God Provision Directs and Fulfills His Promise

The Gospel Project for Adults  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:19
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The Gospel Project® for Adults
Leader Guide ESV, Unit 2, Session 3
© 2018 LifeWay Christian Resources
Permission granted to reproduce and distribute within the license agreement with purchaser. Edited by Rev. Lex DeLong, M.A.
God Provides for His Promise
Summary and Goal
God gave Abraham and Sarah Isaac, the son of promise, and then, as we saw in the last session, in a figurative sense, He took him away and gave him back. Isaac was certainly the son of promise, but he was not the fulfillment of the promise—that would be Jesus, and His birth was many generations away.
In this session, we will see how God provided a wife for Isaac so that the covenant promises could continue. We will see that God directed the path of Abraham’s servant to find a wife for his master’s son from among their people. He also gave Isaac more than just a wife to continue the family line but a woman who provided him with the love and comfort he needed.
Session Outline
1. God’s covenant family will continue through Isaac (Gen. 24:1-9).
2. God directs the paths of His people for His purposes (Gen. 24:12-19,23-27).
3. God provides the way to advance His covenant promises (Gen. 24:63-67).
Session in a Sentence
God works providentially to bring others into His family and fulfill His promises.
Christ Connection
God provided Rebekah as a wife for Isaac according to His covenant promise to bless the world through Abraham’s family.
In the same way, God provides the church as a bride for His Son to bless the world by sharing about God’s plan of salvation through Jesus.
Missional Application
Because we are one people of God, the bride of Christ, we work together to invite others to become part of God’s family through faith in Jesus.
Group Time
Explain the progression of maps over the years:
· Paper maps. In planning a trip, you would pull out a paper map, unfold it, and find where you wanted to go and the best route to get there. Getting lost required pulling over and studying the map once again.
· Digital maps. With the advent of the Internet, you could find a location on an online map, indicate your starting point, and receive turn-by-turn directions, which you then printed and took with you.
· GPS devices. These dashboard devices offered turn-by-turn directions and self-corrected if a turn were missed, but they could not account for traffic and construction.
· Map apps. Apps today on smart phones factor in real-life traffic conditions and offer alternate routes. They aren’t perfect, but they are highly accurate.
DDG (p. 84).
The changes in travel planning over the past three decades highlight how we are wired to want, and seemingly need, clear guidance. There is something comforting about having clear, step-by-step, accurate directions as we travel. We don’t have to worry about getting lost or stuck in traffic, at least most of the time. We can travel with confidence.
Don’t you wish the rest of life were like this? Don’t you wish we had clear directions for the important decisions we have to make? We want it; we feel like we need it; but we wonder why clear guidance so often seems elusive.
What are some areas of life that you wish you had clear guidance?
(where to go to college; career direction; whom to marry; how to discipline children; where to live; which medical treatment to follow; how to plan for retirement; with whom to share the gospel)
God directed the path of Abraham’s servant to find a kind and loving wife for his master’s son from among their people so that the covenant promises could continue.
Clear guidance in life comes through trusting the covenant-keeping God.

Point 1: God’s covenant continued through Isaac and obedience (Gen. 24:1-9).

