Grades 3-6 Sunday School Lesson
Through the Bible
Lesson 8: God’s Chosen People – Isaac’s Bride
Author’s Notes: In our last lesson, we saw God continuing to keep His promises to Abraham. We also had an opportunity to see a picture of Christ in the Old Testament sacrifice of Isaac. As we look further into the life of Isaac, today, we will once again see a shadow of things to come, as Abraham selects a bride for his son.
Did you know that God wants only the very best for every part of your life? He wants to be the one supplying everything you need. And that includes your friends! Does God care what kind of friends you have? Yes, He certainly does. Why do you think He cares what kind of friends we have?
The people we spend the most time with are the ones who have the most influence on us. If you ask your parents, they’ll probably tell you that you pick up new habits when you find new friends. Sometimes we start to walk or talk, or even laugh like our friends do.
That’s why it’s so important to God that we are His friends. He wants to have more influence in our lives than anybody else. He wants us to think like Him, talk like Him, act like Him. That’s what it means to be a Christian. The word actually means “little Christ.” And that’s also why He wants us to have good Christian friends.
If the friends we hang around with are not Christians, and if they tend to say and do bad things, then we need to rethink whether we should spend much time with them. Now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be kind and friendly to those who don’t love the Lord. But The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that “…Evil communications corrupts good manners.” And the word it uses for communication doesn’t just mean the way someone talks. It means someone’s whole way of living. The way they talk is only part of it. We also communicate things to others through the things we choose to do, the places we choose to go, the way we choose to act. All of these things put together communicate to others what kind of person we are.
If we are living godly lives, then godly communication will come out of us. And if our friends are living godly lives, their godly communication will help us along in our Christian growth. But the verse in 1 Corinthians clearly tells us that if we have friends who are not living godly lives, their “evil communication” will corrupt our good character. It is not the other way around. Another version of the Bible says it this way: “…Bad company corrupts good character.” (1Corinthians 15:33 NIV)
This next verse helps to explain a little more:
A verse in 2 Corinthians tells us, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) When you have two animals working together in a yoke, they are connected as they work side by side. A farmer will do his best to match the animals in speed and strength because, if one is slower than the other, the faster will have to slow down to the speed of the slower one. The speed and strength of the stronger animal is then wasted when yoked with a weaker animal.
And if one of the animals decides it doesn’t want to do what its master wants, if it pulls the wrong way instead of going where the master wishes, then neither of the animals will be able to do what the master wants because the disobedient one is pulling the other in the wrong direction.
Do you see how that can be like a friendship? We need godly friends who desire to follow the Lord, and will pull us along in a direction toward Him. If we have friends who are pulling us another direction, we will not be able to live in a way that pleases the Lord.
This is especially true when it comes to marriage. If one person in a marriage is trying to follow the Lord, but the other wants to go in another direction, the two of them will be pulling against each other, and will not go in a godly direction.
We’ve been learning, over the past several weeks, about a godly man named Abraham. God had promised him that He would make a great nation out of Abraham if Abraham and his descendants would follow Him. And we saw that promise coming to pass in the birth of Abraham’s son Isaac. This was the promised son who would one day also receive God’s blessing. And that meant Isaac would need a godly wife, so the blessing could continue to the next generation.
And who would be better at supplying that need for Abraham and Isaac than God, Himself! God takes great pleasure in supplying our needs. And sometimes He does it in a big way. That’s because He’s a big God, and has all the resources in this world, and beyond, for taking care of us. We’re going to see that happen in our lesson today. But first, let’s learn today’s memory verse. It reminds us that it is God who supplied Abraham and Isaac’s need. And it is God who still provides for our needs, today.
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves. And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.)
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for the examples of Abraham’s faith that we find in Your Word. Help each one of us to be attentive to what You would have us learn, today. Give us open ears and hearts, ready to listen to Your words. For we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: Isaac Needs a Bride (Genesis 24)
God had promised to make Abraham the father of a great nation. He said Abraham’s descendants would number more than the sands in the sea. And He also clearly told Abraham who would be the son to pass that blessing along. Do you remember his name? Isaac was the son who would fulfill God’s promise to Abraham. So as Isaac (and Abraham) grew older, it occurred to Abraham that Isaac needed something…or rather, someone. If Isaac was to have children, he needed a wife. And in Abraham’s culture, it was up to the parents to find a suitable match for their child.
So Abraham got to work.
1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
3 And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
Abraham had a very important responsibility. He needed to find a wife suitable for his son Isaac. We’ve already talked about the importance of having godly friends, especially when it comes to marriage. And Abraham understood well the need for a wife, for Isaac, who would stand beside him in his serving of the Lord. But what do we find here, in today’s passage, that presented a problem for Abraham? They were living among the Canaanites. Do you know why that was a problem? Because all the Canaanite people worshiped and served other gods.
