Some time ago I had a discussion with a young Christian man who wanted to marry, but he asked an advice concerning knowledge of God’s will choosing his life partner. I have once heard how a wise country man said to someone who wanted to marry: “Think well at the choice you are making! Marriage is not an apple that you bite and if you don’t like, you throw it away and take another one. Marriage is a covenant for your whole life”. Choosing the person you will marry is a very serious and responsible thing, because it is a decision that can not be changed or annulled , and this can make you either happy or unhappy for your whole life. I want to present some fundamental principles from the Word of God that will help every young man or woman to make a wise choice regarding the person he/she will marry. The passage is found in the 24th chapter of Genesis and it relates us about the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. Here are these principles:
1. God’s will for you is to marry a person from His people
The Word of God says:
Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:1–4)(NASB)
Canaanites were worshiping other idols, they were pagans and this affected their lives and behavior badly. God is totally against marriages between those who worship Him and those who don’t know Him, because these marriages will bring evil and will estrange the believer from the relation with God. Accepting such marriage means to turn back on God, to betray Him, to become His enemy. You should never accept this kind of marriage in your mind and stay away from every relation that can lead you one day to this evil thought. Such a marriage will not be blessed and the experience of those who passed over this clear commandment of God, proves the reality of the consequences. You can be happily married with a husband or a wife who is from God’s people and who worships Him truly.
2. God’s will for you is to marry a person who will not deviate you from the received call
The biblical text continues:
The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?” Then Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there! The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.” (Genesis 24:5–8)(NASB)
God promised this land to Abraham and his descendants through a holy covenant. Isaac’s call from God was to inherit this land of Canaan. If he accepted to follow his wife, he wouldn’t have remained in the call received from God. This shows us once again how important it is that both the guy, and the girl that get marry to be faithful to God and to have the same purpose in life, to co-work together to accomplish this purpose. When God firstly spoke about woman’s creation, He said that He made her be “a suitable helper” for her husband. A woman can not be a suitable helper of a man with whom she doesn’t share the same call, desires and life visions.
3. God’s will for you is to put priority on the character of the person you want to become your life partner
The servant who was charged to find a wife for Isaac, understood how important the character of that person was and that’s why, he asked God that in his prayer to Him. Here is what the Bible relates us:
Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. He said, “O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’–may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.” (Genesis 24:10–14)(NASB)
At first sight, it seems that the servant asked God something mysterious, but it is not only this. He wanted to identify the girl with the most beautiful character from the town. Our character is seen through the way we act in the simplest situations. The way she behaved with a foreigner could point out to beautiful treats of character. A lazy, indifferent, and arrogant girl would never do what the servant wanted to see. He was capable to draw water for himself for him and for his camels, but he wanted to use this opportunity to identify the girl with the most noble character from that town. Are you the girl or the guy with the most noble character? What treats of your character make yourself conspicuous in your relations with people, with foreigners, with poor people, with old people, or with opposite sex persons? It is good to put the same questions about the person you think to propose marriage to or accept his proposal.
4. God will provide other things, when you set priority of the treats of character when choosing your life partner
We can easily find this principle, as this story continues:
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar.” She said, “Drink, my lord”; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink. Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the LORD had made his journey successful or not. When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?” She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” Again she said to him, “We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.” Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.” (Genesis 24:15–27)(NASB)
Every man wants to have a good-looking wife and, for many times this is the first and the unique criteria how they find their life partners and then, this creates many problems. The servant of Abraham set other priorities when he was choosing a wife for Isaac. He wanted to find a woman with the most beautiful character. And God provided other things too and the Bible says that the “the girl was very beautiful”. Choose to marry a person with a beautiful character and God will take care about all other things as well.
5. God’s will for you is to marry a person who knows to build up and to maintain beautiful relations
Nowadays there are extremely sophisticated means of communication, but people are less capable to build up beautiful relations. Family is the place where we learn to build up relations and it is the index to the relations we have built and maintained. Rebekah knew to build up beautiful relations with her family. Here is what the Bibles tells us:
Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran outside to the man at the spring. When he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, “This is what the man said to me,” he went to the man; and behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. And he said, “Come in, blessed of the LORD! Why do you stand outside since I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?” So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. (Genesis 24:28–33)(NASB)
It is wise and important to find out what relation has the person you want to marry with her household. If people manage to show something else than they really are in other places, they don’t manage to hide anything from their family. There they show their real face. That’s why, find out about the relations this person has with the members of her family and don’t avoid this thing when you make your decision.
