Expert Advice

Listening to other points of view can change everything.

Genesis 24:50-55 (ESV)

Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the LORD has spoken.”

When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the earth before the LORD. And the servant brought out jewelry of silver and of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave to her brother and to her mother costly ornaments. And he and the men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.” Her brother and her mother said, “Let the young woman remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.”

Rebekah’s brother and father are convinced – and for the right reason. They specifically say that since this is from the LORD, “we cannot speak to you bad or good.” They are humble enough to know that what they think isn’t even worth mentioning.

This is more than a charming turn of a phrase. Would you send away your beautiful daughter or sister with a stranger so easily? She’s going to be over 500 miles away. That’s a humongous camel ride. Laban may never see her again. For Bethuel, this is surely a final good-bye.

And so, not surprisingly, they’d like to spend a few final days with Rebekah before she goes. They may also have some lingering doubts about this transaction. Ten days would give them time to think it over.

But notice that they say, “at least ten days.” They’re not promising when “a while” will end. Last night they said, “Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the LORD has spoken.” Now they’re saying, “Let the young woman remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.

But notice something else. Last night, it was Laban and Bethuel who said Rebekah could go. Today, it’s Laban and momma who want more time.

The action is about to take an interesting turn – the women take over.


While Rebekah will still end up leaving soon, this momentum stopper is an example of an important principle. When everything is going right, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and overvalue your sense of God’s will. When someone comes along and says, “time out,” (such as momma does here) that’s a signal to pay attention.

The book of Proverbs defines wisdom as heeding the council of others. When someone wise chooses to weigh in, ignoring them is foolishness (another definition from Proverbs).

No matter how sure you feel, snap decisions are reckless. Take your time and seek expert council.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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