If we were to look much further ahead into Hebrew (or Jewish) history, we would see that Hebrew intermarriage with those of heathen nations brought with it the worship of many other gods. And was ultimately the downfall of the Hebrew nation, as they turned away from the one, true God.
But Abraham, for his part, wanted to do the right thing by making sure his son did not marry a Canaanite girl. So he had a plan. Where did he tell his servant to go to find a wife for Isaac? He wanted his servant to go back to the country he had come from. He knew he had family members there who honored and served God, as he did.
This would not be an easy task for the servant. It would be a long journey. And there was no guarantee Abraham’s family would even still be there. But the servant didn’t question Abraham’s reasoning for sending him back to his old country. He did, however, have another question for Abraham.
5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?
What was the servant’s big concern, if he did find a woman who would make a good wife for Isaac? He wanted to know what he was supposed to do if he found her, but she didn’t want to come back to Canaan with him. That was a pretty reasonable question, considering what he would be asking her to do. Think about it for a moment. Abraham had been in Canaan now for many, many years. If there was a woman back in the old country young enough to be a wife for Isaac, she would have no memory of Abraham at all. She would likely have been born long after Abraham left.
So they would be asking her to leave the only home she’d ever known, the only family she’d ever known to make a long and possibly dangerous trip to marry a man whose family she had never met… not to mention that she wouldn’t have even known Isaac existed. That would be asking a lot of a young woman.
And the servant had a solution in mind. He thought perhaps he could return home to get Isaac, to bring him along to meet the girl and her family before she made up her mind whether she would marry him or not. Do you think Abraham would approve of the idea? Let’s find out.
6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.
7 The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.
9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.
What did Abraham think of the servant’s backup plan to bring Isaac back to the old country? He didn’t approve at all. God had taken Abraham out of that country for a reason. And what if Isaac went there, and didn’t come back? That would not have been following God’s plan at all. So Abraham told the servant that he was not to take his son to Mesopotamia. And that if he found a woman, but she refused to come back with him, then he would be free of the promise to find Isaac a wife.
So with a clear understanding of Abraham’s instructions, the servant set out to find a wife for his master’s son.
10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.
11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
Abraham’s servant seemed to understand the great importance of finding a wife for Isaac in Abraham’s homeland. And he had lived with Abraham long enough to know that there was Someone who could lead him to just the right woman. The servant knew that God had always led and cared for Abraham. So who better to ask for help in his search than that same God. So that’s exactly what he did.
12 And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
The servant set up a test so that he would know for sure who God had chosen for Isaac. What kind of woman was the servant asking God to send? It wasn’t to be just any woman. He was looking for a woman who was gracious, ready and willing to help, and not afraid of a little hard work. He was also looking for someone out of the ordinary. It would be very unusual for a young woman to offer to do all that he wished for a complete stranger. If a woman came along and was willing to do all these things, there would be absolutely no doubt she was sent by God. And that was the most important point of all. The servant wasn’t looking to have a beauty contest where he would choose the one he thought best. He simply wanted God to reveal to him the one He had already chosen for Isaac.
And God was happy to hear and answer the servant’s prayer. In fact, before the servant could even finish praying, God had already sent along His answer. Isn’t it great when God answers prayer like that? Sometimes we pray, then wait and wait for the answer to come. But sometimes, God really surprises us and sends the answer right away. Listen to how perfectly God fulfilled the servant’s request.
15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.
19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.
20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.
Doesn’t it almost sound like the servant couldn’t believe what he was seeing? This young woman was beautiful! And she was doing exactly as he had asked of the Lord. And yet it says he didn’t say anything right away because he wanted to make sure it was the Lord’s doing. We might think it was obvious that God had sent her. Perhaps the servant was so stunned at such a quick answer, he just couldn’t believe it at first.
But once his mind cleared, and he realized what God had done for him, the servant needed to check one last detail. She had done all the things the servant had asked. But Abraham also said she needed to come from his family. Could it really be as easy as it was looking? So the servant asked the young woman the big question…
22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;
23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?
Notice here that the servant has not revealed the reason for his visit to this young woman. He’s only made it sound like he was looking for a place to stay.
24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.
25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.
26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord.
27 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren.
Can you imagine how the servant must have felt at that moment? All of his prayers for a perfect bride for Isaac had been answered. It must have been hard to keep from jumping up and down in celebration of such success. But the servant didn’t do that. In fact, he simply bowed his head to thank the Lord, but still didn’t reveal the reason for his visit. He knew he needed to wait for the proper place and time.
But he did reveal one thing; he let the young woman know that he had come from the house of her father’s Uncle Abraham. And upon hearing that, the young woman, Rebekah, went running for home with the exciting news that a visitor had come from Uncle Abraham’s house.
