We left Rebecca having just watered the camels and having received a token of gifts from Eliezer, a type of the Holy Spirit.
The name Rebecca means a coil of rope (used in a trap) or "tie up, snare, join (by trap)." Rebecca in Hebrew is 'Rivka', and some Hassidic writers note the name for 'teams of cattle' is 'Rivkah', which differs only in the 'h' at the end. They suggest her names implies in character and strength she is like a team of oxen.
But she is a type of the church. We are indeed bound, trapped to this fallen world until we go to our groom. The name 'Isaac' means 'laughter', and we can imagine the rejoicing the Lord will do when we who have been snared and bound by this world join Him in our Father's house - but that is yet future, for us and for where we are in our story, for Rebecca.
Enter Laban...greedy from his introduction in Genesis 24: 29-30:
"And Rebecca had a brother, and his name was Laban. And it came to pass when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebecca his sister, saying, 'This is how he spoke to me', that he came to the man, who was still standing besides the camels at the well."
There is an interesting play on words here that doesn't come across in any language other than Hebrew.
The word 'laban' is in Hebrew spelled 'LaVan' (la-vahn), and means 'white'. For such a devious fellow that would seem strange on first glance, for white stands for righteousness and purity. Laban was none of those things, in fact he was the opposite. Some rabbinical writers bring out if you read his name in reverse it is 'NaVal', it means 'villain' or 'fool'. That exactly describes him, appearing to be righteous, but is in fact a villain. He is the opposite of what he appears.
This man who deceived Jacob and enslaved him for 20 years, and who prospered because of the blessings on Jacob's life, compares to so many so-called Christians today...we each have our own story with immoral or unethical Christian's who have taken advantage of us, so I'll leave it to you to understand the wisdom and types in the story.
Laban saw Eliezer (the Holy Spirit) as a means to get rich, to use him as a sort of pipeline to wealth for his personal enrichment. He had ulterior motives for receiving Eliezer while saying in the next verse: "Come in you blessed of the Lord. Why are you still standing here? I've prepared room for you and your camels!"
It says Eliezer 'came into the house'. If Eliezer is a type of the Holy Spirit, then entering the house of Laban is like Laban being born again, having the Holy Spirit 'in his house'. But he is not a man of honor or integrity. He is a 'believer' in this parable, but he is using the Lord for his own personal gain and motives.
I find it fascinating that in 24: 34-49 once in the house, Eliezer shares his heart, his purpose, his motives for entering 'the house' - a type of the Holy Spirit in our spirit, sharing His plans, motives, and thoughts for us and our future. Are we like Laban or Rebecca? What do we do with those revealed plans? Try to use God for our personal benefit, or submit to His plan for us, things we know in our 'house', our spirit?
Rebecca's free will involved - it is up to her
After Eliezer shares his story and reason for coming, and after her father and brother agree to let her go, v53 tells us:
"(Abraham's servant Eliezer) brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing and gave them to Rebecca; He gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things."
Notice when the Holy Spirit enters your 'house' - literal house or just your spirit - all around you are blessed. In this case it was not only Rebecca, but her brother and mother too. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 7: 14 that an unbelieving spouse and children are 'sanctified' (set aside for the Lord) because the other spouse is a believer.
That is what we see here - because of Rebecca her whole household is blessed.
She is called in v57 by her father and brother to see if she wants to go. It is totally up to her. This is no spineless young lady submitting to others. Her personal boundaries that she has lived by, not only a virgin but not having known any man, keeping them at arm's length until she finds Mr. Right, is well established with her brother and father. They know it is her decision, not theirs.
I would guess being a woman of strong will and action, and with a brother like Laban, much of her boundary keeping was for self preservation and protection. She longs to get out. She wants a husband. And they know it is her choice.
What a picture of a mature believer. Knowing what we want, having boundaries, integrity, but not unwise in the ways of the world and the wiles of the enemy, or the deceit of others. Perhaps it is in part the recognition of her strength that after she agrees to return with Eliezer, they blessed Rebecca saying:
"You are our sister, and may you become a mother of thousands of millions, and let your seed (offspring/descendants) possess the gate of those who hate them."
She was just the woman to make sure the right son received the inheritance, as she looked forward to being that mother of 'thousands of millions' - and she wasn't going to let that divine blessing and 'marching orders' fall by the wayside!
We will conclude next week...as we see the groom came part way to meet her, but she came 'up' to meet him. Types and shadows abound, until then, blessings,
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