Tuesday, September 2, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: 'How Do I Know If He or She Is the Right Mate?'
I really like Isaac and Rebekah's story, so that is what drew me in to this S-C-A-P. There are some really good points in here, if you've been wondering about who is right for you. For the record, it's written for guys initially, so keep that in mind as you're walking this one out:
When you are dating someone, how do you know if this is the person that God wants you to be with? When you think you know how do you know for sure that it is God telling you that and not just you telling yourself?
These are probably some of the most important answers you will ever seek.
In Genesis 24, God reveals some key principles to follow in determining a mate. We suggest that you read this chapter several times and ponder the things that God may cause to stand out to you. In the passage, Abraham instructs his chief servant to find a wife for Issac (v 3-4). Notice the urgency that the wife be from Abraham’s family. Abraham presently lives in a land of unbelievers. The people that believe in Jehovah, the one and only true and living God are Abraham’s family. The first principle in determining a mate is to verify that the prospect has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Their relationship should be intimate, not just church attendance, but a life that exhibits a dependence, respect and longing for the Lord.
Abraham again warns the servant not to expose Issac to unbelievers (v 8). The principle here is that a Christian should never enter even a casual dating relationship with an unbeliever. The risk is too great that you might fall in love.
The servant moves in the direction that God has given him. He goes to the country that Abraham is from and goes to the place that the young women will come—the well. As he moves in that direction, he utterly yields himself to the further guidance of the Lord in his prayer (v 12-14). He does not want to make the choice for himself, but in all sincerity wants to verify the proper choice as coming from God. If the person you are dating has a vibrant relationship with Christ, then this sounds like the point that you are at. The principle is that you be willing to let God confirm the right girl [or guy] to you. Pray that he will show you. Be ready to accept his choice. Notice the things that the servant prayed. He was actually asking God to reveal character traits to him. The girl needed to be kind, considerate and thoughtful. She needed to be willing to volunteer her services when someone needed help. She needed to be a hard worker. Camels drink lots of water. Water is heavy. This was not an easy, quick task. The principle is that you need to pay attention to character traits.
The girl came and started exhibiting the character traits that the servant was looking for. Without speaking, the servant carefully observed her. This will be the main way that God reveals character to you. You need to observe how the person responds to others, what her disposition and attitude is. Is she [or he] honest, kind, hard working, cheerful? In principle you should observe and watch for these characteristics even before a dating relationship. You can learn a lot about a person through quiet observation.
When the servant observed that the girl exhibited these characteristics, he took another step in the direction of pursuing her. God seemed to be answering his prayer, so he gave her some gifts for helping him (v 22). He then investigated another requirement (v 23). He needed to find out if she was from Abraham’s family (or if she was a believer on the same page with him). God confirmed this requirement and further confirmed that he was a part of this plan when Rebekah offered him a place to stay (v 24-25). The principle here is that you pay attention that not only important character traits are met, but that God also is confirming through other circumstances.
As the Lord confirmed that he was working in this relationship, the servant stopped and worshiped the Lord with praise for his faithfulness and kindness (v 26). The principle to follow is that as you seek the Lord’s direction, that you pause and worship Him for the attributes that he displays to you personally during the process. God inhabits our praise. You will be more aware of his presence and his answer as you praise Him.
Rebekah ran home, eager to present the servant to her family and the family responded to him very graciously (v28-32). The next consideration is the type of family that she comes from and your relationship to her family. You need to consider her family background and decide if you are willing to accept the things that have been engrained in her. You need to consider how they feel about you.
The servant did not allow himself to be distracted from seeking God’s answer (v33). Beware—You can enjoy the benefits of knowing a girl [or guy] so much that you cloud the issue of whether God wants you to pursue the relationship.
The servant explained his intent and explained how the events of his trip had unfolded (v34-49). He was very bold to point out his personal dependence upon the Lord and to honor the Lord for His faithfulness. The principle here is that a guy needs to approach the girl’s parents and make his intent in the relationship clear. You need to let the girl’s parents know that you are approaching the relationship with a purpose of marrying or determining if she is the right girl to marry. It is important that you be bold to express you faith and trust in the Lord, to be able to explain the ways that God has personally confirmed your choice.
Another principle within these verses is that the servant was able to verify that Issac had the finances and assets to adequately care for Rebekah. You need to be able to provide for a wife financially.
The family agreed that the two should get married (v 49-50). If her family does not agree, you need to continue to seek the Lord or consider whether the timing is right. When the family agreed, the servant worshipped again (v 52). Worship should continually be a part of your pursuit. The servant gave costly gifts to the family (v53-54). He ate with them. The principle is that you be willing to truly become a part of her family – that you make an effort to become involved with them.
Rebekah chose to leave her family (v 55-61). Although she loved, respected and honored her family, she was ready to from a new family unit—a new core loyalty. The fiancée needs to be willing to leave her parents physically and financially. She needs to realize that she is agreeing to adapt to your life and that she can’t run whining and complaining to them when the two of you face a challenge. She needs to realize that although she will visit occasionally and express love and concern for her parents that now the two of you will make your own decisions. Her responsibilities will now be to meet your needs and to enjoy her life with you. Like Rebekah, she needs to specifically make this commitment.
When Rebekah saw Issac, she maintained her modesty until she became his wife (62-65). The principle is that until you are married, the two of you should avoid an intimate physical relationship. Being involved with a girl physically outside of marriage will severely cloud your judgment as you seek God’s answer. Premarital sex not only is disobedient to God, but statistically opens the door for various sexual problems after marriage.
The servant (who is a picture of the Holy Spirit) confirmed to Issac that Rebekah was God’s choice by again reciting God’s involvement in the selection process (v 66). With this confirmation, Issac was able to completely love and care for his new wife (v 67).
What a wonderful way to illuminate how a biblical story can translate into modern times.
Please take heed.