Devotion 70 – Monday of Epiphany 2

Opening Prayer

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Jos 24:15)

Text: Genesis 24:1-7

Now Abraham was old, well-advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?” But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.”

Devotion

If only many parents had as much concern for their children as Abraham had for Isaac, so that they did all they could for them to have a Christian and happy marriage! But I wonder if this is the case among us? Many parents are eager for their children to get a rich spouse, but they don’t worry whether their daughter-in-law or son-in-law is faithful or ungodly. Even a man like God-fearing King Jehoshaphat united himself by marriage to ungodly Ahab’s family and took his wicked daughter as a wife for his son. Often it seems that even believing parents look all too much for a wealthy partner and all too little for a God-fearing one for their child. Parents should not force their child into a marriage which the young person does not want, but they should try to get their son’s and daughter’s trust and full confidence so they can have a large say in the choice and can lend their experience, their wisdom, and their Christian judgment in making the choice. They should pray for them, as Eliezer prayed when he acted on behalf of Isaac’s father to get a bride for his son, and they should do as Rebekah’s parents who said: “Let us call the young woman and ask what she will say.” Then it will not fail that the Lord will send His angel and bring the bride and bridegroom together according to His pleasure.

There can be a good marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. And the believer can have success in winning the unbelieving spouse for the Lord. But full heartfelt union cannot exist between the two as long as they each go their own way. And “what do you know, man, whether you can win your wife, or what do you know, woman, whether you can win your husband” (1Co 7:16)? Scripture does not promise that a heathen woman in Israel’s house will bless the house. On the contrary, Christian parents and their sons ought to remember Beeri’s daughter, Elon’s daughter, and Ahab’s daughter. They are mentioned in Scripture to warn us (Genesis 26:34-35, 2 Chronicles 18:1; 21:5-6). Be assured that God will give your sons faithful wives and your daughters God-fearing husbands, if you pray to Him and lovingly direct them. “A good wife is worth far more than pearls. Charm is deceiving, and beauty is vanity, but a woman in whom is the fear of the Lord, she shall be praised” (Pro 31).

Closing Prayer

God, give our young men and women the fear of God and love in their heart, understanding in thought, and diligence in their vocation! Preserve us from unhappy marriages, but let the bond of perfection join man and wife in the palaces of the rich and the huts of the poor. We pray You heartily for this. Grant it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Hymn

In house and home where man and wife
Together lead a godly life,
By deeds their faith confessing!
There many a happy day is spent;
There Jesus gladly will consent
To tarry with His blessing.

If thou hast given Him thine heart,
The place of honor set apart
For Him each night and morrow,
Then He the storms of life will calm,
Will bring for every wound a balm,
And change to joy thy sorrow.

Landstad: L 206:1-2 ELH 189:1-2 tr. O. T. (Sanden) Arneson;
tune: Kommt her zu mir

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