Some very important concepts are often hidden in the mundane lists of names provided in the text of the Bible. Unfortunately, many times when we arrive at a list of names, we note mentally that people had children and then skip down to the more important narrative text. One example of this is when we read about Rebekah, Isaac's wife. Most Bible believers are familiar with Rebekah, beginning with Genesis 24, and the story of Abraham's servant traveling back to the land of Abraham's relatives, which you can read about in my blog from last week. (Please insert link from last week's blog).
However, Genesis 24 is not when we first are introduced to Rebekah. The first mention of Rebekah is found in Genesis chapter 22:23: "Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milkah gave birth to these eight to Nahor, Abraham's brother."
Why is this notation of the birth of Rebekah so important? Let's look at two reasons.
First, as we read the text in Genesis 22, we read about Abraham's willingness to obey G-D to the fullest extent possible by being willing to offer Isaac, his only son. We read about the substitutionary ram provided by G-D, an extremely powerful and emotional section of Scripture. I believe that it is because of the powerful emotions evoked by the offering of Isaac that when we read the names at the end of the chapter, we don't pay close attention, and we miss an amazing concept about G-D's answers to prayer and promises.
It is after Abraham comes back from Mount Moriah that he is notified that Rebekah had been born. There is no indication that Abraham knew at this point that Rebekah was to become Isaac's bride, nor is there any indication that when Abraham's servant got to the well that he knew to look for Rebekah. So, from the text, it appears to simply be a family update. However, what it does tell us reading the story is that long before Abraham was asked to bring Isaac up the mountain, and long before Abraham's servant made the covenant promise to Abraham, long before the servant's prayer by the well, the answer to the prayer had been born. In other words, the covenant promise made by G-D to Abraham was never in question of being fulfilled because G-D had already long before provided Isaac a bride who would eventually bring for Jacob who would become Israel. So, hidden within a brief list of names too often overlooked is the promise of promise fulfilled.
Second, as we read the list of names, we find that Bethuel, Rebekah's father, was the eighth child born to Abraham's brother, Nahor. We know that in the Bible, the number eight has to do with new beginnings, and Rebekah the daughter of the eighth son becomes the mother of a new nation, Israel.
Both of these two hidden blessings within the text are too often missed because they are hidden in the middle of other seemingly more important events. Just as too often we miss out on the amazing things G-D performs in our lives because they are located in the midst of other major events. But, if we slow down when we read Scripture and when we look at our lives, we will see all the other amazing promises G-D has written in the story of our lives.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry and #Man Wisdom: With Eric Tokajer.