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How Am I Supposed to Find a Spouse?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 14, 2022 9:00 am

How Am I Supposed to Find a Spouse?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 14, 2022 9:00 am

Because courtship looked so different in ancient times, many singles feel like scripture is irrelevant for dating. But God’s word is timeless and it gives us everything we need for life and godliness.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. That is a command.

There are no exceptions. It means that if you are a Christian dating a non-Christian, you are out of the will of God and you are walking in disobedience. But that command is given to you not to be mean to you.

That command is given to you because it understands what the future looks like for you and you would be wise to heed it. Welcome back to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch.

So glad that you're back with us today. There are a few things in life as awkward as dating, and many single Christians feel like they can't turn to scripture for help because the courtship process looks so different in ancient times. I mean, come on, the word dating definitely never appears in the Bible.

But even through cultural differences, God's word gives us everything that we need for life and godliness, and that includes godliness in dating. So on today's program, J.D. Greer unpacks some timeless wisdom for finding a spouse God's way. Remember, you can always reach out to us at or give us a call at 866-335-5220.

But for now, here's Pastor J.D. with today's message from Genesis 24 titled, How is Dating Supposed to Work? Dating in our culture, I think you would agree, it's just goofy. It's really more like used car sales than anything else. In a used car sale, you hide everything that will make a sale less likely and you advertise whatever will close the deal.

And by the way, make sure you take it for a test drive because you would never want to buy a car without having time for a test drive. The stats on the hookup culture are truly staggering. One recent study I saw reveals that 77% of college females admitted to hooking up during college.

For guys, the number is 84%. I've heard it said that the way that we date today is actually better preparation for divorce than it is for marriage. Because essentially, what you do is you find somebody that captures your attention and they thrill you and so you give yourself to them. But then they begin to disappoint you or get bored with them, which inevitably happens, I explain, 18 months and you're going to find annoyance and disappointment. And so you walk away and you search for a new person because they must not have been the right person. Our whole philosophy of dating is built on what we call the right person myth. The right person myth is that happiness in life is achieved by finding the right person.

And if you're not happy now, well, it's because you're with the wrong person and you need to get rid of the wrong person and find the right person. And so we end up establishing in dating the relational patterns that lead to divorce and marriage. And so even if you are married and you have kids already, or if you're single and you have no aspirations or desires to get married, there is a lot that is in this message for you because this area is so broken in our culture because it affects so many people. This is the source of their greatest struggle and unhappiness. We need to learn how to be the body of Christ in which these relationships form and flourish. And we need to be that kind of community.

So that's why I wanted to take a week and do it. Genesis 24. We've got a marvelous little story of Isaac and Rebecca.

We're going to read almost the whole chapter, but let's start in verse one. Abraham was now very old and the Lord had blessed him in just about every way. Abraham was the man that God chose to give the promise to.

And that promise consisted of a Messiah that would come from one of his descendants. The problem, as you recall, is that Abraham was very old and didn't have any kids. So God gave him a miraculous birth, a son named Isaac. Well, now Isaac is of marriageable age. And in order for, you know, Isaac to have descendants who would have descendants who would one day have Jesus, he's going to have to get married to have kids. And Isaac is single. And so verse two, Abraham says to his senior servant, a guy named Elieazar, the one who was in charge of all that Abraham had, he said, put your hand here under my thigh, which admittedly is a little weird.

Verse three, 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'm living now, but you will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife there for my son, Isaac. Okay. So let's first address the obvious here. Abraham basically calls his intern into his office and says, listen, I got a really big assignment for you, but first put your hand here.

Honestly, if anybody on our staff tried this with an intern, HR would definitely have to get involved. The point of this exceedingly awkward charade is nothing perverted, I assure you. It was to say to Elieazar, in essence, the promise that God made to me is about offspring. And this mission I'm sending you on is about offspring. And this mission is important. And I do not want you to forget that it concerns the offspring. And I can assure you that after this little encounter, Elieazar did not forget that.

Second observation I have here, a little less awkward. Why does Abraham not want his son Isaac to marry a girl from among the Canaanites? Well, Abraham is not being racist. Many great biblical heroes married interracially, including Moses, who wrote this story down. It was because the Canaanites were all idol worshipers. And Abraham wanted his son to marry a girl in the faith.

And he knew of people back in his hometown who shared the worship of God with him. And so he wanted Isaac to marry a girl who would help propagate the promise into the generations to come. So this was about marrying somebody in the faith. Do not let anybody ever tell you that this story, or any other in the Bible, discourages interracial dating, because that's just not true. Verse five, 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 that you came from? And Abraham said, make sure that you do not take my son back there.

This is about bringing this girl into the land of promise, not about going backwards into the land of comfort and security or disobedience. Verse 10, then the servant left, taking with him 10 of his master's camels, loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. Verse 11, he had the camels kneel down near the well outside of the town. It was toward evening, the time when the women went out to draw water.

