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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - How To Choose A Mate

Robert Jeffress - How To Choose A Mate

Robert Jeffress - How To Choose A Mate
TOPICS: Discovering God's Will

Hi, I'm Dr. Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Choosing to marry is one of the biggest decisions a person can make. But many couples jump into a lifelong commitment without really counting the cost. Today, we'll look at what the Bible says about choosing a mate. Whether you are somebody you know is contemplating marriage this wisdom from scripture will help you understand God's design for couples. My message is titled "How to Choose a Mate" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Well it was former house speaker Tip O'Neill who used to say, "All politics are local". And by that, he meant most people are not nearly as interested in political Philosophy as they are in how does this policy affect me? When people go to the ballot box they want to know how the choice of this candidate or that candidate is going to affect their everyday life.

You know, the same is true when it comes to biblical truth. I've found as a pastor, most people are not nearly as interested in the Philosophical as they are the practical. They want to know whatever biblical truth is being taught exactly how does that relate to me in everyday life. And that certainly is true when it comes to the issue of knowing God's will for your life. Over these past several months, we've been looking at the various ways that God communicates direction in our lives. We've seen that sometimes he speaks through the Bible. Other times, he speaks through prayer. Sometimes he'll speak through the counsel of other people. Occasionally, he might use supernatural Revelation or circumstances.

Last time, we saw that one of the primary ways he speaks is through the desires he places in our heart. But how does all of that apply to me? How do we move it from the Philosophical to the practical? Well, I thought it might be interesting over the next two weeks to take all of these principles that we have learned and apply to the two areas of life for which most people want to know God's will: the choice of a mate and the choice of a vocation. And so today, we're going to look and see what the Bible says about how to discover the right mate and next week, how to find the perfect job. Amy leaned over to me during the choir orchestrate and she saw the title "How to choose a mate", she's said, "I'm going to be real interested in today's message".

Now some of you are probably thinking the same thing. You're thinking, "Wait a minute, pastor, these two areas, they just don't apply to me where I am in life right now. After all, I'm already stuck with, I mean, I'm blessed with a mate, and... Can't do much about that. And for better or worse, I've chosen my job or I'm even retired from my job. How in the world does this apply to me"? Well first of all, it's very possible that your life situation could change. Just because all of those issues are settled right now doesn't mean they're settled forever. Life has a way of having a lot of surprises in it, doesn't it? Secondly, I just want to take a poll. How many of you have children or grandchildren? Would you raise your hands? Almost everyone here.

These principles that we're going to learn today are going to be very helpful for you to pass along to your children and grandchildren as they search for the right mate and the perfect job. And then third and most importantly, these principles we're going to talk about today in choosing a mate can actually apply to whatever decision you're confronting in life.

And so today, for our passage, I want us to turn to the Old Testament book of Genesis chapter 24 as we talk about how to find a mate, Genesis 24. Now we made a allusion to this passage a few weeks ago but today, we're going to look at it indepth. It's the story of Abraham searching for a wife for his son, Isaac. You remember what had happened. Abraham was now advanced in years, concerned about the offspring that God had promised the children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren he knew it was time for his son, Isaac, to find a bride to produce those grandchildren that would be the fulfillment of God's promise. And so he calls his servant Eliezer in and he says, "Eliezer, I want you to leave Canaan where we are right now and I want you to go back to Nahor and I want you to find a bride for my son, Isaac".

And the resulting story is a perfect illustration of how to find God's will for your life. And I want you to notice today the five principles and I have them on your outline, that Eliezer exercised in finding the right mate for Isaac. These principles can help you, they can help your children, grandchildren, not only in finding a mate but in knowing God's will for any area of life. Look at verse three in Genesis 24. Abraham said to Eliezer, "I will make you swear by the Lord the God of heaven and the God of earth that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live".

And that leads us to the first principle for knowing God's will for you life and that is, number one, know God's principles. Know what his word says about whatever choice it is that you're confronting. Now when it comes to choosing a mate, God's word is very clear. The predominate principle in finding a mate is this. You are only to marry a believer. You're to only marry a believer. Abraham understood that principle. I want you to imagine two carpenters trying to work together to build the same home.

The only problem is they have two different set of blueprints from which they're working. One carpenter has a set of blueprints that says it's to be a one-story home. The next carpenter has a set of blueprints that says it's to be a two-story home. One set of blueprints says it's supposed to be a slab foundation. The other blueprints say no, it's going to be a pier and beam foundation. Can you imagine the arguments, the friction between those two workmen as they try to construct a home from two different set of blueprints? You'd have arguments, you'd have friction, and ultimately, you would have one mess of a house that was constructed.

The same thing is true when you're trying to build a home. It's important that the husband and the wife be working from the same set of blueprints, God's word, and that they have the same foundation, a commitment to Jesus Christ. When you're choosing a mate or making any decision in life number one, know the principles. What does God's word say? But that's not enough. I mean, the fact is there are a lot of growing Christians out there. How do I know which one is for me or for my son or daughter? Or out of all of the options I'm faced with in making this decision, how do I know which is the right option?

