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Rock Springs Christian Church

Purpose vs Preference

Title:Purpose VS Preference

Text:Genesis 24:1-27

 

            Welcome! I am excited to be starting a new series with yall this morning called Tension. In this series we are going to be looking at the Tensionthat is caused by living out a faithful life.

 

            Christians are often keen to know the leading of God in their lives, but how are we to know what God’s will is? We may find the answer to this important question when we look at Abraham’s servant all the way back in Genesis 24.

 

OPENING PRAYER

 

            First, what do we know about God’s will? What has He revealed to us in the Scriptures? You are to live a life of purpose rather than a life of preference, right?

 

            God has given certain commandments for us to obey. Whatever plan God has for our lives, it will be in keeping with those things that He has already clearly revealed to us. As we obey His commands, and walk with Him in love, He will gradually unfold to us what He wants us to do in the course of any day, and throughout our lives. Craig Groeschel, “Obedience is our responsibility. The outcome is God's responsibility.”

 

            We, like Abraham’s servant, must live one day at a time in wholehearted obedience to what we know of the will of God. Then, as we obey, God will lead us in a right path, caring for the details of our lives.

 

Obedience

Genesis 24:2-5, “One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.”

The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” NLT.

            We see in Genesis 24:2 that Abraham’s servant was not a young man. Yet he was obedient to his master. How many of you in here have had to work for someone that was much younger than you were? Was it easy or was it difficult to swallow your pride in order to be a good employee? Abraham instructed that the servant was to find a wife for Isaac from his own people.

 

            Likewise, Christians are instructed not to be mismatched with non-Christians, 2 Corinthians 6:14, “14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” NLT.

 

            This is hard to reconcile with for some of us, because our spouses may not be believers. What Paul is getting at here is that if you are single then you need to find yourself a godly man/woman to be in relationship with. Find someone who will pray for you, and your walk with God.

 

      Although the servant had his own ideas about the difficulty of the task confronting him (Genesis 24:5, “5 The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” NLT), the servant did not disobey. The Apostle Peter instructs in 1 Peter 2:18, “18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.” NLT.

 

            The servant had his own personal preference when it came to the task at hand, but he did not shy away from the mission he was given. He was living in his purpose.

 

            God does instruct us how to conduct ourselves in our various human relationships. As we obey those who have authority over us: parents, teachers, employers, etc.…  we are also obeying God. As we obey God, He entrusts us with a little bit more in His service.

 

            This is what Jesus means when He says in Luke 12:48, “48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” NLT.

 

            As a follower of Jesus you have been entrusted with the most precious thing in our entire world, The Gospel. There will be times where it will absolutely be outside of your preference to share the Gospel with someone, but it is your God given purpose to share the Gospel with anyone who will listen.

 

Praying for guidance

Genesis 24:12-14, “12 “O Lord, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. 13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” NLT.

 

            If we really want to know what areas of service the Lord may be opening up to us in our lives, we not only need to be living a life of obedience in our present circumstances, but we must also be seeking God’s will through prayer. It is also entails listeningto God.

            The servant asked God for something lawful that enabled him to carry out his duty to his master. It is significant, too, that he asked out of God’s love for his master Abraham (Genesis 24:12, “12 “O Lord, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham.” NLT). When we pray, we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ.

 

            Abraham’s servant was walking in faith, and reached a level of holy boldness in his request for a visible token of God‘s guidance (Genesis 24:14, “14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” NLT). But it is sufficient for most of us, most of the time, to simply ask God what His will is, and to live out the response of, “Thy will be done!”

 

            I say it is sufficient for most of us most of the time, because, if we are being honest, we are all aware of the fact that we like to live in our preferences rather than God’s purpose most of the time.

 

God answers prayer (Genesis 24:15)

Genesis 24:15, “15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah.” NLT.

 

            “Before he had finished praying…”. Before the words of our prayer leave our lips, God is already moving heaven and earth to fulfill His purposes in us, and through us. That does not mean that God will do things the way we think they need to be done.

 

            The servant was in the right place at the right time, because God had led him there, heard his prayer, and brought Rebecca there in answer to that prayer. Why do you think this is? Is it perhaps because the servant was living in his purpose rather than his preference?

 

Why does it sometimes appear that God hasn’t answered our prayers?

            A couple of things to think about when trying to answer this question: Are we asking for the right thing? Look at James 4:3, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” NLT. God does answer our prayers, but perhaps we don’t like what we hear. Sometimes His seeming silence is an emphatic “No” to our request. A “Not yet” may be God’s way of testing our faith.

 

            We must learn to exercise the Psalmist’s patience in Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” NLT.

 

Learning in silence

Genesis 24:21, “21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success in his mission.” NLT.

 

            Ecclesiastes 3:7, “A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” NLT. Well, if you look at Genesis 24:21, this was a time to remain silent. The servant waited, to see whether indeed this was God’s answer to his prayer.

 

            Sometimes we are on the verge of blessing, but in our enthusiasm we lose our composure. We cry out that God is doing great things for us before we have weighed up just what it is that God is teaching us. The time to speak will come soon enough to those who are willing to wait in silence.

 

Worshipping God

Genesis 24:26-27, “26 The man bowed low and worshiped the Lord. 27 “Praise the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” NLT.

 

            It is quite evident that the servant was a godly man, influenced and taught by his master Abraham. As well as acknowledging Abraham’s God, he relied on Him for the success of his journey. The servant prayed to Him when he was perplexed by the details of his mission, and finally did not forget to worship and thank God when his prayers were answered.

 

            I have a quick question for all of us this morning. Do we remember to bow our heads and worship God when things are going right, or do we just call on Him when things are going wrong?

 

            Lets look atGenesis 24:27, ““Praise the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” NLT. It is only when we walk in the ways of God that God leads us in the smaller details of our lives.

 

            After some beating around the bush, Rebecca’s family comes out and asks her if she is really going to go with this man (Abraham’s servant). She did not hesitate when she said, “I will go.” The crazy part is we are told that the family blessed her, and Rebecca went to be Isaac’s wife. The servant’s mission was successful!

 

            There is another servant mentioned in the Bible that is the most important of all. Can anyone guess who that may be? JESUS! Jesus is named “The Servant of God”, and He came into this world to call us out of darkness into His everlasting light. He is the perfect example of a life lived with a purpose rather than in his preferences.

 

            His is the only Name by which we may approach God the Father. So before we can begin to discover what it is to be guided by Him, we too are being asked, Will you really go with this man? If your answer is not an unequivocal yes then you need to take account of your heart, because you may be leaning more toward preference than you are purpose.

 

            Luke 22:42, “42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” NIV.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

 

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