Esau is not the person to follow when it comes to marriage. Last week, we spent an entire lesson focused on his poor choice in marrying two Canaanite women. We talked about how it was wrong for two reasons: (1) because they were followers of different gods; and (2) because he was committing polygamy.
In our text today, Esau seems to have realized his first mistake, and decides to marry a girl who worships the same God as his father. But in doing this, he adds to the second mistake by taking on a third wife! What’s more, he now adds a third reason for the failure of his marriage life: he’s getting married for the wrong reason. Any marriage is doomed to failure if its spouses are getting married for the wrong reasons.
Please read Genesis 28:6-9.
When Isaac married Rebekah, it was because she was selected for him through a prayerful search of his father’s trusted servant, and because “he loved her” (24:67). Rebekah had been vetted by the family. She came from a strong heritage, had solid spiritual beliefs, was intelligent, caring, sensitive to the needs of strangers, willing to submit to her family, beautiful, and more. She seemed to be the perfect match for Isaac, the perfect spouse through whom Isaac's godly line of promise could continue, and they happily got married.
Yet, when Esau marries his third wife, there is no such process. There was no family vetting of his wife. There was no searching of her character or their compatibility. There isn’t even a description of his wife: we don’t know if she’s smart, beautiful, clever, or talented. We don’t know anything about her other than her heritage—and neither does Esau! He only marries her because she’s a relative, and he thinks that will please his father. Talk about the wrong reason to get married!
Today, people get married for all kinds of reasons. Unfortunately, like Esau, many of them get married for the wrong reasons. They don’t go through premarital counseling to spend time honestly evaluating their compatibility. They don’t bother to think about how their marriage can be used for their holiness and God's honor. Instead, they get married because they feel something and they think marriage will make them feel happy.
But feelings are fleeting! Every marriage will go through hills and valleys. Every relationship will experience times when both parties feel happy and loved, and every relationship will experience times when one or both parties feel hurt, taken advantage of, and unloved. If our marriage is based on feelings, then, when those feelings inevitably change, the marriage will dissolve. We are seeing this in nearly half of the marriages in our country.
But, if a marriage is based on a solid biblical foundation, and both spouses have entered into marriage with a desire to glorify God by dying to themselves and loving their spouse unconditionally, then the marriage is set up for success.
Our feelings will change. Through the difficult days of marriage, we learn to love each other even when we don’t feel loved. We learn to respect each other even when we don’t feel respected. Through the difficult days of marriage, we learn to honor each other, and to honor God above all else. Once the storm has passed, we come out stronger on the other side, with a stronger relationship than we ever could have imagined. But this only happens when we get married for the right reasons.
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