Summary: A message on how God will guide and provide for his people to fulfill his plan despite obstacles.
Genesis Series #48 May 26, 2002
Title: Where God Guides, He Provides
Welcome to New life in Christ. Today we continue with message #48 in our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Genesis.
Read Genesis 24:12-63
When we last met, I shared with you four principles for receiving God’s guidance. They were knowledge of God word, commitment to God’s will, trust in God’s ways, and prayer for God’s wisdom. If we apply these principles, I am confident that we will receive God’s guidance. However, this does not mean we will never encounter obstacles as we proceed down God’s chosen path. Some people seem to think that if God is leading you, you will never be hindered. The Bible clearly refutes this idea!
The story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls is one example of a person in God’s will and receiving God’s guidance but at the same time also encountering opposition and obstacles. Today’s passage is another, more subtle example of that same principle.
God is guiding the servant of Abraham. His and Abraham’s prayers are being answered but many obstacles must be overcome. The right girl must be located. She must be of the right character. She must be willing to leave her family and travel 500 mi. to marry a man she has never met. Her family must have that same willingness and on top of all that, Isaac must be willing to receive her as his wife. These could all be potential problems but God overcomes each one! I believe that this is the main emphasis of this text. A popular Christian phrase, which was coined some time ago, expresses the truth of these verses; Where God guides, He provides. This phrase will serve as my summary sentence of these verses in Chapter 24.
I. Where God Guides, He Provides.
With that said let us look at verse 14 where we left off last week, and see how God provided.
Read Verse 14
Abraham’s servant is looking for a sign from God. This was not an uncommon practice in ancient times. Gideon, for example, put out a fleece looking for a sign from God. Even the Apostles cast lots to find the replacement Apostle for Judas. Still today some people seek to find God’s will in such obscure ways. They might say, “God, if this is the girl you want me to marry, let her ring the doorbell three times.” Some people have even cast darts on to a paper map to determine where God would have them go to minister or start a church. I once had a person in the church counting the beams in the roof in order to find some guidance from God. Maybe you have been one of the people who has opened their Bible randomly and blindly pointed to a particular passage as a way of searching for a “word from God.”
Illustration: There is a funny story about a person who used this method of discovering God’s will. It’s about the young man who used the "flip and point" method of reading the Bible. One day while wondering what to do with his life, he flipped his Bible open and pointed to Matthew 27:5. He read, "[Judas] went and hanged himself." He thought maybe he should try again. So he flipped and pointed, this time landing on Luke 10:37, "Go and do likewise." He tried flipping one more time and arrived at John 13:27, "What you do, do quickly."
Even though it was acceptable to seek a sign from God for direction in ancient times, it is not acceptable or wise to do so today! There is no need to do this because all Believers now have the Holy Spirit in them and the completed Bible to guide them. This was not true in the Old Testament times, nor was it true in the earliest parts of the Book of Acts. On the Day at Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, as are all believers today. This is why in the Book of Acts the disciples never resort to any such method of seeking a sign from God for guidance after the Day of Pentecost. From that point on they just prayed and received direction directly from the Holy Spirit and the principles of God’s Word. They were not guided by oracles, as the pagans were, or even by personal prophecies, though Paul and Timothy were encouraged and strengthened by prophecy from God.
In verse 14 the servant sought a sign from God. It should be noted that the sign he sought was not arbitrary. He asked for a woman who would be willing to give him water and would voluntarily water the ten camels. In other words he was looking for a woman of character. While it would not have been unusual for a woman to give a stranger a drink, it would have been unusual for her to draw war for ten thirsty camels, each of which could drink about 20 gallons. A woman who was willing to do this would have to possess the godly characteristics of selflessness and hospitality. One lesson we learn from this verse is that godly character should be our priority in choosing our mates.