February 11, 2020
Genesis 25:19-23 (NIV)
10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.
12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
Abraham’s servant had his work cut out for him. The pressure was on; find the perfect wife for Isaac. This likely made weeding the garden look like fun! He doesn’t devise a strategic plan. He doesn’t make a checklist. He asks the Lord for a confirming sign.
14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
It was not a random sign, like a woman in a red dress. It was a bit of an exceptional sign. He’s looking for a woman of extraordinary character—one who would take the rest of her night to serve a complete stranger in a very strenuous fashion, i.e. watering ten camels.
And what do you know—it happened—just as he asked. The text is careful to point out, Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. (v.15).
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.
There are two kinds of people when it comes to asking for signs: Unbelievers and believers. When the unbeliever asks for a sign they want proof. The believer asks for a sign as confirmation. The Pharisees and Sadducees approached Jesus for a sign that would prove his identity. He said, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but none will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4).
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
There is no end to the penchant of people to want to nail everything down; to make strategic plans and to hold fast to them. However, it is the Lord who directs our steps. Abraham’s servant set a pretty high bar confirmation in this instance. It came to pass exactly as he asked and yet he still sought discernment. Did you catch this last line?
Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
In the final analysis, I see three things at constant interplay in our lives. 1. The Will of God. 2. The plans of people. 3. Our ever changing circumstances. We ask for God’s will to be done. We discern our plans as best we can to do the will of God. Stuff happens and we learn to trust God in the midst of it. The dynamic playing field of our lives with circumstances that change at least as quickly as the weather require vigilance and atunement to the Lord’s ongoing guidance and direction. We often find ourselves in need of confirmation. The signs can seem silly and even absurd at times. Just know, God sees you, and his ability to guide you far exceeds your ability to read the signs. That said, don’t be afraid or hesitant to ask for confirming signs.
People like Abraham’s servant who say such things are themselves a sign to us.
Father, I don’t want to be a person who constantly needs proof. I do acknowledge I regularly need confirming signs of your will and direction in my life. Show me how this works. Give me the freedom to experiment in small ways that have less consequence so that when big things come along I will have a better sense of how your confirmations work. Mostly, I want to say I trust your will and I want to be the kind of person in whom you can trust my plans. And I want to be the kind of person who always trusts you in the ever changing circumstances. Come Holy Spirit, and train me be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
How do you understand the interplay between God’s will, our plans, and the ever-changing circumstances in our lives? How has the Lord worked to give you confirmations along the way?
For the Awakening,