My message today is directed towards those that are single and aspire to marry one day. I heard Damon Thompson once say, you better not just go off and marry the person that you're attracted to. You better marry the person that God tells you to. This mindset is so different from the fairy tale story that is presented by Hollywood. Attraction is not the foundation that holds a marriage together through the trials of life. Our ever changing fashion sense is evidence that what we find attractive can change as quickly as the clothes we wear. I remember being in junior high and looking forward to going shopping to find deals on parachute pants. I had a pair for every day of the week. Two years later I wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of parachute pants. What we find attractive continually changes in life. The foundation for a lasting marriage is God's word. God knows the past, present and future, you can trust His council when it comes to choosing your soul mate. For my discussion question today I'd like to ask those who are married: How did you know that she/he was the one? Did you receive a Word from God about your spouse to be? And if you married and it ended in divorce, what would you do different next time?
Okay, so we are reading today about the division of the promised land.(Joshua 17:7-21:33) So I know you are asking, what does marriage have to do with the division of land?
As I was reading today I was thinking about this enormous, powerful clan, know as "The Children of Israel". John Bevere says when they crossed over into Canaan they were a clan of over 3 million. In taking possession of the Promised land they conquer 31 different kings and their armies. Realistically, every time you fight there should be casualties and loss of life, with each battle the strength of your army should weaken. Realistically can you imagine the toll that 31 battles would take upon the men of your military. However, we know this is not a realistic situation, because God is with them. They are an incredible dynasty, 31-0.This is simply amazing.
As we are reading of this super power known as "The children of Israel" my mind wondered back to their humble beginnings. These tribes came from 12 brothers. The Children of Israel are in reality the grandchildren of Jacob. This clan of over 3 million has it's beginnings as one small family. I know many do not consider of family of 13 children to be small, but it is small in contrast to 3 million. And even before this point, Jacob originally was a single guy, who had become estranged from his family and wondered what his plot in life would be.
My thought today is when Jacob pursued marriage, did he go after physical attraction or did he marry who the Lord told him to marry? We know that Jacob marries both Leah and Rachel. However, Jacob desired Rachel. He only married Leah because his uncle Laban deceived him. Gen. 29:17 says, "Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. Verse 31 says, "When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, He opened her womb".
Did God intend for Jacob to have two wives? If God only wanted Jacob to have one wife, which sister would it have been? Rachel or Leah?
Genesis 30 portrays this picture of Rachel running Jacob's home, and Leah's only opportunity to sleep with her husband is by Rachel's permission. It looks as if Jacob shares his bed primarily with Rachel, and Leah is the despised wife. For me, the fascination here is that the promised seed, the royal lineage of redemption travels through Judah who is born of Leah. Would Jacob have treated Leah differently if he would have understood that the seed leading to Jesus would come out of Judah? And if God's design for marriage is one man and one woman, who possibly would God have told Jacob to marry between the two sisters?
Next to following Christ, there is no greater decision in life than choosing your spouse. A minister once said, the number one reason a person misses their calling in life, is because they marry the wrong person. As you seek God's will for your life remember this thought; Do not base your future marriage on simply the question of am I attracted to him/her. But, ask the critical question: Has God given me a Word that this is whom I am to marry?
Prv 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."