Monday, August 20, 2012

How important is picking your spouse?

"Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye". This is a common chant that kids make when swearing an oath to a friend. Their swearing by what we consider the epicenter of our emotions with the penalty of intense pain for failing to complete the promised oath. The heart is a pretty important place to swear from. But the Bible talks of an oath that was sworn from an even more substantial organ. Genesis 24 reads:

Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the chief[a] servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 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 am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac. ”
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 you came from? ”
“Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring[b] I will give this land’ —he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

What does "put his hand under the thigh" really mean? When the text and the vocabulary, and anatomy is thoroughly studied, basically Abraham made his servant swear on his scrotum. Woah. That's serious. How many guys walk around making oaths sworn on their family jewels? Abraham obviously took this mission extremely seriously. Of course, the place of oath also came out of a place of promise. God promised Abraham a nation....from his seed...get it?  

How many of us take finding our other half half this seriously? How many parents take finding the right match this personal? Or how many of us take what God has promised us so seriously that we will go to any measure to see it fulfilled in our lives?

What I find fascinating in this story is the delicate balance of the plan and will of God (the angel will go before and show you whom he should marry) and our free will (if she won't come with you, you are released from your oath). This is VERY important to remember. Following the will of God and seeing it actually accomplished takes obedience from EVERYONE involved. God has a plan for each and every one us, and He has a unique and intricate way of weaving our stories and our lives together. He has an even greater plan for who we are going to marry, but we all have the free will make our own choices.

The reason Abraham was so insistent on God choosing the wife of his son and not letting his son marry just any woman was because of the promise God had made to him. Abraham was going to be the father of nations. He knew his children's integral role in this. They would birth the next generation of the promise and start a chain that would leave babies and more babies and more babies until the whole world was covered in Abraham's babies. He was a smart man for allowing God to chose the bride.

What has God promised in your life? What plan does he hold for the generations of your family? 

I am still waiting for my Prince Charming to appear and sweep me off my feet. I have been holding my breath in expectation for such a long time. I have so many friends my age who are also waiting in expectation to find their other half, their perfect match, their soul mate. I know the promise that God gave to Abraham is still true today. God wants to birth the nations from us, to grant our children an inheritance and blessing in His kingdom and family that will last through a hundred generations. It is time for my generation and those that come after to start looking at our spouses through the lens of Abraham. To see our spouses not only as casual lovers, but as intimate lovers of God who play an integral role in the genealogy of a nation of set apart people. It's time to see more Godly marriages in a wounded and broken society.

Footnote: This blog was care of a conversations with my friend Sarah Weichhand after her small group studied this passage and she shared what she learned with me.

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