Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An angelic marriage match

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Gen. 24:39-41 (New Living Translation): “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ He responded, ‘The Lord, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’

In today’s culture, we have the freedom of choice when it comes to marriage. Men and women can choose who they marry here in America (although arranged marriages still occur in some parts of the world). But what if we still had arranged marriages? What would it look like? Would we blame God or an angel if our marriage ended in divorce? Or, as in the case of Rebekah and Isaac, would we be happy with the outcome?

Let’s recap the story from Genesis 24. Sarah has died, and Abraham is an old man. Isaac is 40 years old and hasn’t married yet. Abraham realized it was time to find his son a wife, so he sent his servant to find Isaac a wife from his kinfolk; he made his servant promise that, if Abraham died, Isaac would not marry one of those Canaanite women, saying it with contempt. So the servant traveled in a large caravan bearing expensive gifts from Canaan to distant Aramnaharaim, where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. Abraham sent his servant to an area where he thought he could find a suitable wife. Today, the equivalent would be to go to church to look for a spouse.

As the servant entered town, he asked for God’s help in finding the right woman to become Isaac’s wife. The servant prayed that he would have success, that the young girl who gave him a sip of water would respond with kindness and would offer to water his camels, too. Rebekah, Isaac’s niece was friendly and did just as the servant had prayed, so he asked Rebekah if there was room in her father’s home to put him up for the night. The servant told Nahor and his family the story and he, Nahor and Rebekah agreed to a marriage pact with Isaac, and off she went the next day – after she opened all her nifty presents. It was a God thing.

The key to the story is in verse 40: “He responded, ‘The Lord, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful.’” Just as it was 4,000 years ago, it is still important that we seek God’s will in our choices of marriage. We should ask God for his wisdom and guidance in selecting a mate. Rebekah and Isaac were a good match because God blessed the pairing. Once the wedding ring goes on, a pact has been made and all effort must be made to make the match successful and happy. If God says no, you can walk away with far less pain. An angel will be with you, if you desire, at no extra cost. The choice is yours.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help us all to include you in our choices to date and marry. Help us to turn to you in every stage of dating, including our decision to marry. Amen

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