“The servant said, ‘I’m the servant of Abraham. God has blessed my master—he’s a great man; God has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, servants and maidservants, camels and donkeys. And then to top it off, Sarah, my master’s wife, gave him a son in her old age and he has passed everything on to his son. My master made me promise, ‘Don’t get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I live. No, go to my father’s home, back to my family, and get a wife for my son there.’ I said to my master, ‘But what if the woman won’t come with me?’ He said, ‘God before whom I’ve walked faithfully will send his angel with you and he’ll make things work out so that you’ll bring back a wife for my son from my family, from the house of my father. Then you’ll be free from the oath. If you go to my family and they won’t give her to you, you will also be free from the oath.’
Well, when I came this very day to the spring, I prayed, ‘God, God of my master Abraham, make things turn out well in this task I’ve been given. I’m standing at this well. When a young woman comes here to draw water and I say to her, Please, give me a sip of water from your jug, and she says, Not only will I give you a drink, I’ll also water your camels—let that woman be the wife God has picked out for my master’s son.’
I had barely finished offering this prayer, when Rebekah arrived, her jug on her shoulder. She went to the spring and drew water and I said, ‘Please, can I have a drink?’ She didn’t hesitate. She held out her jug and said, ‘Drink; and when you’re finished I’ll also water your camels.’ I drank, and she watered the camels. I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel whose parents were Nahor and Milcah.’ I gave her a ring for her nose, bracelets for her arms, and bowed in worship to God. I praised God, the God of my master Abraham who had led me straight to the door of my master’s family to get a wife for his son.
‘Now, tell me what you are going to do. If you plan to respond with a generous yes, tell me. But if not, tell me plainly so I can figure out what to do next.’
Laban and Bethuel answered, ‘This is totally from God. We have no say in the matter, either yes or no. Rebekah is yours: Take her and go; let her be the wife of your master’s son, as God has made plain.'”—Genesis 24:34-51
OK, the lesson plan for today has changed up a bit. Yes, indeed sometimes—-no, most times—when we plan, God laughs. I thought that I was to address these various relationships in chronological order, but in my prayer time yesterday, God said to me, “If we are instructing singles on how to carry themselves in courtship, why would we address marriage now? Let’s deal with the courting process(es) first.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it? So, for a season, this study may appear to be a little all over the place, but there is a method behind the madness.
Secondly, if you are praying women (and men)—-and I trust that you all are, I ask that you pray for me. Already I have seen God do some mighty things and it’s only been two days! Because I have received confirmation upon confirmation that this is a timely and necessary word, and yet also a somewhat unique one in the sense that it is so biblical and yet so modern (in the sense of clear understanding for present-day application), I know that the Enemy is not pleased. One day I will share with you the sacrifices that I had to make to even be mentally freed up enough to do this case study. But for now, just know that as God is pouring into me and I am pouring out, we are all learning and discovering our worth and so I too am being transformed. Yes, indeed it is becoming more and more apparent to me that “to obey is better than to sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22).
Now, on to today’s lesson.
As I was looking up the next biblical recording of a courtship situation, the next one that I could find was the story of Isaac and Rebekah. However, let me say this. As a very special woman was praying and interceding for me last night, she asked me how I was going to write about these couples because not everyone did it text book. She is so right. What I told her was that Adam and Eve are the ideal example of how a courtship should go. They are kind of like the “Proverbs 31” woman: a high standard to live up to, but one that we should all strive for.
But yes, just as with some of us now, once sin was introduced into the world, carnality then became a factor in everything—including the dating process. Still, what I love about all of the examples that God is leading me to use is that while the scenarios may not have been perfect, their love for God was evident. Yes, when your love for God is a part of your focus, things will fall into place. This is just my disclaimer for the skeptics.
Now, back to Isaac and Rebekah.
Whew! There is so much that we all can learn from them. As I was reading the story of how Rebekah was brought into Isaac’s life, I found it so interesting that the tale took up an entire chapter. I will hit on as much as I am led to for today, but this may just end up being a two-day session. Remember that although I am teaching this, I am a student as well and so I’m kind of winging it. Therefore, we’ll see.
