An ancient lesson on marriage


Marriage in our world is so out of wack that it is refreshing to read about love making when it was romantic and divinely guided at the same time. We find such a lesson on marriage in Genesis 24. In those days, the parents chose the brides for their sons. Before they did, they consulted their deities. Abraham consulted his God and was instructed to get a wife for his son Isaac from his people and not from the natives. He could not allow his son to return, so he had his servant swear that he would go and find the one God had chosen. He told his servant, “that he (God) will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son.”

The servant loaded ten Camels with goodies and found his way to Aram. He decide to camp near the spring where the women, mostly young ladies came to draw water. He made this unusual prayer. “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring where the daughters of the townspeople are coming to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please lower your jar that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, I will water your camels too,’ let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” Before the servant finished praying, the beautiful Rebekah, granddaughter of Nahor, a brother to Abraham appeared and did what the man had prayed for. Imagine how long it took to water ten camels? When the servant learned who she was, he surprised her with a nose ring and two expensive bracelets. On top of it, the girl invited the servant and the camels to stay at her folk’s place. When the parents were told why he had come and that it was Abraham’s God that was behind this marriage, they let Rebekah go to Isaac. When the two met, there was love at first sight and the two were faithful to each other for life.

The writer that recorded the matchmaking between Isaac and Rebekah insisted that this was a marriage made in heaven. The couple became an example, similar to what had taken place in the Garden of Eden, when God made a man and a woman to be one. Jesus reaffirmed the union that God had instituted. When He was asked whether a man had the right to separate from his wife, Jesus gave this answer, “Have you not heard, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and then said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:3-6). Marriage between same sexes or multiple husbands and wives plus concubines is an intrusion into lovemaking. Infidelity dissolves the bond of marriage (Matthew 19:9) and it defiles a union that was sanctioned by God (Hebrews 13:4).

Love between a man and a woman without intrusion or intruders has been under attack from the day when Adam and Eve found themselves to be naked. Whoever the serpent represented, his intrusion brought heartaches and pain into marriage. When Abraham took Hagar to bed, he created the greatest hindrance for his legal offspring. To this very day, the children of Hagar and Sarah engage in hostility and extermination. Rachel the beloved wife of Jacob; her sons were hated by the sons of Jacob’s other three wives. They sold their own half brother Joseph into slavery. King David and Bathsheba led to murder and violence in the royal family. David had to flee from his own sons. The much loved Helen of Troy and Cleopatra of Egypt led to the demise of their lovers and to the destruction of their cities and states. History has a tendency to report marriage delinquencies in the high and mighty. The truth is that intrusions into love making among the common people is far more acute. These have created a multitude of fatherless and homeless illegitimate children. The fruit of promiscuity is not something our society can cover up or excuse (II Tim.3: 6-9). In a society where lovers change mates like they do their laundry, immorality is affecting the fiber of the family, the community and the nation. There is a reason why God does not want us to split up marriages.

Our brother Paul highlighted several reasons why men and women should marry and stay married. He had a similar inquiry and here was his answer. “It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (I Cor.7: 1-2, 5-6). “So I counsel younger widows (include divorcees) to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan” (I Tim.4: 14-15). The Ephesian men eyed other women and Paul instructed them to love their wives, keep their lovemaking clean and spotless. Such a man, a woman will gladly respect and submit to him” (Eph.5: 22-33). And such a woman will adorn herself for her man (I Pe.3: 1-7). Ancient lovemaking has much to teach us. For instance, my grandparents arranged my parent’s marriage. It lasted 66 years. Fifty-one years ago, an uncle, an aunt and my wife’s mother were our matchmakers.