Sexual Sin, Part 2
I expect that of the Christians who hear this, ten percent will believe what we will look at today and I expect one percent will actually attempt to live it. But first let’s talk about the world.
Jude 1:5 – Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
This is about dating, sexual immorality, and believing what God says is true. The book of Hebrews shows how God delivered people out of Egypt and yet they did not believe. In the next verse it says they did not obey. To believe and obey are one in the same. If we say we believe God, we also say that we obey, because we obey whom we believe. If you’re driving and see a brick wall in front of you and you believe that the wall is there and if you hit it you will die, then you won’t drive into the wall. So to believe is to obey and do what God says.
Jude 1:6-7 – And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
You’ll notice the scripture says they gave themselves over to it. We all have those passions and desires, but instead of showing diligence to come before God keep those things under control, be crucified, or receive from God whatever grace is needed at the time, they just gave themselves to whatever they wanted. Perversion and sexual immorality take place. I went to a bookstore a couple of days ago and picked up a magazine called Seventeen—probably some of you sisters read it a long time ago. In the November issue it says up in the corner, “It’s where the girl ends and the woman begins.” This is for seventeen-year-old children. They advertise all kinds of things in the magazine for girls age thirteen to seventeen. In this month’s issue, they wrote about masturbation. Before you get all indignant, we’ll get to the Christian stuff in a moment. The article read:
What is masturbation? How common is it? Masturbation is a sexual stimulation of ones’ self. It’s estimated that by the age of 21 some 97% of men and more than 90% of women have masturbated. Masturbation is a normal pleasurable activity that people of all ages, even babies and small children have been known to enjoy. This doesn’t mean that you’re not normal if you don’t masturbate, it’s just one way to express sexual feelings. Some people choose not to masturbate because of personal religious beliefs. (There are religions that disapprove of the practice.)
Then it goes on to justify how to do it.
If you have never masturbated or you have masturbated and it’s made you feel guilty or bad, you may be wondering why so many people do it.
Man has a natural conscience—a conviction—when he does something wrong. They try to overcome that natural sense of guilt and shame. Where did the guilt and shame come from? It came from the way God created us. He never made us to do that. Paul said that we should learn to control our own bodies. We need to find out the things that lead us into sexual immorality and steer away from them.
It is just about the safest sex you can have. There’s no risk of getting AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. You can’t get pregnant. There’s no chance you feel used or taken advantage of.
Now that part is not true. Many of us have masturbated and felt used and cheated when we were done. So that’s an absolute lie.
Remember everyone has sexual feelings and desires. It’s part of a human being. People simply make different choices about how to act them out.
So Sodom and Gomorrah would be proud of this magazine called Seventeen. They would be proud of this world. There’s another ad in here about cologne. Now remember, this is marketed for teenagers, not for married couples. The picture of this guy is bad enough, and the guy says in the caption below, “Only three months ago I was saying, ‘Me fall in love?’ Now I can’t remember life before her.” So obviously they have slept together and are now in love and three months ago he didn’t envision that. This stirs up sexual feelings long before they should even happen and no doubt a lot of children read this magazine.
Let’s understand clearly that God made sex to be a noble thing. Song of Songs is really the book of love in the Bible. It’s a book of a couple sharing love with each other, but it also represents our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Song 1:1-4 – Solomon’s Song of Songs. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you!
So while it talks about a relationship between a man and a woman, it also talks about a relationship with Jesus Christ because the physical act of having sex with somebody is a spiritual act. Two people brought together to become one not only in flesh, but also in spirit. God intended for man and woman to be united in him and then come together to be united with each other, to be one in flesh and spirit. God clearly stated in Malachi:
Malachi 2:15 – Has not the LORD made them one?
They are united in God. Really everybody who’s married apart from God commits sexual immorality. Just because someone’s married doesn’t mean it’s not sexual immorality. God never intended for anybody to be in a marriage or relationship with somebody else without him being the center of that marriage. So when a couple gets married and God is not the center of their lives, they commit sexual immorality at that point. I can assure you that apart from knowing God the marriage only consists of passion anyway. It is not the love that God can bring and produce in a marriage. God’s love is something far different than just an emotional passion where people relieve their feelings.
Malachi 2:15 – Has not the LORD made them one?
He’s the one who intended for a man and woman to be one. It’s a noble thing God has created—it came from his hand. But Satan perverts it by causing us to fall into pleasing our flesh.
