Institution of Marriage, Part 2

Part 2 – Genesis 24

We find in 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 the Apostle Paul proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He writes:

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

You know it is important for us to remember the Lord Jesus Christ and the price He paid for our Redemption on the Cross of Calvary where He suffered and bled and died, making a way of Salvation that our sins would be forgiven and that we would be reconciled to Almighty God. We read in Isaiah 53 an account of the sufferings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Read Isaiah 53!!

What a joy it is to know that death could not hold Him, for on the third day Jesus rose from the dead! In that He is the first fruits of them that slept (1 Cor. 15:20).

  • At the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know that God’s word is true (John 11:25)!
  • At the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have assurance of our salvation (Acts 17:31)!
  • At the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know that He is alive (Matt. 28:1-8)!

And in that we have rest in the Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to the time in which He, the Bridegroom, will return for His Bride, the Church, at the time appointed (Matt. 24:36) of our Heavenly Father! The work of redemption is finished and it is done! As the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ paid the price that none other could pay!

What an awesome God we serve!!

Institution of Marriage Continued

Last week we began our study on the Institution of Marriage by considering the value and importance of the Word of God, which is the basis of the doctrine of Christ and the authority by which we live, and move, and have our being as Children of God!

We know that since God created the covenant of marriage (Gen. 2:18, 21-24), He alone defined marriage to be a one flesh relationship between a man and woman who become husband and wife when they voluntarily vow themselves to each other before God in a lifelong (Rom. 7:2), exclusive commitment (Luke 16:18), only separable by death (1 Cor. 7:39)!

We did not create it, therefore we cannot define it!! Yet not everyone has that knowledge of the truth! In the world today the institution of marriage is under immense scrutiny and assault by a godless generation that defies the Word of God! But why? Why is the world rejecting the Word of God and the institution of marriage?

The answer is simple! They believe a lie! They have been given strong delusion by God, as they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved (2 Thess. 2:10) (John 3:16-21). We know the truth!! (John 14:6).

The covenant of marriage is a blessing given by God to all of mankind. And in that covenant is a type/figure (husband & wife) which foreshadows the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the relationship that exists between Christ and the Church. The assault on marriage is really a rejection of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Today, we will be looking at Genesis 24 and consider the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah and how it relates to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the relationship that exists between Christ and the Church. This will also give us greater insight and appreciation for the sanctity of marriage! (Read Gen. 24)

As we see, Abraham (Rep. of Almighty God) sent his eldest servant (Rep. of the Holy Spirit) out to find a wife (Rebekah – Rep. of the Church) for his son Isaac (Rep. of Jesus Christ). Isn’t it amazing that Rebekah was espoused to Isaac without ever seeing him? It’s a reminder of 1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory AND John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

There were certain conditions that had to be met in acquiring a wife for Isaac.

  • V. 3 …thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites

o   Israel was forbidden to intermarry with other nations (Deut. 7:1-4)

o   How many people know that God expects His children to marry other Believers? Being unequally yoked together with unbelievers is a divided interest that can adversely affect one’s relationship with the Lord!

o   2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

o   Many people today learn that lesson the hard way (1 Cor. 7). Marriage is a very serious matter, and we must know the will of God for our lives!

  • V. 8 …And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

o   The woman must be willing to accept the offer of marriage.

o   For the Sinner this is an offer of redemption and reconciliation to God.

o   Rev. 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.                               (Romans 10:9, 10)

  • V. 10 … the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master

o   The ten camels are representative of 10 Commandments (Ex. 20, Deut. 5)

o   Remember that it is the Father that draws us to the Lord Jesus by His Spirit (servant) (John 6:44), who convicts us of sin (John 16:8).

o   That conviction often comes when we hear the Gospel call of salvation and consider the commandments of the Lord and His standard of righteousness. In that we realize that we all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). There is none righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10).

o   Apart from Christ, we are slaves to sin and servants of unrighteousness!

o   We hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and believe!

  • In that there is a yielding that takes place to the Word of God!
  • A point in which we recognize that we belong to Him!
  • A point at which we know and understand that His ways are higher than our ways!
  • This is the point of surrender, the point at which we lay aside all claim to our own lives and die to ourselves!
  • We repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! In Christ we receive the forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9).

o   In the law of God, we should also see God’s desire for us to be holy!