Read Genesis 24:1-9 (DDG p. 85).
1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5 The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6 Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. 7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.
Abraham decided it was time for Isaac to marry. So he sent his servant to his homeland, to his own people, to find him a wife. Abraham’s concern here was to protect the worship of God in his family.
Abraham did not want his son persuaded to worship the pagan gods of the Canaanites. He did not want his son to marry a Canaanite woman. This was not a matter of interracial marriage but of preserving the faith.
Abraham’s instruction had ethical and theological convictions behind it. As someone who was called out of idol worship and introduced to the living God (Gen. 11:27–12:1), Abraham understood the danger of his son marrying a woman who did not follow the one true God (Deut. 7:3-4). So this command to his servant was the loving act of a faithful father, not a sinful act of a bigoted man.
It’s important that we do not read this account as an apologetic or supposed proof that God is against interracial marriage. God has never been against interracial marriage. As sure as marriage is a picture of Christ and His church, interracial marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ’s multiracial bride. It’s a testament to Christ having torn down the dividing wall of hostility between God and humanity and within humanity (Eph. 2:11-22). Interracial marriages and multiethnic churches present the beauty of reconciliation through the gospel of Jesus, a powerful message the unbelieving world desperately needs to hear about and experience.
DDG (p. 85).
Why was Abraham so emphatic that Isaac not return to his family’s land? This restriction was born out of ethical and theological convictions. God had promised Abraham that his descendants would not only be numerous but that they would possess the land where he was living. Canaan was to be Isaac’s home, and the home of all those who came after him. Abraham did not want Isaac to go back in any way but follow God’s plan forward. And Abraham’s faith in God led to certainty of success (Gen. 24:7).
Abraham’s dedication to obeying his faithful, covenant-keeping God provided him with guidance for the next step on his journey.
Abraham had learned to trust God and follow Him in faith—even when the steps he was taking didn’t make sense or appear to be moving toward the promise’s fulfillment. Isaac needed to learn to trust God as well. For Isaac to return to the land of Abraham’s family would be to move backward, away from God’s plan, not forward. Isaac was not to take one step forward, finding a wife, while taking another step backward, leaving the land. Abraham trusted that God would provide a wife for Isaac—in the land—to continue all of His covenant promises. He even trusted that God would send an angel before his servant to prepare the way for his success (v. 7).
What are ways that God gives us guidance in life?
God provides daily guidance in life through His clear, purposeful, and loving commands for us to obey.
Chambers quote: “If I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see THE FACE OF GOD.”
Abraham, Abraham’s servant, and Isaac all seemed to demonstrate a willingness to obey God’s clear commands, whether they were big commands or little ones.
The more we are willing to follow even God’s little commands, the more clear God’s guidance becomes.
Our clarity of God’s guidance in life is in direct proportion to how fully we strive to obey Him.

Point 2: God directs the paths of His people for His purposes through His Gracious Commands (Gen. 24:12-19,23-27).

Abraham’s servant swore an oath that he would complete his assignment as he had been instructed, so he took ten camels loaded with goods and traveled to the town of Abraham’s brother, Nahor. He arrived in the evening, when women went to draw water, and he waited at a well outside of town. But that was not all he did.
Read Genesis 24:12-19,23-27 (DDG p. 86).
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.”
15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16 The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. 17 Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.” 18 She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19 When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”
23 and [the servant] said, “Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” 24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 She added, “We have plenty of both straw and fodder, and room to spend the night.” 26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord27 and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.”
The nature of the servant’s prayer in this passage:
He prayed with hope for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
He prayed with confidence because of God’s covenant with Abraham.
He prayed with wisdom, asking for a woman of godly character on behalf of Isaac.
In his book Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer, J. Gary Millar asserts that the thread that runs through every biblical prayer is “calling on God to come through on his promises.” 1 When we pray, we pray with hope because we know we are neither coercing Him nor convincing Him; we’re only asking God to do what He already wants to do—fulfill His own promises.
The servant appealed to God not for his own sake nor even for the sake of Isaac. He asked God to show kindness to Abraham (vv. 12,14). The servant prayed with confidence because God had already proven His desire to show kindness to Abraham.
The servant prayed with wisdom as he specifically asked for a woman who would give him a drink and then offer to water his camels. Ten thirsty camels could drink up to three hundred gallons of water.
This woman would be offering to haul two thousand, five hundred pounds of water for a stranger at the well. 2 In this, we see that the servant was asking God to provide a generous and kind woman—a woman of godly character.
Abraham’s servant prayed specifically and expectantly because he believed God would fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham.
We too can pray with expectancy because we know there is no such thing as luck (see Prov. 20:24). God is in control of it all, and His plan will be accomplished. So let us pray for God’s will to be done and then obey.
How do prayers, that you experienced God answering in the past, shape the prayers you pray now?
After the servant witnessed God’s immediate answer to his prayer, he acted on his calling and then bowed down and worshiped the Lord.
We often spend too much time trying to figure out how and where God is working so we can partner with Him.
Instead, we should assume that God is always working, even if behind the scenes, and our job is to be faithful with every step we take, knowing that He is directing our paths.
How does our awareness of God’s character help us take steps of obedience and faith even when we cannot see all that God is doing?
(in the trials and struggles of life, we know God is good and He allows tests in our lives to help us grow in the faith; God’s heart is for the lost, so we should take advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus with others; God hates sin, so we should resist temptation, even though we can try to justify it and excuse it)

Point 3: God provides the way to advance His covenant promises (Gen. 24:63-67).