Well, that brings us to the second principle and that is rely on prayer. Whenever you face numerous opportunities, rely on prayer. Look at verse 11 of Genesis 24. Eliezer makes the 500-mile journey to Nahor, verse 11, "And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water". Now, Eliezer was one smart cookie, okay? He knew if he was going to find a woman for Isaac, he needed to go to where all the hot, single woman of Nahor work. And guess where they all went? They all went to the local watering hole. Every evening they went there, about five o'clock. It was happy hour at the well there. And, they went there and they congregated. Of course, they were performing their chores, bringing the water back to the house. And so that is where Eliezer went.

By the way, if you're looking for a mate, go to where those prospective mates are. Where are the single men and women? Where's the best place to find them? The best place to find them is at the local watering hole. And I'm not talking about the bar. I'm talking about the spiritual watering hole, the church, where the water of life is poured out. There's no better place to look for a mate than in the church. That's where you're going to find committed believers. That's where you ought to go to to find that mate that God has for you. Well that's what Eliezer did. Now the only problem was when he went to the well, there wasn't just one, lone woman there, it was teeming with women.

So how in the world was he to know which woman was the one who would make a bride for Isaac? I want you to notice what he did in verse 12. He prayed about it. Look at verse 12. He said, "Oh, Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show lovingkindess to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now may it be that the girl to whom I say, 'please let down your jar so that I might drink,' and who answers, 'drink and I will water your camels also,' may she be the one whom thou has appointed for thy servant Isaac".

Will you underline that phrase, the one whom thou has appointed for thy servant Isaac? You see, Eliezer bought into this one man for one woman theory. He believed God really did have one person and one person only who would be his choice for a bride for Isaac. Now that goes against conventional Christian thinking today. There are lot of Christian books out there that say more important than finding the right mate is being the right kind of mate. And as long as you meet these basic requirements of marrying a growing Christian, you can just marry whoever you want to. God really isn't interested in finding that one right person. But is that what the Bible says? Eliezer said, "God, I believe there is one whom you have appointed to be Isaac's wife".

Now some Old Testament commentators I read about this, they said, "Well, this was peculiar to this situation. I did, there was only one person. Because after all, God was interested in Abraham and the Abrahamic line, and so forth. So he was particularly interested that the one right person be chosen here". I don't know about you but I think God's interest in people extends the boundaries of Israel. I think God's not only interested in Jews, he's interested in the Jews, but he's interested in us, as well. He's interested in all of his children. For example, I mean, do you think God had an interest in the parents that brought forth a Martin Luther or a John Calvin, or a John Wesley? Do you think that God cared who the parents of a Billy Graham were? Of course he did. He had a plan to bring two people together that would produce those wonderful men of God.

And I believe his interest extends beyond them to you and me. If God has numbered the hairs on our head don't you think he has an interest in our gene pool, the people that come together to produce us and every part of us is planned in his book before we ever drew our first breath? Yes, God has a plan for us. There's not many people out there, there's one person. If God has chosen you to be married, if God's plan for your life is to be married, he has somebody he has ordained to be your husband or wife.

Now, that shouldn't make us panic. It didn't drive Eliezer to panic to find that needle in a haystack. But it did drive him to pray. Now I just want to encourage you today whether it's looking for a mate or trying to make any decision in life, spend time praying about it. It's like one person said, "There are many things we can do to find God's will after we have prayed but there's nothing more important we can do until we have prayed". James 1:5, "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God". Is there some area of your life you're seeking God's will for? Are you concerned enough about God's will that you would be willing to devote just five minutes a day praying for God's direction? Rely on prayer.

There's a third principle and that is exercise practicality. When you're trying to find a mate or make any decision, exercise practicality. And we've kind of alluded to this a couple of weeks ago in verses 12 through 14. Remember, Eliezer prayed, "Now Lord, whichever woman says, 'I'm willing to not only give you water but water your camels, as well,' she's the one". Now, I personally don't believe he was so much as asking for a supernatural sign as he was being practical. After all, whatever woman made that offer, first of all, this played the graciousness necessary to make a good wife but she would also have the physical stamina to make that 500-mile journey from Nahor back to Canaan. After all, that was 200 gallons of water she was going to have to lug up there to water those camels.

Eliezer was being practical. And I think in the same way when we're looking for a mate, we need to exercise practicality. For example, ladies, if you're a single adult woman and you enjoy, and you're having a great career, you probably don't want to marry somebody who wants you to stay home and stay with the children all day every day. I mean, there are some women who are called to do that. That's fine. There's nothing wrong and everything right with that, but it's also okay for women to have a career if God wants them to have a career.

If you want to have a career and your husband wants you to stay home, that's probably not somebody you want to be linked up with. Or on the other hand, if you feel called to the mission field to serve God in the jungles of Africa, you may want to rethink marrying somebody whose idea of roughing it is staying in Holiday Inn for a night, okay? It may not make sense to do that. Or perhaps you're somebody who says, "I can't be happy unless I have a house filled with pets". You might want to rethink marrying somebody who's allergic to animals, okay? I mean, just be practical.

