The Bible has enough examples in which we can learn some lessons. Have you tried re-reading the love stories in the Bible and reflect to the lessons we can get from them?
Years ago, I’ve started noticing in my Facebook newsfeed this common quote posted by my friends saying they are waiting for their Boaz. I won’t go on to every details about it because this can be stretched into thousands of words why they choose the love story of Ruth and Boaz. But despite all the good things I’ve heard why I should love their love story, I still choose my favorite one — The story of Isaac and Rebekah.
Just to be clear, I am not saying, by all means, that their story is about me — or that constant habit of some Christians wherein they take all Biblical passages into something about them rather than doing the proper exegesis of a certain verse. There is more into their story than just dwelling on to how they met. In fact, Pastors can put this love story into a whole sermon as it touches not just about God’s Providence, but also about God’s promise to Abraham and how true God is when He told Abraham that he will become the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). In the life of Rebekah, we can also get a story on motherhood and how favoritism among your kids can bring sorrow (Genesis 25:28). She wasn’t a perfect wife and mother. Even on the last days of Isaac, she deceived him into giving Jacob the covenant blessing (Genesis 27). But despite this cruel and unfair actions — cruel and unfair in the eyes of humanity — we’ve seen God’s faithfulness and why He let Jacob’s bloodline be the progenitor of Jesus Christ.
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD (Genesis 24)
The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole (Psalm 103:19), the physical world (Matthew 5:45), the affairs of nations (Psalm 66:7), human destiny (Galatians 1:15), human successes and failures (Luke 1:52), and the protection of His people (Psalm 4:8). This doctrine stands in direct opposition to the idea that the universe is governed by chance or fate. — J.I Packer; Evangelism and Sovereignty of God
The main reason why I love this love story more than any other love stories in the Bible is that, it talks boldly about God’s providence.
We often praise God as He takes care of us by giving us food everyday, strength to go to work, wisdom to pass exams and all those good things that come from Him, yet we sometimes freak out when it comes to love. Women worry about the time they draw near their menopausal stage. Maybe sometimes you cry out to God why some people already have families and you don’t have. So you start thinking unpleasant thoughts that won’t glorify His name. We do all those things without reminding ourselves of God’s divine providence.
So now, let’s study how Isaac and Rebekah met and how God’s providence is magnified.
Note: I am encouraging you to get your Bible and read Genesis 24. This will help you understand what I am going to write on this article.
1. REBEKAH WAS CHOSEN BY GOD
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 24:13-14
Of all the women that was living in that city, God chose Rebekah. He foreordained the course of Rebekah’s life. He has beautifully planned that this clueless woman will be the mother of twins who will become the progenitors of two nations (Genesis 25:23). God made it sure even before that she will be chosen as a wife for Isaac to be able to continue what God promised to Abraham. As God revealed to the servant that Rebekah is the woman He has chosen for Isaac, we can clearly see that God is always in control no matter what.
2. REBEKAH CAME TO THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. – Genesis 24:15-16
Just think how precise God is. Maybe you would say, ‘What if Rebekah became lazy that day and decided to get some water hours later?’ But she didn’t. She came to the spring at the right time.
For unbelievers, they may say that the ‘universe’ or ‘destiny’ made it possible. No. God deserves all the credits for this. He is always in control. He made it possible that Rebekah will be there during the time Abraham’s servant prayed for specific requests to make his journey successful.
I am not saying you do the same thing today — a play of chance in a random place in a city. I know some people won’t agree with me on this, but I think it’s dangerous to believe in modern ‘visions’. Like for example, a man comes to me and said that God ‘revealed’ to him that I am going to marry him. I have the right to question it. We are on the end times already and we have been warned since the apostolic era that demons have the power to perform signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 16:13–14). That means, you can’t just tell someone your ‘visions’ about marrying them. Impressions, however, is different from ‘revelations’. And we must be careful in using both words. We have to test the spirit (1 John 4:1) and make sure if it is really from God.
What I am trying to emphasize on this story of Rebekah and Isaac is God’s timing. What if there was another spring on the other side of the city and Rebekah chose to go there rather than getting the water from the spring where the servant is waiting? But God did not allow that to happen. Because He has planned that moment even before the servant prayed about it. He has willed the servant to pray that way because He has already chosen Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife.
3. REBEKAH WAS WILLING TO GO AND MEET ISAAC
Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” – Genesis 24:58
Maybe you’re thinking that Rebekah wasn’t happy about everything that is happening. It’s easy to conclude some ‘conspiracies’ and what Rebekah really felt if we are given just a glimpse of what happened, right? But the Bible is more than sufficient to tell us that she wasn’t forced. It was easy for Rebekah to just run back to her house when the servant started putting those gold ring and bracelets, but she didn’t refuse. She didn’t oppose because God has willed her to stay calm. He has willed her to feel the same even without seeing her future husband yet. You might argue about the cultural differences we have now compared before, but are you not happy that Rebekah was asked if she is willing to go? If her parents and siblings are too heartless, they could have commanded her to go at once, but they didn’t do that. They asked for Rebekah’s consent. That’s why we can read in Genesis 24:58 wherein she responded to them saying, “I will go”.
If Rebekah refused, we will have a different story, but God did not allowed that to happen. Remember how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12)? If He is able to do that to the Pharaoh, He can do it to anyone else including Rebekah, but He didn’t. He made Rebekah’s heart willing to respond on this search for Isaac’s wife.
WHEN GOD WRITES YOUR LOVE STORY
The first time I’ve read Eric and Leslie Ludy’s book entitled “When God Writes Your Love Story”, I was doubtful. At first, I thought it was too unbelievable that God will make all those precisions for my love story. But as the time goes by and I finally understood that God is always in control, I realized that even those small details of our lives are up to Him. I cannot even fully grasped how God is able to balance His sovereignty and our responsibility. Even up to now, these two parallel truths puzzle me. But one thing is for sure: He has foreordained everything.
Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny. – Ecclesiastes 6:10
There are times that it is much easier to worry than trust. Much more tempting to just do it in our own way. But think about this: I don’t know what’s ahead of you. Maybe marriage is for you, maybe it’s not. But let’s aim to have a heart that is willing to trust God.
There are times that we get discouraged and eventually lose our happiness. But I hope you find joy in knowing God’s sovereignty. May you learn to trust His divine providence no matter what.
If you think that God is not ‘on time’ — you’re getting older, declining fertility and all — remember God’s providence that was seen in Rebekah and Isaac’s love story. He will always be accurate. If it is His will for you to marry, He will surely lead you to the right person at the right place and at the right time. But always remember that even if you get what you desire to have, the chief end of man is always to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Your spouse is not the answer; Christ is, and may you find Him enough for you to keep going.
Soli Deo Gloria.