Finding a Wife
A group of college seniors students were asked what was they're greatest concern that year (While the survey never happened, the conclusions are probably accurate). Most of them answered, "Having enough credits and good enough grades." Thos who were going into grad school added the entry exams (GRE, MCAT, etc.) and school admissions applications. Those who were hoping to find jobs, getting a resume ready. Seminary senior students concern: wives!
Without a wife a seminar graduate will not likely be considered for a pastoral appointment or ordination. So, the greatest effort that last year is to find a prospect for a wife. What do most do to find them? They do as most men do. They look to see which one they like (lust is probably a factor), and then study her to see if she is material for a Pastor's wife. What else does she need besides being physically attractive? She needs to be good with children, and / or play piano or organ. The idea is a woman that will be supportive of his ministry. Of course, good reputation, appropriate behavior and dress code are a must.
So, while these senior students claim that God has called them to be ministers, in other words, they trust God with the career decision, when it comes to finding a wife, they trust themselves. God is good for the choice of a career, but not for the choice of a spouse. Does this not sound inconsistent? If I trust God for what I will spend doing the rest of my life, should I not trust Him for with whom I will spend the rest of my life?
They choose someone to get a job. Think about how this woman will feel when she realizes she is just an entry in a resume; a needed convenience. The priority is the job, not her. It is impossible to become one with someone when her main role is to improve my chances of getting hired. How can these men teach "we live by faith and not by sight" when sight is what they chose to find a spouse? Less you think I am being unfair, how many Pastors have you heard bragging about how "good" their wife looked when he met her, as oppose to, "the Lord revealed to me, she was the one?" (While I am pointing out Pastors, the same is sadly true of many Christians).
The sad story about this is that many view Pastors as their Spiritual models. So, when it is time to choose a partner, they do as their Pastors did, they choose by sight who is supposed to be their spiritual partner. Those in the world do it the same way. It is no wonder we end up with the same kind of statistics that the World has.
In the Bible God shows a different way. His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). His foolishness is greater than our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25).The happiest couple in the Bible trusted that the choice of the Lord; and, seemed not to regret it. Some of these marriages are featured in our lesson. In each of these memorable marriages (or "romances" as our quarterly puts it) there is a key principle, which, if we will receive it, brings healing and stability to every marriage.
Let us start Adam and Eve. Beginning in Genesis we read: "… the Lord brought [Eve] to the man [Adam]." This is not suggesting that one should go to sleep and then the Lord will— presto—bring you a wonderful spouse all ready to be yours. The common sense idea is that you ask for, you trust, you expect, you wait for the Lord to lead the two of you together. The lesson from Adam and Eve is that the Lord God takes an active, personal interest in your life. Let Him do the leading and your union will be lasting.
Believing that God loves you is an important first step. You can't live if you think He is mean or unfair or cruel; believing Satan's lie about Him is the sure path to eternal sorrow. Jesus comments on their marriage when he says, "What God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matt. 19:6, NKJV). The "glue" that will hold a married couple together is their conviction, their faith, that "God has joined [us] together." God is a loving heavenly Father who above all else has in mind your true happiness; and in His infinite wisdom He sees and knows that such happiness lies with your being faithful to the "wife [husband] of your youth" (Mal. 2:14). The Bible story about marriage from the beginning is love; God created us to love and to be loved in devotion that lasts forever. So, thank you, Adam and Eve, for this lesson in happiness.
Isaac and Rebekah deserve at least a little comment. There was no dating in this marriage. God brought them together. Abraham sent his servant to find a wife from the land where he came from. The servant essentially prayed for a woman who would not only be beautiful, but also industrious and generous. The Lord led her to this woman, and all in her family agreed that the matter was from the Lord. So, our lesson mentions this couple, the happiest marriage we read about in the Bible, which culminates in a tantalizing glimpse of their lasting love, when we read, "he [Isaac] loved her" (Gen. 24:67). Like Adam and Eve they both accepted that God had put them together.
It is unfortunate that the lesson makes no mention of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth comes all the way from Moab with her mother in law Naomi. Ruth was converted to Naomi's God, and trusted God and Naomi. God rewarded her faith. We can assume that since Boaz was the chosen one for Ruth, that Boaz was also a man of faith. Out of this marriage descended King David, and of course, many generations later Joseph and Mary.
The story of Hosea and Gomer is strange, to say the least. God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute. At first, the woman despises her husband. But, Hosea did not stop loving her. And, eventually he won her over. God rewarded Hosea's faith.
We have these beautiful examples of marriages put together by the Lord. The question is will we allow the Lord to do for us as He did for them. I pray that we may follow the examples of these couples that trusted God to put them together.