6. God’s will for you is to be blessed by your parents in your marriage
After they had dinner, the servant of Abraham told them all that had happened and then he added:
“So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.” Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The matter comes from the LORD; so we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.” (Genesis 24:49–51)(NASB)
When I went to Pakistan for the first time to teach there the Word of God at the Inductive Bible Study Institute from that country, I was greatly surprised to find out that all my brothers and friends had been married by their parents. I even remember how we were having our meal and when I was wondering about that and asked every couple when and how they had met, almost all of them said they had met for the first time in their wedding day and that their parents had arranged the marriage. I could not understand and I kept wondering, how was that possible nowadays. One of them, told me: “We also can not understand how can your parents trust you, when you are so young, and lack wisdom and experience, and let you make such an important decision for the rest of your life.” Maybe this is an extreme for them, but it is also an extreme for us, when children don’t consider their parents opinion concerning their marriage. It is wise to talk to your parents, to listen to their advice for your marriage and how blessed is the guy or the girl whose parents are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and can advise them from the Holy Scriptures.
7. God’s will for you is not to marry against your own will and under any kind of pressure.
When the servant of Abraham heard the affirmative answer of Laban and Bethuel…
…he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD. The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.” But her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.” He said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” And they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes.” Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men. They blessed Rebekah and said to her, ”May you, our sister, become thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them.” Then Rebekah arose with her maids, and they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed. (Genesis 24:52–61)(NASB)
This marriage was built on faith. Neither the girl’s parents nor the girl knew her future husband. But, as we have previously seen, the girl’s parents, her brother admitted that this marriage was planned by God and they accepted God’s will. Nevertheless they asked Rebekah if she wanted to marry, and her word had to be the last one. No one can be happy, when he/she was forced by someone or by some circumstances to enter into a marriage. Neither the spouse will ever be happy if he/she forced the partner to enter into marriage. Or maybe some parents, brothers, or friends, etc. try to “convince” a guy or a girl say “Yes”. Is that “Yes” real? Accept to marry only when this “Yes” springs from your heart and such a “Yes” shall spring from the heart of the person you want to marry. This is God’s will. He respects our freedom. Because He could make us accept the saving sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ one day, but He doesn’t do this because the result will not be a relation, but God wants to have a beautiful relations with us, founded on love, on a heart that listens to Him because it loves Him. God wants people to enter into the covenant of marriage in this way.
8. God’s will for you is to know and not to exceed the limit of marriage concern
When we meet Rebekah for the first time in the Bible, she didn’t seem concerned with looking for a husband, or hopeless that she doesn’t get marry. On the contrary, she was concerned about the responsibilities she had in her household, and, at the same time, with a beautiful character that was ready to help everyone. She acted so with the foreigner who asked for water, not knowing that he was Abraham’s servant. Here is what the Bible says further on:
Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. (Genesis 24:62–67)(NASB)
Isaac had a beautiful habit, very necessary for all people. He went out to meditate in the field toward the evening, or, in other words, to analyze his activities, relations, to plan some things, to pray for his needs. There is no doubt that he also meditated about his marriage. Some people exaggeratedly worry about this, so that they are not capable to do anything else, as they are paralyzed by this concern. The Bible says in Genesis 25:20 that “Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to be his wife”. He was not married until forty years and he knew to govern his passions in a beautiful way. Not only Isaac but also Rebekah placed this need before God and it was fulfilled by Him in a miraculous and fully way.
9. God’s will for you is to marry a person you will love your whole life
The last verse of this chapter ends with beautiful words that say: “Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death”. Their love was not a feeling that goes beyond man’s will and choice. She was his wife and he loved her. She was a comfort and a joy for him. God wants your marriage and life be the same.
Dear reader! We live times when true values are attacked and ruined daily. Happiness can not be realized by people who go away from God’s word. Look attentively around you. How many happy couples do you see? The husband and the wife are both unhappy, no matter if they are simple workers, students, less or more educated. God wants to make you happy in your marriage, as Isaac and Rebekah were. Study His Word and live according to it, to be happy and to give someone happiness.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru