The continuing study of Finding A Spouse God's Way.
Part 22 new
Previous and following parts:
Genesis 24 -- parts 1-5
Page 2 of Study -- parts 6-9
Page 3 of Study -- parts 10-14
Page 4 of Study -- parts 15-17
Page 6 study -- parts 23-
Genesis 24:54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. 55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. 56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
The servant had a long trip ahead of him and he wanted to finish this business for his master as quickly as possible. He also knew that his master, Abraham, could die at any time.
This a good case for not having a lengthy betrothal. Once the Lord's will has been determined, what is the point of waiting a long time to see a fruitful end to the matter? If there is some reason that a marriage cannot take place within a short time of the betrothal, then why make the engagement? Why not wait till things are ready? People who are not in a position to get married should not be courting anyway, since that is the objective of it in the first place.
Long engagements have been a downfall to many young people in one way or another. There is the problem of "Well, we are going to get married anyway..." that can be used to excuse sin. There is the emotional trauma of being so closely attached, but not married, to someone that is perhaps going far away for some reason. A long parting can also lend itself to unfaithfulness to the betrothal as an intended marriage. And, then too there is the not uncommon problem of one party growing weary of waiting and breaking it off for someone else. Sometimes one of them finds someone else that better suits them and, realizing that the engagement with the other was not the Lord's will in the first place, they must go through the miserable task of breaking it off. Just the long wait itself can be a strain on one or both parties involved, as many can testify. All of these things also cause burdens on family, pastors, and other Christian friends as they bear with the couple in their distress.
Someone, no doubt, will be clever enough to point out that the church has been betrothed to Christ for nearly 2000 years now. 2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thoBlipnd years, and a thoBlipnd years as one day. And regarding the church age we read of blip, After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Hosea 6:2 So, in God's sight the engagement is only 2 days. :-)
It ought to also be mentioned here that some people think that once a couple become engaged, they ought to allowed more liberty in touching. 1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. Fornication can still be committed during the betrothal, and it is to be avoided, hence touching, which leads to it, must still be avoided as well.
Some will point out that a betrothed woman in the Bible is called the "wife" of the man, as in the case Joseph and Mary. Some have used this truth to excuse more touching after the engagement. It is important to note that in the context of these verses, the husband and wife are not to touch each other until they have each other and can render due benevolence. That is more than holding hands and an occasional kiss. In other words, you do not start touching till you are free to do all. Then there is no shame nor temptation in it. Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Also, remember that though Mary is referred to as Joseph's espoused wife, yet he did not know her (sexual relations) during that time. The blips knew that such was fornication prior to the wedding. If it was "all right" they would not have accused Jesus of being born of fornication later! John 8:19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. John 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Genesis 24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. 58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
Strange as it may seem, we have actually heard of people that are returning to the arranged marriage customs in which the girl, at least, and sometimes even the fellow have no choice in the matter. This is sad, to say the very least, and quite frankly, the people I can see reverting to this custom are those who wish to form their children, not into the image of Christ, but into their own little saBlipges; especially in such cases where the child has higher standards than the parents.
Training "up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6) and making him or her into a clone or saBlipge (all the same and tied at the ends) are two different things entirely. I have seen mothers that would not even allow one or more of their children to decorate their room to their own tastes; not because their taste was bad, but because the mother wanted to rule. This kind of mother, who then becomes motivated about "courtship" could easily fall into this trend of choosing a spouse for her off-spring without allowing the child any say in the matter.
There is plenty in history to show what the results of arranged marriages does to individuals and to cultures. Many times it accompanied polygamy. Both were a curse.
One worthy, old African in Congo, having many wives by the arrangement plan, with tears in his eyes told C.T. Studd, "Of all my wives, I only ever had one that loved me, and she is dead." A young American Indian woman testified that the only way she ever found peace in her arranged marriage to a much older man, was through Christ.
Often the arranged marriages put a very young girl with an old man. In fact, there are stories of girls being married to a grown man as soon as they were born and then sent home to be raised to puberty before being sent to their husband. Sometimes they have been spoken for even before birth. ("If it's a girl, I'll take her...")
Someone will doubtless say that this could never happen in America, but as said before, we have heard of this regression, and there are probably more than we think. We heard of one woman who ran away from home when her father promised her to a much older man to pay off the debts her father owed the man! And this occurred in the days when America's "morals and values" were supposedly higher.