Malachi 2:15 – In flesh and spirit they are his.
You can’t say your body belongs to you and your spirit belongs to God and divide the two apart. To be united to someone physically is to be united with them spiritually. If they happen to be someone who follows demons, guess what you are united with? Guess what increases as you are one with someone like that? There’s a worldly saying that whoever you sleep with, you slept with whoever they’ve slept with during the last ten years. What about the spiritual condition of those people in their hearts and lives—the spiritual demonic things that take place in your union with them? People have no concept of what they actually go to bed with.
Malachi 2:15 – Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.
God made sex not just so a man and woman can have pleasure but because God wants people who will worship and love him to produce godly offspring.
Malachi 2:15 – So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
When we talk about protecting ourselves from sexual immorality, we’re talking about protecting ourselves in spirit first and then worrying about the misdeeds of the body. What these magazines, schools, kids, and even parents do is stir up passion long before it should be. The thought of dating, getting married, going to bed, etc. are stirred up too soon by parents and the system. Song of Songs says very clearly that we should not stir that up within anybody until it is time for that to happen.
Song of Songs 2:7 – Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Not when you desire! Not when we think we want to arouse those passions and feelings, but only when love says, “This is the time for those things to be aroused and awakened.” They are to remain asleep and dormant until then. No one should bring them to life until love says it is the right time. Yet we find the opposite happening in the world when people stir up those kinds of things; “Who’s your boyfriend? Who’s your girlfriend?” They even say this to small children. We just stir up those feeling and emotions and the desire to experiment when it’s not time for it to be done.
Song of Songs talks about the beauty of love and people coming together in a physical and spiritual way, yet throughout it says, “Don’t arouse. Don’t awaken love until the proper time. Someone young in the Lord reading Song of Songs should notice it says, “Wait. Read this. Wait on the Lord and don’t bring it to life until its proper time.”
Songs of Songs 3:4 – Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves.
Again, talking about who they love and desire.
Song of Songs 3:4 – I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me.
A Christian date has to do with the approval of the family. Everything is in the light and open, nothing is secret or hidden.
Song of Songs 3:5 – Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Even though she spoke like this, and how this is something noble and holy from God, it’s not something for you to think or worry about. Don’t concern yourself with who is getting married or whether you’ll get married. Leave it to the Lord. Anything else just stirs up feelings that don’t need to be dealt with yet. I can remember I was not sexually active when I was in high school. It wasn’t until college that I had a boss who always talked about sex and how great it was. Those comments began to stir up the feelings within me and it has been a continual battle since then. Had he not done that work, I might have stayed pure a lot longer. In Song of Songs 8:4 it says the same thing.
Song of Songs 8:4 – Daughters of Jerusalem . . .
She told the women to guard and protect themselves from men who come to stir up those feelings.
Song of Songs 8:4 – . . . I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Those of you who have daughters to raise in the Lord, protect and guard them. Impress this on their heart. In scripture it says to talk about the Word as you walk along the road; when you get up, and when you lay down. It says to impress them on the hearts of your children. Certainly impress this on the hearts of children, because if you don’t, other people will impress other things on their hearts. And know that everybody else—the people you meet, the people who live around the corner—will impress it upon the heart of your daughter to arouse and waken love before the proper time—and that doesn’t come from God.
Let me show you a worldly example. 2 Samuel 13:1 talks about a worldly date. You remember how you used to scheme to impress a girl or guy. Guys would especially scheme in order to take a girl to bed.
2 Samuel 13:1 – In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
So he was in love.
2 Samuel 13:2 – Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
So you know the old saying, “I’m sick with love,” is true. Amnon worked himself up to so much lust, that he lost the health in his body. Now verse three talks about some people we guys have all known growing up.
2 Samuel 13:3 – Now Amnon had a friend . . .
We all have our friends who tell us how to scheme and win somebody over; how to impress them and get them to bed; how to fulfill our desires—what a friend.
2 Samuel 13:3-7 – Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” “Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.” David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.”
I’m amazed at how little David knew the heart of his son and how little he knew about what happened. This was King David. One has to wonder if maybe David didn’t see it because later on he would commit sexual immorality. Sexual immorality was a weak area for David, so he wasn’t able to challenge, correct, or stop the situation from happening. Sexual immorality destroys a father and son’s relationship. It destroys people over and over again. All we do is destroy ourselves and other people.
