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Verses 10-28

Abraham's servant now begins to make a figure in this story; and, though he is not named, yet much is here recorded to his honour, and for an example to all servants, who shall be honoured if, by faithfully serving God and their masters, they adorn the doctrine of Christ (compare Prov. 27:18; Titus 2:10); for there is no respect of persons with God, Col. 3:24, 25. A good servant that makes conscience of the duty of his place, and does it in the fear of God, though he make not a figure in the world nor have praise of men, yet shall be owned and accepted of God and have praise of him. Observe here,

I. How faithful Abraham's servant approved himself to his master. Having received his charge, he with all expedition set out on his journey, with an equipage suitable to the object of his negotiation (Gen. 24:10), and he had all the goods of his master, that is, a schedule or particular account of them, in his hand, to show to those with whom he was to treat; for, from first to last, he consulted his master's honour. Isaac being a type of Christ, some make this fetching of a wife for him to signify the espousing of the church by the agency of his servants the ministers. The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife, Rev. 21:9. Christ is the bridegroom, and ministers are the friends of the bridegroom (John 3:29), whose work it is to persuade souls to consent to him, 2 Cor. 11:2. The spouse of Christ must not be of the Canaanites, but of his own kindred, born again from above. Ministers, like Abraham's servant, must lay out themselves with the utmost wisdom and care to serve their master's interest herein.

II. How devoutly he acknowledged God in this affair, like one of that happy household which Abraham had commanded to keep the way of the Lord, etc., Gen. 18:19. He arrived early in the evening (after many days? journeying) at the place of his destination, and reposed himself by a well of water, to consider how he might manage his business for the best. And,

1. He acknowledges God by a particular prayer (Gen. 24:12-14), wherein, (1.) He petitions for prosperity and good success in this affair: Send me good speed, this day. Note, We have leave to be particular in recommending our affairs to the conduct and care of the divine Providence. Those that would have good speed must pray for it. This day, in this affair; thus we must, in all our ways, acknowledge God, Prov. 3:6. And, if we thus look up to God in every undertaking which we are in care about, we shall have the comfort of having done our duty, whatever the issue be. (2.) He pleads God's covenant with his master Abraham: O God of my master Abraham, show kindness to him. Note, As the children of good parents, so the servants of good masters, have peculiar encouragement in the prayers they offer to God for prosperity and success. (3.) He proposes a sign (Gen. 24:14), not by it to limit God, nor with a design to proceed no further if he were not gratified in it; but it is a prayer, [1.] That God would provide a good wife for his young master, and this was a good prayer. He knew that a prudent wife is from the Lord (Prov. 19:14), and therefore that for this he will be enquired of. He desires that his master's wife might be humble and industrious woman, bred up to care and labour, and willing to put her hand to any work that was to be done; and that she might be of a courteous disposition, and charitable to strangers. When he came to seek a wife for his master, he did not go to the playhouse or the park, and pray that he might meet one there, but to the well of water, expecting to find one there well employed. [2.] That he would please to make his way, in this matter, plain and clear before him, by the concurrence of minute circumstances in his favour. Note, First, It is the comfort, as well as the belief, of a good man, that God's providence extends itself to the smallest occurrences and admirably serves its own purposes by them. Our times are in God's hand; not only events themselves, but the times of them. Secondly, It is our wisdom, in all our affairs, to follow Providence, and folly to force it. Thirdly, It is very desirable, and that which we may lawfully pray for, while in the general we set God's will before us as our rule, that he will, by hints of providence, direct us in the way of our duty, and give us indications what his mind it. Thus he guides his people with his eye (Ps. 32:8), and leads them in a plain path, Ps. 27:11.

