The continuing study of Finding A Spouse God's Way.
Previous and following parts:
Genesis 24 -- parts 1-5
Page 2 of Study -- parts 6-9
Page 4 of Study -- parts 15-18
Page 5 of Study -- parts 19-22
Page 6 of Study -- parts 23-
Genesis 24:33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.
Here is a man that knew what his job was and followed through with a tremendous zeal. 1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stepiano coversds, that a man be found faithful.
The lesson here seems to be that a son should be encouraged and taught that once he has determined that a young lady is the one that he feels God would have him to court and possilby to marry, he should not just hang around and look interesting. He should ask his father to declare himself to her dad, or do so himself if his Dad's help is not possible. 1Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Genesis 24:34 And he said, I am Abraham's servant. 35 And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. 36 And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.
This is beautiful. It seems quite likely that this was Eliezer of Damascus (Genesis 15:2-3) who was the heir of all of this wealth of Abraham's before Isaac's birth; and yet, here he is, without bitterness, without jealousy, finding a good wife for the young man whose birth prevented him from inheriting fabulous wealth. What a tremendous example this is to all of us!
More specifically though is this thought: We, both mothers and single young women, must not be jealous or bitter of the blessings of others when God sees fit to give them good spouses. With so few godly young people "available" today, it is and will be a great temptation to covet someone that God intends for someone else either for ourself, or for our child, or even siblings. Let us take this servant's example to heart!
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
If we observe this there will not be the wicked competition that prevails among those that practice the "dating game." Let's learn to be thankful for each other's blessings and not so selfish that we can't help someone else or pray for them when they are in a good courtship with a godly person. Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life... Let's be an example in this wicked world of how it is to live by God's standards rather than using their crooked and perverse methods and exhibiting their petty jealousies in finding a spouse. This can be a tremendous testimony that we do live by the word of life.
Genesis 24:37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: 38 But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.
Here again we have the fact restated that Abraham did not want his son marrying just anyone. This cannot be emphasized enough in a day when so many think that just any old "Christian" or even any "KJV-Only Bible believer" is all right. There are more issues than just that.
Abraham not only said he did not want his son marrying a Canaanite, but he also specified what family his son's wife should come from. He didn't just send his servant out to find the first Semite that he might happen across, and there were other Semites in that part of the world.
Just because someone has the name "KJV-Only, Bible believing, and/or Baptist" pasted on them does not mean that they will make an acceptable spouse for your child [or you]. They may believe some very strange things or some things that you just cannot hold to.
Some approve divorce by their actions and practice. Some teach that remarriage after divorce is all right. Some believe that there are all kinds of soul-less beings in the sky and earth that are waiting to pounce on us if we don't believe the KJV (honestly, we heard this). Some allow their kids to do almost everything but fornicate before marriage.
Others are caught up to one degree or another in Patriotism/Reconstructionism/etc. They don't pay their income blip; are involved in the piano; and have few, if any, licenses or other ID. This makes life quite difficult for them and sometimes even forces them to live on the run or in hiding. With many of them you are a heretic if you don't do exactly as they do.
This is a sampling.
There are many other various and sometimes strange things going on among self-professed Bible believers. Some are unbelievable and disgusting beyond words, others are disappointing and/or annoying. You must be absolutely certain that you and your child are going to be able to get along not only with the person that they marry, but also with those that they are related to and that they attend church with. (If your son or daughter loves music can you imagine how they would feel married to someone that thinks music should be kept out of church meetings and really isn't a very spiritual pastime anyway? We have heard this too!)
The flip side of this is that you may not be as interested in separation from the world as other people are. If you feel uncomfortable around someone because their "satndards are too high" or they are "too narrow minded," then you better leave those folks alone and not pretend that your something that you "ain't!" Playing along with someone and pretending that you are narrower than you really are, or pretending you want to become narrower when you don't, just because the young man is so handsome and gentlemanly or the young lady is so pretty and sweet, is WICKED!!