  • 1 -Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  • 2 -Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them
  • 3 -Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.
  • 4 -Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • 5 -Honour thy father and thy mother
  • 6 -Thou shalt not kill.
  • 7 -Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  • He wants us to be faithful to our spouses!
  • 8 -Thou shalt not steal.
  • He wants us to work for what we have!
  • 9 -Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  • He wants us to be truthful and to love our fellow man!
  • 10-Thou shalt not covet
  • He wants us to be content with what He has provided to us!
  • The Lord Jesus Himself summed up the commandments into two in Matthew 22:36-40, when He said, …Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
  • V. 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.

o   We find here a specific criteria for identifying the bride. She not only is to agree to the espousal, she must be willing to go. (No false conversions)

o   Matt. 16:24 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Luke 14:26).

o   As a result of being born again we enter into communion (fellowship) with the Lord and the fellowship of Believers.

o   That communion and fellowship is what Rebekah found when she gave drink to the servant and his camels.

  • Parallel passages to this are found in John 4:1-44 (READ), as well as in Matthew 22:1-14.
  • Woman of Samaria (5 husbands) who met Jesus at Jacob’s well.

o   Rebekah was given many gifts by the servant and was never the same.

  • We too receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit when we are saved!

o   When we hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we respond in faith, believing His every Word and receive the promise of eternal life.

o   Also notice here that the Father has appointed a Bride for His Son. That Bride is the Church!

  • V. 16 … the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her

o   This is a matter of purity, being untouched and undefiled! Though the world despises virginity, it is one way to honor God and the covenant of marriage! How special it is for a couple to know no other than their spouse!

  • Just consider how many problems are resolved with purity!

o   Going further, apart from Christ, we are dead in trespasses and sins. It’s only when we accept the terms of the New Covenant in believing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are born again and baptized with the Holy Spirit. He sanctifies and cleanses us with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:26, 27).

o   As a result of being born again, we follow through with Believer’s baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19, 20). Baptism is considered to be an ordinance of the Church, and it is symbolic of the cleansing work of regeneration, being identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Col. 2:12).

o   Incidentally, have you ever considered why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan?

  • Baptism of Jesus – To fulfil all righteousness (Matt. 3:13-15)
  • Under the law, priests were required to be hallowed for ministering in the priest’s office. They were washed with water and their heads anointed with oil(Ex. 29:1-7). Jesus is our High Priest(Heb.4:14-16).
  • Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Spirit descended on Him like a dove (Matt. 3:16).
  • Vs. 50,51 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord hath spoken.

o   The process of espousal underscores the importance of putting first things first and obtaining a father’s permission before taking a wife in marriage.

o   In this there are terms (Covenant) of the espousal and the giving of gifts. Those terms provide protection for the bride. We have the terms of the New Covenant written in Scripture, the infallible Word of God!

o   The groom must also pay the purchase price for the bride (Dowry)

  • Rebekah and her family received gifts (Gen. 24:53)
  • In Gen. 29 we find that Jacob worked for Laban (7) years for Rachel
  • The Lord Jesus Christ shed His precious blood (Matt. 26:26-30).
  • That price was paid in full on the Cross of Calvary

o   The marriage covenant is then established (New Covenant)(John 3:16)

  • V. 58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

o   When we receive and accept the offer of Salvation and are born again, we are espoused to Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit. As Children of God we have forsaken all to follow the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt.19:29).

o   John 1:12, 13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

o   Being espoused to Christ we are set apart from the world and are required to be holy! As Believers we belong to Christ, and we bear His name!

  • It should be noted that the espousal represents a relationship of permanence which forbids infidelity! (1 John 2:15-17, James 4:4)

o   We also have law of the Lord written in our hearts (Jer. 31:31-33).

  • V. 60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

o   What a blessing we receive from the Lord when we repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are adopted into the family of God and enter into the fellowship of the Saints!

o   Luke 15:10 …there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

  • V. 65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.

o   After, Rebekah, accepted the espousal there was a journey that took place prior to being united with Isaac.

o   We are on that journey as Pilgrims here today. Be faithful to the Lord and don’t be defiled with the world!

