Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Rebekah - going where God leads
We met Rebekah last time; do you remember how the Bible described her?
Rebekah (verse 16 tells us) is very beautiful. Did you know that only four women are described as very beautiful in the Bible? Sarah, Rebekah, Bathsheba, and an un-named attendant to King David are the only four whose outward appearance is described in this way. Many more women are lovely by their inward characters, but these four are commended to us as physically attractive.
Rebekah is also unmarried. Verse 16 also notes that she was single, and was a virgin. For a servant who had traveled to the old stomping grounds of his master, instead of choosing a wife from the idolatrous neighboring lands, this was great news! These were traits that were highly favored, and the servant must have known then that the Lord was honoring his prayer.
Rebekah is in the right place at the right time. Did you see that she came with her jar before Eleazer could finish his prayer? God had heard his prayer, and the prayer of Abraham, and had put His plan in motion. We'll see that Rebekah is willing to go where God leads . . . have there been times that we were in the right place at the right time, but we missed an opportunity? Are we willing to go where He leads us?
Let's dive in!
Rebekah was the answer to Eleazer's prayer. She gave more than was needed, more than was asked for. Eleazer only requested a drink of water for himself. Rebekah offered to water the camels as well. She really went "beyond the call of duty."
We forget sometimes that it requires increased levels of effort to receive increased levels of blessings. Whoa......that sounded a bit like a smarmy television preacher.....I didn't mean that we can earn grace, or get to a higher level of salvation, or suddenly find millions of dollars flowing into our mailbox.
We are blessed when we serve God. We're also blessed when we serve those around us. The more that we serve others and do things with the right spirit, the greater the blessings that God will shower on our lives. We don't earn mega-bucks. We earn the blessings of peace, and of joy, and of contentment.
Rebekah was blessed with a new life because of her generosity. Her willingness to give. Here was a thirsty, elderly man, who needed her help. She not only gave to him, but she graciously helped him by watering his camels.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will
himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)
When we serve God by serving others, the amazing thing is that we are blessed as much or more by our giving!
Give generously . . . and do so without a grudging heart; then
because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your
work and in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 15:10)
Rebekah gave willingly of her time and put a lot of effort into helping Eleazer. He was a complete stranger to her, but she was gracious to him. He was tired, and dusty, and probably could not be distinguished from any other traveler, rich or poor. She gave of herself, whether there was a "return on" her investment, or not.
In recent years the phrases "random acts of kindness" and "pay it forward" have become popular with some folks. Many more, though, couldn't care less. They are unwilling to go the extra mile to help someone else, or to help themselves. For example, some people won't put any extra effort into their job. Some won't put extra effort into their relationships; parents say they're too stressed to go the extra mile for their kids; students can't see the need to put extra effort into their studies..... as human beings, we sometimes find it difficult to "give our all." Rebekah is an example of how we should treat others.
Here is an interesting thought -- the National Geographic site says that a camel can drink about thirty gallons of water in about thirteen minutes! That means that Rebekah may have needed to provide three hundred gallons of water for the trough they were slurping from! If her jar that she carried on her shoulder or her head contained five gallons, she must have made many, many trips to the well, and poured it into the trough in front of the camels!
Do we have that kind of "above and beyond" mentality? Rebekah made a choice that day. She invested her time, her strength, and her compassion for a stranger and his animals. She had no way of knowing that her service to another would change her life. She is remembered because she gave, and gave.
And then she was willing to go where God was leading her.
We'll see more about this next time.