If you are putting on a show just to catch "your man," pretending that you have convictions that you do not and pretending you want to live right when in your heart you know you are just doing it to please him and his family, you better quit it and get out of his life! If you and your son are doing this to a young lady and/or her family, the same goes for you too! Get out of their life! If you would not get right for the LORD, but you think you are doing so honestly for a mere human, you are in for a hard lesson and have deceived yourself and are deceiving them. You are going to make a mess of their life and yours. Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
After you are married, the first time that "wonderful" fellow or girl does something that you don't like and it becomes a major issue between you, you will start going back on your so-called convictions to punish them. If you have gotten a whole bunch of high standards suddenly since you met "the most wonderful young man" or "the most wonderful young lady" (for your son) you better examine your heart honestly before the Lord and find out what your motives really are for all those standards. Is it really because you want to get right, or is it to please that fellow and his family or that girl and her family?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? The heart is exceedingly deceitful. We can lie to ourselves and believe ourselves when people around us know we are lying. Satan's fall was caused by his deceitful heart, Isaiah 14:13-15. Ananias and Sapphira got their hearts so full of the devil that they actually thought they could lie to the Holy Ghost, Acts 5:3. None of us are any better, and if you are playing this kind of game with a godly family that is following the Lord whole-heartedly, you better look out. The Lord is watching and He may decide to deliver them from you. blips 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Not just anyone of the same race that professes to believe as you do is acceptable either. While we now cannot marry too close among relatives because of the degeneration of human genetics, what you should want is a family that is as much like yours as is possible both spiritually, in everyday practice, and nationally if possible.
God was very clear with blip in the Old Testament that He does not like the mixing of the nations. He wants people to be what He created them to be, not mixing up and making things such a mess that some are not even sure what they are. Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: The bounds of habitation were set by God to help people find Him! Cultural diversity and inter-racial marriage do not help people become better world citizens, they push them farther from finding God!
Lest anyone jump to conclusions about what is meant by inter-racial marriage, this is not just referring to blacks with whites. This also includes races of black people inter-marrying as well as races of whites. A Masai should not marry an Ethiopian, nor a Luo if he/she can avoid it. A Japanese should not marry a Chinese, OR an American if they can find anyone in their own nationality that is godly and shares their convictions.
But, it does not stop here. There are major cultural differences often within a country, or race.
Now here's a fellow that marries a nice girl from California. He's from Pennsylvania. All right, so they get up in the morning after their wedding and he thinks, "Boy, I am hungry for a nice bowl of hot oatmeal with molasses on it." When he gets to the table, he finds broiled grapefruit and scrambled eggs with cactus leaves. Being a gentleman, though, he doesn't complain, figuring that he will get something more to his liking at lunch time. At noon he's hoping for some nice meaty salami or Lebanon bologna with cheese on homemade bread. Instead, he finds avocado in a marinade of some vegetable that he can't even pronounce, and cold fruit soup. Well, by dinner time he knows better than to get his hopes up too high. His new wife serves him cold chicken that tastes like orange marmalade, artichoke heart salad, Italian biscotti (which he can't even chew) and fruit with chili pepper sprinkled on it for dessert. After the meal he says, "Honey, we need to talk."
Of course, this is all made up, but you can see how it goes. There are things that can really make a difference in the peace of a home that are simply habits of life or thought. We met one couple that was having serious trouble because the wife had been raised in a home where food was rationed carefully and portions were small, while her husband had grown up in a home where food had been served "all-you-can-eat" style. They were having some real hassles and were headed for trouble over that one.
In another home my family was in the man was so important that he was served first and took all he wanted, regardless of what was available, before his wife and kids, and even before company! [Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;] You can imagine what kind of problems litte things like this can cause.
Spending money can be another major problem, as many will testify from personal experience. Other areas for potetial trouble - how to raise and discipline the kids, how the house should be kept and decorated, etc.
Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. It is "the little foxes that spoil the grapes" as we all know from experience in life in general. The little things that might not seem so important at the courtship stage, can become major annoyances later.
We knew of an courting couple once in which the young man was a tall, white-skinned, redhead of Scandinavian descent and background, and the young lady was half Mexican. The young lady associated more with the Mexican side of her family and you can about imagine how the fellow must have "fit in." He had never even had enchiladas till after they were engaged. Their cultural backgrounds were extremely different and could have caused them some real problems.
This is just a smattering of things that can cause real contention. There are numerous other customs of many different people and areas, provinces, states and families that are difficult to mix, sometimes even when national heritage is the same. This does not mean that it should never be done. It is getting quite difficult for godly families to even find anyone that shares their convictions, let alone someone from a similar background, race and culture. But, the options within one's own type of people should be exhausted before starting out in different directions. Even then, you must be absolutely sure that it is the Lord's will for your child (or you) to marry across obvious boundaries, even if it is as simple as being of the same "ethnic" group but having different customs and habits of life because you are from opposite ends of the country or even the globe. Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Overcoming these things is possible, but it will take an extra measure of 1Peter 3:1-11, which some people just cannot handle.
[Note: An example: we know of one couple in which the man is Mexican the wife Irish/American. She looks Mexican, and they no doubt have not had to struggle with as much prejudice because of that. They crossed a boundry, but they are more compatible with people's expectations. People are prejudice and it is better to face it before marriage than after. It WILL effect the children, regardless of what you may think.]