In Amos 3:3, God asked a penetrating question. He said, "How can two walk together lest they be agreed"? And I know God was talking about spiritual issues there, being spiritually matched with another person, but I think that principle applies to anything about which we care about deeply. How can we walk with somebody whether it be a friend or certainly a mate unless we agree about the basic issues in life? By the way, I'm going to give you right now, the best piece of advice you will hear all day. In fact, this piece of advice is worth the price of the sermon this morning, okay? And here's the piece of advice. Whether it's for you, your children, or grandchildren, don't wait until you are engaged to go through pre-marital counseling.

Exercise practicality, principle number four, consider your preference. Occasionally, somebody who's come to me and said, "Pastor, I'm really in love with this guy. I mean, he seems to be the perfect potential husband. He's a growing Christian, he's ambitious. My parents like him. The only problem is I just don't feel that spark inside. I just don't have that spark". And I'm going to confess to you, over the years, I've given some terrible advice to people. I'm so bad at counseling, I wouldn't even go to myself for counseling. Hopefully, I've gotten a little bit better.

But I remember I used to sometimes say to people, "Well, you know, Romantic love, that's a kind of a western civilization kind of deal. And the important thing is to be committed to one another and the feelings will come later on if you don't feel that spark right away". I've since changed. I realized that having that strong physical and emotional attraction isn't necessary for people to stay together, but it is absolutely vital in getting two people together to begin with. I mean, if you don't have that spark in your heart toward that other person, if you don't blush when you just hear their name, if you don't have the sensation, "I can't live without him or her," you need to keep looking for God's will for your life. Because one way God speaks to you is through those desires that he puts in your heart.

Philippians 2:13, remember, "It is God who is at work within you, giving you both the power and the desire to do his will". And by the way, you see that emphasis on personal desire preference in this story of Eliezer. Look at verses 57 to 58. Eliezer finds Rebekah. She offers to water the camels, you know. And so Eliezer says, "Well, I want to go back and talk to your parents and relate to them exactly what happened". Verse 57, after Eliezer tells them how God had worked all of these circumstances out, verse 57, "And the parents said, 'we will call the girl and consult her wishes'. And so then they called Rebekah and said to her, 'will you go with this man'"?

Now what I want you to see is Eliezer relied on the principles from God's word, only marry a believer, he prayed, he tried to be practical. But how did Rebekah know if this was God's will? It was by consulting her preference. You see, she had never met Isaac before. Never laid eyes on him. But when she heard this story about what God had done about the miraculous way in which he worked, something was stirred inside of her.

In verse 58, she answered and she said, "I will go". The parents said we're going to consult her desires. She said, "I will go". And sight-unseen, she got on the back of a donkey and traveled 500 miles to meet this man, Isaac, with whom she fell in love. What I want you to see is God does work through our preference. Let me say it again. While the absence of a strong physical or emotional desire is no reason to end a marriage, it's a great reason for not beginning a marriage or a new job, or a move to another city, or any other option you're facing. God is going to work through your preferences.

And that leads to the fifth principle and that is trust in providence, trust in God's sovereignty. After Eliezer had made this 500-mile trek, after he'd gone through all of this exercise, what if, when the parents said, "Do you want to go," what if Rebekah had said, "No, that's not my desire". What should Eliezer do then? Actually, he had anticipated such a possibility before he set out on the journey. Turn back to chapter 24 verse five. "And Eliezer said to Abraham, 'suppose the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land? Should I take your son back to the land from where you came'"? What am I to do, Abraham, if she says no?

Look at verse eight. "Abraham answered, 'if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this, my oath, only do not take my son back there'". Abraham was saying, "Eliezer, as far as I can determine, this is God's will. But if for some reason God shuts this door, I believe he will provide a bride for Isaac another way". What a great demonstration of faith. You see, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what faith is. Some people say, "Well, faith is just a hope that God's going to do what I want him to do". And people think, you know, "If I can just conjure up these positive images and believe that God's going to do what I want him to do, if I can believe it hard enough and long enough, God will ultimately do it". Always compare it to that story "The little engine that could".

You remember the story, you know, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think..." A lot of people think that's what faith is. They think if they can just visualize, God will do it. "I think God will, I think God will, I think God will". If they'll just say that often enough, loud enough, and forcefully enough, somehow that's going to make God do what we want him to do. That's not faith. You know what real faith is? It is the assurance that God is going to do what he wants to do in his way and his time. True biblical faith is saying, "God, this is what I desire, this is what I want, but I am leaving the results to you because I trust in your goodness and I trust in your wisdom". That was the faith of Abraham. He said, "As far as I know, this is the best way to find a bride for Isaac. But if the woman, whoever she is, says no, God will provide in his way and in his time".

I remember reading a book years ago, had one of the best titles I've ever seen. The title of the book was, "All You Can Do is All You Can Do". You know, that's true when it comes to knowing God's will. After you have acquainted yourself with the principles from God's word, after you've prayed faithfully, after you've tried to be practical, after you've tried to consider your own preferences, ultimately, you have to make a decision and then trust in the goodness and the sovereignty of God. And he has a great promise for us when we do that. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not unto your own understandings. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path".
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