Mothers. They are the first people any of us ever come into contact with. To say that mothers are vital to our existence is as obvious as the noses on our faces. The care and nurture that has come from good mothering is incalculable in its value.
But we don’t need a mother anymore. That is to say we don’t need a mother in the sense that Abraham and Isaac did. In Genesis 24 there is a crisis: without a wife for Isaac there is no mother to continue Abraham’s line. If there is no continuation of Abraham’s line, then there is no Jesus Christ (see the Gospel according to Matthew 1:1). If there is no Jesus Christ, then all that is wrong in the world will not be made right again. We needed a mother, and we needed one badly. Through an unequivocal governing of events, Rebekah was singled out by the LORD to be the next mother of Israel. For over a millennium, countless mothers in Israel continued to bear the seed of Abraham until the last mother conceived: Mary. Although both Rebekah and Mary were virgins, Mary contrasts with Rebekah in an important way. Mary remained a virgin and yet conceived – another unequivocal governing of events by the LORD to bring about his kind promises of renewal. The child in her womb would grow to the One: Jesus Christ the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham (see Galatians 3:10-14).
So, the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises to Abraham required a mother. But they don’t anymore. We don’t need a mother because we do have a brother: Jesus Christ. Our brother Jesus Christ was sent by our Father to die and rise from the dead so we could be adopted into his family through the Comforter, the Spirit of Adoption (see Romans 8:15). So the first thing Genesis 24 teaches us is that we should grow in joy because we have a loving Brother, and a providing Father, and a Comforter through God’s provision of countless mothers.
Yet the covenant promises of God continue to play out. We await the return of Jesus Christ by actively expanding the boundaries of the kingdom of God through all nations in every sphere of society. We are called to be witnesses to this great work of God in every relationship and role that we find ourselves in. So the covenant people of God need mothers now more than ever. The Church needs video game inventors, soccer coaches, grandfathers, woodworkers and engineers. Christ’s family needs sisters, politicians, jackhammer workers and poets. By the help of the Spirit of Christ, we need every person giving everything to this great and good work of God.
Questions for Conversation
- Read Genesis 24
o Why would you assert that this story is not primarily about whether every woman should wear nose rings? Give evidence.
o Why would you say that this scene is not primarily about how Christians are supposed to find wives? Give reasons.
o Why would you claim that this passage is not primarily about how to obtain information about the will of God today? Substantiate the claim. (Hint: remember that revelation is historically progressive in the Bible).
- What relationships are you most passionate about in life? What roles do you find yourself that energize you?
- Tell your conversation partner(s) a story about that relates to that relationship or role. (for example: I am passionate about being a godly father and recently my son and I went to a great baseball game. Here’s what happened…).
- Now tell how you think God would have you like out that role in the future. (for example: my long distance friend and I swap dozens of books and discuss via Skype how they are truly helping us love God and emotionally connect with our wives. Meanwhile I also buy my wife a nose-ring in order to honor Rebekah’s mothering of Israel.)