This was, I guess, like the hair salon in those days where they caught up on the day's news, gossip, whatever. Verse 12, then he prayed, Lord, God of my master, Abraham, make me successful today. And show kindness to my master, Abraham. May it be that when I say to a young woman, please let your jar down, that I may have a drink, that she says, drink and I'll water your camels too. Let that be the one, let her be the one that you have chosen for your servant, Isaac, to marry. Verse 15, before he had even finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor. And the woman was very beautiful.

Now you and I would probably read that. She's beautiful, but she's your cousin. They read that as she's beautiful and she's your cousin too. The servant hurried to meet her and said, please give me a little water from your jar. Drink, my Lord, she said, and quickly lower the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. Verse 19, after she'd given him a drink, she said, you know what? I'll draw water for your camels too until they've had enough to drink. Now, in case you don't know this, camels drink a lot and Eliezer has 10 of them and they've all just finished trucking across the desert, several hundred miles, which means that they are thirsty. And we're not talking about her going back to the well to get one or two more jars of water. We're talking about her going back and forth to this well dozens of times.

This is exceptionally generous. Verse 21, without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful. Verse 22, when the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring, weighing a Becca and two gold bracelets, weighing 10 shekels and put them on her wrist, which was the equivalent in those days of changing your Facebook status to in a relationship.

If you only put on one or the other, it meant it's complicated, but she put them both on. Verse 26, then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. The young woman ran and told her mother's household about all these things. Now Rebecca had a brother named Laban and he hurried out to the man at the spring and Laban said, come, come you who are blessed by the Lord. So Eleazar repeats the whole story to him and Eleazar concludes with verse 49, now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me now, but if not, tell me so that I may know which way to turn next. Verse 57, then they said, well, let's call the young woman and ask her about it. So they called Rebecca and they asked her, will you go with this man?

I will go, she said. All right, let's be very clear. The book of Genesis is not primarily a romance manual or instructions on how to date or how to raise kids. The book of Genesis is primarily the story of how God fulfills his promise to bless Abraham and to make Abraham a blessing to the world by bringing forth the Messiah from his lineage.

But the book deals with practical matters about life along the way. Scholars tell us that the Hebrew people retold stories like this one to instruct young boys about how to approach various situations in life like marriage. So what we see in this story are embedded six principles, six instructive things about finding a wife that are going to translate into any culture.

Our cultures are very different, but these six things are going to translate as well into ours as it was in theirs. But before I give those to you, let me acknowledge that there are some things in this story that we clearly do not apply. We are never encouraged, for example, to employ these kinds of special, give me a sign test, you know, make this happen. The Bible never encourages us in this day and age to do those sign tests for God. At the Bible college that I went to for my first year of college, we tried to apply this story by going up to girls on campus and asking them if they would iron our shirt. And the deal was if she volunteered not just to iron our shirt, but she said, I'll iron the shirts of every guy in your dorm, then we knew that she was the one. That is probably not a valid application of this passage.

So I'm not encouraging that at all. Those things don't apply, but here are the six vitally important components of healthy dating or courtship in really any culture. Here is number one, the importance of knowing what time it is.

The importance of knowing what time it is. There is a time you see in this story to seek a wife. There was a lot of intentionality here.

Abraham knew it was time and he sent out the servant. And I say that because there seemed to be a lot of guys in the Christian world, especially who were just sitting around waiting on marriage to kind of fall in their laps. But there is a time to seek marriage intentionally. I have heard girls at our church complain of the phenomenon that they referred to as the sneak-a-date. The sneak-a-date where a guy figures out how to go out with you without ever going through the danger of having to ask you out. You're just always arranging these circumstances where, oh, look, we're together again.

Oh, what do you know? We're here together. I don't have to actually ask you out because you might turn me down. So I'll just manipulate the circumstance. The other name that we give this is the friend-ationship. The friend-ationship. We're kind of friends, but it seems to be something else. And maybe I should check your Facebook status and see how you refer to me.

I don't know. Guys, when it's time to seek a wife, do it with boldness. I really thought I'd get some more amens. Thank you very much for that, for that from you girls. Put on a shirt, guys, with buttons, preferably nothing that has Star Wars written on it anywhere.

Bathe, shave, get somebody to show you how to put product in your hair. And when you know that it's right, don't string her along. Don't keep a ring on her finger with some elusive promise of marriage way out there. Marry her. Now, I'm not talking about rushing into things or bringing up marriage on your first date.

Do not ever tell anybody I encourage you to do that because that's creepy in any context. Cut that out. I'm just saying, know when it's time, what time it is in your life, and act decisively during that time. On the flip side, if it's not time to get married, as in you're too young or you don't have a job or your life is way too much of a mess for you to enter into a relationship or you still live in your parents' basement or you've got to achieve high ranking status in Worlds of Warcraft and you're not there yet, then by all means, don't flirt with girls or lead them on.

