Genesis 24: A Godly Spouse

In Genesis 24, after the death of Sarah, Abraham perhaps began to become reflective of his own coming death. Like most parents, his thoughts probably went to his son, Isaac, and what his future would hold. He knew the promise of God, and Hebrews tell us he trusted in God. But, Isaac, who was approaching 40, wasn’t married yet. Abraham knew the daughters of the Canaanites weren’t of the moral fiber helpful for a good spouse, so he called in his trusted servant and sent him on a mission—to find a wife for Isaac among his own people back in Mesopotamia.

God worked in this situation by providentially bringing the servant to Rebekah, a beautiful, hospitable and, judging from her father and brother’s seemed reverence for Yahweh, godly young woman. She and her family quickly agree to a marriage between her and Isaac, and she leaves to start her new life with her soon-to-be husband. God answered Abraham’s request.

As children grow and mature, it is very natural and good for parents to become more and more concerned over the spouse (if any) their children will someday choose. Scripture speaks of those who made poor choices in this area. For example, Ahab and Jezebel quickly come to mind (1 Kings 16:29-31); possibly Job’s wife as well based on her suggestion when hardships began to mount (Job 2:9). Certainly real-life is replete with examples of Christians who made poor choices in picking a spouse, and the results are often devastating: broken homes, spiritual weakness, children who never come to the Lord, etc.

The concern of Abraham wasn’t bad—in fact, as a loving father, it was natural and good for him to be concerned about whom his son would marry. While as a society we have moved away from “arranged marriages” (and as my own daughters get older, I’m beginning to think they weren’t bad ideas), what is a parent to do to help influence their child’s selection of a mate? Several suggestions come to mind:

Remind your children of the need to be careful in whom they marry. This is part of the parent’s responsibility to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). Talk to your children from time to time about the importance of this choice; what type of person for which to look; how the decision will affect the rest of their life. Mention this in casual conversations and in your prayers with them. Don’t beat them over the head with it, but let them know in a loving way that this is a great desire of yours.

Pray for the future spouse of your child. Prayer is powerful (James 5:19)—use it to your advantage. I don’t necessarily believe that God chooses whom we will marry, but I certainly believe that an all-knowing God knows who it will be. Ask him to work providentially to help the young man or woman obey the gospel and grow spiritually.

Pray for the parents of the future spouse of your child. That they have the wisdom to train up their child to serve God and they instill within them a Biblical understanding of how to fulfill their marital roles.
Let’s apply this to our lives.