The study of Finding A Spouse God's Way.
Genesis 24:5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6 And Abraham said unto him, Bepiano coverse thou that thou bring not my son thither again. 7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that spiano coverse unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. 8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and spiano coverse to him concerning that matter.
Abraham did not send Isaac off to college or out into to the world to find himself a wife. In fact, he did not even send him back to the home country to find a wife. The reason for this was that, although he wanted a wife for his son who was of the right sort, he did not want his son to fall into the idolatry of that area. Nor did he want Isaac to leave the land of blessing and promise. Abraham's servant would not be as tempted emotionally by the "home country" as Isaac might. Nor could Rebekah's family succeed in wooing Isaac to move "home" and marry Rebekah if Isaac was not there to tempt.
The Arabs have a legend which comes from the pre-Islamic era. It says that Abraham was the Sheik of Damascus (Haran is very near Damascus) before God called him to Canaan. Indeed, Terah may well have also gained high social place before Abraham's day. If this is true, and Abraham's wealth bears out the possibility, then Isaac might have been received with great feasting and pomp if he had returned looking for a bride. Isaac might also have been offered great station in life if he were to move back to Haran and the Damascus neighborhood. All that would be needed would be a vacuum of leadership to coincide with a visit by Isaac. Abraham may well have known these things and knew that Isaac would be very tempted to leave the call of God for the good life and the "need" for his leadership.
Parents must think long and hard before they send their kids away from home to find a spouse. The "folks back home" may call that child away to the pursuit of fame and prosperity outside of God's plan. Many a young man has knelt at the altar rail and dedicated his life to preach or go to the missionfield, only to toss it aside when he found a sweet thing in college whose Daddy desperately needed a good man to take over the store or business, or to be his assistant pastor.
Isaac did not follow his own father's example later when he sent Jacob back to Haran to find a wife. Because of that, Jacob got himself into all kinds of trouble and stayed in that land a long time. God blessed him in spite of this mistake, but things could have been much better for Jacob in his marriage situation. (More later.)
Sending a child off to college to "get an education" and find a spouse does not make sense really. After all, who knows a person better than their own family, so, who is more qualified to help them find a spouse than their own family? The mother and sisters can help check the girl out and see if her professed convictions hold up so well when the fellow isn't around. The dad and brothers can find out if this guy that is supposed to be so godly keeps his mouth clean all the time, even when the ladies aren't around and if he really lives what he says he believes. At college this is not possible. The young person is left completely on their own and even worse, they get counsel from young people that are equally at loose ends and adults that are often more interested in "making a good match" than in checking out both parties involved and making sure the families are compatible. [See our article: Stay Home.]
A classic example of what can happen when a young person goes out from
home to visit the world is found in Genesis 34. Verse 1 tells us, And
Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters
of the land. If Dinah had stayed home a whole chain
of events that are really sorry would not have followed.
1) Shechem would not have seen her in a situation that lent itself to his acting upon his lust and raping her. Genesis 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
2) Her brothers would have had no reason to be angry at Shechem and his people. Genesis 34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in blip in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
3) Her brothers would not have dealt deceitfully with the men. Genesis 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
4) Shechem, Hamor and the men of their city would not have been killed. Genesis 34:25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
If this is not enough reason for you to see that girls need to stay home where they belong, then you have a serious problem, ma'am. Many families have gotten into real trouble by sending their daughters off to college to find husbands, or by allowing them to work away from home.
Genesis 24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
Now here was a servant that took his job seriously. He got on with it immediately and not only so, but he knew where to look for the right kind of wife. He went to the very city in which Abraham's relatives lived. He didn't waste time looking in places where he knew the relations were not.
Do not waste your time looking for spouses for you children where you know you are not going to find them; such as churches that are not on the narrow way, half-baked home school groups, and washed out colleges and Bible schools. There are people that are supposedly KJV-only that will sometimes give up waiting on the Lord and go spouse-hunting in churches and among people that are not KJV-Only and not sound. (Proverbs 19:2 Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.) In fact, not all KJV-only churches are equal. Some have very strange ideas about some things and strange customs or culture. These are most certainly not the place to look for spouses.
For example, one church we visited in had a sorry attitude topiano coversd women. In the morning service the pastor cut his wife down too much in my dad's estimation of the Biblical perspective. Then in some members' home at dinner the food was served buffet-style and they announced "Men first." This was totally against our family's customs and culture. We discovered the apparent reason for this on a tape of a sermon that was preached in that church by a guest pastor. He claimed that if the husband failed, the whole family failed and therefore, if there was not enough food for everyone the husband ought to eat first. (WICKED!) They had turned this into a social and biblical mess by appropriating it to everyday life and making it standard operations procedure.
Added to this I noticed that it was considered "normal" for women in the church to start taking the church's Bible institute correspondence courses and then quit on the first one. So, the women were sort of elevated house servants that the men kept happy by flattery in other areas. All this was totally unscriptural. Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 2Corinthians 12:14 ...for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you... Looking for a spouse, especially a husband for your daughter in this kind of environment is risky to say the least!