The servant recounted his mission and prayerful success with Rebekah’s family, and all agreed this was the work of the Lord, and the next day, Rebekah made the choice to leave her family behind and go with the servant to become Isaac’s wife.
Read: Genesis 24:63-67 (DDG p. 87).
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
God’s faithfulness to His people includes the “big” story, of which we are a part, but it also extends to our “small” stories, and all for God’s glory and our good. (Refer to the first paragraph on DDG p. 87).
Abraham’s servant returned with Rebekah, and she became Isaac’s wife. With this marriage, God was arranging for His covenant promises to continue. But God was doing more than just fulfilling His promise; He provided a wife whom Isaac loved, who loved him, and who comforted him in the loss of his mother.
God is not utilitarian in His purposes. Yes, He will bring to pass what He desires as He works in us and through us. And yes, God’s work in us and through us often transcends our lives; there is much more at stake than we can often see.
But this does not mean that we are merely tools to Him. We are people He loves and cares for deeply (Deut. 7:9; Ps. 136:26; Eph. 2:4-5; 1 John 3:1). And in this we can find great comfort.
God does not have His gaze fixed solely on the outcome of our combined situations. He is providentially working out His plan in this world, as we see in this account, but He is not only providentially working toward that end. He is aware of our fears, our doubts, our sorrows, and our pains. And He is equally aware of our joys, our hopes, our dreams, and our desires.
Without reserve, God cares deeply for you
How might knowing God’s care for us help us navigate life’s struggles and joys?
(we can know that God is with us and providing for us in our struggles; we should see our joys as blessings from our Father that cause us to praise Him again and again; we can believe that all of our struggles and joys come into our lives by God’s loving purpose and design)
DDG (p. 87).
While God’s provision of Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife was God’s perfect plan to carry on the covenant promises, we soon discover that Isaac and Rebekah were far from perfect.
God’s people are never perfect, but God’s provision for and through them always is.
With Isaac and Rebekah, they were imperfect, but God provided even for their basic needs or comfort and then through them provided the Son of Promise, Jesus Christ.
By faith, Jesus takes imperfect people and covers them with His perfect provision, and His perfect sacrifice on the cross cleanses us of our sins and imperfections so that we would become the pure and spotless bride of Christ, His church, in His righteousness rather than ours.
Sometimes God gives us clear guidance and reveals what He is doing, but at other times He gives us little, or perhaps even nothing, to go on.
Regardless of our situation, we need to remember who God is, pray with expectancy and clarity, and walk in obedience to what we know of God’s will.
Our clarity of God’s guidance in life is in direct proportion to how fully we strive to obey Him.
People are not perfect, but God’s provision is.
There is a time for prayer with hope, confidence, and wisdom, looking back to how God has already provided as a reminder that in His loving care, He will continue to provide.
There is also a time that we simply need to obey God’s commands, no matter how great or small they might be.
The greatest comfort and clarity of God’s guidance is found in a lifestyle of Godly obedience
“The sincere prayers of Abraham and his servant had been answered, even more abundantly than they had imagined possible. This was no mere marriage duty to ensure God’s promises would come true. It was a gift of love and joy from the Father to the offspring of his faithful servant, Abraham. How often this pattern has been repeated throughout the ages: Trust and obedience results in joy unspeakable.” 9
close in prayer
1. J. Gary Millar, Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer (Downers Grove: IVP, 2016), 27.
2. Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible (Nashville: B&H, 2017), 44, n. 24:12-14.
3. Samuel J. Stone, “The Church’s One Foundation,” in Baptist Hymnal(Nashville: LifeWay Worship, 2008), 346.
4. Candi Finch, ed., “Genesis,” in The Study Bible for Women, gen. ed. Dorothy Kelley Patterson (Nashville: B&H, 2014), 30, n. 24:1-4.
5. Barnabe Assohoto and Samuel Ngewa, “Genesis,” in Africa Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Tokunboh Adeyemo (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 44.
6. A. Boyd Luter Jr., “Genesis,” in The Apologetics Study Bible (Nashville: B&H, 2007), 40, n. 24:10-67.
7. Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27–50:26, vol. 1b in The New American Commentary (Nashville: B&H, 2006) [WORDsearch].
8. Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible (Nashville: B&H, 2017), 46, n. 24:67.
9. Jesudason Baskar Jeyaraj, “Genesis,” in South Asia Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Brian Wintle (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 42.

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