Study from Genesis 24; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 24: 12 … NIV Then he prayed, "O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”
My Journal for Today: Today I was led by my Daily Bible in Chronological Order and the companion Devotional to read the story of Abraham’s servant seeking a wife for Isaac. And we read about how the servant subsequently prayed to God for success and was led to Rebekah, who ultimately became Isaac’s wife. And the devotional by Dr. Smith focuses on the prayer of the servant for success in his covenant task, charged by Abraham to find a wife for his covenant son, Isaac, from among God’s people and Abraham’s kinsman.
And in Genesis 24 we read that the servant, given the task, immediately went, with a surrendered attitude, to God, praying for God to lead him to success. And we read that the servant’s prayer was very specific and focused on what he believed was in accord with God’s will and Abraham’s charge. And this becomes a lesson in how we need to seek after God’s will and pray diligently and specifically when we think we have God’s peace, leading us in God’s direction.
As New Covenant Christians, we too can – and should – bring all things to God. We can read of this charge in such passages as John 15: 7 and 1st Peter 5: 7, and if you don’t have those verses memorized, I hope you’ll go to those and study them. And when we understand the implications of these truths and the outcomes of the story in Genesis 24, we’ll see that God strongly exhorts His children to bring anything to Him; but we know that He’s only going to grant “success” (from His omniscient view of our lives) for those things which we NEED, not necessarily what we want. In other words, “success” from our prayers must always be viewed in the light of God’s will and His timing and not from our own (especially selfish) desires.
When Abraham’s servant prayed for success in the task Abraham had given him, the servant trusted that the task came from God through Abraham to him. And for years now, I’ve come to learn a protocol for determining God’s will when I am seeking for God’s leading and desiring to pray for “success” in the things which require some well-considered decision making. I was taught this protocol for making God-led decisions years ago by a Godly mentor; and it comes from using the passage in Philippians 4: 6-7 [linked here – which I hope you know - ]. I don’t have the time/space to go into it in depth here; but in summary, it involves avoiding anxiety by taking a leaning I have (something I think God is directing me toward) to God and, as Abraham’s servant, being very specific by asking God to give me HIS direction and success in moving toward this leaning. I make sure, as I’m sure Abe’s servant did, that I’m praying to God with a humble, contrite, and purified heart. I know that praying out of prideful or selfish desires will never unlock God’s grace; and I also know that praying with unresolved sin in my life won’t allow God to release His will for me. So, assuming I come to God with a ready and contrite heart, I pray – very specifically – for that leaning I have; and if I get no peace from my prayers, I simply know that God is saying either “NO” or “WAIT.” If, on the other hand, I get God’s peace that surpasses all understanding, I know that I’m on God’s track to success; and I pray for that success as did Abraham’s servant.
This method of seeking out God’s will and praying for God’s success has never – and I mean NEVER – failed me when I come to the Lord with a right heart seeking HIS success, in HIS timing, and in HIS way. Again returning to the verse, referred to above, John 15: 7, along with my directed passage in Phil. 4: 6-7, these are God’s promises, not Bill Berry’s; and God doesn’t lie (see Num. 23: 19).
So, my dear one, I hope you see that God invites (actually commands) us to come to Him seeking His will and success for our lives; but He wants us to realize that HE is the one defining that success. That is why God commanded Joshua the way he did in Joshua 1: 8, to be in God’s word so deeply and regularly that Joshua (and we) would know God’s truth and God’s way. And if we know God’s word when it comes to praying for success, we’ll be doing the praying and inquiring based upon God’s truth and His will and not upon our own selfish desires. That is my prayer for me … and for all of us.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, You know that I come to You often seeking Your way, within Your will, and in Your timing. Help me to come to you with a pure heart, ready to find Your direction and then to follow it diligently. Amen