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December 24, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Divine Design” with a message titled “Guiding Principles for Marriage,” from Genesis 24.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform for continuing a study series entitled divine design which is a study of Biblical manhood and biblical womanhood. Today's message will be preached by Beecher you Pres. Steve Pettit last you take your Bibles this morning in turn with me to the 24th chapter of the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible we been this semester covering the theme of divine design and we've gone all the way back to the Scripture is the foundation for life that we talked about manhood womanhood.
We talked about many different things.
Dr. Horn brought a couple messages on complement terrorism and Mr. Benson brought a couple messages on singleness this morning. I like to just give you a very practical and simple message if I made this morning on basically some principles are some lessons that I learned when I was your age in college, I became a Christian.
My first year of college at the age of 19 years old at the time I was dating a girl we we started dating my senior year of high school.
She was a junior I was a senior I went off to college. She was a senior in high school. We dated up into my sophomore year.
She was a freshman in college and so we dated for about three years.
I actually thought we were going to get married, but she actually broke up with me. A primary reason was I was a growing Christian, and we were just we just having problems and so when the breakup came my sophomore year of college.
It was really a difficult time to look back on it's kind of funny now, but the time was terrible as a whole week I could need. And if I can eat for a week. It's really bad. And so it was really really terrible but it was a good. It was very very good for me and really force me to really grow become serious about my spiritual life is over process of time, I began to develop the habit of daily Bible reading and I get up every morning while I was a student and spent time in reading the Scriptures and sometimes 15 up to 30 minutes a day and so while I was doing that. Of course I was like any college student, I was I was I had an interest in dating but I really didn't know what to do as a Christian I really didn't have a lot of guidance in the beginning and really didn't really didn't date hardly at all.
In college I just felt like at the time.
Where was in my life spiritually, that was something that I really needed to wait for to later own, but I did really spend time studying the Scripture and one morning I was reading through the 24th chapter the book of Genesis and I like to read it this morning.
If you notice is 67 versus so long, long story, but it was almost like the story leave the principles of the story began to jump off the page because it's the story of Abraham, who since his servant Eliezer to get a wife for his son Isaac.
Now you probably asked the question why couldn't Isaac do it well where they were living. They were surrounded by the Canaanites and he's not to go down and check out the Canaanite ladies and pick one out. Out of the group because God wanted to preserve the Jewish people in the part of the preservation was through marrying the right person marrying within the framework of your faith, and so he sent Eliezer to his home country which is in northern Syria back to his home where he came from.
It was there that they met Rebecca and Rebecca came and eventually married Isaac and so in the reading of this passage of Scripture. I began to write out various principles that were part of the process of this of this relationship that began I believe that the Bible was sufficient to guide me. So as I began to read the word of God and study it with great curiosity I wrote down these basic principles I'm going to give you because these were principles that I used in my life and I believe, to this very day.
And from this passage of Scripture. We have nine basic guiding principles for marriage. Obviously there's a lot more to learn. There's a lot of other places to go me, the whole Bible, you can go to, but this was is very helpful for me so my intention this morning is just to be held to give you guiding principles. These are not laws. These are not rules but you put them all together and they give you guiding post along the process of moving towards marriage. The older I get, the more I realize that this was a good decision that these are wonderful truths. Things that I've talked to others, including my own children so as we begin this morning I want to begin with the first principle.
This really found in the very beginning of the chapter and the principle is this that you must be committed to marrying within God's commands and God's plans. You really need to give marriage to the Lord in verse one agenda Genesis 24 says Abraham was old news advanced in his years. The Lord blessed Abraham and Abraham said to his servant, his servant was Eliezer. He is the he's the oldest servant in the house and he made him charge or make a promise he said put your hand under my thigh which was a way of making a commitment that I met that that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven. The God of earth that you will not take a wife or my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac. He was sending Eliezer out to find him a wife to find his son, a wife, and in this it was a commitment to the Lord. It was a believe that God had a plan and that he wanted to follow God's plan. I think it's really important that you as a believer by faith, commit your life to God and in that commitment.
It is a commitment of your marriage to God. The most important decision you'll ever make in your life is what would you do Jesus, the second most important decision you'll ever make in your life is who are you going to marry, because this is your partner. This is your soulmate. This is the person you're going to live with the rest of your life and so is the decision. Obviously you don't take lightly but is a commitment that you must make in this commitment means first of all marrying someone with in the faith.
