Last week, the day after our wonder-full, snowy day, I was scrolling through Instagram and sawa picture of one of my daughter’s friends, who was throwing a handful of snow in the air, added
“Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers.”
The kindness of God covered a small group of people about 4000 years ago and here’s their names and a little bit about them:
• Eliezer was Abraham’s head-honcho servant because he trusted Eliezer the most. So much, that if Abraham had never had a son, Eliezer would become his heir. They had a good relationship due to years of being together and the promises they gave each other were honest and sincere.
• Isaac was Abraham’s son
• Rebekah was a young woman who would become Isaac’s wife
• Laban was Rebekah’s brother who spent some time with Eliezer.
God made sure this happening made it into His Book, the Bible, to use as a teaching moment for generations to follow and I think one of the main lessons is about kindness – simple and sincere acts of kindness.
Here’s a summary of Genesis 24, but I suggest going and reading all of it after reading this. Abraham wanted to find his God-given son, Isaac, a wonderful wife, so he asked Eliezer to assist him with this endeavor. Abraham was very serious about Isaac having a godly wife, so he was serious when he had Eliezer give an oath to do as he asked. Eliezer didn’t give this oath begrudgingly because Abraham had always been kind to him and he wanted to return the kindness. To promise Abraham that he’d do his best, Eliezer put his hand underneath Abraham’s thigh and swore he would. Yes, I think it’s kind of strange, but maybe they’d think us shaking hands as an agreement is odd.
So on a camel, Eliezer took off to find a wife for Isaac with 10 other camels and servants to assist him. When they arrived at the town of Nahor, he had the camels kneel down near the well, where women came to gather water.
Eliezer was not only Abraham’s servant, but he was also a man devoted to God. Just in the one chapter of Genesis, he praised God and prayed several times. He prayed to God before he made any actions. He asked for God to direct him in this endeavor and that God would receive the glory for whatever happened. He prayed, “Oh Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” (24:12) In that prayer alone, it shows the kindness he had in his heart praying for Abraham and his family. God returned his kindness by answering Eliezer’s specific prayer.
Before Eliezer finished praying, he saw a young woman (Rebekah) at the spring and when she finished filling her jar with water, Eliezer asked her if he could have a small drink of her water. With kindness in her voice she said, “Yes, lord…and I’ll also get water for your camels”. Now let’s do the math. There were ten camels. One camel often drinks up to 20 gallons at one time. Now multiply that by 10. That would add up to be at least an hour of hard work. She didn’t have to offer that kindness but she did.
The kindness of God, Eliezer and Rebekah flowed out like water pouring from a jar into the mouths of thirsty men and camels.
Eliezer had no idea she would offer them water as well. But he offered her jewelry and asked her if her family had room for him to stay the night. She said there was plenty of space and he of course could come and stay. Before he took the first step to follow her, he prayed and praised God for answering his prayer. “Praise to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness…as for me the Lord has led me on the journey here.” He gave God all the credit.
Once arriving, Eliezer met Rebekah’s family, including her brother Laban who loved his sister. Kindness must be in their blood because he invited Eliezer to stay the night, provided a place for the camels to rest and water for the other servants who traveled with Eliezer to wash their feet. Laban then fed all of them. He opened his home as a place to stay the night and fed a bunch of strangers. That, my friends, is an act of kindness. As they ate, Eliezer just had to tell them how God was so good and answered his prayers and how all of this fell into place because of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
The next day Eliezer was ready to head back to Issac and Abraham, but Rebekah’s family wanted her to wait for ten days before she left. Eliezer was persistent saying he really wanted to leave that day. Rebekah replied to everyone, “I will go.”
One of the most remarkable things about Rebekah is her total willingness to leave all to be with a bridegroom she has never seen. Her words “I will go” are worthy words of faith. Haven’t we also heard many others in God’s Word who have said those same words? I think Jesus has the desire for us to say that to Him, too.
At the end of this holy encounter, Eliezer and Rebekah arrived close to home, and Isaac, who was meditating out in a field, saw them approaching in the distance. His heart skipped a beat and with excitement imagined what she looked like and wondered if she would love him. But he trusted the Lord because He was good to his father Abraham, and had faith that God would bless him, too. I can see Rebekah, with a veil over her face, gracefully being lowered off the camel with a humble smile on her face as they saw each other for the first time. I like to think that they fell in love at first sight. The got married and Scripture says, “Isaac loved her.”
So what are we to take from that? Most of us don’t ride on camels for transportation, have servants who live in our house and manage it, or get married a few days after you meet someone.
For me, it’s been a lesson about kindness. It’s about being humble to our authority and to others. It’s about the kindness of the Lord who bestows blessings on those who praise Him and give Him the glory for all things. It’s about the kindness of being respectful and kind to strangers. It’s about being sincere and selfless instead of selfish. And kindness and love are a match made in heaven. Kindness IS a beautiful thing.