Getting Guidance from God

 April 27, 2003

Getting Guidance from God

Text: Then Isaac brought her into the tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Gen. 24:67).

 

Each day thousands of airplanes fill the skies all around the world. 

Guiding them so that they avoid accidents is a serious responsibility that is shared by air traffic controllers and pilots. 

Also, each plane has an intricate guidance system as well, that the pilots depend on.

In the book of Genesis we can read the story of how Abraham received guidance from God to obtain a wife for his son Isaac. 

We can examine this story to learn what steps Abraham, his servant, and Isaac took to obtain God’s guidance.

Then, we will see what we can do to get God’s guidance.

The scripture for our lesson is all sixty-seven verses of Genesis 24, but instead of reading it to you; I’ll just tell you the story of how Isaac got his wife.

Isaac’s father Abraham was now very old, and one day He said to the servant that was in charge of his household, “Promise me that you will get my son a wife, but don’t take her from the Canaanite girls who live around here.  Instead, go back to my home town and get him a wife from among my relatives.”

There is a reason why Abraham didn’t want his son to marry a local girl.

The local people worshipped idols, and he didn’t want Isaac to be influenced by a wife who worshipped false gods.

Then the servant asked, “What shall I do if this woman won’t return with me?” 

Abraham replied, “God will send His angel ahead of you to help, but if she refuses to return with you, you will be released from this oath.”  

Abraham is known as the man of faith and God has told him that he will have grandchildren. 

In fact He said, “You will be the father of a great nation.” 

So he is confident, and he doesn’t demand anything from God. 

He simply says to his servant, “If this doesn’t work out, then God has another way to work it out.”

The servant took ten of Abraham’s camels, loaded with gifts and left for the city of Nahor in Mesopotamia. 

He arrived at Nahor after a long journey. 

And they arrived at evening time, when the women come out to draw water. 

The first thing he did was to make the camels kneel down at the well outside the city. 

Then he prayed to God, “Lord God of my master Abraham, allow me to find a wife for his son today. Please show this kindness to my master Abraham.  Here I am, standing by the spring, and the girls from the city are coming out to get water.  I will say to one of them, ‘Please put your jar down so I can drink.’ Then let her say, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels.’ If that happens, I will know she is the right one for your servant Isaac and that you have shown kindness to my master.” 

While he was still praying, Rebekah, the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother came to draw water. 

The servant ran to her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

Rebekah said, “Drink, sir.”

And then she quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 

After he finished drinking, Rebekah said, “I will also pour some water for your camels.” 

So she quickly poured all the water from her jar into the drinking trough for the camels.

Then she kept running to the well until she had given all the camels enough to drink. 

The servant quietly watched her.

He wanted to be sure that she was the one that the Lord wanted him to pick. 

After the camels had finished drinking, he gave Rebekah a gold ring and two gold arm bracelets.

He asked her, “Who is your father? Is there a place in his house for me and my men to spend the night?” 

Rebekah answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Milcah and Nahor.” 

Then she said, “And, yes, we have straw for your camels and a place for you to spend the night. 

Her words filled him with joy, and the servant bowed and worshiped the Lord and said, “Blessed is the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. The Lord has been kind and truthful to him and has led me to my master’s relatives.” 

Then Rebekah ran and told her mother’s family about all these things. 

She had a brother named Laban, who had heard what she had said and had seen the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms.

So he ran out to the well, and there was the servant still standing by the camels. 

Laban said, “Sir, you are welcome to come in; you don’t have to stand outside. I have prepared the house for you and also a place for your camels.” 

So Abraham’s servant went into the house.

After Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and food, he gave water to Abraham’s servant, so he and the men with him could wash their feet. 

Then Laban gave the servant food, but the servant said, “I will not eat until I have told you why I came.”

So Laban said, “Then tell us.” 

He said, “I am Abraham’s servant.  The Lord has greatly blessed my master in everything, and he has become a rich man. The Lord has given him many flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, camels, and horses.  Sarah, my master’s wife, gave birth to a son when she was old, and my master has given everything he owns to that son.  My master had me make a promise to him and said, ‘Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls who live around here.  Instead, you must go to my father’s people and to my family. There you must get a wife for my son.”’ 

And from that point the servant told Laban everything that had happened to bring him to meet with Rebekah at the well; he even related his prayer and how God had identified Rebekah as his choice for Isaac’s wife. 

After hearing the story, Laban and Bethuel said, “This is clearly from the Lord, and we cannot change what must happen.  Rebekah is yours. Take her and go. Let her marry your master’s son as the Lord has commanded.” 

When Abraham’s servant heard these words, he bowed facedown on the ground before the Lord. 

Then he gave Rebekah gold and silver jewelry and clothes.

He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and mother. 

The servant and the men with him ate and drank and spent the night there.

When they got up the next morning, the servant said, “Now let me go back to my master.” 

The family blessed Rebekah and said, “Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of people, and may your descendants capture the cities of their enemies.” 

Then Rebekah and her servant girls got on the camels and followed the servant and his men. 

While this was happening, Isaac was living in southern Canaan. 

One evening when he went out to the field to think, he looked up and saw camels coming. 

Rebekah also looked and saw Isaac.

Then she jumped down from the camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?”

The servant answered, “That is my master.”

So Rebekah covered her face with her veil.  

The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 

Then Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of Sarah, his mother, and she became his wife.

Isaac loved her very much, and so he was comforted after his mother’s death.

I believe that here in Isaac’s love for Rebekah that we have a picture of Christ’s love for His church; and there are some similarities between the two.

Isaac loved Rebekah-Christ loved the church and gave Himself for His church. 