We read here in verses three and four not to take a life in the daughters of the Canaanites, but to go to my country to my kindred, and a take a wife for my son son Isaac. The Bible says don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The Scripture says in first Corinthian's 11 in verse verse 39 that a wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives. But if her husband is dead she is at liberty to be married to whom she will only end the war.
You need to make a commitment and I think I think in one way it's it's kind of a no statement but it really is one that needs to be made that you are committed to marrying in the Lord. The girl that I've been dating who broke up with me. She was a professing Christian. She attended church and yet we really were not on the same page and how can two walk together except they be agreed.
Not only are you marry somebody in the face, but you really need to trust God to provide for you in verse seven it says the Lord, the God of heaven who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, who spoke to me and swore to me to your to your offspring I will give this land.
He will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife or my son. From there, in other words, he knew that God made a covenant of promise for the family of Abraham that involved marriage that involve children and so he was committed to not only marrying in the faith, but trusting God to be the one who believe there is an act of faith.
Lord, I am trusting you there. One other point about this commitment and that is a commitment to moral purity. We read later own of this woman that he ends up marrying Isaac Mary's Rebecca.
The Bible tells us in verse 16 that she was very attractive. She was very beautiful and she was a maiden whom no man had known she was of marriageable age and she was a virgin and so there was a commitment to sexual purity you know a divorce does not begin after you get married. A divorce actually begins before you get married because many of the marital problems you have in marriage. You actually bring into marriage you actually bring in and in some ways because you built your relationship on a shaky foundation. One of the primary reasons why people end up in divorce is because they were involved in sexual activity before marriage, you say, why would that cause a divorce because there's always a? Of commitment to purity, there is always in the back of the mind.
If he's going to be this way or she's going to be this way before marriage. What's it going to be like after marriage, especially if they're not satisfied with me.
So the first principle is a principal to be committed to God's commands and God's plans. Principle number two is this and that is is simple as it sounds, it's so important and that is a commitment to praying for God's guidance and blessing and providing a spouse. We see this in verse 10, where the servant Eliezer is looking for the bride it says then the servant took 10 of his master's camels, and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master. He rose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nate Horn. There he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening evening, the time when the women go out to draw the water because the water drawers were the women in that they did it in the morning and the evening and he said in prayer all out Lord God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham, he prayed that God believing in the goodness of God, the, the, he says here the steadfast love. The Hebrew word has said, which means God's loyal love to his own children that he trusted in the covenant keeping God the future of Israel is all good to be based on this marriage the fulfillment of God's plan and the ultimate coming of the Messiah. And so we prayed all Lord I trust in you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.
There must be in your life a consistent prayer about God's guidance and God's blessing someone wrote it this way. It is only by divine providence, that one's choice will turn out to have been a good one may say this way when you get married you really don't know who your Mary. It will take the rest of your life to understand each other and it is so vital that you seek the Lord's blessing that the Lord will bless you and the Lord will keep you how many people have entered in and on the road to marriage and God intervene.
He shut the relationship down and five and to know that years later you go back and you say thank you Lord for keeping me and protecting and so now you ought to be praying for the person you haven't even met yet. Lord lead and Lord bless that person.
I pray for my wife long before I ever first met.
So prayer all to be a major part of your life. Start praying now then the third principle is the principle that actually there needs to be a pursuit of a wife. I say of a wife. Because when you read the Scripture it's always the man pursuing the woman. Proverbs 1822, so who so find a wife find the good thing and obtain the favor of the Lord. The Bible tells us that there needs to be a pursuit, there ought to be. In this case, it wasn't really Isaac because Isaac, the father was. That was the one that chose the bride and so obviously it was a real step of faith by Isaac because when you come back later and find out. Isaac leaches out sit in the fields your meditating and waiting on the Lord, but there was definitely a pursuit in this case it was a pursuit of a particular kind of a girl, would you know verse 13. Here is Eliezer speaking and he says behold I'm standing by the spring of water in the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water out of the whole group. Let the young woman to whom I shall say please let down your jar your bucket, that I may drink and who shall say drink and I will water your camels. That's a fairly specific prayer request. B. The one whom you've appointed for your servant Isaac.
By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master now why the idea of the girl that was the one that was willing to help him because he was looking for a particular girl he was what he was trusting God to guide providentially but also for young lady who was a particular time and that is she was a girl, a great character.
The Bible says in Proverbs 1914 houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers and a prudent wife is from the Lord.
