Summary: The 41st in our series on Genesis. In this sermon we discuss marriage
Isaac Ties the Knot (Genesis pt. 41)
Text: Genesis 24:34-67
By: Ken McKinley
Now last week we saw how Abraham had sent his servant to get a wife for Isaac, and in the first part of our text, we get a word for word recount of those events from the servant. And to a lot of people, this might seem like a really strange way to get a wife. Today, when a guy doesn’t start looking for a wife until he’s dated her a few times.
But it wasn’t always that way. About 100 – 120 years ago if a guy wanted to get married it was a whole different scenario. Here’s how it would work: A girl who was marrying age… her parents would set up their parlor with a couple of chairs, and maybe a little table and a piano or something like that. Then they would make a list of potential husbands who they felt were qualified to be considered for their daughter, then they would send out a letter to these potential suitors and invite them over. The young man would put on his best clothes, comb his hair, and take a bath and go over to the girls house and he would be seated in the parlor. The dad would sit there and the mother would sit there and the daughter would sit in the back. The parents would list all the qualities of their daughter and she would play the piano or recite poetry or something along those lines, and then the parents would interview the potential husband with lots of questions.
Questions like: Are you a Christian? Do you love Jesus and serve Him faithfully? What are your intentions with our daughter? Do you have a good job? Are you family minded, career minded? How do you plan to balance work and home? Things like that… They would also feed him some nice little snacks that usually the daughter baked or cooked, to showcase her cooking skills. Then they would send the young man home and let him know if he was still in the running. If he was still in the running, that didn’t mean that he got to go out on a date… it meant that he would come back for another interview and another, and another, until the parents were satisfied that he was right for their daughter.
It was a long, formal process in the girls house, under the leadership and direction of her mom and dad. And the idea was that the young man would have to come into the girls domain, and play by her families rules. But then something happened in the early 1900’s… Women’s Magazines came on the scene. By 1920 Ladies Home Journal had over 1 million subscribers. So now, instead of young bachelorettes taking their cue of what courtship should look like from their parents and the church, they started taking it from Ladies Home Journal. And those magazines had a different idea of what femininity and ladies fashions were than what was traditionally held. And these magazines started telling ladies how to break the commandments rather than keep them.
Also in the 1920’s America started to become more urbanized. Everyone was moving to the cities, and because everyone was moving to the cities restaurants started popping up and movie theatres, and other forms of entertainment. And what happened was young women started to be taken out of their domain for courtship and taken to these entertainment venues. They were taken out of their domain into the young man’s domain.
In the 1930’s automobiles hit the mass market, and that allowed the young men to drive up in the driveway, honk the horn and get the young lady out of the house and away from her parents (particularly her dad) as quickly as possible.
And because she’s going out on the town, she gets to thinking that she has to look a particular way, and her style of dress becomes less and less conservative, because she doesn’t want this potential mate of hers being distracted by the other females who are also out on the town.
It wasn’t really too bad though yet, because most people still held to Biblical principles and Biblical morality… At least until the 1960’s… then we really went downhill. That’s when the feminist movement hit full steam, and the sexual revolution broke out. And then what happens… is in 1973 abortion is leagalized, because we’ve now got all these young ladies going out with these young men, and they aren’t waiting until marriage, and they are getting pregnant and we have young women who don’t want the burden of a child, and we have parents who don’t want their daughters burdened with a child, and we go down this sinful spiral at an even quicker rate than before. And people start wondering why marriages don’t seem to last like they used to, and young men and young women find that they are incompatible so in 1974 our benevolent government creates something called “no-fault” divorce laws, which makes it easier to divorce.