A Trustworthy Servant
Marriage is one of the most important events in a person's life. Lots of decisions need to be made, and these decisions have potential life-long effects. Some people choose to marry, some choose the opposite; some didn't want to marry but were forced to, and some want to marry but couldn't find a partner. For those who are on the path to enter into a marriage relationship, some of the marriages are arranged by others, some have the freedom to choose their partners, some others were set up by others. Parents, especially parents from a more family-oriented culture, are usually those who care a lot about the marriage status of the eligible singles in their family. Genesis 24 tells the story of a dying father's1 last wish—his God promised son Issac will marry someone from his own clan, and how his will was fulfilled. ("old, well advanced in years" NRSV, usually describes the last moment of a great person)
There is a lot to reflect on in this story. In this devotion, we will focus on the person whom Abraham entrusted to carry out his last wish. Chapter 25 tells us that Issac married Rebekah when he was forty. (25:20) Despite the fact that Issac was old enough to decide who to marry, Abraham still charged the servant to execute the task. That is how much he trusted this servant. In this devotion, let us reflect on why this servant was so trustworthy. I will list out some of the key traits of this senior servant according to the sequence of the events.
The first thing I notice is that he thinks and does beyond what was told. Initially, Abraham only asked the servant to find a wife for Issac from his clan in his homeland. (v.3) It didn't seem like a difficult thing to do. But the servant asked whether it is necessary to bring the bride-to-be to Cannan. (v.5-9) In ancient time, not a lot of virgin girls are willing to do that. Who would trust a stranger to take herself away to a land far away from home and probably never get to return? By asking this question, the servant just made his own job more difficult. Further, he set some criteria for his future mistress which Abraham never mentioned (v.14) because he wants to find an "energetic (running to draw water for ten camels; v 20)" and "hospitable (eager to welcome the servant to her home; v 25)"1 wife for Issace. He doesn't just want to complete his works, he wants to perfect it.
The other essences of this servant are that he was a brilliant and efficient worker as well as a team player. He knew that he needs to bring enough goodies to impress the bride-to-be as well as her family. (v.10, 22, 53) He also brought enough men to protect the treasures on the way to the town of Nahor and Issac's fiance on the way back. Another detail that depicts his brilliance in verse 11. He stationed beside the well during evening time so he can meet all the women of the town who went out to draw water. Not only he can test if a girl was energetic and hospitable, but he also can sort of see her family status. The ten camels loaded with valuable goods clearly showed that they were rich travelers. If the young lady were from a less privileged family, she might lose her composure when meeting such a rich caravan.
The third thing is crucial—he was a man of prayer and piety. Although he was a brilliant and efficient servant, he knew that God is the one in charge. Beside purposely putting himself in the perfect situation to meet the right candidate, he knew that what he really needed was to pray. (v.12-14) When God answered his prayer, the first thing he did was bow down to give thanks. (v.26-27) He also didn't take credit for himself but gave glory to God. (v.48) With so many wonderful qualities, no wonder he was the most trusted man of his master.
Share with your devotional partner what the most important quality of a trustworthy person is? Pray for each other that we will have that quality in us so we can become an even more trustworthy servant of God.
1. Gordon J. Wenham (Editor), J. Alec Motyer (Editor), Donald A. Carson (Editor), R. T. France (Editor), New Bible Commentary, INTERVARSITY PRESS, DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS, USA, p75.