Another situation may be where two people with different racial backgrounds have grown up in the same environment in an extremely exclusive situation - such as the Australian outback; or small, remote islands. In such cases it may be better to marry across racial lines than not to for the simple fact that there may not be anyone that loves the Lord and will understand that kind of life and love it like you do whom you can marry from your own race.
Two Biblical examples of marriages that were across boundries in God's will are Rahab and Salmon, and Ruth and Boaz. There was literally no one in those ladies' cultures whom they could marry in God's will. They also converted to the truth completely.
Another boundary that should be mentioned here is that of age. While there are clear cases in the Bible where the husband is quite a bit older than the wife, there is no clear mention of the wife being older than her husband. It is not forbidden in the Bible for the wife to be older, nor does it say that the husband must be older; both of which some people would like to lay down as law by their own authority. Therefore, we have to go upon Biblical principles.
In the case of the husband being much older, this is not so much of a problem if the parents and all parties concerned are not bothered by it. It could be a problem for some people still because of the difference in the era in which they grew up. The wife must also be prepared for the probability of losing her husband early. Though this does not always happen, it is not uncommon since women generally outlive men. Naturally, the greater the difference in years, the more likely this is to happen.
As far as the wife being considerably older, this is less likely to be workable since the wife is to submit to her husband and reverence him. Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
For many women it would be difficult to reverence a husband that is much younger, and for some men it may be awkpiano coversd to be the head of an older wife. But, there are some that can do so with good success by simply obeying the word of God, Joshua 1:8. Fanny Crosby was about 10 years or more older than her husband (and still he died before her). We have some old family friends that have a similar difference in age, with her being older. They have served the Lord together very happily as missionaries for many years and are still at it as much as their health will allow. My parents even knew of one English couple in which the wife was about 15 years older than her husband. They were Christians also and a real blessing to the missionary kids at the boarding school my parents attended in Africa. While 15 years seems like a too much, still, they got along well with it and were happy in serving the Lord together. Proverbs18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
In either case - the husband being many years older, or the wife being considerably older - the parents and the couple should be absolutely certain that this is the Lord's will for them, having prayed over the different considerations.
Genesis 24:39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. 40 And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house: 41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.
Notice two things here.
First, Abraham had complete faith in God's hand in this matter. He believed that God would send His angel before the servant to prepare the wife for Isaac that He wanted him to have.
You can trust the Lord to go before you and prepare the right spouse for you (or each of your children) if He wants you (or them) married. Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. You should pray to this end. Psalm 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is just as much spiritual piano coversfare involved in marrying the right person as in any other area because marrying in God's will is a spiritual matter. The devil will do anything he can to get your kids or you married to the wrong person. If he cannot get them (or you) to marry an unsaved person posing as a Christian, he will try to get them (or you) to marry a saved person that lives for "the pleasures of sin for a season;" blips 11:25. If he cannot get them to marry a carnal Christian, then he will try to get them to marry a person that is not well suited to them in order to stir up contention in their lives. When you are looking for a spouse, or if your child (or you) is to remain single, there will be enemies in the way that will try to get you to do the wrong thing! Pray against them! Psalm 27:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
The second thing that we see here about Abraham is that he did not demand a wife for his son from the relatives. If they were not willing, then there was to be no further pressure in the matter either on them or on the servant. How many people would have saved themselves so much trouble and heartache if they had just been content to take "no," or disinterest as an answer and move on, trusting the Lord! Too many people have pushed themselves or their off-spring into a marriage when one party was not entirely willing or comfortable with it. Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. If one party cannot marry in faith, then it is sin to do so!
Again, Proverbs 19:2 Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth. Don't get in a hurry and push against the Lord's will. If you are being pushed against your will or better judgment in this area, you had better be very careful. As the first part of the verse points out, it is not good to be without knowledge. One reason some people are in a big hurry is because they don't want you to have knowledge of what they really are.
Genesis 24:42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: 43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; 44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master's son. 45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. 46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. 47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. 48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.
While this long passage might seem to some like a long repeat that is not necessary, one very important message is given here -- when we arrive at a family that is worthy, it is necessary to tell them how we got there.
Once the servant had determined that these were the people that qualified for Isaac, he told them plainly how he had prayed and how God had directly answered his prayer. To hold back this story would have been to withhold from God the glory He deserved and from the family the fact that it was God that got him there. To exaggerate would have been to put inappropriate pressure upon them and mislead them.
While on the one hand it is not right to push, on the other it is also not right to keep back information that will help the other party in determining God's will. The simple truth of God's leading, without exaggeration, will do wonders in helping others find God's will also. Godly people will be encouraged by your testimony of the Lord's directing of your life to them. Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
Continued on next page:
Page 4 of Genesis 24 Study
graphics by mary vannattan
Last edited: Dec. 2000