Anyway, I remember having a conversation some years ago with a friend of mine concerning the epidemic of men marrying women who were spiritually unlike them. I told my friend, “I’m gonna tell you what, you men better stay away from those Philistine women!” I was referencing Samson and Delilah, but potato, po-ta-toe. It appears that a lot of the Canaanite girls were off of the chain as well because Isaac’s father, Abraham, didn’t want a woman from the land where they were currently residing. He wanted a girl from their hometown.
Yes, in the physical sense it was the place where they used to live, but I think there was some deep spiritual relevance as well. So, actually my first statement is geared towards the fellas: If you have people in your life who love God, best believe that they are praying and interceding on your behalf that you abstain from the “Canaanite/Philistine/unsaved” women. They may be fine. They may be thick. They may be sexy and easy as all get out. But when it’s all said and done, because God is not the god that they serve, they will strip you dry—in every sense of the word.
I was just reading an article on a men and semen and how every time you ejaculate, you lose a certain level of power and strength. So of course it’s not a coincidence that you were called without negotiation (Ephesians 5:5) to only share that gift with the helpmate that God gives you. Remember, a wife given to you by God is to support and assist you. When you lay with her, she will not deplete you, she will restore you.
I was just recently talking to a male friend of mine and he was telling me how much a particular woman was getting on his nerves. “Are you sleeping with her?” I asked. “C’mon, Shellie, you know the deal” was his response. Well, what are you whining about, my brotha? You reap drama when you sow your seed into drama. You are feeling drained because you are going into someone who God did not ordain to bless you and when God is not in it, no matter what “it” is, including sex, it can only be a curse.
So ladies, when you are givin’ it up to the man/men in your lives without a commitment, you are out of order because you are not operating in what you were supposed to be. Remember, when Eve came to Adam, she was a blessing to him, not a curse. Anytime you sleep with someone who is not your God-ordained, marital companion, you are sleeping with someone else’s husband and you are essentially breaking several commandments as well: you are putting a man’s anatomy before God’s ordinances (Commandment One); if your parents raised you to be morally pure you are disrespecting them (Commandment Five); you are committing adultery because you are sleeping with someone else’s mate, even if it’s in the future tense (so that trumps all of you who say, it doesn’t specifically say fornication in Commandment Seven); you are stealing because you are zapping the power and strength of someone you do not have to ability or God’s blessing to replenish (Commandment Eight), and you are definitely, without a doubt, lusting after something that doesn’t belong to you (Commandment Ten). A man only belongs to you once you have married him. Period.
Some of us are wondering how we can go to church, tithe, volunteer at non-profits, dress modestly and still go to hell. Well, if you don’t have your flesh in tact, that’s exactly how. Remember that relationships are a loved-based institution and God said in his Word that our commitment to his commandments are a sign of that love (John 15:10). If you are having sex outside of marriage, the last thing you are doing is making love. God is love (1 John 4:8) and love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4). Quit over-romanticizing your selfish behavior. God would have more respect for you if you just call it what it is: carnal sex (Revelation 3:16).
OK, I could go deeper but let’s keep rollin’.
Anyway, aside from the fact that Abraham wanted a “good girl” for his son, I love the fact that there was a visible sign articulated for the servant to know that she was the one. Rebekah didn’t know it. Only the servant and God did (Genesis 24:12-14).
Next point, ladies. One thing that God has been speaking into my life during this season of uncertainty is that by no means am I to compromise what I know I am to do. Being abstinent ain’t easy but you just never know who’s watching you and your witness.
I will never forget a man from my past telling me once that what initially attracted him to me was my resolve to be abstinent and yet during the course of the relationship, we ended up becoming sexually active. He said, “I obviously have to take responsibility for it as well, but in some ways, my respect for you did change because you didn’t keep your word.”
There may be a man who has his sights set on you and you don’t even know it, but indeed he’s watching your every move; not just what you are saying, but if you are backing up those words as well. Here’s my “Paul statement” for the day: I personally believe that the reason why so few sexually-active relationships last is because even the most sinful man was still made in the image of God. Therefore, until he commits blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29), there is always something within him that will be drawn to what’s right…even when he’s doing wrong. When you are helping him to sin, he can’t fully rest in you because you are assisting his life of compromise. Sure, like the store-bought ice cream that we talked about on yesterday, if you “offer up it”, he may take it but let’s look at it from another perspective.