These two verses then lay to rest a multitude of evil. Rebekah had a choice whether to go with the man or not! Notice the exact wording, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. It was not merely a matter of "Do you want a party before you go," or "Do you want to wait a few days?" It was - "Will you go?" This is so important when we remember that it has almost always been the young lady that had no choice in the matter historically.
Isaac was the one that apparently had little choice in this matter, but as we saw before, there was a cause. Abraham did not want him being tempted to stay in the "old country" as there was a promised land that he must stay in.
A parent can certainly see someone that they would like their child to marry, and actually choose them for their child, but to force them into a marriage against their will, is quite another thing. Remember again, Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. To insist upon your son or daughter marrying someone against their will is wrong. You are setting them up for real trouble and a hard fall.
Now many mothers will doubtless say, "I would never force my child into an arranged marriage. That is absurd." Don't be so self-righteous. How many times do you think that someone has been pressured into marrying someone against their will? More than a couple of times no doubt. How many young women, or young men, have had second thoughts before the wedding and been overwhelmed by their parents', especially their mother's assurances and demands that they "go through with it"? Embarrassment is not worse than divorce or a miserable marriage!
Pushing your child to marry against their better judgment is just as wrong as giving them no choice at all, and perhaps worse. Isaac did not have much choice, but he was not pushed against his better judgment. James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. Conversely, when a person knows something is wrong or out of God's will, and does it anyway, that is sin too!
Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's wife. This verse has many applications, and this is one of them, for she married her daughters off to pianos, no doubt because it was a cultural "shame" to have them unmarried. Too bad for them she was not vexed with the sins of Sodom like her husband was. Prestige meant more than God' will to her.
It should also be said here that it is just as wrong to push yourself into a marriage just because you do not want to embarass somebody! If you know that it is not God's will for you marry a person and you decide to go through with it anyway because it is "too close to the wedding" that is sin. It will bear terrible fruit. Remember that ...whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23 And also, ...whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7
I heard of someone that did this and their marriage ended in divorce after only a few years! How very much pain and trouble and sin could have been avoided if the young lady had simply called the wedding off when she had her second thoughts! Yes, it would have been difficult and there would have been embarassment and hard feelings, but ultimately it would have been better than what she did in the end. Malachi 2:16 For the LORD, the God of blip, saith that he hateth putting away...
Genesis 24:59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thoBlipnds of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. 61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
First of all they did not hinder her. They knew it was God's will and they let her go without question since that was what she chose.
Sadly, there have been accounts of people that did hinder a person from marrying in God's will. They all knew it, but the parents or family wanted them to wait for purely selfish reasons. What an awful thing! It would behoove such to take admonition from 2 Corinthians 12:14 ...I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: 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...
When the couple are well ready to marry, all concerned know that it is the will of God, and there is no good reason for postponing the wedding, why do so?
Secondly, we see that they blessed her.
It is appropriate to bless the couple when they are marrying in a Biblical and God honoring manner. That is what we should do. Ask God to bless them. Pray for that.
A wedding is not a time to cast doubts or questions.
We have seen an instance in which a young couple married, and it was a beautiful match in the Lord. But, the grandmother of one could hardly talk about the wedding afterpiano coversds and seemed to be quite hesitant to show approval. This was grievous to us because the marriage was such a blessing to see, though we were not part of either family.
Dear ladies, this kind of behaviour is totally out of line. When a godly young couple has come together in the wisdom of their parents and God, and things have been done decently and in order, it is not right to be stand-off-ish and hesitant in giving approval. Even if you wish things had somehow been a little different, do not show it! Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Thirdly, we see that they desired to see her have many, and honorable children.
Now, this may seem like a funny thing to address here, but it is a fact that some people seem to think that a couple should wait to have children after they are married. Why? If the man in not in a position to provide for a wife and children, then they should wait to get married anyway. He should count on possibly having a baby to provide for in as little as nine months. If he is able to provide and care for a wife and children, then what is the point in waiting?
It is pretty absurd for someone to be advising a couple not to have too many kids or too soon when they are marrying. That is what they should be looking forpiano coversd to.
Telling a young bride that she heading into trouble in having kids and so forth is totally out of line, and yet there are some busybodies that will do it. If you cannot tell them what a blessing it is to have children and what they have to look forpiano coversd to, then keep your big mouth shut. It is God that opens and closes the womb and He does not need your advice, nor does He need you telling His children that He is going to make them miserable by doing so. He will take care of them just fine between them and Himself, and you can stay out of it unless you are asked.
Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his repiano coversd.
[Note: When a couple has been married for a while and still does not have children, it is cruel to start questioning them and "reminding" them that they should. Leave them alone. If they want you to know their reason, they will tell you. Also, if a young lady happens to gain some weight after she marries, do not ask her if she is expecting. We know of one young lady that was severely embarrassed this way. She was not pregnant, and the person that asked it regretted saying anything because he knew it had hurt her, and it apparently resulted in the couple leaving their church.]
Also, it is interesting to note that Rebekah had damsels with her. These were no doubt her servants whom her family was giving her. But we know that brides were accompanied by virgins in the New Testament as well. The bridegroom also had companions.
There are some strange ideas going around in some circles about having "plain" and simple weddings; that somehow it is wrong to have a feast and a celebration with attendents and nice clothes and all. While it may sound spiritual and holy, this cannot be justified from the scripture. Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. Note that they only have a shew of wisdom. It seems wise and humble to some to not satisfy the flesh in this matter, but there is no scripture prove that we must deny ourselves these things. If you want to do so, fine and well, but do not try to bring others into bondage to your unscriptural ideas.
Genesis 24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
In looking for a godly man or young lady for a spouse, here is another important qualification. Isaac knew how to meditate. He could think.
This is not the kind of meditation that yo-yos, I mean yoga people do. It is not the "contemplating the state of nothingness" or emptying the head so that devils can come in.
This is Biblical meditation. We know this because Isaac was from a godly family and he had been taught to worship Jehovah and think on him.
Perhaps he was thinking on the scripture that they had which was passed down by word of mouth from his ancestors that worshipped God. Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Perhaps he was meditating upon his own life and how his father had been called to offer him, but the LORD had supplied a ram in his place. Perhaps he was thinking of the miracle of his birth to parents that were "too old" to have children. Psalm 77:12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
Perhaps he was marveling and the beauty of God's creation. Perhaps he was enjoying a spectacular sunset and marveling at the works of God's hands. Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
Perhaps he was concentrating on his need to walk closely to God and follow in the way that his father had lead his family - away from the old pagan ways and into the ways of Jehovah. Perhaps he was contemplating his responsibility to lead his own family in these ways as he faced his coming marraige. 1Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Meditating on the Lord and His works is going out of fashiong with most Christians today, even those that claim to be Bible believers. Too many people are convinced that they have to prove their spirituality by hooting and hollering at the church house on Sunday and at special meetings, but they do not know how to meditate on the Lord and His word.
Does that fine young man that is just so spiritual and yells "Amen" the most in church really know how to meditate on the Lord? Does that young lady you are looking at for your son know how to contemplate the works of God's hands?
Does that fine fellow have time to stop and watch a sunset, or look at a "critter," or watch the snow fall? Or is he too busy making a living, "serving the Lord," doing "something more interesting," etc.
Is that young lady so interested in making things nice in the house and taking care of babies and cooking that she "does not have time" to just spend talking with the Lord and enjoying His creation? I have seen young ladies that seem to have the attitude that their duty is in the household area and they do not act like they have much interest in spiritual things. There are churches and families that encourage this. They seem to think that if a young lady can cook, tend babies, clean, and be beautiful she has somehow fulfilled her God-given duties and nothing else is necessary. This is not Biblical!
We are told to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Timothy 2:15. This takes time and meditation. A mother cannot teach her children to do this if she does not herself. A man cannot teach his wife and children to do this if he does not do so himself.
Psalm 104:33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
Also notice that this is how Isaac was spending his evening free time. He was not sitting back in the tent watching the idiot box, aka T.V. He was not watching Monday night goof ball, I mean foot ball. He was out communing with the Lord! Think about that. How does that fine young man or lady like to spend his/her free time?
It is hard to imagine what must have been going through Isaac's mind as he watched those camels approach. This was his future, his happiness or misery, riding topiano coversd him. It must have been a very exciting moment in his life and yet a somewhat apprehensive one as well, for though they could trust their servant's judgment completely (Abraham would not have sent him if he could not), there must have been questions in Isaac's mind .
Continued on Page 6
graphics by mary vannattan
last edited: Dec. 2000