We start with the death of Sarah, and end with the deaths of Abraham and Ishmael. The main part of this parashah is how God led Eliezer to find Rivkah (Rebekah) for Yitzchak (Isaac) and we already get to see in Laban’s actions his treachery and greediness. He was attracted to the gold given to Rivkah, and he spoke in place of his father, even to allowing Rivkah to leave with Eliezer. Later we will see Laban’s greediness and treachery against Jacob, as he tricks Jacob into marrying Leah before Rachel, then changes the conditions of the bride price, over and over, for fourteen years.
This parashah also shows us that God will intervene in our lives, leading us to the proper people or places, when we ask Him to do so. It also shows how we still need to be cautious: Eliezer definitely showed faithfulness but still made sure he fulfilled his quest before partaking of food and rest. Even though it seemed pretty obvious that God had led him to the right place, he made sure. Not as a test of God, or as a lack of faith, but simply to make sure Rebekah was the one that God was leading him to find.
The enemy will intervene in our lives, also, and although he can’t overcome God’s will, he can certainly interfere with our will. Remember Eve? So when we faithfully ask God for guidance, and even when we are open to His leading us (through the Ruach HaKodesh, or Holy Spirit), we still need to be aware and alert.
In Matthew 10:16 Yeshua tells His Talmudim (Disciples) that He is sending them out and they should,”Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” We may be led by the Spirit, and even while we pray to God for help and guidance, the enemy is out there: just like the coyote in the Road Runner cartoons, trying to trap us and changing road signs. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes, but gentle as doves- watch for treachery and be alert for detours that don’t seem to make sense.
It’s like I tell people day after day when we talk about cyber-security: if it looks even a little “off”, don’t trust it. If you are receiving an email from a bank telling you your account has been accessed, they don’t send it to “Dear Sir or Madam”, or “Dear Account Holder”. Think about it for a second- if you are being told that your account is in jeopardy, why don’t they address you by your name? After all, if they know your account, they should know your name, right?
Are you wondering,”If it seems to be so simple, why are people constantly hacked?” I’ll tell you why: it’s because they are too lazy to think. That’s really what it comes down to- those people who are the victims of a scam or who have their computers hacked into are almost always a victim because they allowed it to happen. They aren’t just “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The reason they were hacked is because they clicked on the link, they opened the attachment, they did what the bad guys wanted them to do. And because they didn’t take the time to think about what they were doing, about what they were reading, or even about why they got this message, they trapped themselves.
Faith is not ignorance, belief is not blind, and being careful is not distrusting God. God is there helping you, especially when you ask Him to do so. And the enemy of God is out there, too, waiting for someone who mistakes faith for irresponsibility. That’s right- irresponsibility! If you ask God for anything, you are responsible to seek out His answer for you. Our God is a God of action, not a God of sitting around waiting for it to happen. When you pray for something, act like you have already received it, and when you think you have it, make sure it is what you asked for. That’s faithfulness.
Eliezer asked God to lead him to the right wife for Yitzchak. God did, and Eliezer made double-sure that Rivkah was the one by retelling the story (notice there is a slight difference in how he tells it to Laban and the family, stressing how God is choosing Rivkah) and seeing if she was willing to go with him right away. No waiting around, no taking his time. Eliezer didn’t think, “Well, that’s that. I’m off the hook, they have a lot of food and drink, and I can have a little time to myself now.” He did what he was supposed to do, he verified that this was what God led him to, and he got back to where he belonged. Given the way Laban treated Jacob (which we will read about in the next few parashot), I wonder what would have happened if Eliezer had allowed Rebekah to stay there for another 10 days. Would it have turned to 20 days? Would it have been until all the goods and gifts Eliezer had with him had been expended? Who knows? One of the most valuable lessons you can learn when interpreting the Bible is that you cannot make an argument out of nothing. But, still…it’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?
Pray to God for guidance, for help, for healing, whatever- and make sure you seek it out. Just as Yeshua tells us in Mark 11:24, “Therefore, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours”; walk in faith, but stay alert for the enemy’s trickery to detour you away from your true destination.
Being faithful doesn’t mean being stupid; it means being wise, being alert, and being responsible. Trust in God, but still… watch where you step.