Right? I mean, dating is a road that leads to marriage. And if you don't want to go to the destination, then don't get on the road. The point is, know what time it is in your life and act decisively. There's more teaching in just a moment, but before we return, let me tell you about our latest resource created exclusively for our Summit Life listeners. It's time for our annual day planner.

Yep, it's back again. This is one of our most popular resources each year and for good reason. You see, there's nothing magical about January 1st, but it does present a natural opportunity for reflection and direction. It's a great time to take stock of your life and set some goals for ways that you want to grow in the coming months. Maybe you want to start reading your Bible every day, or maybe you want to get better at making time for ministry.

Maybe a relationship needs some time and energy. Whatever it might be, we hope this planner will be a great tool to help you prioritize your time and meet those goals. Reserve your copy with a gift today by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Now let's rejoin our teaching on Summit Life with Pastor JD. My father gave me this verse from the book of Proverbs when I was 17 years old. He that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Two things from that verse. He says, first of all, a godly wife is a blessing from God. Secondly, God expects you at some point in your life to go looking for her.

He that findeth implies he be looking, right? So here we go. Number two. Number two, you see in the story the importance of reciprocity.

Now this is kind of a lightweight point, but I still feel like it's worthy to acknowledge. There is no God told me to come marry you, Rebecca, so pack your bags. There is seeking of her consent. In their culture, scholars say this would have been a temper on arranged marriages. In our days, it means that, guys, you should never ever ever pull the God card. I feel like God wants us to get married. Don't blame that on God. Own it.

It's you, right? Or girls. It works the other way. When I was single and I would go around and preach at youth groups or college events, I got more than one letter. In fact, I kept them in a file. I got more than one letter telling me, some girl telling me that God had told her that we were supposed to get married. And I'd be like, ah, the Lord just does not put that in my heart yet or with ever with you, I don't think.

But I think I too have the spirit of God, so don't ever pull the God card. Number three, the importance of marrying in the faith. The importance of marrying in the faith. Abraham did not want Isaac marrying a Canaanite. Why?

Because he didn't want his descendants to lose the threat of the promise. One of the most damaging things, maybe the most damaging thing that you can do to your children and your grandchildren is to marry a non-Christian. We have people in our church who are dating somebody who does not share their faith right now.

And they think, oh, it's no big deal. I like him. I like her.

I can probably convert them. Well, first of all, that's probably not true, but here's the bigger question. Have you thought about your future children? The biggest impact on their spiritual lives is going to be that person that you marry. And you are intentionally going into a relationship where you're going to make the biggest influence on them.

Somebody who doesn't even share your faith. Honestly, are you really that selfish? Are you really that selfish that you'd be like, well, I'll stay with him or her because I like him. Who cares the impact they have on my kids later? Do you really care about the faith of your future children? I told you a few weeks ago, only marry a non-Christian if the faith of your future children is not that important to you. And by the way, if you're not a Christian, I'm not trying to pick on you. And I'm certainly not trying to demean you. In fact, I told you a few weeks ago that if you're not a Christian, honestly, it's in your best interest. You shouldn't date one unless you plan to become one.

Why? Because the Christian that you're dating right now really wants to convert you. The point is they don't accept you as you are. They want you to change. Their parents don't like you. Right now, their family, right now at this moment, they know you're at church and they're praying somewhere for your soul right now. I promise you that's what they're doing. And at family dinner, it's never going to be totally harmonious because everybody wants you to become a Christian. And I'm just saying, don't date one unless you plan to become one.

I would say that for your own interests as much as anything else. All right, believers, let me make sure you get this. Let me tell you how our enemy works. When our enemy cannot successfully attack our faith, what he does is he puts us up in situations that stop the progress of the faith beyond us. Balaam did this in the Old Testament. Balaam was the prophet that the Moabite king Barak hired to curse Israel. Well, Balaam tried to do it three times and he could never do it.

That's the whole donkey story. The donkey speaks back to him and everything. Balaam could never do it because he said, God has not cursed these people, so I can't curse them. So Barak says, well, what am I going to do? I paid you, Balaam, all this huge sum of money and you tell me you can't curse them? He said, well, you gave me all that money, so I'll tell you what.

I can't curse them, but you can get them to curse themselves. Barak said, tell me how to do it. He said, just send out all the hot Moabite women into the camp and make them seduce the Israelite men so that they get married, so that their children grow up in homes where they're not sure if they worship God or if they don't and you'll destroy the next generation. And that's what they did and it worked. It worked in their generation, it works in ours. When Satan cannot destroy your faith, he just puts you in a situation where he destroys in the next generation. I have told my kids, I want my grandkids to trust Jesus. And by God's grace, I want my great grandchildren to trust Jesus. But that's going to be in their hands, not mine. And it's in large part determined by whom they choose to marry and whom they marry is going to be determined by who they choose to date. So when Paul gives the command in 2 Corinthians 6 14, do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.

