Listening to God

Have you ever been asked to pull off the impossible? Maybe your boss wanted delivery on an unfeasible time table. Perhaps your spouse requested an unimaginable home project. Completion seemed absurd; but you stepped up and gave it a shot. In this week’s text, Abraham asks his servant to locate a wife for Isaac in another country, Abraham’s home country. Is there any way that a woman would leave her homeland to join this family in such uncertainty? It is a long shot; yet he ventures into the unknown.

The story offers a model for our own endeavors. The servant is prayerful and dependent on God as he makes his way to Aram Naharaim.

(Genesis 24:12 NIV) O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.

Without recounting the entire story, he experiences God’s leading him to the right woman. When he conveys his experience to her family, they also agree that God is working. Her father and brother respond:

(Genesis 24:50 NIV) This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.

A final encounter gives Rebekah an opportunity to back out of the deal. Her response matches that of her family; she is faithful to follow God’s leading.

(Genesis 24:57-58 NIV) Then they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said.

One of the chief characteristics of this account is a retelling of God’s movement. The servant tells the story to Rebekah’s family; they discern that God is moving. When the servant meets Isaac after his return, he tells him the story. Again and again, the decision is not based on their preferences; it is based on God’s movement. God acts; they respond. God directs; they obey.

Too often our decisions are based on our individual preferences. We want a particular outcome and so we proceed in our desired direction. We seldom pay attention to God’s promptings. We sometimes ask the wrong questions. As we discern, may we emulate the posture of Abraham’s servant. Prayer, listening, worship and recounting our experience are part of the mix. May we ask, “How is God leading us?” rather than “What do we want to accomplish?” May we be willing to submit our will to His will. May we live out obedience as we hear the voice of God.