Shelby G. Floyd
Today, most young people between the ages of 18 and 25 are thinking about getting married and having a family. It is very important for the happiness and success of a young man or young woman to make the right decision in choosing their partner for life. Perhaps it would be good to observe a few principles by which God’s people made that choice in the Old Testament.
As you probably remember, the patriarch Isaac and his wife Rebecca, had twin boys—Jacob and Esau. The New Testament declares that Esau was a profane man who sold his birthright for one morsel of food (Hebrews 12:16-17). This simply means that his character was godless. We see this demonstrated in the choice that he made when he selected his wife.
It seems during this period of time that men and women were quite a bit older when they selected their marriage partners than today. The book of Genesis declares: “When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah” (Genesis 26: 34-35). Esau demonstrated that he lacked spiritual values in his choice of Hittite women who had Canaanite and worldly values embedded in their culture. When young people select a wife or husband, they are marrying into their families as well as their own.
These two Hittite wives of Esau made life very bitter for Isaac and Rebekah. Young people need to realize that the happiness and success of your marriage will depend to a large degree on having a good relationship with your parents and your in-laws. So keep this in mind when you start thinking about making your decision on your partner for life. This is especially true for a young man or young woman who is a Christian. Your marriage will be better and lifelong if you choose a genuine Christian to be your mate.
Later, when it was time for the younger son—Jacob, to also choose a wife, Rebecca was concerned lest he also make a bad choice like Esau. So Rebekah said to Isaac: “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me” (Genesis 27:46)? Rebekah actually despised and abhorred her two daughters-in-law. They had made her life bitter in spirit. She and Isaac were determined to do what they could to make sure Jacob had the right kind of wife for life. They determined to send Jacob back to their family and religious culture to select a wife. Jacob after great sacrifice and devotion married Leah, Rachael and their handmaids. This union produced the great nation of Israel—through whom Christ descended and thereby blessed the whole world with the promise of redemption from sin and the grave.
Young people, take these thoughts to heart when you think about choosing the mother or father of your children and your life companion. In one of the most intimate relationships of life, Christian young people should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers or people in false religions. Paul admonishes the Corinthians, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV)? Your choice can have great consequences either for good or bad.
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Shelby G. Floyd Heartland Church of Christ 1693 West Main Street Greenwood, Indiana 46142