12 And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.” Genesis 24:12-14
The Bible reading plan I did three years ago was a chronological plan from a British pastor named Nicky Gumbel. Similar to The Bible Recap, it has a daily 10 minute or so podcast to go along with the day’s readings. I didn’t always agree with Nicky, but his teaching on Genesis 24, when Abraham’s servant goes to get a wife for Isaac, has been really, really helpful as I think about how to discern the will of God. I apologize in advance for the length of this, but it may be helpful to you guys as well. Nicky uses this passage to teach on the six “CS’s” of discerning God’s will.
- The Command of Scripture:
The servant had taken a vow that he would find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s kindred (24:3-4). He was following his master’s command. For us, our Master is God, and His command is found in His word. It is very intentional that this one is first. Because if what you think God is saying to you contradicts His Word, then I promise you, it isn’t God that is saying it.
Key Question: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
2.The Compelling of the Spirit:
Verse 7 says that the “Lord, the God heaven” guided Abraham’s steps, and spoke to him. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Are you following His prompting?
Key Question: HOW IS THE SPIRIT LEADING?
3. Continual Seeking:
In verse 12, the servant prayed, “O God, grant me success today.” That’s a prayer to pray every day. We should be seeking God in prayer every day, but especially when we are facing a major decision.
Key Question: AM I SEEKING THE LORD THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS?
4. Common Sense:
Rebekah met all the criteria of the servant’s search. She was Abraham’s kindred, was beautiful, was a virgin, and hard working. From a common sense perspective, she seemed like a good match. (Note– this isn’t a deal breaker. It isn’t as important as the first 3, but it can help clarify your decision.)
Key Question: DOES THIS MAKE LOGICAL SENSE?
5. Circumstantial Signs and/or Supernatural Confirmation:
This one is tricky. The servant had prayed for a specific sign– that the woman God had for Isaac would say “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.” And it happened. This could also be chalked up to common sense. It demonstrated Rebekah’s character, her work ethic, etc. But the servant received it as supernatural confirmation. It’s okay to ask for a sign, but again this one is pretty far down the list. It has to line up with the first four.
Key Question: DOES GOD SEEM TO BE CONFIRMING THIS DECISION?
6. Counsel of Saints:
In verse 50, God used another person (in this case Laban) to affirm that this was of the Lord. God can and will use other members of our faith community to affirm or refute what we are thinking and planning.
Key Question: WHAT DO OTHER BELIEVERS SAY?
I hope this is helpful. While there is no formula for knowing God’s will, these are great principles to keep in mind.