2. God owns him by a particular providence. He decreed the thing, and it was established to him, Job 22:28. According to his faith, so was it unto him. The answer to this prayer was, (1.) Speedy?before he had made an end of speaking (Gen. 24:15), as it is written (Isa. 65:24), While they are yet speaking, I will hear. Though we are backward to pray, God is forward to hear prayer. (2.) Satisfactory: the first that came to draw water was, and did, in every thing, according to his own heart. [1.] She was so well qualified that in all respects she answered the characters he wished for in the woman that was to be his master's wife, handsome and healthful, humble and industrious, very courteous and obliging to a stranger, and having all the marks of a good disposition. When she came to the well (Gen. 24:16), she went down and filled her pitcher, and came up to go home with it. She did not stand to gaze upon the strange man and his camels, but minded her business, and would not have been diverted from it but by an opportunity of doing good. She did not curiously nor confidently enter into discourse with him, but modestly answered him, with all the decorum that became her sex. What a degenerate age do we live in, in which appear all the instances of pride, luxury, and laziness, the reverse of Rebekah's character, whose daughters few are! Those instances of goodness which were then in honour are now in contempt. [2.] Providence so ordered it that she did that which exactly answered to his sign, and was wonderfully the counterpart of his proposal: she not only gave him drink, but, which was more than could have been expected, she offered her services to give his camels drink, which was the very sign he proposed. Note, First, God, in his providence, does sometimes wonderfully own the prayer of faith, and gratify the innocent desires of his praying people, even in little things, that he may show the extent of his care, and may encourage them at all times to seek to him and trust in him; yet we must take heed of being over-bold in prescribing to God, lest the event should weaken our faith rather than strengthen it. Secondly, It is good to take all opportunities of showing a humble, courteous, charitable, disposition, because, some time or other, it may turn more to our honour and benefit than we think of; some hereby have entertained angels, and Rebekah hereby, quite beyond her expectation at this time, was brought into the line of Christ and the covenant. Thirdly, There may be a great deal of obliging kindness in that which costs but little: our Saviour has promised a reward for a cup of cold water, Matt. 10:42. Fourthly, The concurrence of providences and their minute circumstances, for the furtherance of our success in any business, ought to be particularly observed, with wonder and thankfulness, to the glory of God: The man wondered, Gen. 24:21. We have been wanting to ourselves, both in duty and in comfort, by neglecting to observe Providence. [3.] Upon enquiry he found, to his great satisfaction, that she was a near relation to his master, and that the family she was of was considerable, and able to give him entertainment, Gen. 24:23-25. Note, Providence sometimes wonderfully directs those that by faith and prayer seek direction from heaven in the choice of suitable yoke-fellows: happy marriages those are likely to be that are made in the fear of God; and these, we are sure, are made in heaven.

3. He acknowledges God in a particular thanksgiving. He first paid his respects to Rebekah, in gratitude for her civility (Gen. 24:22), obliging her with such ornaments and attire as a maid, especially a bride, cannot forget (Jer. 2:32), which yet, we should think, ill suited the pitcher of water; but the ear-rings and bracelets she sometimes wore did not make her think herself above the labours of a virtuous woman (Prov. 31:13), who works willingly with her hands; nor the services of a child, who, while under age, differs nothing from a servant, Gal. 4:1. Having done this, he turns his wonder (Gen. 24:21) into worshipping: Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, Gen. 24:26, 27. Observe here, (1.) He had prayed for good speed (Gen. 24:12), and now that he had sped well he gives thanks. Note, What we win by prayer we must wear with praise; for mercies in answer to prayer lay us under particular obligations. (2.) He had as yet but a comfortable prospect of mercy, and was not certain what the issue might prove; yet he gives thanks. Note, When God's favours are coming towards us we must meet them with our praises. (3.) He blesses God for success when he was negotiating for his master. Note, We should be thankful for our friend's mercies as for our own. (4.) He gives thanks that, being in the way, at a loss what course to steer, the Lord had led him. Note, In doubtful cases, it is very comfortable to see God leading us, as he led Israel in the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and fire. (5.) He thinks himself very happy, and owns God in it, that he was led to the house of his master's brethren, those of them that had come out of Ur of the Chaldees, though they had not come to Canaan, but remained in Haran. They were not idolaters, but worshippers of the true God, and inclinable to the religion of Abraham's family. Note, God is to be acknowledged in providing suitable yoke-fellows, especially such as are agreeable in religion. (6.) He acknowledges that God, herein, had not left his master destitute of his mercy and truth. God had promised to build up Abraham's family, yet it seemed destitute of the benefit of that promise; but now Providence is working towards the accomplishing of it. Note, [1.] God's faithful ones, how destitute soever they may be of worldly comforts, shall never be left destitute of God's mercy and truth; for God's mercy is an inexhaustible fountain, and his truth an inviolable foundation. [2.] It adds much to the comfort of any blessing to see in it the continuance of God's mercy and truth.

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