How should a person respond upon recognizing the work of God? What does God have to do in order for a person to recognize a certain sequence of events as God's work? These questions are difficult to answer since individuals would likely provide a variety of answers depending on their relationship and understanding of the Lord. However, the Bible shows that God expects obedience in faith when one recognizes His work. The Bible teaches that it is impossible to please God without faith, and faith demands obedience. Therefore, if one desires to please God in faith and obedience, one must be able and willing to recognize the work of God in daily life.
The challenge in recognizing the work of God, is that God doesn't always part the Red Sea, speak through clouds in thunder, and take away diseases. Most of the time, God's work is subtler. While it is true that God has done these monumental supernatural works in the past, and continues to do them presently to some degree, God's children are faced with the challenge of seeing God's more subtle works and acknowledging them as being equally valuable and awesome as other iconic things He has done in the past.
In Genesis 24:28-51 the Bible explains the sequence of events that Abraham's servant underwent in his quest to find a wife for Isaac in the land of Haran. The Bible explains that when Abraham's servant arrived in Abraham's hometown, he prayed to the Lord that he would have success in finding the woman that God wanted for Isaac. The scriptures reveal that the Lord brought Rebekah to the well that Abraham's servant was waiting at. Abraham's servant asked the Lord to reveal the woman that would marry Isaac by having her offer water to his camels upon requesting water for himself. Rebekah demonstrated such hospitality, and Abraham's servant recognized this subtle act as answered prayer from God. Abraham's servant worshiped God in response and thanked Him for connecting him with Rebekah. Thus, Abraham's servant gave Rebekah a gold earring and bracelet and asked to speak to her parents.
Genesis 24:28-51 documents the meeting between Abraham's servants and the family of Rebekah. The Bible explains that when Rebekah took Abraham's servant to her home, that Rebekah’s brother named Laban met him outside. The scriptures reveal that Laban noticed the gold earring and bracelet on his sister and realized that she had met a person of wealth. Laban was excited to talk with Abraham's servant in response. Recognizing the wealth that Abraham's servant was sharing, Laban was excited to extend hospitality to Abraham's servant and made him dinner. However, Abraham's servant was focused on accomplishing his task as a servant with a job to do. He stated that he would not eat until he explained his purpose.
The Bible goes on to show that Abraham's servant recounted all of the events that had led him up to the point where he was. Abraham's servant was sure to explain that he believed the sequence of events was the work of the Living God. Abraham's servant explained how Abraham said that an angel would guide him to the woman that God desired for Isaac. Abraham's servant was sure to explain that he believed God brought Rebekah to the well and that her actions were in response to prayer that God answered. Abraham's servant was even sure to explain that when he recognized the Lord answering his prayers through Rebekah, that he worshiped God in honor and thanksgiving to the work of the Lord. Then Abraham's servant asked the million-dollar question: Would Rebekah's family be willing to let him take Rebekah to Isaac as a wife?
The response of Rebekah's mother and brother is incredible. The Bible explains that as Abraham's servant spoke, they heard his words and also recognized the series of events as the divine work of the Living God. It is important to keep in mind that the sequence of events that were described did not contain any embellishment or exaggeration. The sequence of events and Abraham's servant described didn't sound profound or miraculous in a stereotypical sense. The sequence of events that Abraham's servant described simply sounded like a man traveling by orders of his master to find a woman he didn't know. However, as Abraham's servant described these events, he described them in a way that reflected his own faith that God was overseeing and guiding these events, however simple or ordinary or coincidental they may have seemed. Rebekah's family believed too.
The scriptures explain that as Abraham's servants described these simple events as the work of God, they responded, "We have no choice in the matter." Since Rebekah's parents believed the testimony of Abraham's servant to be the work of God, they submitted their desires to the will of God. They understood that if God was doing a certain work, they had no say. They surrendered their will to God in such a way that reflected their trust in God, and their honor of God as supremely sovereign! They were willing to give Rebekah up to Abraham's servant so that God's will would be done. They were willing to make a difficult decision to give up their daughter because they knew God, His position, and the importance of His work. They surrendered in obedience and faith.
The fantastic thing about this testimony is the response of Rebekah's family, considering the limited details of God's work that were provided to them. The testimony of Abraham's servant did not contain any sensational drama of any sort. Yet Rebekah's family agreed with Abraham's servant that God was involved in all of the events that were taking place. The sequence of events was not coincidence, but instead, God's divine movement. This means that the family of Rebekah was able to recognize the work of God, knowing God and the style of His work. In that Rebekah's family allowed Rebekah to go, it shows that they had some sort of relationship with God, knowing the characteristics of His work - whether great or subtle. As a result, they were willing to spot His work, and honor it by submitting to it in faith and obedience. The question is then, do we know God well enough to recognize the characteristics of His subtle (but equally powerful) work, or does one need more sensational revelations? The Bible teaches that God works subtly more often than sensationally, which requires one to know Him through His Word in order to recognize His work in daily life. Thus, if one wants to be able to please God and facilitate His will through faith and obedience, one must be able to recognize the characteristics of God's work, by knowing Him through the Word.