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Genesis Chapter 24 - Providence - Part 2
Last week we covered verses 1-9, now join us as we continue with verse 10 of chapter 24:
Vs. 10-14 - “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.
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.
Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 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.”
Isn’t it interesting how this guy is being led? That, first of all, the first step in being led by the Lord is an honoring of the Word of God. There is a recognition of the Word of God.
Abraham, in vs. 7 - “This is the Word of God, this is the promise of God, the promise of God is that Isaac is going to be the one through whom my seed is going to come.”
Note that this servant here is the first person described in Scripture as asking for divine guidance at a critical juncture. What is remarkable is that in keeping with this passage’s emphasis on providence, the servant did not ask for a miraculous sign from God.
Rather, he sought guidance in the regular way in the ordinary events of life. Nahum Sarna says this: “Nothing is more characteristic of biblical man than a profound and pervasive conviction about the role of divine Providence in everyday human affairs. It should be noted that the servant does not ask for a miraculous divine intervention or for a revelation that would designate Isaac’s bride-to-be. He prays, rather, that the rational criteria of suitability that he himself determines might be in accordance with God’s will and be effective.”
Couple things about this prayer. This guy seems like he’s kinda stacking the deck against himself, doesn’t it? He’s saying here - I’m going to say to some woman that I want a drink. And she’s going to take the pitcher off her shoulder and she’s gonna say - Sure, have a drink. And then she’s gonna say - let me go ahead and give a drink to all your camels as well...”
It’s one thing to offer a drink to a human being, quite another to offer a drink to camels! On the average a camel drinks about 20 gallons of water when they’re not thirsty! How many camels does this guy have with him? 10!! Your talking about potentially 200 gallons of water! That, and the fact that these ancient wells were large deep holes with steps leading down to the spring water - and each bucket held about 3 gallons of water. This meant that Rebekah made about 80-100 trips down into the well!!
So he’s asking the Lord to move in the heart of this young woman to do a whole lot of labor, commit a whole lot of time, and really give herself to this project! He’s maybe trying to establish the character of this potential bride?
Picking it up in Vs. 15, Notice this dude’s not even finished with his prayer and the Lord’s already on the move! Watch this:
Vs 15-20 - “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. 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.
The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
“Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 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.
Now here’s this guy, his prayer is EXACTLY answered, yet - Vs. 21 - “Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.” Yet he’s wondering!!! But we’ll get to that.
Now remember, he doesn’t know how many women he’s going to have to approach, he’s probably thinking he’s going to have to drink ALOT of water. But notice before he even finishes his prayer, the Lord brings Rebekah, and of course Christ says what? The Father knows what you need before you ask,” right?!
The Lord answers his prayer before he was even done, and no doubt, some of that is because of the manner in which he’s praying: IN the the will of God, he’s praying not for himself, but his master’s success.
Also interesting, however, having said that, vs. 21: “Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.”
The Lord answers our prayers exactly as we’ve laid them out, and we just sorta stand there in amazement or unbelief!
Vs. 22-27 - When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.” And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder,as well as room for you to spend the night.”
Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
So Rebekah seems to be a real keeper, and think that speaks volumes to the character of a person when they just go beyond themselves in order to meet your needs and take a genuine interest in putting themselves out for others.
I think vs. 27 is such a key verse in being led by the Lord. Being “in the way” the Lord led me!
So when I got up and I got going, when I was obedient to what my master had told me what I had to do, when I was moving, that’s when the Lord was really leading. God doesn’t drive parked cars! When I was up and moving, that’s when He was really leading.
Join us next week for the conclusion to this text. Blessings to you all.