Abraham was speaking to his servant when he said: “And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” Abraham was dead serious. He made Eliezer call God to witness that what he was to promise that it would be made in truth and as before God’s face.
Strange way for a man to get a wife? After all who allows his father to send a servant to search of a wife for one’s self. And was not the ‘son” able to go get his own wife? Would he have to take as his wife any woman no matter how unattractive? What right did Abraham have to send a servant in search of a wife for his son? Why not take a daughter of the Canaanites to wife? Strange to our modern ways of doing things, it was indeed. But rich with meaning and instruction for through it God speaks to us concerning our calling to seek a godfearing life’s mate. And the passage is significant for both parents and young people who are looking for a wife or husband. In Abraham, parents have a God given example to follow. And in Isaac young people have a God given example of a man who sought his wife in faith.
The older one gets and the longer he is married the more thankful he is that God hath provided a believing wife for him. Marriage is for life. Abraham was an old man of approximately 140 years. Sarah was dead! Abraham, undoubtedly, had reflected upon the “good thing” that his wife had been to him for many years. Sarah had been a godfearing helpmeet, a woman of faith. Through life’s struggles, fears, temptations, sins and evils, Sarah had been a rich source of strength and consolation, to the pilgrim and stranger in the earth who journeyed with her along the way of sin and grace to glory. She had been an indispensable and precious blessing to him. Undoubtedly these were the thoughts of Abraham when he said to his servant, Eliezer: “thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.” A daughter of the Canaanites was spiritually unfit to be Isaac’s wife, no matter how beautiful she might have been.
Let us try to note some of the major elements of this passage in Genesis 24 and then apply them to our own activity of courting or dating. Abraham and Isaac were in the land of Canaan, the type of heaven as the dwelling place of God with His covenant people. Abraham and his seed were the people of God, the Church of God in the world. In and through Isaac God would gather His people and He would bless them as the people of God. All this in a large measure explains why Isaac could not leave the land of Canaan, the land of God’s blessing, and go look for a wife. We must not think that Isaac was not concerned who his wife would be. Nor must we think that he was psychologically immature and that Abraham was acting tyrannically in this matter, or that Isaac was too young to choose his own wife. No, Isaac was a mentally sound, mature, forty year old man. Why then does he appear to be so passive in the account that is recorded for us?
We must look for the answer to that question along the following lines. Isaac, undoubtedly, completely concurred with the instructions of Abraham to Eliezer. From his youth Isaac has been instructed by his godfearing parents concerning his calling to seek and his need of a godfearing mate. Isaac, who was a man of faith, had taken to his own heart the wise counsel and covenantal instruction of his father. Isaac’s age of 40 years, only serves to accentuate the fact of his agreement with his father’s insistence upon a believing mate for him. We must not look at Isaac and conclude that he was passive, a weakling over whom his father ruled as one would an immature boy. But we must see in Isaac the man of faith like unto his father. Isaac was old enough and wise enough to understand fully what a tremendous blessing Sarah had been to Abraham and to conclude that he too would be in desperate need of a godfearing wife to help him in his calling as believer, a pilgrim and stranger in a godless world.
Well, Isaac received from God Rebekah; but who will be your wife or husband? Isaac concurring with his father, Abraham, searched for a wife among his own people and more importantly among the people of God! Where do you look for your wife?
Do you look for your wife among the Canaanites. A Canaanitish woman is a wicked, unbelieving woman. Spiritually she is one who loves the way of sin, rebellion, the lie, the lust of the flesh and of the eyes. She is an enemy of the Church of Christ and the cause of God in the world. She hates the truth of God’s word, despises the blood of the cross, and lives a vain, empty self-seeking life. She is completely unfit to be a mother of covenant children, to aid, love and assist a struggling, stumbling believer who seeks by faith the things above, invisible and eternal. Where will you find such a Canaanitish woman? Anywhere! If you are looking for a Canaanitish woman, some of the best places to “check out” would be the theater, the beer hall, the local Grotto, the latest night spot; but don’t look in your own church. Too often young men and women look in the wrong places for their mates and the result is … they get something with which they find it almost impossible to live, much less live as a couple that are one in Christ.
Search for your husband or your wife among God’s people, the church! Upon you are falling the responsibilities of the people of God in the future, as they once fell to Isaac. You will be called upon by God to preach the Word, fight the battle of faith as individuals not only but as the Church, maintain (after having established) a covenant home, educate your children in the fear of God’s name, support financially the church and the school, walking as God’s covenant friends in the world. A tremendous calling and privilege; but a Canaanitish woman will be of no help to you, she would only be an unbearable burden and endless source of grief. You need the help of one who is “one in the Lord” with you. (II Cor. 6:14)
Date the young man or woman from your own church first! And as you search for a wife pray that God will give to you your life’s partner. We believe according to the form for marriage that God “doth yet as with his hand bring unto every man his wife.” (p. 77 in the Psalter) Abraham and Isaac trusted in the wisdom and goodness of God that He would provide the woman of His choosing to be Isaac’s wife, that God would lead Eliezer to her and move her heart so that she would return with him to Isaac. “. . . he shall send His angel before thee, and thou shall take a wife unto my son from thence.” (24:7, Cf. 24:40) And believer note this, what was true then is true today. The man who turns to God for a believing wife, his prayer will also be granted.
In answering our prayers, both as parents and a young people, God uses means to bring to one a believing wife or husband. One of the chief means is the wise counsel and warning of godfearing parents, who seek the “best” for their children. And the second means God uses is the community of believers wherein we are placed and in which community we will find young men and women who are of the same faith and confession. We must search for a wife within that communion or Church wherein God has placed us. Which means that we look first within our own local church and, if you are unsuccessful, search within the denomination of Churches in which God in his wisdom has placed you.