The Marriage of Isaac

Key Verse: “Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
—Genesis 24:67, English Standard Version

Selected Scripture:
Genesis 24:1-20,58-67

THE BOND BETWEEN Sarah and her beloved son Isaac must have been very deep. Isaac’s name means laughter, and doubtless he brought Sarah much joy, laughter, and satisfaction in her old age. The loss of loved ones is difficult for all of us; sometimes the grief is especially intense. That must have been the case with Isaac when his mother died. Sarah had been his arch-defender against the intimidations and mocking threats of Ishmael. (Gen. 21:9,10) For thirty-six years he had the sweet fellowship and guidance of his mother.

Our Key Verse alludes to the depth of Isaac’s sorrow. He grieved for nearly four years. It was only upon the arrival of his wife Rebekah from Mesopotamia, that he was comforted from his loss. In their marriage, God made a picture of the coming marriage of Christ and his church. As the Apostle Paul noted, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (II Cor. 11:2, ESV) In another place, Paul identifies one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. The union in marriage of a man and woman—in our lesson’s context, Isaac and Rebekah—is a figure of the coming marriage of Christ and his church.

“The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. … Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. … This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”—Eph. 5:23-32, ESV

The marriage of Christ, the Lamb, and his Bride, the church, is highly anticipated. It will be a joyous occasion. “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true words of God.”—Rev. 19:7-9, ESV

Marvelous blessings will flow out from this holy union. It is customary for a groom and his bride to give away some small favor as a memento of their wedding. Christ, the spiritual Bridegroom, and his Bride will give an exceedingly valuable gift to all in remembrance of the purpose of their union. “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let the one who hears say, Come. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Rev. 22:17, ESV) This gift will be the offer of the water of life—eternal life—freely to all mankind.