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Letting Go

The proper practice of faith

Genesis 24:10–14 (ESV)

Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor. And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when women go out to draw water. And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 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.”

The servant makes a surprising prayer request; he asks that a young woman use a particular phrase offering to water his ten camels. The specificity of the quote is surprising enough, but the bit about watering the camels is extreme. A thirsty camel can drink a quarter ton of water in three minutes.

Offering to draw up water for ten camels is just wild. Is the servant looking for a really stocky wife for Isaac?

No, this is another example of faith in action. The camels may not be all that thirsty—though the girl couldn’t know that. The servant is counting on God to point the way; he isn’t relying on his own judgment at all.

Abraham has taught him well.

The servant’s prayer is a great example of how to discern and follow God’s will. Modern Christians would do well to study, even emulate, this servant’s prayer.

The problem is that we know what we want, so we ask God to make it happen. We aren’t neutral. Thus, we often fail to ask God to show us if what we want is what He wants.

Abraham’s servant doesn’t want to come home empty-handed. If I was in that situation, I’d pray for something that didn’t leave much chance for that.

Yet Abraham’s servant does the exact opposite. He sets up a scenario where his mission fails unless God gives a clear sign. The genius of this is that his priority is getting God’s will correct. Failure is an option. Getting God’s will wrong is not.

The servant is well-schooled in the proper practice of faith. He is letting go of his control of the situation and is only seeking the LORD’s will. He’s handing the keys to God and letting Him drive.

This is a wonderful example of “God-driven” prayer.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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