Welcome back to the True Love Challenge! Grab your Bibles, open to Genesis 24, and read the entire chapter. Then meet Nicole, my friend and writer on the Joven Verdadera (Young True Woman) blog. Let’s take a look at Isaac and Rebekah’s love story and discover how their lives can encourage us today. —Samantha, Lies Young Women Believe Blog Content Manager
I love to hear stories about how couples first met.
Just the other night, I was at a couples’ dinner, and we talked for more than three hours as each couple took turns sharing how they met and/or proposed to their spouse. I’m not married, but the guy I’m dating was there with me, and we had a fun time and a lot of laughs explaining how we met on a plane last summer. (That’s right, we were sitting next to each other on a flight!) He even shared new details that I hadn’t remembered.
I’ll be honest, I’ve always imagined some Hollywood or Hallmark story for myself; something along the lines of . . . “I almost got hit by a bus when prince charming swooped in and rescued me. It was love at first sight, and we lived happily ever after.”
But as I’ve been single for much longer than I anticipated, I’ve realized my expectations of true love weren’t very realistic—based off movies rather than what God says. So allow me to tell you how one couple met. It’s real, messy, and even better than Hollywood.
Isaac and Rebekah’s “How We Met” Story
Their story starts in Genesis 24. Let’s read that chapter together.
Abraham realizes it’s time to find a bride for his son Isaac, who’s forty years old (a little slow on his part, if you ask me). So Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son.
Now, not just any woman will do. Abraham instructs his servant to go where his family lives to find a woman but not one of the Canaanite women who were living among them at that time. It was crucial for him to find a woman who followed the same God. (And it’s still important for us today to seek someone of the same faith.)
So the servant sets out on a long trek to seek a wife for his master’s son. There weren’t any Christian dating sites that could assist him back then—he was on his own.
The servant knows this is not a simple undertaking, and and he probably felt dumbfounded and at a loss for where to even start . . . so he does what he’s seen his master do. He prays.
“O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master” (Gen. 24:12–14).
And before he had even finished speaking, his prayer is answered.
Our prayers for a relationship most likely won’t be answered before we’ve said “amen” like in this story, but it’s a good reminder that we ought to pray for a spouse before we meet someone—not just praying once you meet someone for them to be your spouse.
Now, let’s meet this woman who was drawing water at this well, Rebekah. This day was probably like any typical day for her. She was going about her normal business.
As Rebekah approaches the well to fill her jar, Abraham’s servant (a stranger) approaches her for a drink, and she quickly obliges.
But what she does next is even more impressive; she offers to give his ten camels a drink (v. 19). Watering camels is no small task; one camel alone can drink 200 liters—fifty-three gallons—in three minutes. Talk about a servant’s heart! She did exactly what the servant prayed for.
And consider this: She didn’t offer to serve a man she was interested in; Isaac isn’t even in her mind or view yet. She offered to serve a stranger as she completed her daily tasks.
Only God could have directed this story so perfectly, as it turns out that Rebekah is of the family of Abraham. He is truly a real matchmaker!
She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor” (v. 24).
So the servant goes to her home to tell the whole family of how God directed him and his purpose (vv. 29–49).
Love in the Desert
So where was Isaac in all this? We read he was a working man and also spent time in meditation with God (v. 63). (Two attractive and godly character traits!)
Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done (vv. 62–66).
Scripture doesn’t provide many wedding details, but we do read that Isaac loved Rebekah—a precious thing for an arranged marriage!
Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (v. 67).
Did Isaac love Rebekah at first sight? We can’t be sure, but the way Scripture wraps up this “how they met” story, it seems like they might’ve lived happily ever after . . .
What’s Really Happily Ever After?
The story of Isaac and Rebekah started off beautifully, but as you continue to read more about their marriage in the following chapters of Genesis, it’s definitely not all roses and butterflies.
- There’s the struggle to have children for the first twenty years of their marriage.
- There’s favoritism with their twin boys.
- There’s dishonesty and deceit between husband and wife.
But what they must’ve trusted in was the full assurance of God’s faithfulness in writing their story. It was so clear that they were to be each other’s spouse—God made it happen! “The thing has come from the LORD” (v. 50). Having babies didn’t solve their marital problems, and playing favorites with their kids in an attempt to substitute what was lacking in their relationship didn’t work either.
Isaac and Rebekah’s story reminds us of this: Finding a spouse won’t satisfy us for life or insulate us from life’s struggles.
As an unmarried woman, I’ve learned that when I try to intervene in what love should look like in my life, I only harm myself (and others, too). As I’ve grown in my relationship with God since I first met Him, I’ve experienced a truer love that fulfills and satisfies my deepest needs and longings that no man can ever fulfill. Assurance of God’s love motivates me to love others no matter the difficulties.
What about you? Are you praying for true love that only God can fulfill?
Can you say with the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss [including never marrying] because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”?