Summary: “Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her.” (Gen 24:67)

Theme: Marriage, God’s institution

Text: Gen. 24:58-67; Rom. 7:15-25; Matt. 11:25-30

One of the most commonly used technological inventions in the world today is the smart mobile phone. Almost everyone owns a smart phone but most people only use it to make and receive calls in spite of its many functions. The reason is that many people do not read the manuals that come with the phones. Studying the user manual reveals its various parts and functions and gives instructions on its use. The user who studies the manual and obeys the instructions is able to derive much more from the smart phone than the user who does not. In a similar way, God has given us a manual to reveal what is expected in marriage and what is needed to make the most out of every marriage. Since marriage is God’s institution it cannot rely on human reasoning and understanding but on the truth about marriage revealed in God’s manual, the Word of God.

Marriage is a divine institution and not a human one. It was instituted at the beginning of human history by God Himself. God attaches great importance to marriage. Jesus Christ performed His first miracle at the marriage feast in Cana. The first marriage ceremony was between Adam and Eve, between a man and a woman. Marriage was necessary because God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. He created woman and not another man. The man needed a woman as only a woman had what was necessary to make the man complete. Marriage is not only a relationship between the man and the woman but also between the married couple and God. God is an integral part of marriage. He is the originator and determines the principles that should govern the marital relationship.

God instituted marriage and has given all the instructions needed for the success of every marriage. It is therefore surprising that the divorce rate among believers is just as high as among unbelievers. The reason is that both groups try to regulate marriage according to their personal ideas and not according to the will and instructions of God. As Christians we have made the choice to live in accordance with God’s will by studying and respecting the Biblical principles that govern marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Marriage is not entered into lightly and should result from godly guidance. The choice of a wife for Isaac was the result of God’s guidance and search by Abraham’s servant. God was the one who chose and prepared Rebecca to be at the right place at the right time and to answer the way she did. Rebecca left her family after they had blessed her and her first meeting with Isaac was when he was praying. God blessed their marriage and Isaac loved his wife. Love is God’s instruction for a successful marriage. This type of love does not demand its own way and is able to overcome every difficulty in marriage.

God is concerned about marriage and has given divine instructions to follow. Marriage is the beginning of a new relationship and it is important to give it priority over all former relationships. The priority given marriage begins when the man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife. Leaving is saying that you value the new relationship more than the old. It is not only leaving family but also all former relationships. It is also leaving the effects of all the emotional wounds and hurts that affected our relationships prior to the marriage. The love of Jesus Christ and the encouragement of your spouse can set you free from your past and enable you to be the understanding partners God wants you to be. Marriage is a leaving followed by a cleaving. It is only by leaving that a couple can cleave together, that is, cement their new relationship and establish a new home. Cleaving is to be permanently glued or joined together. The third importance of marriage is to become one flesh. You leave, cleave, and become one flesh, one functioning unit. This involves the complete identification of one personality with the other not only in the area of sexual union but also in the area of interests and pursuits. When marriage becomes one functioning unit the married couple think, act, and feel that they are one. They become one in mind, heart and spirit. This is why divorce is so devastating. It leaves not two persons, but two fractions of one.

A man and a woman who come together in marriage do not automatically become “one flesh” when they exchange their marriage vows. Their personalities are still free, independent and desiring to assert their respective wills. But as they live together as husband and wife, they realize that they must safeguard their individuality while striving to become one. They must not allow their differences to divide them. The husband must learn to accept his wife as she is because he needs to be accepted as he is. Their differences contribute to achieving their oneness because they are accepted as being complementary and not contradictory. This is not easy as we often do not do what we want, but rather do the very thing we hate. Doing what we want is the natural response to depending on ourselves. It is the result of sin and the Law serves to point us to our sinful actions and our inability to prevent it. It also points us to the need for a Saviour to make us righteous and give us access to the grace of God. The grace of God is not only God’s undeserved favour but also His empowerment to do what is right. The believer has the righteousness of Christ and access to the grace of God. Have you accepted Christ’s sacrifice in your place and His righteousness given to you? A successful marriage depends on the grace of God. It is by God’s grace that married couples can make the right changes in their lives by following God’s directions.

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