Isaac was comforted at his mother’s death. 

And Christ gains a great deal in our salvation. 

He wants us; He longs for us. 

Oh how I wish that you and I might be faithful to Him!

Now I think that in this story we are given here a very interesting account of how Isaac got his wife; it is certainly different than how we do it today.

God was at work throughout the story guiding Abraham, his servant, Rebekah, and Isaac.

But I believe that the story has something to teach us about how we can obtain God’s guidance for our lives. 

In this story, we can find four principles which we can apply as we seek to get guidance from God.

The first thing that we must do is to “determine to follow God’s will.”

Isaac was confident that God wanted a wife for him. 

And he believed that she would share his faith and that they would be in agreement in their determination to follow God. 

He knew the marriage would work best if she was from a similar family background. 

Therefore, Abraham sent a servant back to his home in Mesopotamia to find a woman who fit the profile.

If we want to receive God’s guidance, we must be willing to do His will. 

We can know His will through His word, and through the Holy Spirit, and through prayer.

Then, when we act to do His will, and pray, “Thy will be done,” He will bless us and the Holy Spirit will help us.

We cannot follow God’s will when we have determined within ourselves to do what we please. 

If we refuse to yield our will to the will of God, we cannot find the guidance we are seeking. 

But Isaac was willing to do God’s will.

The second thing we must do to obtain God’s guidance is to “Use our rational powers.”

The servant used his rational powers to find the right woman. 

But how did he decide who to pick? 

Well, he is a man, and he is going to pick the best looking woman who comes out. 

And you can be sure of one thing-Rebekah was a good looking woman. 

Remember, God is Creator; He creates beautiful flowers and beautiful sunsets, and He makes women beautiful too, and there is nothing wrong with that.   

When he picked Rebekah, it was not a matter of chance, for he asked God to help. 

And with God’s help, he made use of his rational powers. 

With Abraham’s instructions, the servant took ten camels and all kinds of choice gifts and set out. 

He reached the city of Nahor late in the afternoon when the women came to the well for water. 

The servant then reasoned, “Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water.  And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I prey thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master” (Gen. 24:13-14). 

The servant understood that Isaac needed a self-sufficient and friendly woman for his wife. 

He used his reasoning to determine the best place to find the women of the city; and he used it to formulate a plan for picking the right woman.

God has created us to be rational beings, and He wants us to use our minds, and as much as possible, to keep them tuned to the things of God.

The third thing to do when seeking God’s guidance is to "pray about the matter."

Isaac’s servant prayed for the right woman for his master. 

“And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham” (Gen. 24:12). 

The servant believed in the power of prayer. 

If he wanted light from the Lord, he had to look in that direction.

Prayer is one of the best means of receiving God’s guidance. 

And we know from the gospels that Jesus continually searched for God’s will through prayer. 

One example is Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

He was honest with God and he told Him He wanted to follow some way other than crucifixion. 

Three times He asked God to remove the cup, yet He was reaching the place of submission. 

Finally, he said, “My Father, if this cup may not pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.” 

We know therefore, that Jesus used prayer to arrive at the right decisions.

We can use prayer to reach out to God, and so often He will reveal his will to us when we are praying with the right attitude and the proper motives.

The forth and final thing to do when seeking God’s guidance is to “wait on the Lord.”

The servant of Abraham waited on the Lord. 

“And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not” (Gen. 24:21). 

Rebekah came to the well to draw water. 

After she had done so, she offered the servant some water. 

“And she said, ‘Drink my lord’: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand.   And gave him drink.  And when she had done giving him drink, she said, ‘I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking’” (Gen. 24:18-19). 

Rebekah offered both the servant and his camel’s water. 

Remember, that there were ten camels, and I do not know how long it had been since they had filled their tanks. 

It was just like filling the radiator of a car to fill up those camels. 

Without doubt this action was an immediate answer to the servant’s prayer. 

Yet he did not want to act hastily.  

Instead, he stands there in amazement, wondering whether this is it, whether God is leading or not-but he believes He is. 

While Rebekah went for more water, he waited for the feeling of certainty. 

If God can lead in the life of these folks, he can lead in our lives as well. 

In getting guidance from God we must respond to His leadership with good sense. 

God guides deliberately. 

He does not lead recklessly. 

Therefore, we need to be careful not to make quick decisions. 

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31).

Are you trying to go through life directing yourself? 

This path will lead to frustration and ultimately to disaster because you don’t know where you are going. 

You need to follow God’s guidance. 

Make up your mind to follow His will, use your rational powers, pray about the matter, and wait on the Lord.

There is something else here that we don’t want to miss, and that is that Rebekah had a decision to make.

Her family would not force her to go with the servant.

She could stay, or she could choose a new life, and that required faith, because she didn’t know anything about her new home or new life. 

Everyone must make a similar decision.

We must choose between a life without God and a new life with God.

It’s a decision made by faith alone. 

Rebekah followed the servant to her new home.

But we must follow Jesus.

We can follow our Savior all the way to our heavenly home.

If you have never made the decision to make Jesus your Savior, I hope that you would pray to Him.

Tell Him that you are sorry for your sins; ask for forgiveness; and ask Him to save you.

He will not turn you away.

Amen.

Do you have any questions or comments?

 There are 5 websites by this author:

http://harmonyofthegospels.yolasite.com (Life of Christ)

http://teachingsermonsforpastorsandlaymen.yolasite.com (sermons)

http://theepistlesofpaul.yolasite.com (Titus and Jude)

http://paulsepistletotheromans.yolasite.com (Romans)

http://theperiodofthejudges.yolasite.com (Judges)

Please review them and use them as the Lord leads you.

May God bless His precious word!!

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