Genesis 24:1-9

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.”


The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.”


So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.  Genesis 24:1-9


I missed a couple of days of devotions last week because I was away from the computer tending to some family needs.  We finished four weeks of listening to the stories of Abraham and Sarah in worship in August.  Now it is September, a new month, a new week of work…but I can’t leave Abraham alone. 


Today we find that Abraham, who has been old since we first met him, is now nearing his end.  But he still has business to take care of.  His son has not yet married and Abraham is clear that passing on his legacy requires children.  So he begins making arrangements.  Thus opens a fascinating chapter in ancient match-making.


I find the idea of arranged marriage fascinating.  I have only known one person whose parents arranged a marriage for him.  He flew from Houston to spend two weeks with his potential wife and her family.  They didn’t have a moment alone while they were together.  They agreed to the marriage and it happened.  The last I heard, it has turned out quite well.


I have known many American couples who married very quickly.  I’ll never forget the story of Carl and Margie Wetzel.  They met on a Florida beach.  She was on vacation, had just gotten in her car to leave the beach, when Carl came out of the water.  She put the car in reverse and backed up to the sand, getting out of the car and making sure to get Carl’s attention.  She had no idea who he was but she liked what she saw.  He was in the military, preparing to get shipped out.  They spent a few days together. Margie drove home to Indiana to announce to her parents her plans for getting married.  Two weeks later she was back in Florida getting married to Carl.  Thus began 60 years of marriage.


Yesterday, between games at a softball tournament, I spent time with a Jewish couple.  The wife was a bit intrigued about the whole Lutheran thing which ultimately took us to talking about the question of “inter-marriage” and how various faith groups respond to the diversity of modern life.  It is interesting that such questions usually come down to a conversation around “what about the children.”


Marriage matters.  It always has.  Much is at stake.  Much has always been at stake.  So Abraham sends his servant back “to the old country” to find a wife for his son.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of marriage, for the coming together of two people, two families, two histories.  Thank you for the gifts of family, children and grandchildren.  Thank you for the signs of your love that we see as people weave their lives together.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.   


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