February and Valentines remind married Christians that we are to daily make the choice to love our spouse, to choose to make our spouse the object (after Jesus) of the highest affections of our heart. Likewise, this time of year should remind single Christians to trust in God as to if, when, and how, He will lead them into the covenant of marriage.
I have been reading through the book of Genesis in my daily Bible reading. I was struck in Genesis 24 by how God worked to bring together Isaac and Rebekah in marriage. And though there are obvious cultural differences to how most of us came to love our spouses (For instance, few of us would be comfortable with the thought of our father sending his servant to choose a spouse for us, a spouse who is already in our family tree!), there are many elements preceding their marriage that should be true today. Christian singles should make sure these elements are part of a relationship before thinking about marrying someone. In fact, these elements should be part of any major decision we will ever make, especially the decision of if, when, and whom to marry.
The Providential Hand of God
God’s hand was clearly at work to bring Isaac and Rebekah together. God led Abraham’s servant directly to the well where Rebekah would be and, as a sign of confirmation, Rebekah reacted exactly how the servant asked God to lead her to react.
Abraham’s servant prayed earnestly that God would lead him and was even praying in the silentness of his own heart as Rebekah approached. God was answering his prayer even before the prayer was completed.
The Pursuit of God’s Will
Rebekah’s father and brother both were concerned about one thing before they were to give their blessing for Rebekah to marry Isaac. Their concern: Is this of God? Once they were convinced it was, they gave their blessing.
Abraham and his servant both knew that Rebekah may choose noy to marry Isaac. Rebekah’s father and brother wanted this ultimately to be the decision of Rebekah. She too was convinced that God was leading her to marry Isaac. She freely chose to set her heart’s affection upon Isaac (as Isaac would her). In every decision, we have the freedom to choose the will of God or our own way. And yet, when God is the delight of our heart, choosing His will is not a burden but a joy! (Psalm 37:4)
Because God’s hand was guiding, the matter was bathed in prayer, the will of God was sought, and a free choice was made to love; Isaac and Rebekah hearts’ sprung with the joy of the Lord and affection for one another grew in their hearts the moment that laid eyes on each other.
Cultures will change circumstances around marriage and other major decisions, but these should always be part of any decision a beleiver makes, especially the decision of marriage: providence, prayer, pursuit of the will of God, personal choice, and pleasure in what God is doing.