We all make choices. Some we ponder over, weigh up the pros and cons, others require less time. Some choices are good, others – well, we wish we had made different ones.
There are many examples of people making good, and not so good choices in the Bible.
Remember, the people we read of in those Bible stories… and sometimes read over barely paying attention to, were people. We have the benefit of hindsight. We know what came as a result of their choices.
They did not. They had decisions to make. Unless the person was a king… or a queen, none of them would think their choices were recorded for the rest of us to learn from.
What a scary thought that is, that all are choices could be written in a book and read all over the world, all through the centuries.
In the Bible there are many examples – however, because of a short message I listened to recently, I choose to focus on the choice of a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. (Genesis chapter twenty four.)
Abraham's choice of a wife for Isaac
Abraham wanted a wife for his son, Isaac – the ‘son of promise.’ For this son no Canaanite woman would pass Abraham’s standard. No, Abraham wanted a wife from his own kindred (family) for this God-given son.
Since Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born, he was not planning to go back himself to choose a wife for his son. Instead, he entrusted this task to the senior servant of his house. A man who had no doubt proved his loyalty over the years.
(Side note: The servant was a man whom at one time Abram thought would be his heir since he had no sons ‘of my own body.’)
Gen 15: 3 and lo, one born in my house is mine heir; meaning either Eliezer or his son, whom he had made his heir, or intended to make him, since he had no child;
John Gill Commentary.
Well, the servant did not refuse, but he did worry about the task.
How would he know the woman?
Abraham said God would send His angel before the servant.
The servant’s next concern… What if she refused?
Then he would be released from his vow.
Well, the servant made a choice to do what his master asked him and he took ten camels (and as we discover later in the chapter, some expensive gold jewelry.)
Did he worry about his task all the way? He might have done. When he arrived in Mesopotamia he made his ten camels kneel down – and he prayed.
Part of his prayer, addressed to the God of his master, Abraham was…
“Now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also ‘– may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.”
Gen 24: 14 NASB
Whether he knew it or not, the servant entrusted with this responsibility was asking for someone who was kind, and who willingly served. Not only was the woman to fill her own water jar… but this man, a stranger was going to ask for a drink from her jar. More, he had asked that the woman would offer to draw water for his camels also.
Observation. Ten thirsty camels would have needed a lot of water
(When researching for Hold the Faith there was a point when camels were the chosen method of transport. They traveled without drink from when they set out, until they arrived.) I therefore conclude the servant’s camels would have been thirsty.
Rebecca came to the well.
Did the servant wonder if she was the correct one, the one the angel had led him to?
Abraham’s servant asked her who she was, then if he could lodge with her family. (This was not as ‘cheeky’ as it might sound, in those days people would give accommodation to a traveler.)
Since she had fulfilled all the requests the servant had made in his prayer, first – he remained silent. ‘so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.’ Gen 24: 21
Matters moved fairly quickly after this. She ran to those of her mother’s house. (Was her father dead? Probably, because the negotiations were done with her brother Laban.)
More choices - family discussion
Although it takes thirty more verses to reach the point, Rebecca had less than twenty-four hours to make up her mind. Abraham’s servant wanted to settle the matter and leave the next day.
She accepted. Good choice. She became the grandmother of the twelve tribes of Israel. From one of these, Judah, came Jesus Christ.
Interesting how choices have effects down through the years. Yes, choices have a far-reaching effect.
Perhaps we should be like the servant and stay silent after it seems something we have prayed for seems to have happened. Just to wait and know whether it is the Lord who has done this. Thus increasing our chances of making a successful choice.