What is it mean prudent means one who is it has character and they are careful and they have abilities. The best explanation is Proverbs 31. You see, marriage is not about finding the right person marriage is about being the right person is a person of character, a person of faith character attracts character and so when you are looking for a person. It is the pursuit of a person with character. I remember the first time I I I met my wife. It was in church was in Sunday school is place in the world. Meet your wife Sunday school class and when I met her. First of all, she was stunningly beautiful and number two she was singing a solo and in Sunday school that day. We had 80 students in the in the Sunday school class and she got up to sing and she sounded like an angel let down from above about who is this girl and then later on I met her in the in the in the church that day and I watched her what I observed about her was her godliness, her character for humility. Her love for the Lord's spirit her atmosphere everybody.
Everybody has an atmosphere to an II honestly because I'd come out of a state college out of a secular environment I'd come out of the world. I never II always wanted to marry a godly girl and I never would've dreamed that I would've been able to marry somebody like that but it's a blessing of the Lord. A prudent wife, a godly woman is from the Lord.
And so I want to say that is really the responsibility of the of the God to be the pursuer I've we had a team and I've mentioned this many times we had 57 people travel with us over a period of 20 years and 1/3 of them married each other. We had 11 weddings come off of our marriage. My marriage can 11 weddings come off our team that you could say that, but we had 11 weddings come off the team and I always tell the guys I mean it when it was very natural. It it it is when you sit in the van long enough.
It's either yes or no was that simple is either yeah yeah oh yeah are no way is really simple but the guy always was the pursuant the one who is pursuing the Halim should always chase the fox not the fox chase the hail you can figure out the illustration and the guy should be the one who pursues great limitary. This girl should be worthy of being pursued if the girl is always the one who is pursuing the guy. It's almost like that. I don't say this unkindly. Please don't think please don't get offended by this, but let me say this, you're worth more than that. You really are you all to be a godly woman who attracts a young man who has the same kind of character you have, so the principle is the man is the primary one who pursues the number for the principle here is the principle of Providence we are to trust God to guide and provide within his sovereign control over our circumstances. He trusted God to lead. I will take the time to read it but the whole story is about the providential hand of God. He was patient anyway. Don't God to make it very very clear so we read beginning verse 15 all the way down throughout the chapter. It was very obvious the Lord was the one at work in verse 50. It said then Laban and Beth UL answered and said the thing is come from the Lord.
We cannot speak to you bad or good, behold, Rebecca's before you take her and go. And B. The wife of your master son as the Lord is spoken in other words, it became very very clear in the hand of God, that he was at work and that she so how does that work. I don't know how that's gonna work for you. God's gonna work for you, but you have to trust God to providentially work when I met my wife is in a matter in Sunday school, found out that day. She was dating the Sunday school teacher. They've been dating for three years.
He was a friend of mine and so was like okay but I really like her will. A year goes by and the next summer.
I'm working at my home church is an intern. Her boyfriend is out traveling as an evangelist doing children's basically children's meetings and Terry is working at a camp. She's the head cook at a Christian camp up in Michigan at the end of the summer. Everybody Saratov is back at churches in like middle of August, and I'm getting ready to go to Bob Jones University coming here that fall I just finished college and my body is sitting in church and the and Terry's on the other side of the auditorium, and they're not sitting next each other and so I go up to him and I said hey how you doing fine is it. Are you still dating Terry said.
Now we just broke up about all too bad so I went to the other side you. I went over there and start talking to us what you know this policy been driving on the revival theme is a singer I been I've been in college here in South Carolina Soweto this fall. She said I'm going to Bob Jones University acid really clean his like slick men at the Angelica tire was singing little okay now if you're anything like that happen. You and then two weeks later bombs you know to say it, could you think is God's will, but the whole time we trusted God to providentially work in our circumstances, the number five. The fifth principle is the idea. Parents approval or acceptance of the relationship. Verse 24, it says, she said to him, I am the daughter of Beth UL, the son of milk, she bore to enable okay was all let me name or was Abraham's brother, Beth UL was the nephew of Abraham and Rebecca was the daughter of Isaac's first cousin. In other words, it was within a framework where it be appropriate from them to be married.
The Scripture says here later on verse 28, and the young woman ran and told her mother's household about these things and later own, we find that there's a blessing that comes to her from her parents.
Verse 60 and they blessed Rebekah, and said to her, our sister but you become thousands of 10,000s and that your offspring's possess the gate of those who hate him. The point of the matter here is that there was definitely parental favor when you get married you do not marry just a person you marry a family.
