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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 3: Isaac – The Faithful Man


Genesis 24:1-4 & 52-67.

Arranged Marriage

The record of this event is wonderful, isn’t it? It follows hard on the heels of Sarah’s death. She lived to be 127 years old. Abraham would have been devastated – they had been through so much together – and she was a fabulously beautiful woman – both externally and more importantly internally.

Isaac doted on both parents but particularly missed his mother’s tender love and compassion. She was always there for him through all his growing up and entrance into manhood. He would have felt part of him died when she passed away.

Abraham was determined that his son and heir would not marry a local pagan girl – although that might have seemed sensible for securing territorial rights and possessions. No, his son would marry a girl from his own tribe - a Semite.

However, by this time Abraham was even older… Being unable to travel himself, he enlisted the aid of his most trusted servant – Eliezer of Damascus. Simple task – just go and find the perfect wife for my son and heir – the heir to all the promises of God – and try not to be away too long!

Eliezer asked, “What if she doesn’t want to come? Do you want me to take Isaac back there?“No way,” replied Abraham. Then he added that God would go before him and sort the wife out for him.

Eliezer had learned a thing or two from Abraham over the years. One was not to argue; the other was far more significant - that Abraham had a relationship with God that was as unusual as it was simple and yet absolutely indispensable.

Thus it was that once Eliezer arrived at Nahor he decided to cheat and thereby fling himself upon the grace of God. He prayed a very specific prayer – a bit like the one Gideon was to use later – and to his utter astonishment, God answered it before he had finished praying!

Instead of listing all the qualities he would look for in a wife and asking God to make sure the girl satisfied at least 80% of the ‘shopping list’, he asked that when he asked her for a drink, she would not only give it to him but offer to water his camels as well.

Good thinking. How many camels did he have? How thirsty would they be after all his travels? How much did each one need to have its thirst quenched? Any girl prepared to do all that must be some girl indeed. Her name was Rebekah.

Not only did she do all that, but to cap it all, she was prepared to drop everything, leave her folks behind and return with Eliezer at once. Indeed, some girl.

Isaac was out in the fields meditating. (Makes you think of Jesus up in the mountains, doesn’t it?) He saw her entourage coming and went to meet her.

In typical submission to his father, he accepted Rebekah and took her as his wife. The Scripture said – he loved herafter she became his wife. What does that suggest? His love was from a choice he had made. He accepted her as his wife and so loved her. And the record goes on to say so… he was comforted after his mother’s death.

The choice was made and the blessings and benefits followed. How often we see that love grows in a God-ordained marriage – because the two decided to love one another… more.

Isaac would say to us today...

Love is a choice. If you want what is best in life, ask God to reveal His spouse for you. Then accept your spouse and decide to be totally committed to him/her for the rest of your life.


Father, thank You that You are into marriage. Please forgive me for taking my spouse for granted so often. Help me cherish him/her as a gift from You and to make sure we develop our wonderful relationship together. Amen.

Additional readings

Matthew 19:3-12; Hosea 3; Song of Songs 4.


How do you understand the 4 Greek words for love – Agape; Philia; Storge & Eros?

What does - Love is a choice - mean?

What are the hallmarks of a marriage ‘arranged/made in Heaven’?

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