Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. (Shouldn’t the story be over? Why are we still talking about Abe?) 2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. (Senior servant? Most experienced and most trusted…and the thigh?...Adam Clarke.) 3 I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”
Isaac needs a wife! Awesome! Isaac is like the 25 year old version of me.
Europe Story – Alfonzo in Civita. It wasn’t complete! I needed someone to share it with.
Hear me…wanting to pair up is a good thing. Seeking a person to be with is a holy and Biblical endeavor. The question is, how do we do this well. Second question…Why are we talking about this? Because School is about to start, and maybe you’re heading to college, or back to school, and the dating feeding frenzy is about to hit, and newsflash…it’s a disaster. To quote Rob McClelland…it’s an abomination.
I know most of us are married, but the beauty of the scriptures is they are both timeless, and tend to have a way of speaking to us all regardless of life stage. They listen to your marriage series…you can handle one Sunday on dating. However most you parents are like…oh my gosh…PLEASE talk about dating.
Question…has the process of finding a spouse changed? How many apps did you use to find her?
Used to get married in their early 20’s. Hit puberty at 13 and get married in their 30’s. It’s not a transition anymore, it’s a sprawling life-stage, spanning decades, and no one knows the rules. Decades of coupling, uncoupling. Hooking up. And the immeasurable variable of cellphones, texting, and ever-changing apps. The rules of courtship have dissolved and in it’s place is ambiguity, and insecurity.
I’ll tell you young people what us older folk are thinking. We are so thankful that we did not have to date in the era you find yourself. But we are also a bit alarmed at what we see before you, and at the same time a bit intimidated by all the factors we don’t understand about your world.
Dating has changed. A process that should be met with words like; exciting, suspenseful, thrilling. I hear more often as stressful, depressing, and difficult.
Let me tell you something. While it has changed dramatically in only 15 years, there is story over 4000 years old that has some secrets on how to unpack the timeless process of finding “the one.”
PASSAGE: Genesis 24
We have Abraham, and he’s sending his servant on this important task of finding a wife for Isaac. Longest chapter in Genesis. It’s a big deal. So big that he makes him swear by the name of God.
3 I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?” 6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,”
Not an issue of race…it’s an issue of heart. Canaanites despised the ways of God.
It was worth it to Abraham, that his son not get married, rather than marry someone who wasn’t a believer. God promised the savior through his offspring! Why?
Do not yoke yourself with a non-believer: What is a yoke?...(Pic of Yoke). You will always be pulling in different directions. And that pulling, like a yoke, will make you raw, and lead to injury. You have different goals, different sets of morality and worldview. Listen…being a good person is not the Biblical worldview. If they make your cut because “they are nice” and you think that’s basically the same thing as calling Jesus Lord, you need to know there’s a bit more nuance to it than that.
You are going to put a yoke on in marriage. A tool that binds two creatures to do hard manual labor. Ask yourself…is that what I want with that girl? That guy? You gotta know…most of marriage is just uneventful hanging out. Who do you want to be bored with?
If she’s unwilling to come back here?
Abraham wants a woman that is willing to live by faith. Why? It’s how God called him, and how he’s experienced the fullness of life with God. Don’t just marry a person that says they believe in God…marry the person that is leaning so hard on Jesus that if he moved they’d fall on their face. Abrahams call to not waiver on this, is our call not to either. Don’t compromise here. God knows you, & what you need…be patient. God knew I’d be a pastor, and before I knew that, he started me on a path to marry Sarah who basically grew up a pastor’s kid. She knows my world. But he made me wait til I was 30. He made me wait, and he may make you wait longer but don’t you settle.
“That’s great for you to say Matt…congratulations to you and your family, but the truth is, there’s no guarantees for me. Maybe this is the best I’m gonna get. What about me? I’m not sure God has a plan for me?”
Look at Abraham’s mindset.
7 “The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring[a] I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
Abraham trusted Him…you can trust Him too. He’s got you. You don’t need to freak out.
10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim[b] and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.
He’s smart. He’s hanging out where girls are. He’s not on his phone. He’s not playing Xbox. Some of you are single because you’re just lazy. I joined choir because I knew Sarah was in there. Sacrifices had to be made. Go where the girls are. But not just any girl, a girl willing to serve. She’s here to fetch water.