2 Samuel 13:8-9 – So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. “Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him.
It’s hard for me to imagine people not knowing what took place. I even have a little struggle wondering if she knew what would happen.
2 Samuel 13:10-13 – Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.” “Don’t, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.”
She had a pure heart and had no desire for this to take place.
2 Samuel 13:14 – But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
Whether it be a man shrewd in his talk and actions that he wins a girl over because she’s weak willed or because he physically forces her, either way he raped her. He destroys not only her but his own self. Amnon didn’t love her; in fact, he hated her. And every man who has used a woman will eventually sometime wind up hating her and treat her as a thing.
2 Samuel 13:15 – Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”
He simply fulfilled his desire and did what he wanted to do. Then he hated her and told her to leave. A woman lies and deceives herself when she thinks that a man really loves her apart from God. It’s impossible. It can’t happen. No man can love a woman unless Jesus Christ is the center of his life. Only God is love. Only God brings the love that is pure, holy, sanctified, self-sacrificing, and comes from him. Anything else is hatred and—in the end—will be revealed for the hatred it is. I don’t care how soft or tender they seem toward each other, it will prove to be a selfish relationship.
2 Samuel 13:16-17 – “No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.” But he refused to listen to her. He called his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of here and bolt the door after her.”
No matter how much she pleaded for mercy and wanted love and acceptance from him—wanted what was right—he would not give it. No man will give it apart from Jesus Christ and God. Don’t even fool yourself. Not even if he says, “Well, of course I love you.” He will not give what is proper. He cannot do it. It’s impossible. I don’t expect anything from the world but what we just read in those magazines. Scripture declares in Proverbs that there are seven things the world can’t stand up under. One is a married woman who is not loved. The very foundations of the earth are shaken because a proper love does not exist. Eventually, men who do not love God will send the women away. How many marriages exist where they live in two separate worlds? No marriage is there at all. They may be sixty or seventy years old, but you rarely find a couple really in love with each other at that point—instead, each does their own thing. He sends her away so he can do what he wants and cares nothing about her. I worked for a man one time on a farm slopping pigs and he and his wife had no marriage left. All he did was spend his time out on the farm when there was no need for him to do so. There was no love left between that couple. He used her for what he wanted at the time many years ago, and now he wished to send her away. I tell you, if you allow a man to take advantage—whether it be with words or deeds—you only cheat yourself. You miss the grace, the love, and the kindness that God intended for marriage.
2 Samuel 13:18 – So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing a richly ornamented robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore.
Realize that you are in Jesus Christ. The sisters in God have this kind of ornament on themselves. Let no man take it away from you.
2 Samuel 13:19 – Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
Again, this is how the world dates. We all have the friends, the bachelor parties and other schemes of men.
2 Samuel 13:20 – Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.
How many sisters have had abortions because of bad relationships and they are no longer with that man? Women sacrifice their own children for the sake of a relationship with a man. All it does is destroy! Later on David’s sons fought against each other. Absalom remembered this and avenges her later on. But how many years did that hatred brew within Absalom for Amnon, constantly seeing Tamar day in and day out as a desolate woman? All sexual immorality does is destroy people.
2 Samuel 13:21-22 – When King David heard all this, he was furious. Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
Later on, David committed sexual immorality will Bathsheba and then Absalom would pitch a tent on the palace roof and sleep with David’s concubines. Sexual immorality just continued to go on throughout the family. David watched it and suffered all of his life. All it does is destroy.
Again, I only expect ten percent of the Christian population to even agree with this message and I only expect one percent to even consider it worthwhile to live out. In 1 Timothy 5:1, Paul wrote to Timothy:
1 Timothy 5:1-2 – Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
When you contrast the dating of the world and the so-called Christian dating, there should be a wide gap between the two. One is the world and its ways, and the other treats a sister with absolute purity. I won’t get into a debate about what constitutes Christian date, because I know if you live 1 Timothy 5:2 that says to treat a sister with absolute purity, it will be something totally different than the world. If you live with Jesus Christ as first and center of your life, and pick up your cross, there is no reason to discuss all kinds of legalistic situations. Simply treat a sister with absolute purity.
I picked up a Christian magazine talking about dating. Josh McDowell said;
It’s hard to wait. Of course, many people don’t care to try, but even for those who want to delay sex until marriage, it’s hard. Many fail. Why is sex so attractive? Why do we think of it so much? Why is sex so hard to avoid?