Secondly, Abraham's servant went to the right place in that city to look for the girl. He did not go to the local youth group (regardless of how good it might be). He did not look at the beauty pageant. He didn't stop by the bar or pub. He did not go to the local Bible college or even Bible institute. He did not check the local businesses to see the secretaries, the bank tellers, or the waitresses at the cafes. He went where the women that were doing women's work would be. The women who were minding their own business, were where they belonged, and were taking care of the needs of the home in that day were the ones that would be at the well at that hour.
When looking for a spouse for your child you should look in the right places. A young lady should be helping take care of her own home and learning from her mother to be a good house wife and mother. Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. She should not be out working "just till she marries" or getting a carrier. If she cannot keep house and does not know how nor care to cook, clean, sew, etc.; how is she going to take care of your son's home? If she cannot think a spiritual thought, how is she going to raise godly children and be an encouragement to your son as his wife? If she will not obey her father, is disrespectful to him and not under submission to him, how do you think she will treat your son?
A young man should be at home learning to earn an income (helping his folks out if needed) and to be a spiritual leader from his father and pastor. (For those from an ungodly home, this may not be possible, but he should at least be under discipleship from a pastor and/or a godly man). Proverbs 24:27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterpiano coversds build thine house. 2Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
A fellow that will not work and lives off his folks is not qualified to care for your daughter and potential granbliphildren. He may end up sending her out to work! If he cannot discuss spiritual things intelligently, has no thoughts of his own and cannot or won't pray publicly, how can he be the spiritual head and leader of a family?
Added to this, if he is in debt, he should get out before even considering marriage. Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. If he is in college (which we do not recommend), he should finish that first and get situated financially to support a wife and children. Going to college and supporting a growing family can be very difficult on a marriage and family life, as has been proven over and over again. It is better not to mix the two.
(Note: There may come a point at which a young man may leave home in order to serve the Lord before he is married. The Biblical principle here however, is that he have another man (married or unmarried) with which to work, thus granting accountability. Mark 6:7, Acts 17:14-15, Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good repiano coversd for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. If the fellow does not have a friend and does not care to, or if his friend is a spiritual slob, bepiano coverse!)
Also there is the matter of a couple being on their own. If they have to live with one set of parents or the other because they cannot make it on their own, then they, the fellow in particular, are not ready to get married. The scripture is very plain on this. Mark 10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
Genesis 24:12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
Point one: Abraham had already exhibited his faith when he told his servant that the LORD would send His angel before him (v.7). Now we find that the servant himself turns in the right direction when the most important moment arrives. Before he makes any move in choosing, he prays. Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes...
How many people follow their eyes and their feelings when it comes to finding a spouse, rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit? How many pray, "Lord, this is the person I want to marry, please let this work out;" rather than, "Nevertheless, Thy will be done. Guide my steps aright."?
Even parents are guilty of following emotions and their eyes instead of praying and following the Lord. Telling your son "That's a pretty girl," or your daughter "That's a really handsome young man" is not the right way to start them out in finding the Lord's will in whom they should marry! This basis for a relationship is all wrong. Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 1Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outpiano coversd appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. All those beautiful "good looks" may disappear rapidly and no amount of "good looks" and outpiano coversd charm can make up for an ugly heart.
Point two: This servant wanted to make sure he got the right one the first time. This does not always happen in courtship, but if it is the objective, much trouble and heartache can be avoided.
Even among those that profess to practice godly courtship there has arisen the idea that it is perfectly all right to court 10-12 or more people before you find the right one. For some, "courtship" has simply become a new name for the old dating game that they always practiced. Even the world is calling their dating ritual "courtship" now.
At the well, Abraham's servant would be perfectly able to tell which girls were old enough to marry and which were not. Anyone who is courting, ought to be old enough to marry in the first place.
Secondly, courtship should not be approached with the view to having a "good time." Finding a spouse is a very serious matter and should be treated as such.
Some Christians have the idea that God does not pick out a specific spouse for each of His children. We can just kind of go along and fall in love with and marry anyone as long as they are saved and have similar convictions as we do. This is a strange idea when one considers Matthew 10:30, But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Why would God number the hairs of our head and yet not ordain a particular person for each of us that He wants married? Is it possible that He has no will in regards to whom we should marry? Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Does this cease to be true in marriage matters? Do we have to lean on our own understanding in such an important decision? No, this is impossible.
The whole idea behind "an help meet for him" is that the help (Eve) was meet for the needs of Adam. Each man has needs to be met for his calling in the work of the Lord and there is someone that is meet for those needs if God wants the man married. Each young woman that God wants married He prepares to be the exact help that is meet for the needs of the husband that she is to marry.
Point three: The servant asked for a sign of sorts, but that sign was based on something very important. Isaac was to inherit great wealth in the form of livestock. This servant was very wise in the specifications that he set. He wanted a young lady that would be willing and able to work with Isaac in the calling and responsibility that he had.
