THE REALITY OF PROVIDENCE

Scripture Reading: Genesis 24:12-60

“Then he prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.'” (Genesis 24:12)

The focus in this passage is on Abraham’s servant as he follows God’s guidance to find a wife for Isaac. What stands out in the passage is the providential work of God in the circumstances of the faithful servant. Clearly God guided Abraham’s servant to Rebekah.

The servant followed Abraham’s instructions (vs. 1-9). He went to the town of Nabor where some of Abraham’s relatives lived. The first thing he did was pray — “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'” (vs. 12-14).

God answered his prayer — “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” (vs. 15,16). The servant had prayed with specific qualifications in order to be sure the woman was God’s choice for Isaac — “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” (v. 14).

Rebekah did exactly what the servant prayed (vs. 17-20). This was the first confirmation of God’s will in the matter. But we also have the confirmation of Rebekah’s family — “Laban and Betheul answered, ‘This is from the Lord; we can say nothing one way of the other'” (v.50). Through these providential events, God confirmed that it was the His will for Rebekah to become Isaac’s wife.

All through this God was deliberately behind the scenes. You find no word from the Lord here. There was no miracle; but there was the clear hand of God’s providence at every step of the way. I am reminded of this verse — “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). It is so comforting to know that God will providentially guide our steps as we seek to find His will.

Lord God, You are the God of providence. I have experienced Your hand at work guiding me and leading me throughout my life. Thank You for Your providential care, for the fact that You direct my steps.

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