Now look at this next part.
There is no mystery to this. If you want to blame someone, blame God. He made you that way. He made you with those passions and emotions.
He didn’t mention thing about treating sisters with absolute purity. The cross is missing in this article. I bet you didn’t know all the sexual passions you’ve dealt with, all the emotions you had, and time spent thinking about dating—dreaming of love and getting married—was just God challenging you. Josh McDowell said it was just God challenging you. He made you that way and he knows that you are strong enough to stand against it if you’ll do it.
God made you to long after this. Let’s go even so far as to say he made you so it’s hard to wait. Call it a challenge flung down by creator God. I’ll give you this amazing potential, but know in advance it is not easy to master. It will test you to your limits.
(Sarcastically) So the reason I have sexual passion and wrestle with lust is because God is challenging me? This is the God of all grace, all mercy, and all wisdom, and the best he could come up with is to challenge me to deal with this?
It’s a challenge and also a compliment.
It’s a compliment then to think about dating, marriage, and arousing things before the proper time?
God challenges us because he believes we can live up to the challenge.
McDowell’s ideas are totally against Scripture. The book of James says that God tempts no man.
There is nothing immoral or second-rate about dreaming about the fulfillment of your sexuality. Just make sure you dream the whole dream.
Dreaming―another word for lust. A Christian way to make lust sound noble. He gave all kinds of worldly noble reasons why you should wait (because of AIDS and such—anybody can use scare tactics). There’s no cross or talking about seeking God, if you should be married, or waiting on God to bring whomever he would bring. In fact, McDowell made a very interesting point. He said the Jews didn’t date. That’s exactly right. They had no concept of dating like we experience. You can’t say, “That was the old law” because the new law says “absolute purity.” First of all, there won’t be any concept of dating; it will be knowing that someone is a sister in the Lord. I looked for this scripture in his article and it wasn’t there.
1 Corinthians 7:27 – Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.
Notice there is no age limit. It can’t get much clearer than that. The commandment is obvious. This isn’t a law, legalism, or death. This is rich freedom. I wish I had known about it when I was young. I wouldn’t have been concerned about dating or the game playing. I could have been busy just worshipping and seeking after God. Think of how much rest there is when you don’t have to worry about that nonsense. Think back to your own dating, all the times in school when you worried about whether you would be accepted or liked and all that garbage. In fact, Josh McDowell mentions that in the article and justifies why you should dream the dream. The point is, if you are not worried about marriage, who you will date, or whether you be accepted, and just serve God, then all of those concerns just melt away, don’t they? Our minds are not supposed to be on earthly things in the first place. I don’t know why it is a totally strange concept to stand up in church and say, “Christians don’t date.” That only shows how little most marriages are really of God.
1 Corinthians 7:1 – Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.
Every non-married Christian should not look for a wife, or even consider being married. It’s better not to marry, scripture says.
1 Corinthians 7:2 – But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
Paul went on to say that each man has a particular gift. Why is it such a strange concept to not concern yourself with dating, marriage, or whether you’ll be loved or have somebody to hold hands with? Why are these things even a major concern among Christians? This isn’t to say people won’t marry, because if God arranges a marriage, you want that to happen. But the point is that we don’t even strive for that. If we seek first Jesus Christ, then God’s will becomes very, very clear. Teenagers grow up with an emphasis upon dating because Christian marriages are not really Christian marriages. Paul said the following to every married couple.
1 Corinthians 7:29 – What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.
The flame and love that you have now will disappear a long time into eternity. You’ll have a love for each other, but it will be a holy kind of love.
1 Corinthians 7:29 – From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none;
Even marriages are to be in such a place that children will see their parents live as though they are not married, and that they live in total devotion to the will of God. If the children see that, then they will not be consumed with whether they will be married and have a family. But when the marriage becomes their “god” and they make an idol of each other, then those things take on the emphasis of “finding your life.” That’s why you find garbage like “It’s proper to fulfill your sexuality.” If we lose our life in Jesus Christ and live as though we are not married, then that’s a marriage, a life, and a love that comes from God. Then our children don’t grow up filled with passion. At least not because it’s our fault.
