LESSON 19 – Isaac Loses A Mother And Gains A Wife – Genesis 23 & 24

  1. Discussion
    • Chapter 23 tells us about Sarah’s death and burial.  How old was Sarah when she died? (vs 1 – 127 years old) What does Abraham decide to do? (buy some land and bury her) Abraham eventually purchases a portion of land called Ephron’s field near Mamre and puts Sarah’s body in a cave there. This is first actual property that Abraham owns in Canaan even though God had promised all of it to his descendants.  Later on his sons will bury Abraham there as well.
    • Chapter 24 – [This is the longest chapter in Genesis, so you can either read the chapter aloud together or summarize it as you go.] What does Abraham ask his servant to do and why does he send him back to Mesopotamia? (He asks him to go back to his own relatives and get a wife for Isaac, because he doesn’t want him to marry a Canaanite.) Why doesn’t Abraham want the servant to take Isaac with him to help make the choice? (Abraham says God promised that an angel would go before him to help him. Abraham knows that this is land that God promised to Isaac, not Mesopotamia. Isaac going back there would be turning his back on the covenant.) What does the servant pray will happen? (He asks for success in his mission and when he asks one of the girls for water, she would go the extra mile and offer to water the camels too. This is significant because verse 10 tells us he had 10 camels – it would be no small task to get water for all of them. Camels can drink up to 8-10 gallons at a time.  How many gallons of water would Rebekah have had to bring up? Up to 100!) Who comes and what happens? (Before he is even finished praying, the beautiful Rebekah, who just happens to be Abraham’s great niece, comes and offers to give both him and the camels water.) The servant watched closely as Rebekah willingly runs to draw enough water for all the camels.  He asked who she was, and he was immensely grateful to God when he realized that God had led him directly to Abraham’s relatives. He asks if her family has room for him for the night and offers her golden jewelry. Laban, who was her brother and the head of her family, runs out to meet the servant (note that it was after he had seen the gold! This gives us a small clue as this man’s character who will play a key role in the life of Rebekah’s son someday.) and offers him a place to stay.  The servant tells Laban and the whole family the story of why he came. He tells of the prayer and its answer found in Rebekah.  What does Laban say in verse 50? (That all of this was from the Lord and that Rebekah should go.) Costly gifts were given to Rebekah and all of her family.  What does the servant say the next day? (vs. 54 – let me go on my way) How does Laban respond? (vs. 55 – wait 10 days) The servant replies that he does not want to be detained. Laban asks for Rebekah’s opinion. What does Rebekah say? (vs. 58 – I will go.) What is Isaac doing as he sees the camel train return? (vs. 63 – meditating) Rebekah looks up and sees Isaac coming to meet them and learns that it is her future husband. She covers herself with her veil [a symbol of her purity and humbleness]. Isaac marries Rebekah and the passage says he loved her and was comforted finally after the loss of his beloved mother.
  2. Application – When Laban, Rebekah’s brother, hears the story the servant tells he concludes, “This is from the Lord.” How did he come to this conclusion? What things had happened to make him know that God was in it? (possible answers: the servant had come straight to the right place – where Abraham’s family was, the sign of watering the camels had been performed by Rebekah) How do we recognize God’s hand in our lives? Do we take things for granted or do we look for Him working around us and in us? This is a good time to talk about your week and how God was seen in the events and people around you.  Did God answer prayer? Did he provide in a special way? What difficulty has arisen and how is God going to use that in your life right now? Do you have expectancy that God will work in your life?
    • How has Rebekah shown in this story that she will be a good wife? (She is generous with her time and abilities – she offers to go beyond what is asked of her even though it meant quite a bit of hard work! She doesn’t linger at home; she willingly leaves her home and family and doesn’t take the option of an extra 10 days.  She covers herself when she realizes she is face to face with her future husband showing her humbleness and purity. She is not bold, but submissive.) What preparations can your children make right now in order to be a good and godly husband or wife? Mention that most of the time we tend make lists of what we want in our future spouse rather than make lists of what we need to do and be in order to be prepared for marriage!
  3. Digging Deeper
    1. Arranged marriages are not common in America today; most of us make our choice on our own.  Write a paragraph or two about what is important to remember about choosing a husband/wife.  Should you ask your parents their opinion about whom you date? What role should “dating” play in looking for a mate? What standards do you have for choosing someone to marry? Are there any clues in chapter 24? Lastly, explain the preparations you are making in your own life for being married.
    2. Abraham’s servant was a faithful and trustworthy steward.  How can you be like this man and bring honor to God in the things that God has entrusted you? If you have a job, tell how you can be an employee that honors your boss. Discuss other stewardship areas in your life: chores at home, schoolwork, relationship issues with parents and friends. How do you bring honor to God in these? Tell what you’ve done in the last two weeks that give this kind of honor to God.  End with telling an area that you need to work on.
    3. This passage is a picture of God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the church, the Bride of Christ. Identity who each of these is in the story and tell what it explains to us about the roles of each. (Helpful sources: Mt. 22:2, Phil. 2:9.10; Eph. 5:25; John 15;26 give some parallels)