12 Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
He prayed…he trusted and invited the Lord into the process. Some of you, you feel lonely, you feel like you might never really find “someone.” This idea of finding a healthy relationship feels elusive to you but you have never invited God into the process. I’d encourage you…in that anxiety…in that questioning…invite God in. Do you think that God wants you to end up with garbage? He wants to fulfil the desires of your heart.
Can I tell ya…waiting and being uncertain about this part of your life is difficult. I know. I get it. I remember in high school thinking to myself….Lord…I’ll take anything that will say yes. I just wanted that validation of being desired, feeling worth something. And I thought that if I could just date someone, it would make me so much happier and fill those recesses of my soul. This is an issue we can get caught in.
Where we look for a savior. Girls…you might be looking for that guy to fill that void. Look around, Guys do well enough to clothe themselves…he doesn’t have the tools to meet your needs? He’s confused ok? One hand on Nintendo switch, and the other on a kolache…you think he has the tools to speak to the insecurities of your soul?
Guys…she doesn’t have it all either. She’s going to want to dress you, make you pose for pictures, she can post on social. And make you late to everything for the rest of your life. She’ll make you talk. About…everything. Your feelings, your motivations, your favorite color…then you’ll find out why your favorite color is wrong…here’s the point…it won’t complete you.
Don’t look for a savior…settle on Christ as your savior and it will free you to engage in a healthy way with another person. Too many of us want another person to tell us the things that Jesus has already told us.
Also…this is Jesus… Romans 5: 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
That is savior…if you cannot love a God, that is willing to do this for you, what makes you think you are ready to love a sinful, imperfect person? This is one of the primary goals of singleness…to secure a devotion to the Lord. God uses this pursuit to shape you as a person. You don’t have to freak out about dating. Get to know God and let him improve you, so that you’ll be the KIND of person who’s ready to be married.
Here’s a great question. Imagine you’re a parent, and your little kid comes to ask you how you both met and got married. What kind of story do you want to tell? Start living that story now. Live the story you want to tell later to them.
“Well, I slept with a lot of girls before I finally found and settled on being with your mom!”
Live the story you want to tell later.
And let me say this…if you think that sleeping with someone will solve the lonliness factor your wrong. The loneliness of singleness will not compare to the lonliness of laying next to someone in a king-size bed that you can’t be honest with, that you can’t feel safe with, that makes you feel deep shame. Hold out. That’s not just some oppressive rule God put on us…it’s for our good. It’s for our joy.
13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
Finding the person means going to the place where the good ones are. Like here…but when you get in college, find a church, go on mission trips, get in bible studies…chase after Christ, and every now and then, see who’s running with you.
10 Camels…you know how much water that is? Up to 20 gallons each. After 500 miles…
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
The reader gets to know that this girl meets the requirements. She’s of his tribe…not a Canaanite. The servant doesn’t know yet but why give the spoiler to the reader? Because we get to see the servant continue to live by faith, and the reward for doing so. She was very beautiful…which was not a requirement set forth by Abraham…but there it is…amen.
She waters the camels, and eventually he asks her who she is. She tells him what tribe she is from and the servant immediately bows down and worships God. Which A) how odd would that be for her lol. B) You want the story of how you found “the one” to be a story of worship. Something only God could have arranged. Who wants the spouse that’s “In their league.” When I was looking to date Sarah, she was so out of my league that her own friends didn’t know I went to their school. Isn’t that what you want? “You know…you were about what I could manage. You fell right in the mid-range of what I could pull off.”
62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate,[f] and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”
“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.
66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
This is the story you want. You want to have this pillar of your faith…filling you with all joy, sustaining you, and then having God partnering you with someone for that epic journey.
Servant was a servant of the Father. Sent to declare the good news to a chosen bride. And this father has a Son, who was the heir to all things, and the servant is here, telling you, you can choose to come, join the Son. Live on the edge of faith, gaining all the inheritance of the father. Becoming a part of living faith on the edge, to change the world. Will you walk by faith?
Prayer for the broken, the unloved, and loveless.