I get so tired of all of these worldly dating books under Christian labels. It’s not all that complicated. They go out of their way to write books on how to date properly in the Lord. If you get your mind in the right place, everything else will simply take care of itself. First of all, scripture says absolute purity toward sisters. That takes care of a whole lot of stuff doesn’t it? Sure people talk about who they are to marry or date, and who’s going with so-and-so, but Colossians 3:1 shows what you are supposed to think about.
Colossians 3:1 – Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your heart on the matters of Jesus Christ, the matters of his will and what he wants for your life and then a lot of things we’re normally concerned about would fall by the wayside. Worldly garbage and a lot of teenage giddiness and foolishness would begin to die out because their hearts are set on something more noble than the worldly exchange of love notes in the classroom.
Colossians 3:2 – Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
What are the concerns of the world, but who’s dating who, who will marry, what are the plans for the future, and what to do with your life?
Colossians 3:3 – For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Now that is a crucial passage concerning dating and marriage in Jesus Christ. “Your life is now hidden.” You don’t know who you’re to marry. You don’t know even if you will marry. You don’t know how many kids you will have. You don’t have any concept of God’s will for your life. Forget it—you’ll never figure it out ahead of time. I tried too many times. “Your life is now hidden with Christ,” but if you seek Jesus Christ, then you will know who to marry. How few marriages are a result of asking permission of God! How many Christians are in situations that God has not called them to or one person is a Christian and the other person isn’t and God never called them to be married to each other in the first place? They never even thought to ask God. Each person’s life is hidden in Christ Jesus and it’s up to Jesus who they will marry. Their minds and hearts need to be set on him.
Colossians 3:4 – When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Keep your minds on the fact that you’ll be with Jesus Christ. Live as though you’re not married. Treat sisters with absolute purity, because when Christ appears you’ll be with him. That’s why scripture says there won’t be marriages in heaven. There will be one marriage; the bride and the groom of Jesus Christ. We will all be married to the same person.
One of my sons came home last week telling a story that happened in school. He went to his locker and this girl was standing in front of her locker and some guys had placed several dozen condoms on her locker door. They filled some of them with water. Of course she didn’t want to touch them so she asked him to. He wasn’t too thrilled about it, but he did it for her. The important point of the story is that we know the world will always do what the world does, but why did she ask my son to take them down? Would she have gone up to any other guy and asked him to take them down? Wouldn’t they have made jokes about it? Would they have laughed about what was done? Would they have thrown them at her, or laughed and talked about them? She asked him because she could trust his heart. She was safe. Those are the kinds of sons God expects our children to be.
Song of Songs 8:8 – We have a young sister. . .
Whether it be a sister in the Lord or a physical sister.
Song of Songs 8:8 – . . . and her breasts are not yet grown.
She’s not yet fully a woman.
Song of Songs 8:8-9 – What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.
In other words, if she is a wall that no man can touch or get to, and every man knows that she’s off limits unless it’s proper, holy, and of God, then we will exalt and hold her up and say, “This is a sister in God.” On the other hand, if she’s a door and weak-willed, we will build cedar walls and protect her. Every church needs to know that every brother in that church will protect every sister and lay down his life—that he’ll never take advantage of her and will protect her from anybody else who will. There are weak-willed women in this body. Some are stronger than others, but either way they need to be protected. People need to have a holy zeal to say, “Look, this is what’s holy and noble. Strive for that. But if you’re a door, know this: We will protect so that everything is proper and holy.”
Song of Songs 8:9 – If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.
We will make her holy, righteous, and clean. We will do everything in our power to make sure everything is as it should be.
Let’s look at a Christian date. Do you really think most of the Christian community will even buy this? Passions, the desire to date, and worldliness are too strong to even grasp how righteous, holy, and proper this is. Some people will say that it’s too hard or cruel. “What do you with all of these emotions?” People are so busy justifying dating to even grasp the fact that this is not some legalistic law or death—it is rich life. Just imagine if you had known these things in high school. If someone had built a wall around you and assured that you would be holy. Think about the rest we could have had, the peace that could have been there, the game playing that would not have existed and the friends we would have never had to know.
Genesis 24:1-3 – Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. He said to the chief 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. . .”
Understand this very, very clearly: It is a sin to marry somebody not in Jesus Christ. No minister in this town should marry a Christian to a non-Christian. No sister or brother in this body should ever, ever even consider for a moment that God wants them to marry a non-Christian. That is not God’s intention. The two cannot be yoked together. There will be nothing but strife and division if one continues to follow God. If you don’t continue to follow God, then there will be peace in the house.