Do you really think that a junkie trusts and loves his dealer? Sure, he may be hooked on what the street pharmacist has to offer but addiction is not relational; it’s physical and psychological bondage. When a man is serving his flesh (i.e., fornication/adultery), he is allowing the very thing that God gave him power over to rule over him and so yes, he’s addicted. When you are giving him illicit sex, you are no less than a street corner dealer. He’s coming to you to feed his addiction, but it has nothing to do with love. His drug of choice is lust and you are his supplier. I don’t know too many people who marry their suppliers unless they both go into recovery and that requires a whole lot of detoxing—more than most can handle and/or comprehend.
So when the servant decided that Isaac’s future wife would offer him and his camels water, I find that to be a pretty poignant thing. He didn’t say that he was going to look and see if she was a D-cup, if she had “good hair” (what the heck is that anyway?), or if she could fill in her jeans. When a godly man is looking for a wife, yes, physical attraction is important (don’t trip cause it’s important to us as well), but her character is his priority. A godly man is looking to see a woman’s heart. Is she kind? Is she gentle? Is she giving? Is she confident?
And, the best way to know this is to see how she acts in her daily living.
It could’ve been so easy for the servant to do exactly what we women tend to do in dating: tell Rebekah what he was looking for. I remember one of my most destructive relationships was built on the foundation of me talking entirely too much! He asked me what I wanted in a relationship and I told him. You know what he did? Until he “got in”, he acted just like everything on my list!
Now let me say that now that I have healed from the relationship, I don’t think his deceptiveness was necessarily pre-meditated. I just think that when you want something bad enough, you will do whatever to get it—even if “it” ain’t good for you. So ladies, I have said it before and I will say it again: “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” Most men have been caught up in the seductress’ snares for so long that lip service doesn’t really move them, anyway.
One of my male friends was just telling me last week about how bored he was with the cycle of “meeting a cute girl, having her try and impress him, hittin’ it and then moving on”. Yes, I am standing in the gap praying that eventually he will get so bored that he stops the cycle completely, but he does have a point in the sense that you can say whatever you want; it’s what you do that makes a lasting impression. And when you are doing things that are outside of God, no matter how socially acceptable, it doesn’t last. Remember, God is the Creator and so when we follow him and his image, we can bring things to pass that are new and lasting. All the Enemy does is create counterfeits, and after a season, it simply gets old.
I believe that when Abraham’s servant decided that the woman who offered water to him and his camels was “the one”, it was because it showed that she had a heart of compassion. I mean, if she was willing to take care of a stranger and his animals, how much more would she should care and concern for her husband?
Rebekah didn’t know all of this. She was so pure in heart that coming to the aid of someone else was natural to her. She didn’t have a gold digger mentality…wondering what she could get out this man. And while I’m thinking about it, another thing that I love about this story is that it says in Genesis 24:10 that not only did the servant take ten camels on his journey, but some beautiful women as well. When the servant approached Rebekah in verse 17, obviously these strange women didn’t phase her. She was concerned with meeting the need that was asked of her.
If she was insecure, she could’ve very easily thought or said, “Shoot, you have all of those women over there. Why don’t you have them do it?” It wasn’t about them; it was about her and what she had to bring to the table.
Just yesterday, someone sent me a “thank you” for this series stating that she needed the confirmation to stay the natural, afro-centric beauty that she is. Sadly, and might I add ignorantly, some of her family and friends were pressuring her to change her appearance in hopes that it would speed up the man search. C’mon now! All she needs to do is be like our sistah, Rebekah. Just do you and the right man, at the right time, no matter how many other beautiful women are around, will take notice because your character will stand out over their physical beauty.
We will stop there for now, but I do believe that Part Three will continue with Rebekah and her preparation for Isaac. The homework assignment for today? To read I Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) and Galatians 5:22, which reminds us of the Fruits of the Spirit. When the Word says that the flesh and spirit war against each other (Galatians 5:17), you better believe that this includes our battle between how we look vs. who we are on the inside. And when the Bible says that when you sow to the flesh, we reap in the flesh (Galatians 6:18), this also applies to using our looks over our character when it comes to relationships.
If you want a one-night stand, concern yourself with how you look. You want a man for eternity? Get your character in check. Even now, you never know who is watching.
©Shellie R. Warren/2006