28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things.
29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.
30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.
31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.
32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him.
Rebekah’s family was excited to finally have news from Abraham. But they could not have guessed what the servant would say next. He was there with a job to do, and couldn’t rest till he completed his task. He had already come so far. Now all that was left to do was ask for Rebekah’s hand in marriage, and see if she would be willing to go.
33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.
34 And he said, I am Abraham's servant.
35 And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.
36 And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.
37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:
38 But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.
39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.
40 And he said unto me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house:
41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.
42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:
43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;
44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master's son.
45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.
46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.
47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, the daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.
48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.
49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
Can’t you just imagine the servant spilling out the whole story to them. He didn’t pause a moment until the whole thing was out. And this would have been the first Rebekah knew of being such a specific answer to prayer. Now all that was left was to wait for the answer from Rebekah and her family. Surely God wouldn’t have brought him this far without Rebekah being the chosen one! But would her family see it the same way?
50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.
51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken.
Who did Rebekah’s father and brother say was in control of the whole matter? They acknowledged that the Lord’s hand was in it. That must have brought such relief to the servant’s heart. To know that Abraham was right in sending him back to his family, knowing they still served the Lord, too.
52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.
53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.
54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.
The servant was excited by Rebekah’s family’s response, and anxious to return to his master. And Rebekah’s family members seemed genuinely happy for her. That left just one little detail to be settled – how did Rebekah feel about all that was happening? Would she be willing and ready to go so quickly?
55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.
56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.
58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
For Rebekah, there was no hesitation at all. Her family thought she’d want a few days before she would be ready to leave. But Rebekah saw no reason to wait, and was willing to leave the very next morning with Abraham’s servant. Surely the Lord had prepared her heart, as she was the very woman He had chosen to help Isaac carry on the blessing of the Hebrew nation.
59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men.
60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
The servant blessed Rebekah’s family with gifts from Abraham, in appreciation for their willingness to send their daughter to be Isaac’s wife. And Rebekah’s family blessed her as she willingly followed the servant back to Canaan. There was a long journey ahead. And at the end awaited a new life with a new family in a new country.
And Isaac was there to greet Rebekah as soon as she arrived. Perhaps he had been waiting and watching for days, hoping to see that the Lord had blessed Abraham’s servant with an answer to everyone’s prayer.
62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.
66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.
67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
God had indeed blessed the faithfulness of Abraham’s servant, and answered their prayers in a way that was probably far beyond what they could have imagined. That’s because God delights in meeting the needs of His children. He did so then; and He still does, today.
Have you had a time when you’ve known that God answered a prayer for you? If you are His child, God’s Word tells us that He wants us to ask Him for what we need. And that He will supply it. Do you remember our memory verse for today. Let’s say it one more time, together. (recite the verse with the children)
Yes, God considers those who have asked Him to forgive their sins as His children. But here’s another way He looks at us, too. Did you know that God considers the church, all those who are truly saved, as the Bride of Jesus? There are lots of places in the Bible that refer to Jesus as the Bridegroom and to those who are saved as His bride.
So the story of Isaac and Rebekah is also a picture of the relationship between us and Jesus. We, as Christians, are kind of like Rebekah, and Jesus is like Isaac. The Father (our Heavenly Father) sends His Servant (the Holy Spirit) to find a bride, those who will be saved, for the Son. Just like Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son. Isn’t that a great picture for us to better understand God’s plan for us.
The question for us, then, is the same one that was asked of Rebekah… are you willing? Are you willing to give your life to Jesus, and let Him be the one to forever take care of all your needs? If you haven’t said, “Yes!” to Him yet, why not do that today? He’s waiting and watching for you to come to Him, just like Isaac excitedly waited for Rebekah. Won’t you say “yes” today?!
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your Word, and for the lessons we have learned about the faith that Abraham and his servant had in You. We also thank you for Your promise to supply each and every need we have. We truly thank You for the love You have shown in sending Your Holy Spirit to call us to be Your children. If there’s anyone here today who has not said yes to that call, I pray that their hearts would do that even now. For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Activity: (Review Questions)
Fill in the Blanks
True or False
1. Abraham wanted to find a Canaanite wife for Isaac. (false – he sent his servant back to Mesopotamia to find one)
2. Abraham’s servant worshiped God when he learned that Rebekah was from Abraham’s family. (true)
3. While they were still at the well, Abraham revealed the reason for his visit. (false – he waited till he was able to speak with Rebekah’s father and brother)
4. Rebekah was willing to leave the very next morning to be Isaac’s wife. (true)
5. Isaac came out to meet the servant and Rebekah when they arrived back in Canaan. (true )