Hayyei Sarah
For the week of November 22, 2003 / 27 Heshvan 5764
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 23:1 - 25:18
Haftarah: 1 Kings 1:1-31
Originally published the week of
November 25, 2000 / 27 Heshvan 5761

He Leads Us

I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master's brother for his son (Bereshit / Genesis 24:48).

How involved do you think God is in your life? For some, faith in God is simply a sense that there is a Someone up there looking after us in an intangible way, not personally involved in our lives. Others would say that he does lead them in life, but often that leading is only known after the fact. They look back at the unfolding of circumstances and come to the conclusion that God was involved. This kind of leading is quite mysterious in that there is rarely any awareness of Godís leading within the process. In fact some people postulate that we are meant to be clued out day to day, as they trust that God will work things out in the end.

This is not how Abrahamís servant understood Godís leading. He was given the task by his master to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham laid out his requirements regarding where and to what people he should go. And so he went back to Abrahamís homeland as instructed. Once there God led him to Rebekah, the woman who would become Isaacís wife.

It may appear that this story supports the understanding that we only know Godís leading after the fact. For once he realized who it was he actually encountered, he knew God had led him. Now it is true that God had not spoken to him in an audible voice and told him all the details beforehand. There was much he did not know. But neither did he bungle haphazardly about, with a "whatever will be will be" kind of attitude.

How do we know that? First he knew he was on a mission from God in that he was determined to fulfill Abrahamís request. Second, he relied upon God to guide him. Upon arriving where he was to go, he asked God for special guidance in locating the right one. And God provided precisely according to his request. What shows us that he was not just allowing circumstances to unfold, is how carefully he studied what was going on to see if this was what God was doing.

So we see that to Abrahamís servant God was very real - intimately involved in his affairs.

This story is certainly not unique in illustrating God leading people. In fact, this example sees God more mysteriously involved than in many other cases. Throughout the Scriptures God clearly leads people, sometimes revealing to them specific detail concerning things they were to do, places they were to go, and words they were to say.

Certainly God does lead his people in mysterious ways. But his ways often only seem mysterious to us because of our lack of perception, and not because God is trying to keep us in the dark.

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