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Male and Female Created He Them
VI. What Do We Find In The Word Of God?
Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebecca, and she became his wife; and
he loved her.
- Genesis 24:67
-- READ Genesis ch. 24; 29; Ruth; Hosea ch. 1 - 3. --
It is very interesting that nothing like dating is found anywhere in the word of God. Is this because God's word is outdated? Or for some other reason? In actuality, dating is a very recent phenomenon, within the last 100 years or so.
Does this mean God's Word has nothing to say to us of how He brings a man and woman together? Clearly not. It has a great deal to say if we will but search for the truth and be open to it.
I wish we had time to search the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation for insights into God's way of bringing men and women together. We would find many, many passages for our enlight-enment and much rich truth. But in the context of this little work, we cannot spend such time. But we can touch on a few highlights.
We all know the classic story of how the Lord brought Isaac and Rebecca together. It is glorious. Please read Genesis 24 before continuing (only about 3 pages in most Bibles). Here we see some foundational truths that I think we can build on.
What are they? Put your seatbelts on:
1. Isaac had no part in determining when it was time for him to marry.
2. Isaac had no part in determining who he should marry.
3. Isaac never had a chance to get to know his wife before marrying her.
4. The same three things were true of Rebecca.
5. Isaac had no problem loving Rebecca upon meeting and marrying her.
Now, before we reject all of this as being "eastern culture" and "pre-historic" standards, we must acknowledge that the Word of God clearly indicates this all was directly from and of God. And not surprisingly, these above truths are found consistently from the beginning to the end of scripture.
The key here is that it was Abraham, Isaac's father, who determined these things for him, and Rebecca's father Bethuel determined her fate as well.
Am I suggesting that we, today, submit all these things to our parents? Well, I can say that if they are truly god-fearing, walking closely with Him, and love the Lord with all their hearts, I would not fear such a thing at all! You see, they are far wiser than we while we are young, and more able to be objective about hearing from the Lord about His will.
But I believe that the real principle is that these decisions lie totally in our heavenly Father's hands. Not ours. Do we yet know that our hands will always mess up everything, and this area more than any!
We must be very careful to leave the timing of when we are to marry totally in His hands. Our feeling of need is irrelevant, even possibly an indication that it is not the time.
And even more importantly, we must leave the choosing and selecting of our life-mate to God. He alone knows us - we do not even know ourselves. And, we can never know another well enough to make a decision regardless of the years we have known the person. As I mentioned earlier, I have seen individuals who kept their real person hidden for years after marriage. You could be engaged for 10 years and still not really know the person. So the argument that you really need to know a person before marriage is false.
And how is it that Isaac could so suddenly love one he had never known? Never even had the chance to "fall in love" with? Well, I personally believe Isaac did fall in love with Rebecca - the day he met her. And I believe the intensity and depth of that love only increased from that day on. He was given the woman of God's selection. . . what more could any man (or woman) ask for? Indeed, the "falling in love" was the easy part - it came naturally.
But there is another story in Genesis 29. It is in stark contrast to Isaac and Rebecca. It is the story of much trouble! It is the story of Jacob and Rachael. Jacob was the opposite of his father Isaac. Whereas Isaac was always totally submissive to his father, Jacob was always determined to get his own way, grasping, deceiving. Isaac represents that which is born of the Spirit. Jacob represents that which is born of the flesh. There could not be a much greater contrast.
As with all things, Jacob knew what he wanted - he loved Rachael* -and when he wanted it. He fell in love with Rachael, and struck a deal for her as soon as he could. And this was the beginning of his troubles. How we are like him! We have our own plans, we have it all worked out about how to get what we want. But God always will throw a wrench in the plans of such a one!
I wonder how many of our plans with those we have pursued have had God's "wrenches" thrown in them but we "kept on trucking"?
How many of us have delayed God's timetable, or doubled it because of our trying to manipulate finding our mate? Jacob's whole life was filled with problems that were the result of his determination to manipulate his own will to come to pass.
What about Ruth in the book of her name? Oh, the glorious fruit of a life that only wanted the will of God. She had joyously submitted herself to Naomi, knowing only there was she safest. And it was Naomi who selected Ruth's husband, even Boaz (a type of Christ), a man full of mercy and grace and riches. And it was Ruth who was the bridge between the godless days of Judges ("There was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes") and the God-anointed king of Israel David, who brought all of God's people under His kingship and into a life of worship!
I would never suggest (and think it unwise) that we marry someone that we don't love, but I do encourage the reader to pray over what this fact might mean as it relates to the subject of this chapter.
And then there is Hosea. Are we willing to be "Hosea" 's for the Lord? God had instructed him to marry a harlot. Why? To show Israel that in spite of her total unfaithfulness and spiritual harlotry, she was still loved by God because His love was unconditional. And that even after her marriage to Hosea, she returned to her harlotry. How foreign a thought to us - to lay down our lives for one unworthy. We only want something for ourselves, not something for God. But what if He wants our marriage to be a display of His infinite, unconditional love to another? Truly, even among Christians, this is something radically foreign.
So we see in the scriptures, some key principles:
1. No one chooses their mate - God does.
2. Usually, one(s) in authority over the individual is key in the decision.
3. Love is not the basis for the marriage.
4. Love was definitely a result of the marriage, and followed it.
5. The marriage that had its origin in God had great impact on bringing in God's will and blessings for the rest of God's people.
Personally, I do not think we have any indication from the scriptures that these principles have changed. Indeed, society has changed, cultures change, but man has not changed and neither has God.
It is also interesting that virtually any half-way mature believer would categorically say that these principles apply to any decision that a believer faces as to the will of God. But somehow the very principles are trashed when it comes to the most important decision in the life of most believers.
So are these principles appropriate for today? More than ever. For today, the male/female relationship has denigrated to a point of either, "get all you can get" from the opposite sex, or all-out war, with most of Christendom falling in the first category. How far we have fallen. "But God . . ." can bring recovery. Let's see how.
* Note: In searching the scriptures for all the cases where it is said that a man or woman loved someone, prior to marriage, it appears to always be a pre-cursor to trouble, as far as I can determine. The others were: Shecham loving Dinah (Gen. 34:2ff); Samson loving Delilah (Judges 16:3ff); Michal loving David (I Sam. 18:20ff); Amnon loving Tamar (II Sam. 13:1ff); Solomon loving "many strange women" (I Kings 11:1ff).