To our way of thinking, Abraham’s approach to finding a wife for his son was, to say the least, unconventional. Isaac is ready to get hitched. But not to anyone on “this side of the Jordan.” Abraham has discerned the perils of Isaac taking a wife “from the daughters of the Canaanites” and has determined that Isaac’s bride needs to be from his own family line.
But he’s also resolved that his son is not to leave the land God has promised them. And so, Abraham sends a trusted servant back to Abraham’s homeland to find a young maiden from Abraham’s family line and convince her, and her family, that she should go with some random stranger to a foreign land to marry a man they’ve never met. Not quite ChristianMingle.com, but it’s a plan.
And what’s grabbed me in reading this account in Genesis 24 is the absence of the supernatural–at least overtly. Though its evident that God’s hands are all over this, and though Abraham tells his servant that the God who promised Abraham to give this land to his offspring will “send His angel before you”, there’s no angel.
Unlike other encounters of the divine kind in Genesis, there’s no apparent visitation from heaven-dwellers. No divine manifestation taking counsel with the servant on a game plan. No taking hold of the servants hand by one of God’s heavenly servants and leading him to just the right place at just the right time. Rather, there’s just a no-name servant trekking to a foreign land to find a women whose identity is unknown so that he can ask her to go back with him to marry a man she’s never seen or met. There’s no angel.
But there’s heart speak.
Abraham’s servant arrives at his destination and prays,
And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.”
(Genesis 24:12 ESV)
And the servant lays out before the Lord his plan for identifying Isaac’s bride-to-be. And the Genesis account then states,
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abrahams brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder.
(Genesis 24:15 ESV)
And later in the account, when the servant is telling his story to Rebekah’s family, the servant puts it this way,
“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder, and she went down to the spring and drew water. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.'”
(Genesis 24:45 ESV)
Speaking in my heart. That’s it. That’s the extent of the supernatural in this account.
Though God is moving mightily . . . imparting divine wisdom to Abraham . . . moving Abraham’s servant to faithful obedience . . . prompting the girl at the well to respond to the servant’s request for water by offering to water his camels as well . . . leading Laban to believe the servant’s story and release his sister to him . . . assuring Rebekah in her heart that not only is it ok to leave her family for some unknown suitor, but that it’s God’s will . . . Though God is moving mightily, no angels, just heart speak.
Talk about the power of prayer. Talk about how speaking in the heart ties a person to the purposes and dynamics of heaven. Talk about God’s attentiveness to what we say to Him in the inner man that prompts Him to act in the outside world even before we’re finished speaking . . . even before we know ourselves what we should ask.
Talk about the supernatural impact of heart speak.
All by God’s grace. All for God’s glory.