps today!
He is coming,
coming for us;
Soon we'll see His light afar
On the dark horizon rising
As the Bright and Morning Star! – Anonymous
-- Adapted from M.R. DeHaan, Our Daily Bread, April 22, 1996
CONCLUSION: Genesis 24 is the story of a servant seeking a bride for his master. Because of this:
· ABRAHAM became the father of many nations (as he was promised by God).
· THE SERVANT saw the fruits of his praying, planning, and travel. (He found the one woman who would honor his master’s request.)
· REBEKAH became the mother of Jacob, the grandmother of 12 sons who would become the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, and eventually a great-something grandmother to Jesus Christ.
· ISAAC married a beautiful and kind wife who loved him and worshiped the God of the Bible.
God cares for His people, leads His people, answers prayer for His people, and blesses His people.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “We are to be ready for the Last moment by being ready at every moment.” -- Bonar
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations, and other references.
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