God’s providence is written all over the love story of Isaac and Rebekah. When we speak of providence, we admit that 1) God is sovereign; 2) he is good; and therefore 3) he is both able to and does work out everything in the world for the good end that he has determined beforehand. In other words, God has a plan, it’s good, and he will achieve it.
As James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” Every good thing we have and see comes from the providence of our heavenly Father and makes him worthy of our praise.
Abe’s servant recounts the story of the way God revealed his will to him. Rebekah’s family can’t help but see it: “The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken” (24:50-51).
In essence, Rebekah and her family has hit the jackpot. Abe is rich and his servant lavishes all sorts of gifts on them (24:53). God has used ordinary things—water from a well, thirsty camels—to accomplish the extraordinary purpose of bringing two people from different sides of the world together in marriage.
This should give us hope when we look with uncertainty at our future. What job will I have? Where will I live? Whom will I marry? Will I have a family? These are all questions that we don’t have an answer to until we’ve experienced the answer. But God determined his purpose for your life and mine long before we were born. When we don’t know the answer to questions about our future, we can rest assured in God’s perfect providential plan and his willingness to accomplish it.
He brought Isaac and Rebekah together from opposite sides of the Middle East; he brought Kathy and me together from opposite sides of the country (ask me sometime if you haven’t heard that story). Who knows what extraordinary lengths the Lord will go to to accomplish his purpose in your life?
Finally, what does all this have to do with Jesus? (We can never close a chapter of the Bible without asking this crucial question.) Verse 60 is the interpretive key: “Our sister, may you become thousands of ten thousands, and may your offspring possess the gate of those who hate him!” This is a simple blessing on the surface, but it is included in the story to point to a very specific “him” who will possess his enemies’ gate. That offspring they wish for Rebekah is Christ himself; their wedding day wishes are fulfilled by the eternal purpose of the Father. For Rebekah will give birth to a son named Jacob who will be the great-great-great-great… grandfather of the Savior of the world.
God’s providence accomplishes blessings in our lives, but it ultimately accomplishes the redemption of all things in Christ. Praise God for his providence.