Genesis 24:4 – … but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.
This was Isaac’s first date. Abraham had marriage in mind. It was time to consider marriage. It could be aroused now. It was proper.
Genesis 24:5 – 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?”
“What if the woman is not willing to marry or even to come back and consider it?”
Genesis 24:6 – “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said.
Make sure you don’t go back there spiritually to justify and compromise just so you can marry. If God has you spiritually here, don’t compromise the things God has taught you and say, “This person will grow and become more holy as time goes on.” I have heard many women say they married their husbands hoping he’d become a Christian. Or I’ve heard husbands brag about that the fact they became Christians because their wives were Christians when they married them. I praise God if someone really became a Christian, but what a risk to take. Not only did you take a risk, but you headed right into sin saying, “God bless my sin.” All they are really mean is, “I want to marry this non-Christian who doesn’t know God” or “I want to marry someone who is not spiritually suited to be married to me.” “Do not take my son back. . .” God led Isaac to this point and he wouldn’t settle for second best. So don’t think for a moment that Abraham’s servant thought he to raise this woman in the Lord, make her mature, and then bring her out. The real test is if somebody will come up to where you’re at in terms of the same faith, surrender, picking up the cross, hating their own life, and living as though they’re not going to be married. We don’t go back down, they’ll have to come up.
Genesis 24:6-7 – “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,. . .”
God brought Abraham to this place. This was how he followed God. “Do not take my son away from that which God has brought me to.” This is not some pride trip. If you will be united together, there must be unity in the Lord and understanding of the things of God. I get so sick and tired of people saying they are Christian by label and therefore they can get married. That is utter nonsense. There must be a testing to make sure their faith is sound. Just because a woman says she’s a Christian, doesn’t mean she’s a Christian. Or if a man says he’s a believer and goes to church, that doesn’t mean he’s a true Christian. There must be that acid test that says, “This is the word of the Lord.” Where is the other person in that relationship to that word? The word of the Lord brought him to this point and she must come to the same point. And if she is of God, she will move up to that point.
Genesis 24:7 – “To your offspring I will give this land”—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
Do see the confidence in Abraham? One person arranges the dates in a Christian life and his name is God. He sends his angels before you to prepare the way. If we as parents would have that confidence and faith, our children would understand that God has a will and plan for their life and he will send his angels ahead of you to prepare the way. Don’t be concerned about who you will marry. That’s the least of your worries.
Genesis 24:8-12 – 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. Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and left, taking with him all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water. Then he prayed . . .
How did the servant look for a wife? By prayer. Only God decides about matters concerning marriage as we seek him in prayer. Understand this clearly now, not after you have met the person. Do you understand the difference? Do not go before God to test it after you’ve fallen in love. Do you know how difficult that it is to do? It’s difficult enough to sit down and eat holy. You want to eat a piece of chocolate cake and you know you shouldn’t at the time. The voices confuse us, how much more when in love and experiencing passions and emotions? When the other person is cute and so lovely we can’t try to seek the face of God. Isaac and Rebekah never met each other. The servant began in prayer before he saw the women—“Which woman, O Lord?”—not after. He didn’t choose Rebekah because of passion or physical beauty, but because he was in prayer.
Genesis 24:12 – Then he prayed, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”
Notice the selfless love on the part of this servant? He didn’t get anything for himself did he? He wasn’t associated with this promise. He doesn’t get any of the land. He doesn’t even get to hear God speak. How many of us would bless other people like this? We should be doing this to each other in the body. Those of us with children growing up should be praying that God bring success, to purify our children, make them holy, and prepare them for his will. We may not gain anything from it except the joy of seeing God’s plan succeed and being a part of it. What a joyous occasion for a whole church to stand up and say with conviction, “I know that God has called that couple to be married.” What a joy! Talk about getting a marriage off to a sound start. You know then that whatever happens, God called for that marriage.
Genesis 24:13-14 – See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, “Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I’ll 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.
He knew what to ask for—and it wasn’t a pretty wife. “Show me a servant woman. Show me someone who not only will draw water for me, but will feed the camels as well.”
Genesis 24:15- Before he had finished praying, . . .
“Before he had finished praying”!
Genesis 24:15-16 – Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The girl was very beautiful . . .