A beautiful complexion and lily white hands do not get the camels watered and the sheep fed. Isaac needed a wife that was not afraid of hard work and was familiar enough with it to volunteer to do extra work. Watering ten camels was not a little job. Camels can drink a lot when they are thirsty and there is no telling how thirsty these camels were for sure. But, this was a job that was a test. No weak little thing that was used to nothing more strenuous than embroidery and watching T.V. would be able to do the job. We do not know how deep the well was, nor how big Rebekah's pitcher was, but she probably had quite a bit of work on her hands.
Also, Isaac needed a wife that was hospitable. In that Semitic culture hospitality was a must. It always has been among the God fearing. A woman that was not willing to go to extra trouble to help a stranger would not fit into Isaac's home needs. Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Now, this is an important issue. I heard a preacher on a tape once say that it does not matter who you marry as long as they believe like you etc. This is not true. A man that is called to be a preacher better find a wife that will be a good preacher's wife. A man that is called to pastor a church better find a woman that will be a help meet for him in that job. The same goes for missionaries, deacons, and men who are called to serve in the local church. If a man is to be a farmer, he better marry a young lady that is ready to be a farmer's wife.
This works both ways too. A young lady may not feel that she is qualified to be a pastor's wife. She may feel strongly inclined to serve the Lord on the mission field, or she may be responsible for her parents for some reason and feel that she should stay in the local church. For the young lady it is not necessarily always as clear as for the young man. The young lady may be prepared to serve with a husband in whatever calling the Lord directs him to and not have a set preference. But is it essential that they look for someone whom they can work with in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
How many people have crippled their effectiveness in serving the Lord because the husband did not have a wife that was an help meet for his needs, and the wife was not able to be the help meet for her husband's needs? Once it is done it is too late to take it apart, and they may be able to go on and serve the Lord and be useful to Him, but how much better it could have been if they had married the right person! Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. Do not settle for something less than a wife meet for your son's needs, or a husband that your daughter is suited to help (or you are suited to help).
One example of the need to be suited to each other is in the area of intellect. Charles Dickens was an unsaved man and did not have the advantage of the Lord's leading in his life. He had a high intellect and very stupidly married a young woman because she was beautiful and appealing. She, however, was not too bright. They did not have a happy life together and their marriage ended in a total wreck.
An area in which there must be stability is the emotional. One couple we heard of were advised not to marry by both their pastor and her parents because the pastor and parents thought they both had things they needed to deal with first. They married anyway, and it was not long before their home situation was going down hill. It continued like this for years before it finally was totally ruined. These both were unstable, but the result can be the same when someone who is stable marries a spouse that is not. This can be devastating to a marriage and what is more, in some cases can be passed on to the children genetically or emotionally.
Spiritual inequality is crippling to a marriage. When the husband wants to live for God and the wife is a spiritual fluff-head, wants to live like the world, or insists on being the spiritual leader of the home; things turn out badly and can get ugly. On the other hand, when the wife has a desire to really walk with God and be separated and the husband is worldly and has little concern over spiritual things, the home can become a real mess. ...All flesh is grass... (Isaiah 40:6) and unless the wife forces her flesh to submit to her husband to please the Lord, she will be inclined to rise up and take the spiritual authority and leadership that her husband is neglecting.
Of course, the worst inequality is when the one member is unsaved. 2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Marrying an unsaved person can even happen when you fully intend to obey God's word in this matter. Let me relate one young man's experience to you. This fellow's family was familiar with the girl's family and they were good friends. Her father was a King James Only evangelist. They were good people with high standards. Well, the fellow courted and became betrothed to the girl and things were going good, except for one thing. This young man is very zealous to get a testimony of salvation from people but, when he tried to get a testimony for his betrothed she utterly refused to give him one! He was constrained by the Lord and his knowledge of the word of God to break off the engagement because he could not marry someone that would not confess salvation. God will bless him for doing the right thing.
In some cases, the person will actually say they are saved and will give an absolute testimony of how and where it happened, but they will not be make the public confession of baptism, or they do not show fruit that remains (John 15:16). In such cases, as well, there is no way of knowing if the person is really saved, and to marry them would be perilous indeed. How many people have wished later that they had looked for more evidence of salvation, or waited longer to see how it would go with that person before leaping into marriage!
Genesis 24:15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
Here is an example of Isaiah 65:24, And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. This may happen for you too. God may answer your prayer for spouses for your kids, or one for yourself very quickly. On the other hand, the Lord may not answer quickly.
Take Zacharias and Elisabeth for example. They had prayed for years for a child, until they finally gave up because neither of them could physically have children any more. Yet, when Gabriel spoke to Zacharias in the temple he said, ...Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:13-14 They had not prayed for this for years!
You may perhaps feel like giving up, but be assured, God has heard your prayer. It may be that He still has the joy of marriage prepared for you or your child, as the case may be. Don't give up! And if it should so be that God does not want you (or your child) married, He is able to more than make it up to you in His tender love and comfort. 2Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Continued on next page:
Page 2 of Genesis 24 Study
background & graphics by mary vannattan
Last edited: Dec. 2000