Monday, July 4, 2011

Taste and See: Impatience and Enthusiasm

I am reading Genesis. Again. I won't lie. Not every single chapter in Genesis is exciting, full of action, adventure, and drama. But plenty happens! Look at any Bible storybook collection! So many are drawn from Genesis!

Genesis 24 is not a chapter I look forward to. I'll explain. I have a tendency to see this as a repeat-repeat chapter.

Here we have a perfectly lovely story about God providing a wife for Isaac. Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. He is a man on a mission. And he is taking this mission seriously. He is taking it to God. He is placing his faith in God; he is praying to God to show him a sign. He might be thinking how will I know which girl is 'the one'?  This mission is too big to leave to chance, no, he needs God. So he prays specifically:

"O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; now may it be that the girl to whom I say, 'Please let down your jar so that I may drink,' and who answers, 'Drink, and I will water your camels also,' --may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master." (Genesis 24:12-14, NASB)

I get impatient because there are elements of the story that repeat. The story is one that keeps getting told and retold. The servant is filling in Laban on all the details: his conversation with Abraham, his conversation with God, his conversation with Rebekah. Of course, Laban needed to be told. These details were necessary for Laban to understand and give his blessing. And these details were probably still exciting and new to Rebekah, for these were words of her new beginning. Her story is just beginning. This stranger has brought with him a new beginning, a new adventure.

So why am I so impatient as a reader? as a listener? I don't know! (I wish I did.) But last night was the first time--at least in a long time--where I tried to see this story with new eyes. From thinking about it from the servant's point of view, this is ALL about God's faithfulness to provide. This is a story where we see God at work! Talk about answered prayer! He has every reason to praise God! For here is a God who listens and provides! Do we have a tendency to share more of our prayer requests with others than to share our answers to those prayers? Do we tell others how God has provided for us? blessed us? answered our prayers? Do we invite others to share our joys? I also tried to see this from Rebekah's perspective. Here was a woman--I'm not sure if we know exactly how old (or young) she was--going about her usual business (at least as far as we know) and here God is providing for her as well. God didn't send Rebekah a prince (think "Someday my prince will come") but he sent her his servant. Rebekah's life is going to change. There are so many things still uncertain. It's a leap of faith, I believe, to ride away with this stranger, to trust that this is God's will for her life, that Isaac is the one for her, but she appears to be hopeful. Both Rebekah and the servant appear enthusiastic to be a part of God's plan.

Was this story one that Rebekah herself retold her family through the years? her husband, her children, her grandchildren? Was this story one of the ways that she communicated God's faithfulness to her children?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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