Summary: An Expository Message on Genesis 24:1-14 on How God Will Guide Believers Into His Perfect Will
Genesis Series #47 May 19, 2002
Title: Four Principles For Receiving God’s Guidance
Welcome to New life in Christ. Today we continue with message #47 in our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Genesis.
Read Genesis 24:1-63
Illustration: A flight attendant spent a week’s vacation in the Rockies. She was captivated by the mountain peaks, the clear blue skies, and the sweet smelling pines. But she also was charmed by a very eligible bachelor who owned and operated a cattle ranch and lived in a log cabin. At the end of this week, Mr. Wonderful proposed. But it had all happened so quickly that the woman decided to return home and to her job, feeling that she would somehow be guided to make the right decision. The next day, in flight, she found herself wondering what to do. To perk up, she stopped in the rest room and splashed some cool water on her face. There was some turbulence and a signin the rest room lit up: PLEASE RETURN TO THE CABIN. She did--to the cabin back in the mountains (Reader’s Digest [1/81], p. 118)
This story does not demonstrate the best way to make decisions in life, but this story does reveal a common dilemma that many people, including Christians, often face. The dilemma I am referring to is the problem of being sure that God is guiding us. In other words, how can you and I be certain that we are in God’s will and that the decisions we are making are the right ones?
This is an important subject for all of us since we all must make important decisions. We all must take various courses of actions and we desire an assurance that God is directing our paths. How can we sure of that divine guidance and direction? This passage in Genesis 24 deals with this subject and problem.
In this chapter we not only see God providing guidance to His people in an important matter but we also see the conditions under which that guidance was provided. These conditions, which could also be referred to as principles, are what I will discuss today. There are four key principles that led to God’s providential guidance found in this chapter. If we follow these principles, I believe we can expect success in receiving God’s providential guidance similar to what Abraham and his servant received.
1. The first principle for receiving God’s guidance is knowing God’s Word.
We must have a thorough knowledge of God’s will and purposes to help direct our actions and decisions. That knowledge of God’s will comes first and foremost from God’s Word. God’s Word reveals God’s plan, principles and purposes. Knowledge of these is essential to even beginning to receive God’s guidance. It is Abraham’s knowledge of God’s word that leads him to make the first step in the right direction in receiving God’s guidance.
Read Verses 1-4
Here we see that Abraham takes steps to see that God’s plan is furthered through Isaac. Isaac must marry and have children for the covenant blessings to be received. Abraham understands this, so he doesn’t sit idly and wait for God’s plan to be fulfilled. He does his part and takes appropriate action; in this case he begins to look for a wife for Isaac. Some people seem to think that receiving God’s guidance means doing nothing. For instance, I’ve known people who are out of work and yet refuse to go look for a job because they are waiting for God to provide a job. Such thinking is unbiblical. God wants us to do our part, but to do it while being guided by the knowledge of God’s Word.
This is what Abraham does! His search for a wife isn’t based on human standards or desires but is rather directed by his knowledge of God’s Word. This is why in verses 3,4 he insists that Isaac’s wife be from his own relatives and not from the local people of Canaan. Why did Abraham insist on this condition? Because he knew enough of God’s Word to know that God wouldn’t bless a marriage to a Canaanite woman. God had never specifically prohibited such a marriage at this point in biblical revelation. God had never given specific directions on whom Isaac was to marry but this did not mean that God’s Word had no direction to give. In earlier parts of Abraham’s life, God had revealed the character (wicked) and future (judgment) of the people of Canaan to Abraham. That alone was enough for Abraham to know that marrying one of them was not even an option.
In essence, Abraham was guided by God’s revealed word. He didn’t have a specific commandment from God’s Word but he did have enough information to make reasonable inferences. In other words, he could apply biblical principles to the situation. Many times we are in a similar situation – we don’t have a specific command from the Bible but we can still apply principles from God’s Word and be assured of being in God’s will. For instance, no specific rule/command from God tells me what to watch and what not to watch on TV in many cases, but I can still receive God’s guidance and make wise decisions by applying biblical principles such as purity, righteousness, etc. to the decision.