I don’t know if that meant physically or not, because it tells us she was a virgin. It’s the purity of a woman. The beauty of her heart. The submission and her quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). The good deeds done in humility (Titus 3:2). Holiness makes a woman beautiful (2 Corinthians 7:1). Surely it can’t mean just physical beauty because beauty is fleeting and charm a deceit (Proverbs 12:20).
Genesis 24:16-18 – The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
Do you see the zeal with which she went about her service? That’s why no woman can be put on the widows list unless she is known for her good deeds.
Genesis 24:19 – After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.”
I’ve never watered camels, but I’m guessing they drink a lot of water. I would imagine there was a great deal of labor associated with this menial task and she quickly set out to do it. What kind of daughters are we raising in this body? Are they busy at home? Is it a chore for them to do the dishes, let alone water camels? Do they consider it a punishment? If you said, “Go do the dishes” would they ask, “What did I do wrong?” Those are the joyful things God intends for them to do, not the punishment. I’ve been around mothers before and I’ve watched their daughters, and they get by with murder. When mothers tell them to go make their bed, it’s a punishment.
The servant knew what to pray and look for, and it wasn’t an outward physical beauty.
Genesis 24:20-21 – So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.
He still tested. This was an important matter. This was about a lifetime of either being with a dripping faucet or a wife that builds you up in the Lord.
Genesis 24:22-25 – When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milcah bore to Nahor.” And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”
Clearly the family served also. She learned to be this kind of servant woman from home.
Genesis 24:26 – Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD,
Brothers and sisters, this is how every marriage should begin! With a sense of awe, a sense of bowing down before God and worshipping him with words that can’t even say thank you. To know in your heart that you sought God, you prayed, and he gave great success in bringing the very person you were to marry should cause us to fall down before the throne of God and give thanks, praise, glory, and honor. How many marriages start off with that? How many begin that way? I’m indignant with the teachers that have been in the church for years. What’s this teaching? Where’s the surrender of the cross? Where are these kinds of marriages? Why didn’t they tell me? Why wasn’t it ever laid out before? Why aren’t the daughters of the church known for this type of holiness and the men known for their purity?
Genesis 24:26-27 – Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD, saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master.”
God is faithful. He didn’t abandon Abraham. He answers prayers more than we ask and more than we can imagine. All of our marriages should be like that. By the time God is done with our marriages, we ought to be able to say, “He did more than I could ask him to do in the marriage. He did more than I could imagine!” We should bow down out of humble hearts saying, “Praise be unto God.” A marriage that doesn’t end that way has not been blessed much.
Genesis 24:27-31 – “As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.” The girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring. As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring. “Come, you who are blessed by the LORD,” he said.
They saw the hand of God working in the situation. Everybody could testify that marriage was made in heaven.
Genesis 24:31 – Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.
Do you see the servant attitude is not only in Rebekah, but also in the whole family?
Genesis 24:32 – So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet.
Our children sometimes reflect who we are and what kind of families we are.
Genesis 24:33 – Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.” “Then tell us,” Laban said.
His attitude was, “Look, this is God’s will. This is primary. My belly is a secondary concern. This work must be done.” Don’t eat, don’t strive, don’t bring anything together until you see God working in the hand of your children to do his will.
Genesis 24:34-41 – So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. The LORD has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, menservants and maidservants, and camels and donkeys. My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’ Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’ He replied, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family. Then, when you go to my clan, you will be released from my oath even if they refuse to give her to you—you will be released from my oath.’”
Why does God show this man repeating this story? We’ve already heard it once when Abraham told him, why was it repeated again? Because all of us should be able to say the same thing. We should be able to testify to everyone and say “Look, this is how God worked to bring this marriage. This is his success. This declares the praises and wonders of God’s work.” Every married couple ought to be able to say, “This is where we were at spiritually. This is the sin we were in and this is where God has brought us.” There ought to be that testimony and declaration of how God has worked.
Genesis 24:42-45 – “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘O LORD, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come. See, I am standing beside this spring; if a maiden comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,” and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the LORD has chosen for my master’s son.’ Before I finished praying in my heart. . .”
