Monday, February 08, 2010


I was enthralled the first time I heard a GPS device offer directional advice from the dashboard of a car. We were in Vancouver, Washington, touring seventy-five homes with our saintly real estate agent (bless her patient soul). Since she was a little directionally challenged (and was driving compulsive house-shopping clients all over Creation), her hubby encouraged her to purchase a Garmin GPS. Notice, directionally challenged, and remember a GPS can only do so much. Thus we learned the term “recalculating.” Each time we made the slightest deviation from the GPS route, we heard a disgusted rendition of the device's audio say, “Recalculating.” Some route changes were planned – as simple as a bathroom break at a road-side convenience store. “Recalculating.” Other turns were a misinterpretation of the instructions. “Recalculating.” Sometimes our real estate agent simply knew a better route to our destination – in which case we would listen to repeated, “Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating…” Until finally, we turned off the all-knowing voice. Since that first encounter with a GPS, I've often wished I had a spiritual GPS – a device that would give undeniably clear directions from God for my life. Or do I want that? Would I think I knew a better route and turn off the All-Knowing Voice? As Abraham enters the twilight of his life, he seems to have discovered his spiritual GPS…and passed it onto his servant.

Gen. 24:1-4 – “Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, 'Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.'”
  • Abraham realized the importance of filling the Promised Land with HIS SEED – which meant keeping that seed pure, not mixing it with the Canaanite people whose land God was giving him. He realized Isaac needed a wife, but he couldn't be the one to make the trip – either because of his aging physical limitations or other responsibilities that kept him in Canaan. Most likely, Sarah's death had an impact on this decision as well. For Abe and for us, when God's nudge of discomfort meets God's time to move, it's as if a veil lifts from our eyes, and we see a path ahead. Perhaps a rocky path, but a path nonetheless.
Gen. 24:5-9 – “The servant asked him, 'What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?' 'Make sure that you do not take my son back there,' Abraham said. 'The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father's household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, “To your offspring I will give this land”--He will send His angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.' So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.”
  • The servant's concern was valid. Neither he nor Abraham knew HOW God would accomplish this task! Abraham set God-prompted parameters, not self-motivated preferences on his servant's mission. Abe knew Isaac was to dwell in Canaan and would not let the yearning for his son's marriage cloud the bigger issue of God's promise. Similarly, if we establish early boundaries based on the certainty of God's Word, rather than our own selfish desires, we can avoid hard choices down the road.
Gen. 24:10-11 – “Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and left, taking with him 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.”
  • Seems simple, right? Set the camel GPS for “Abraham's relatives” and let it go? Nope. No electronic gadgets, just supernatural navigation. The servant prepared for God to move (took ten camels packed with “good things”) and then placed himself in the logical path of God's plan (in a town named after Abraham's brother, by the well where women came every evening). The Lord provided wealth and wisdom, and then He expected Abraham and his servant to use it.
Gen. 24:12-14 – “Then he prayed, 'O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success 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 girl, “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.'”
  • The servant prayed WITH heavenly guidance FOR heavenly guidance. He could pray specifically, because he had seen Abraham's God answer specifically. When the other “steps” in our process have been guided by the Spirit's prompts, this prayer for specific guidance flows naturally.
Gen. 24:15-25 – “Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain 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 finished drinking.' 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. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful. 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 Milcah bore to Nahor.' And she added, 'We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.'”
  • Even though we experience a rush of excitement at God's supernatural direction, we must still patiently watch and wait for God to fulfill His plan. Rebecca needed to water ALL the camels. Then, there were the proper cultural channels to be honored. Moving in God's direction is exciting! Confirmation of God's direction is exhilarating! But waiting patiently for more of God's direction is never-ending.
Gen. 24:26-27 – “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.'” (emphasis added)
  • Abraham's determination that the Lord would find a wife for his son was a testimony to his servant, but the greatest testimony was God's personal faithfulness to the servant's own prayers. Hearing other people's stories of victory and answered prayer is a wonderful motivator for your faith, but nothing compares to the personal experience of God's hand reaching into your own life – when you know He's calling you personally to take that step in faith and then He lifts the path to meet your feet.
Lord, I want to KNOW when it's time for that step. Show me what parameters to place on my journey and the specific requests to make. I will wait patiently Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider, to hear, to pray, to react and then to worship.

No comments: