How God guides...
Often I read something in the Old Testament and wish things were as clear cut now as they were then. Take, for example, the way Isaac found his wife Rebekah:
“Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels.” Genesis 24:45-46 NLT
This is one of those times that it is absolutely necessary to read the entire text to understand what is going on in this passage (always a good idea for any reading). Abraham had obeyed God by leaving his homeland and traveling to the land of Canaan, but he was now a very old man and knew he was close to death, so he made his oldest servant promise to find Isaac a wife from Abraham’s homeland so that he wouldn’t marry a Canaanite woman, presumably because a Canaanite woman would not fear God. Through Isaac’s wife, God would raise up a people in Abraham’s heritage to bless all nations.
So the servant set out to find a wife for Isaac. The verses right before verse 45 say:
“So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O Lord, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, ‘Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,’ let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’”
Of course, that is exactly what Rebekah does, and the servant is confident that she is the wife God intended for Isaac. Wouldn’t we all love it if God made our choice of mates so clear? (However, I bet even Isaac and Rebekah had times when they wondered what God must have been thinking to put them together.) Rarely does God make any of our choices so clear, yet he promises to guide us if we pray and trust him. Most often, he does this through the Bible. As it says in Psalms 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path,” and he also gives us the help of his Holy Spirit, as it says in Galatians 5:16, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
Are you facing a difficult decision? You actually have something much better than Abraham’s servant had. If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit living in you and the whole Word of God available to you (something the servant didn’t have at all). Submit your decision to God under the umbrella of those two things.
For example, if you are trying to decide whether to take a job offer, think about it in terms of the kind of person the Bible tells you to be. Will this job help you to be that kind of person? If you think so, but aren't sure, don't make a snap decision, but pray about it for a length of time. When I have done that I have sometimes felt a strong resistance in my soul about whatever I was deciding. It was as if God was yelling no. Other times, I've felt peace, even when it made absolutely no economic or practical sense.
God guides as we learn to listen to him through the wisdom of his Word as the Holy Spirit makes things clear, and that is the best way to live.