As we prepare for the upcoming Valentine holiday, let’s look at some biblical marriage tips from Isaac and Rebekah. Since the first marriage, Adam and Eve, many things have changed but the foundations of a good marriage have not.
A good example of this kind of marriage found in the Old Testament is that of Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac was the long awaited son of Abraham and Sarah. She named him Isaac which means laughter. Shortly after the death of Sarah, Abraham sent his servant to his family to find a wife for Isaac. The servant found Rebekah and brought her back to Isaac. Today we are going to look at the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah and see a marriage under pressure.
In Genesis 26:1-12, we read the story of Isaac and Rebekah going to Gerar a Philistine city because of famine.
The account begins with a mention of famine in Genesis 26:1 and this fact should not be overlooked. Often, famine is noted not only as a physical reality, but also a spiritual condition. This may represent a lack of food and a lack of faith.
This tells me that Isaac and Rebekah were struggling spiritually. They were navigating the troubled waters of holding their marriage together while their twin sons had grow up and were not on good terms. The indication of their spiritual condition was that they planned to go “down” to Egypt. This does not refer to a change of elevation. “Going up” or “going down” is a biblical euphemism in the Bible for spiritual direction. They were on a descent spiritually.
As the famine grew worse Isaac headed to Gerar, in Genesis 26:2-5, God went to Isaac and confirmed the covenant He made with Abraham by giving the covenant to Isaac. I am sure Isaac needed encouragement at this point in his life.
Like Isaac and Rebekah, our marriages can experience famines too. Famines in a marriage can come for a variety of reasons: family struggles/conflicts, illness, hopelessness, children, and work stress just to name a few. Before we know it, we are living more like siblings than spouses. A good biblical marriage tip is that in a time of famine, we must be careful to watch our choices.
Sometimes husbands, like Isaac, make bad choices. How can a wife learn to trust her husband? Returning to our story, it did not take long for the men of the city to see how attractive Rebekah was to behold. Isaac told them Rebekah was his sister so they would not kill him. Rebekah trusted Isaac and followed his lead, but I am sure it was difficult for her to play the role of sister in her marriage.
So why did she follow his lead in this? Scripture does not tell us, but I think I might have an idea. Her husband was not asking her to do something against God, dangerous, or illegal, so she followed his lead. This does not mean she always agree, but rather trusted Isaac to do what was best. As wives we often face the same choice. Our husband ask us to follow their lead, and sometimes we are not in agreement, but unless it is something forbidden in the Bible, dangerous, harmful, or illegal, we are wise to follow. Wise husbands learn pretty quickly to listen and consider their wives concerns.
Rebekah was learning to trust Isaac more and more. As she followed Isaac’s plan and God protected her as she honored her husband, this is a biblical marriage tip we can all learn from. They kept the ruse until the king happened to see them in the garden together one day.
Even though Rebekah was forced to play the role of Isaac’s sister, she never appears bitter or resentful. When they came together, thinking no one was watching, it was obvious by the way Isaac touched her and she responded that they were more than siblings! In Genesis 26:8, the term is translated as: sporting, laughing, or caressing. It was very obvious to the king, that they were married!
Keep in mind, Isaac and Rebekah were still “sporting” with each other, even after 100 years of marriage!
They had kept that flame of love alive, even through the famines of their lives, troubled family relationships, and other hardships all marriages face. They are one couple from which we can take biblical marriage tips.
How do we have a marriage like Isaac and Rebekah’s? One in which we are not like siblings living together but lovers with a passionate marriage?
Remember when you were dating? How long did it take to plan what to wear, where to go, and what to do? How much time did it take for you to get ready for a date? When you talked about your fiance to others, it was clear you were smitten! Years pass, and love deepens, but time does not need to leave the flame of our relationship to smolder in the ashes of busyness. When others look at you and your spouse together, what do they see–siblings or spouses?
Remember back to when you first fell in love and do those things once again! After 30 years of marriage, four children, grandchildren, and many life changes, it is my hope that when people see John and I together, they see spouses, not siblings.
What about you? What can you do this week to sport with your spouse?