Yesterday I confessed I’m struggling with patience. This morning it’s before me that I’m struggling also with silence, as in the need to be so. Yesterday the story concerned a promised son, this morning it’s about his promised bride.
Genesis 24 is the stuff Hallmark movies are made of (not really). Rich, old man wants to make sure handsome, young son, heir to everything he owns, has a wife. But not just any wife, a wife from his homeland, from his own people. So the old man has his faithful servant place his hand under the old man’s thigh (weird) and promise to go and get his son a wife from his people. And so, the servant goes. He goes with no app to use, no blind dates to set up, and without even a groom to weigh in on his future lifelong partner. Instead, the servant heads out on his own with just ten camels loaded “with all kinds of his master’s goods in hand” (24:10).
The servant makes a plan, sends up a prayer, casts a fleece-like net, and finds “the one” on his first try (24:10-27). Next stop, her home. Next encounter, her brother.
And what grabs me this morning is the response of the brother to the old man’s servant after the servant relays to the girl’s family the details of how God’s hand has been in this anything but romantic proposal (24:45-49). Will the brother, speaking on behalf of the family, consent to the servant’s request to take his sister to a foreign land to marry an unknown stranger just because she gave the old man’s servant and his camels a drink of water? (Did I mention it’s the stuff Hallmark movies are made of?)
Here’s how the brother responds:
“This is from the LORD; we have no choice in the matter. Rebekah is here in front of you. Take her and go, and let her be a wife for your master’s son, just as the LORD has spoken.”
(Genesis 24:50-51 CSB)
We have no choice in the matter. That’s the phrase that caught my attention. Pretty clear, says the brother. Not some random coincidence but obviously a divine confluence. So what choice do we have but to submit to what the LORD has spoken?
No choice. Don’t recall ever reading that before. That’s because the ESV uses the more literal rendering referenced in the CSB margin, “we cannot say to you anything bad or good.” If this is of God, and apparently it is, then what’s left to be said? God has spoken so we will not. We have no choice in the matter.
Oh, if I were only more like the brother. Recognizing the hand of the sovereign God in the situation and then realizing that, if God has so moved, I have no choice but to submit. That if God has made apparent that He is working according to sovereign purposes, then I might be wise to respond with silenced pondering. I might not get what is happening, but I can know Who is allowing it to happen. The storyline might not make sense, but I can trust the outcome to Him. So, I have no choice in the matter.
No choice. We aren’t a people who like having no choice. Our culture is not one that encourages submitting and ceding control. We like to debate and argue and make our case and have our way. Sometimes though, maybe more often than we like, there’s really nothing to say. It’s time to be silent. We have no choice in the matter.
Only by God’s grace. Always for God’s glory.