  • In John 14:1-3 we read: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
  • Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Cor. 2:9).
  • He is coming again at the appointed time of the Father (Matt. 24:36)

o   Isaac saw Rebekah coming. Rebekah covered herself with a vail and met Isaac. Consider this reference of the vail in light of 1 Cor. 11. Our marriage relationships are figurative of Christ and the Church.

o   Are you ready to see Jesus? Do you await His soon return?

  • And in V. 67 we read: And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

o   1 Thess. 4:16, 17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

o   Jesus will return for His bride. There will be a wedding (Rev. 19:7) and marriage feast (Mat. 22:1-14; Mat. 25:1-13).     (Rev. 21, New Jerusalem)

From Genesis 24 we find a detailed account of how Abraham intervened in finding a bride for his son Isaac. He accomplished that by sending his eldest servant on a mission in locating his wife, who happened to be Rebekah. This passage of Scripture is not only an amazing account of marriage between Isaac and Rebekah and the basis for the Ancient Jewish Wedding, but it is figurative of Almighty God’s intervention in finding a Bride for His Son Jesus, the bride of which is none other than the Church of the Living God (1 Tim. 3:15)! God draws us to Himself by His Spirit (Jn. 6:44)!

Conclusion

The Word of God is the basis of the doctrine of Christ. In it we find that the covenant of marriage is defined by God as a one flesh union between a husband and wife that is figurative of Christ and the Church. That is a sacred union that we as Christians defend, support, promote, and embrace! And with that said, when we stand up for the truth there is a price to pay. And sometimes that price is painful, costing us our own rights, privileges, and even our very lives. John the Baptist knew that all too well when he was imprisoned and subsequently beheaded after telling Herod the tetrarch (Chief governor of Galilee) that it was not lawful for him to have his brother Philip’s wife (Herodias) (Matt. 14:1-12)(Lev. 18:16)(Ex. 20:14, No adultery).

I would urge you to examine yourselves! What do you believe about the covenant of marriage and why? What is the basis of that belief? Is that belief based on personal/popular opinion, culture/tradition, custom/family values, or is it based on every Word of God? There is no middle ground of mediocrity in Christ! He alone has given us His Word, and He alone has established clear boundaries between what is right and what is wrong, the lines of which must never be crossed. That is what we find when we examine the Law of God. The question is, who is on the Lord’s side? When push comes to shove, where do you stand?

In marriage, as with Christ and the Church, there are specific expectations, roles, and responsibilities for the relationship. One such matter is headship and the other is submission. We find this in Eph. 5.                                              (1 Cor. 11, Titus 2)

Wives: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing (Eph. 5:22-24).

  • 1 Peter 3:1-4 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

o   Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Notice it says “as fit in the Lord”). This signifies a duty in the Lord. That duty, however, does not mean that you sin against God!!

Husbands: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones (Eph. 5:25-30).

  • 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
  • Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Proverbs 18:22 says, Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.

What a responsibility we have in following the doctrine of Christ. When we come to terms with the reality of what marriage represents according to the Word of God, it abbreviates, highlights, and underscores the responsibility we all have as living epistles to maintain testimonies that bring glory to God! In that we proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the way we live our lives!

Being a good steward of what God has entrusted to our care is imperative! You know we have a lot of work to do! There is a big mess in the world today, unfortunately, even in and amongst the Church! We need to clean things up according to the Word of God and not hinder the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit by living sinful lives! We have a lot of responsibility in our marriages, in our families, and in Christ!

As ambassadors for Christ we have a commission to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ at every opportunity! Let’s make a difference wherever we find ourselves in the world today! The Word of God is able to reach and transform the deepest depth of the heart of man! May He increase and we decrease! As Spurgeon once said, “we are united to him in ties of blood and bonds of love.”

Are you espoused to Christ today? Have you been born again by the Spirit of the Living God? Have you turned from your sin and placed your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? In following the Lord Jesus Christ there is a price to pay, it is the way less travelled, and yet it is the way of life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts 16:31). Amen

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