This shows that God eagerly desires to bring together marriages. How many people become frustrated because they prayed for someone to come into their life to marry and they just haven’t found who God has brought? It may not be for God’s will for them to marry or he may have them to wait, but the point is, God isn’t holding back. He’s concerned about this area of life. Before the servant even finished the prayer, God worked to answer it. A church doesn’t need a singles’ group. The singles don’t need more support than the married. In fact, later on we see the married have more problems than the singles. It’s completely backwards. Why do you think churches have singles groups to support all the singles? Because nobody can stand being single because they are not in a proper relationship with God! Before he even prayed the prayer, God worked to answer it. Just look at God’s love and how he prepared everything. Even before the servant thought to pray the prayer, God raised Rebekah.
Genesis 24:45-48 – Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, “Please give me a drink.” She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.” So I drank, and she watered the camels also. I asked her, “Whose daughter are you?” She said, “The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.” Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms, and I bowed down and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son.
“On the right road.” Get on the right road. Let’s raise sons and daughters that God can bring together in a holy fashion. I would be terrified for my sons to marry some of the daughters I have seen in the body. Because I’m raising my sons to be the master of their house. If God chose them to marry any sisters in this body, then I hope those sisters are prepared. It took me time to learn to be head of the house before I got my marriage together. I don’t want my children to go through that. I want them to get on with the work God has called them to do.
Genesis 24:49 – Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.
He didn’t give up. He could have been released from this oath, but he was more interested in God being glorified and seeing it fulfilled than he was getting out from under the oath.
Genesis 24:50 – Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.”
They saw the hand of God act. They knew his Spirit moved in this situation. They knew God brought it about.
Genesis 24:51 – Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.
So of course the Christian date is as God directs, but he won’t direct it in the ways we imagine. It will be in a very holy fashion.
Genesis 24:52 – When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the LORD.
What humility and thanksgiving! He wasn’t depressed because he couldn’t play the dating game. He saw the hand of God and knew God worked.
Genesis 24:53 – Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.
It is always an outpouring—not just the gaining of a wife. He possessed a love so that he could lay down his life for everybody, no matter who they were. Like Rebekah served water to a man’s camels not because she got anything out of it, but just to serve. Who would have thought she was on her way to be married? She would have never dreamed it. She would have laughed if someone told her that.
Genesis 24:54-56 – Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.” But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.” But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”
The servant is saying, “This is God’s work and it has to be done. This is of the utmost importance and it is completed. It’s time now, not in ten days!” You know what they would say today, “They need to date for three or four years in order to get to know each other.” They didn’t want her to leave so they could get to know this guy a little better. We say the same thing. “I’ll get married after I get my college degree or after I buy a house.” The servant knew this was the Lord’s will and it was in God’s timing. This was what needed to be done. “Do not detain me, hinder me, or stop me.”
Genesis 24:57 – Then they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.”
Now this is uncommon. God never forces us to do his will. Nobody in this church will be made to marry anyone. Though we can say, “This is God’s will,” the other person can still say, “Forget it.”
Genesis 24:58 – So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said.
Not much hesitation was there? She didn’t say, “Ten days would be good to think about it.” She saw the hand of God. Her faith was in God.
Genesis 24:59-60 – So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.”
They didn’t know they were echoing the very sentiments of God, did they? They had no idea. Those are almost the exact words that God said to Abraham when he said, “Your descendents will be as numerous as the stars.”
Genesis 24:61-65 – Then Rebekah and her maids got ready and mounted their camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left. Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”
First date, guys. She didn’t even know who came to meet her. It was a blind date! And yet the truth is, she had more understanding than most people who know each other before they go out, because she saw God. He is our light. He is the lamp that lights our way and guides us if we pick up a cross a follow him.
Genesis 24:65-67 – “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
“He loved her.” What else could he do but love her? This is the very handiwork of God. That’s a Christian date. Not many people are willing to wait on God long enough to hear what he has to say, but blessed are those who do.
Father we plead and ask, we beg for you to work in the lives of our children, to work in our marriages so that we might raise sons who are trustworthy and holy. Let there be daughters raised up in the body, Father, who are servants, who know your hand, and know your voice so as the world tries to arouse passion that should not be there, they will see your face and they’ll look to Jesus in whom their life is hidden. Father, may all of us who are married live as though we are not married in total devotion and love for you, oh Lord. Father we pray this so that your name be glorified and there would indeed be godly offspring. Father, impress upon every father in this body to be holy and to raise their children for you, oh God, to be men of fire; men of courage; to raise sons and daughters, Father, who will be clean and holy. Be with every mother in this body, Father, that their prayers for their children will go up to you, all to glorify your name. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.