Ladies’ Bible Study #5
Sarah died an old woman, well satisfied with her life since she had her longed-for son, Isaac. Abraham was a very old man — a man with something important on his heart. He called his most trusted servant, Eliezer, to him.
“I have an important job for you,” Abraham told him. “I want you to swear that you will do what I ask of you.”
Surely the servant wondered what this important commission could be — and maybe he suspected it was about Abraham’s most treasured possession, his son Isaac.
“I want you to go back to my home country and find a wife for Isaac there. Promise you won’t let him go back, but that you will find a woman there for him who loves and serves the true God.”
Eliezer may have been surprised and a little overwhelmed by this task. “But what if the girl won’t come back with me? Maybe Isaac should go along and pick someone out and persuade her to come.”
“No.” Abraham said definitely. “Don’t take him back. The Lord God of heaven took me from my home and brought me here and promised to make of my seed a great nation. He will send an angel before you to pick a bride for my son. If the girl won’t come, you are free from your oath. Just do all you can do.”
Now, in my country parents don’t arrange marriages for the children. I don’t know if you get to choose for them here. But we can learn an important lesson from Abraham from this passage of Scripture.
Why do you think Abraham didn’t want Isaac to choose a wife from the Canaanite women that lived around them? I think he knew an important truth. The most important part of marriage is the spiritual aspect. If Isaac married a pagan woman who worshipped a false god, she would keep Isaac from following the true God with his whole heart.
And we need to remember that important lesson for our children. The right person can make a huge difference in their walk with the Lord. Certainly they won’t lose their salvation if they marry a non-believer. Their usefulness for the kingdom of God will be cut short, though, and their heart will very likely be turned away from God.
We’ve talked a lot about how God calls a woman to follow. If our daughters marry men that are going the wrong way, they will always have a struggle to do that and yet obey the Lord. We want them to marry men who are going the right direction! In the same way, a non-believing wife will always be pulling the man the wrong way, away from God.
I have seen this happen so many times! More than one man who felt called to preach married a woman who was determined not to be a pastor’s wife. In every case, she succeeded in keeping him from that ministry. He never reached the heights God intended for him to reach.
More than one woman who was so well equipped and desirous of serving God found she couldn’t because her non-believing husband stood in her way.
The most important thing a young person should look for in a mate is a heart for God.
But, we can’t choose for them, as Abraham did. What can we do to help our children make the right choice in this so-important decision?
The first thing is talk to them about it. Tell them, and tell them early, long before they are old enough to think about marrying, that they should look for someone who wants to serve the Lord. When you see examples, both good and bad, in the people in your village, point it out to them. Teach them diligently the first thing they should look for is not beauty, not wealth, but a heart for God.
And let them know there is no hurry! It is sad to me to see young people marrying so very young. They will be happier and have a richer, fuller life if they have time to grow up before they take such an important step. Their marriages will be stronger if they are a little older and have acquired more maturity and wisdom before taking this important step.
Abraham knew that God would send an angel to pick out the right wife for Isaac. Ask God to send an angel to pick out the exact right person for your child, and tell your child you are praying that for him or her. And do it! Start praying for your son or daughter-in-law while your child is still a baby. Their spouse will be one of the most important human influences on their lives.
Make sure they are around other Christian young people when they are of marrying age. Make sure they are in church, that they come to the Bible conference, that they are with God’s people at every opportunity. Abraham said, “Don’t take Isaac away from the promised land.” Don’t take him to a place where there are ungodly people, because he might want to stay.
Make sure your kids don’t go where they shouldn’t. Give them plenty of good activities so they won’t want to get involved in bad ones. If your church doesn’t have any fun things for young people and children, maybe you should plan some. If you don’t have enough children or young people in your church to have fun get-togethers, maybe you could get together with another church nearby. You don’t want your children to become involved with lost people just because those are the only ones around.
Eliezer set out on his journey and came to the land of Ur. But once he was there, he was at a loss. How to find the right one? He turned to God and asked him.
“Here I am standing by this well of water,” he prayed. “Would you please be kind and send the right girl? I’ll ask all the girls for a drink. Please let the one you have appointed for Isaac say, ‘Surely, and I will give your camels a drink, also.’”
Now that was more of an offer than you would think, at first. It takes a long time to water a camel! It would take a special girl, one who was not lazy, to make that kind of offer. A girl like this would be already serving her family, because she would be at the well getting water for them. She would be pleasant and ready to serve, and she would be the kind to go above and beyond the minimum requirements.
That’s the kind of person we want our children to marry, and the kind of person we want our children to be. How can we accomplish that?
*By example. If you are happy to serve and enjoy work, your children will get the idea that it is a good thing. (I personally failed on this one! I have never liked housework. It just seems so pointless — especially when I had young children at home. I did it, but it always made me angry. I definitely didn’t give my children the idea that serving in the home is pleasant and rewarding.)
*By teaching them to work. You have to 1) Give them age-appropriate chores. 2) Show them how to do it themselves, and 3) Inspect their work to make sure they did it and did it correctly. and 4) Reward them with lots of praise for doing their jobs well.
The servant had hardly finished praying when a beautiful young girl came up to the well. He asked her the question.
“Would you give me a drink?”
“Yes,” she said. “And I’ll water your camels, too.”
As soon as the servant finished praying, the Lord answered. I love it when this happens! Sometimes it seems to take a long time for the Lord to answer (from our point of view), but it is always in His perfect timing.
He immediately gave thanks to God. How often we forget to do that when the Lord has graciously answered prayer! Eliezer was quick with the response that pleases Him.
He wanted to leave with her right away, but her family wanted her to wait so they could say goodbye. They left it up to her. She went right away — brave and ready to meet God’s will.
When she arrived in Canaan, she saw Isaac out meditating in a field. How good God was to give her a thoughtful, praying husband! She wrapped herself in a veil to meet him.
That was probably a custom in that country, but I see a principle here. We should teach our girls that the first thing a guy notices about her should NOT be her clothes, or the amount of body not covered by clothes. If you attract a guy by your looks alone, you are in trouble — because the most gorgeous girl can’t count on staying gorgeous forever. Make sure that you don’t become involved with someone who only cares for your body, but look for one that cares for your mind, your personality, and, most of all, your close relationship with the Lord.
For our sons, we should teach them to be focusing on God and serving Him, and trust Him to bring the right girl in the right time. We should talk to them about what to look for in a wife. (They should hear us say that looks don’t last — but that a kind, loving, heart will stay beautiful forever.)
More on Rebekah, her triumphs and her failures, in our next lesson.
Blessings from Thailand,