Please understand that you marry a family like little brother and sister and mom and dad is just not you and her and that's the rest of your life doesn't work that way. So it is important for you to recognize the importance of the blessing of parents we are flying out to Denver, Colorado for the first time to meet Terry's parents Terry said to me on the plane. She said I just want you to know that my dad does not approve of you. I will never date you knighted sit there and get offended like to date me and my not more important than your dad. I thought I had been reading Genesis 24, which yeah, oh Lord. This is awesome. This girl's tough she's straightforward she wants to do the right thing first time I met her met my father all first thing he said to me you want a beer when the Christian I said not trying to quit. He said it was all over with my wife Terri came back to me and said my dad really likes you know why because you went to military school and you could be funny with me.
Really, it was weird. And yet it were on the work but just being me, I just being me and he felt very comfortable. I'm so thankful that two out of our four children that are married. We have a wonderful relationship with her son and daughter-in-law seek your parents approval. If your parents don't approve of it today doesn't mean they won't approve of it tomorrow. It may be that they see some things in your life they're concerned about and they want to see some definite changes in your life before the relationship moves forward and the number six very quickly. This is the principle of of complete honest and transparent communication. If you can't communicate with each other. You can't cohabitate with each other. The foundation for any good relationship is always transparent communication. It's an open honesty as I will go into the reading of the Scripture, but we find it here. That when Eliezer meets basically the family he goes through the whole process of what God was doing and the whole time he was very honest. You could say it this way. There was no manipulation at all. Whenever relationships begin there has to be complete honesty, no conniving, not trying to make it work. Not trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. But there must be a complete trust in God. There's no controlling there's no manipulation is trusting the Lord to lead in this relationship, and therefore you must be completely honest if you start playing little mental games and passive aggressive manipulation and trying to control each other.
You can't have a good relationship it has to be open. It has to be honest it has to be very straightforward. My wife and I are very straightforward with each other and we are very straightforward with our kids because there has to be honesty in order for there to be trust in the number seven. The seventh is that the husband has to be able to provide for his wife financially. We read in verse 22 exit when the camels and finished drinking the man took a gold ring weighing 1/2 shekel into bracelets for arms weighing 10 gold shekels. I look this up this morning. One shekel is 11 g on today's market is $461.10 gold shackles was $4614 and that any gave her to basically bracelets. That means the dude was loaded verse 36 and scan any said he says in verse 35 the Lord is greatly blessed my master is become great.
He is given in flocks and herds, silver, gold, mail service, female service camels and donkeys and Sarah.
My master's wife bore a son to my master, which she when she was old that's Isaac, and to him Isaac.
He is given all that he had. She was said, that's a pretty good deal for her, but I want to save this marriage is very important that you are able to provide especially the man providing for the wife. There always adjustments when I got married. I didn't have much money but I had a job when my daughter got married. I told her you can marry Ethan when you finish your masters degree. The reason why is because he's get ready go to law school and she need to be able to provide Wiley's in law school and so she worked as a paralegal in downtown Washington DC as he attended Georgetown law school and so they were able to care for one another and meet one another's needs, but you have to be able to provide financially. You can't live on love, but for about two weeks and then after that everybody gets hungry and you gotta have a place to live. So make sure you provide financially then number eight very quickly. This is important and that is, the woman must be totally willing. In other words, she has the right of refusal we read the story your reading it from a divine perspective from beginning to end. But you have to remember when the story was taken place.
They were just taking just like you and I one step at a time.
It is very clear, the Lord was leading the whole way but sometimes a girl can feel manipulated by spiritual people is like a guy wanted to grow since I've been praying and I believe it's God's will for me to marry you or girl can so I'm not so sure about that, and then suddenly she's the unspiritual one. The will of God was decided when Rebecca said yes. She had the right of refusal and the woman has to be totally willing to go and finally the last thing is this and that is that you need to see contentment in your relationship with God, which is foundational for good relationship and marriage because what how did the story in Rebecca's brought Isaac and Isaac is out the fields and what is he doing is meditating. If I could say this way he has found personal fulfillment and contentment in the Lord and when you find fulfillment and contentment in the Lord.
It actually only makes your marriage better because your ultimate fulfillment is not found in the man or the woman but is found in the Lord and the two of you as you get closer to the Lord, you actually get closer to one another. Father, thank you for your word and thank you that your faithful in all things in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Bob Jones University president, Dr. Steve Pettit join us again next week as we continue this series on The Daily Platform