“The man or woman who is wholly or joyously surrendered to Christ can’t make a wrong choice – any choice will be the right one.” – A.W. Tozer
I am a little bit of a control freak. I’m one of those weird people who likes to make lists just so I can have the satisfaction of marking stuff off of them! For you fellow Enneagram lovers, I am a 2 (Helper) but I very strongly wing towards a 1 (Perfectionist). Give me all the lists and plans and details!
Choosing to live Fully Surrendered is not a default setting for me (and I can imagine that it’s probably not for you either). It takes intentional focus and training for me to remember it’s not “my way or the highway” with God. It’s His way. EVERY time.
Dictionary.com defines surrender like this: “to yield to the power, control, or possession of another; to give up completely.” That sounds like a negative or weak verb, but surrendering to the Lord is one of the most powerful things we can do. We are going to look at the life of Rebekah in Genesis 24 and discover how she was Fully Surrendered. I will be quoting bits and pieces from the chapter but highly recommend reading the full story on your own.
Abraham had grown very old and wanted a wife for his son. He sent his unnamed servant (most theologians believe it was Eliezer) to find a wife for Isaac among his relatives. When he got to his master’s homeland, he bowed his head and prayed a simple but incredibly specific prayer:
“Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful. (Genesis 24:12-21 NIV)
Living Surrendered in Rebekah’s life looked like:
Rebekah is a part of this story because she was just doing what she was supposed to be doing- drawing water out of the well for her family. She wasn’t looking for a husband, she was serving. God allowed her to be in the right place at the right time, without her trying to be or even knowing that it was happening. When I was in youth group, one of our leaders told us not to spend all of our time looking for a guy. “You want your man to find you going after Jesus. If he’s going after Jesus too, he will find you in God’s presence.” Amazing advice! That’s essentially what happened here. God will order your steps as you serve Him.
Serving some more.
The servant asked Rebekah if she would give him a drink. She didn’t even have to stop to think about it. There was such a purity inside her that she didn’t hesitate to help him and offered to water the camels as well. I think that the servant prayed that specific detail because it was a huge undertaking and would show the woman’s character. The women at the well would have known how much work would go into watering ten camels. There was no hose to turn on or lake to lead them to. Rebekah had to lower her heavy jar down into the well over and over again. According to livescience.com, one camel can drink 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes. The servant brought 10 camels with him so Rebekah offered to serve around 300 gallons of water. Can you even imagine?! My arms get sore if I try to carry two gallons of milk! Rebekah worked very, very hard to take care of this visitor.
Rebekah brought the servant home to her family and he excitedly told them the story. There was no denying that God was in this. Her family asked for some time with her before she went away, but Abraham’s servant was desperate to get back home and tell his master the good news. They let Rebekah decide.
“Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men… Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left,” (Genesis 24: 57-59,61 NIV, emphasis added).
Rebekah knew that God was with her so she bravely said, “I will,” when asked if she would leave home to marry Isaac. She made the decision to follow a man she did not know, into a land she did not know, to marry a man that she did not know. Rebekah sat down on a camel and it took her toward her destiny. She didn’t take the reins and turn around, she sat settled and hopeful. Wherever the servant led, she was going Fully Surrendered. Rebekah followed Abraham’s servant as he led her towards her groom, Isaac.
The day before Rebekah got on that camel and rode off towards Isaac, seemed just like any other day. She was doing what she always did – serving and loving those around her. When opportunity came, Rebekah was willing to step out in faith and take a risk because she lived Fully Surrendered.
Being Fully Surrendered is necessary for all who love God. God loves us where we are, but leads us closer and closer to Himself by chipping away at the places in us that look like the world and not like Heaven. It is our choice to Fully Surrender to that process. It is not easy but absolutely worth it. Even Jesus wrestled with God in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42). He begged God to take the suffering He was about to endure, but ultimately Fully Surrendered to the Father’s will. God wants (and deserves) us to be all-in. We don’t get to love Him and hold onto our sin. Loving Him means surrendering our attitudes, prejudices, desires, world views, opinions, past, and future. He is Lord and He wants it all.
“I know, God, that mere mortals can’t run their own lives, that men and women don’t have what it takes to take charge of life. So correct us, God, as you see best,” (Jeremiah 10:23 MSG).
“Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there,” (Proverbs 16:9 TPT).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take,” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).
I am waving the white flag of surrender and laying down my plans and timelines. The best things that have happened in my life haven’t been written down on one of my to-do lists. They have come unexpectedly like they did for Rebekah. Instead of worrying about the details of my destination, I am going to concern myself with serving those around me with a willing heart and Fully Surrendering to God.
There is homework attached. Feel free to print it off and share with your people! Homework
Here is last week’s post. We studied Mary.