Do not be in an intimate relationship of any kind with an unbeliever. That is a command. It is period. It is end of sentence.

There are no exceptions. It means that if you are a Christian dating a non-Christian, you are out of the will of God and you are walking in disobedience. But that command is given to you not to be mean to you.

That command is given to you because it understands what the future looks like for you and you would be wise to heed it. Number four, the story shows you the importance of character. The importance of character. Eliezer observes her from a distance. What does he see as he observes her? He sees that she's a servant-hearted person. He sees she's gracious and hospitable, excessively so. The tests that she goes through reveal her character. Now, character is not the only thing that matters in a relationship. She's beautiful too.

I mean, they noticed that. But character is by far the most important thing. Over a thousand years later, the apostle Peter would say it this way.

He's speaking specifically to the women here, but it would apply to both genders. Verse three, 1 Peter 3, your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, watch this, which is of great worth in God's sight. In other words, character is of greater value in God's sight than physical beauty. And I would say to you ought to be of greater value in your sight than physical beauty.

Why? Peter says, because that kind of beauty is unfading. Physical beauty, Peter implies, is fading in at least two ways. First of all, the physical beauty itself fades, as we have said here before.

As you get older, things sag and they wrinkle and they gray and they droop. And if that is the entirety of somebody's beauty, then they become really ugly in old age, if that's the only beauty that they have. The second way physical beauty fades, listen to this, is its power over you fades. Even if somebody could manage to hang on to their physical beauty through makeup or Botox or liposuction or whatever, its impact on you fades. Psychologists say 18 months is all that it takes for the intoxicating effects of beauty to wear off. Thus, listen, if you are wise, in the dating process, you will prioritize the evaluation of character the way Eliezer did with Rebecca, because that kind of beauty, that kind of beauty is unfading.

That kind of beauty just gets more beautiful as you get older. And how do you tell their character, you ask? By watching how they relate to other people.

You see, character is rarely revealed in how they relate to you in the dating stage. As I explained in the dating stage, they're in the used car salesman mode. Let's hide the defects and let's put forward the awesome stuff. Oh, what's that right on the engine? I don't know, let's turn up the radio. This area works great. Oh, the air conditioner, look how cold the air is.

No, don't worry about that sound. Just, you know, that's what they're doing, right? So what you need to do is you have to have time to see them relate to the camels in their life, metaphorically speaking. I had lunch one time with a very successful CEO here in Raleigh-Durham, who told me that when he interviews somebody and he does it at a restaurant, he's always watching how the person he interviews treats the people around him, how they treat the waitress. He told me, he says, twice in my career, I've hired a waiter or waitress on the spot. Just watching how he or she treated me, how they treated the person around him. He said, because that kind of character that would show itself in the midst of waiting on tables is the kind of character that I want working for me and my company. That's what Eliezer did. The English word character, by the way, comes from the ancient word karachs, which referred to the engraving done on like a signet ring.

And so no matter what you pressed it in, it always made the same impression every time. Character is the kind of thing in your soul that no matter what relationship you're in, you make the same imprint, you act the same. So if you want to evaluate someone's character, you ask questions like, what's their reputation? How do they treat their parents?

That's a really good question. Is he or she faithful in their commitments? Character does not change.

To really see character, you need time. A challenging thought from J.D. Greer in our relevant and timely series on relationships and sexuality titled From the Beginning. Well, Pastor J.D., this time of year is really critical for ministries like Summit Life as we close the books here in December. And I think a lot of people don't really understand what all is involved in funding a nonprofit ministry like this. Yeah, you know, Molly, radio is one of those things that unless you're involved in the industry, you probably don't realize how much goes into these programs.

Costs that go into purchasing airtime, producing things, getting it out there. And when you give to Summit Life, you're making sure that cost does not get in the way for anybody who wants to learn and grow through these messages. It's like many things gospel related. Those who most need it are not the ones who are going to step up and pay for it. So it's our generosity that allows people to hear that message.

And you are a part of that. Your gift helps people just like you that are driving around in a car right now. It helps them be able to dive into the gospel. And so we would love I would I would invite you to join with us today in that mission to prayerfully consider joining with us. And if you're already giving a monthly gift as a gospel partner, I mean, first, thank you.

But would you consider adding an extra year end gift so that we can enter the new year with boldness and confidence? What a privilege to be able to partner with you in this. And I'm grateful for how generous our Summit Life family is. Call 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220 or give online at I'm Molly Vidovich. Tomorrow, we'll dive deeper into this relevant topic of dating. Thursday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program is produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-14 11:00:24 / 2022-12-14 11:11:30 / 11

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