In this sermon we look at several biblical marriages that we can learn from.
[Gary Antion] Summertime means more time to spend with the family. It’s a great time because you have longer sunset, longer time till sunset. You have more activities that you can schedule. You have more leisure time. Usually, the summertime is vacation time. Of course, it’s camp time to which I guess doesn’t it start tomorrow or tonight or whatever up at Cotubic? And so we know that there are a lot of activities that happen, but it’s also a time for families to build relationships. It’s also a time for couples… married couples to build their relationships.
And so today, what I’d like to do is share with you a number of biblical couples, biblical couples that you may know, and learn from their lessons and their examples from the Scriptures as to how we may improve our relationships and grow this summer. And while it is definitely slanted toward those who are married or those who are engaged or those who are going to be married soon or whatever, it is not slanted exclusively for them. Because in the relationships that we will see, there’s room for us to gather information for us, as the sermonette brought out by Mr. Porter, explaining that we can look into the Bible and we can let it cut us, so we could let ourselves learn from it.
So whatever your status in life, whether you’re a child, or whether you’re a young adult, or whether you’re an older person, we can all learn something about improving our relationships. But it’s primarily slanted toward married couples. So let’s take a look at these. I’ve surveyed the biblical couples, and let’s take a notice of some of them. I won’t be able to look at all of them. For instance, if I were to try to give a sermon like this on Solomon and his wives, 700 of them, it would take me… I’m going to cover around eight. Okay? A couple of them, I will skip over, but cover them briefly. If I were to cover the same one, it will take me a hundred sermons. A hundred, that’d be two years worth of sermons just to cover him and his wives. Okay?
So I’m not going to do that. There are also some of them that there’s not a lot of information about them, just that they were married in one little incident. So I tried to skip over those two. So it’s not that I’m not aware of some of them, at least most of them, or almost all of them, I may have missed one or two here or there. I’ll try to acknowledge them as I go along. Let’s see what valuable lessons we may all learn from them so that we can improve our families. At the heart of every family is a good marriage. Without a good marriage, that family is not going to be strong. They have to do it all on their own. And they have to do it against odds because the odds will be against them.
So it’s important for us to take a look and see what we may learn that we may positively grow this summer and beyond. So the first couple I’m going to look at, I call the ideal couple. Now, if you ever wanted to find a couple, this was an ideal couple. I did a wedding for one ideal couple that rather came to me late in their relationship. Already had it planned and asked me to do it. Having known at least one of the two, I agreed reluctantly, but I said, “I need at least three counselings.” And he was handsome, handsome guy. She was very beautiful. So they had it made, they were ideal. From a physical standpoint, they had it made. They were already engaged. They already had the wedding plans. Family was coming up in another week or two. I did the first counseling. It was awful.
And I said, “If this is the way you’re going to be, your marriage isn’t going to last.” Well, they pursued through. They plowed through. They said everything was okay. They were going to change and everything was going to be fine. So I reluctantly went ahead and did the wedding. And it wasn’t even a year before it was coming apart. Now, they were ideal. This ideal couple, he was handsome as all get out, perfect physique. She was beautiful, perfectly made, perfectly proportioned, a beautiful woman, and they were Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve, the ideal couple. Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version×, let’s look at this idyllic couple. Chapter 2 and verse 18, we’ll jump in, as you know, God made them male and female. Genesis 1:27-28 Genesis 1:27-28 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version×.
And He said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” He “blessed them” first. Then He said “Be fruitful and multiply.” Had He said be fruitful and multiply and didn’t bless them with marriage, they would have just been a human baby generator and a human baby deliverer or a factory. And that isn’t what God wants. So Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version×, “And the Lord God said, ‘It’s not good that man should be alone;’” He made the man first. “I will make him a helper comparable to him.” I’ll make someone to be there with him, to help him who’s comparable to him, not somebody inferior to him. But nonetheless, God does state right away who’s going to be the helper, the woman. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field” and so on.
He goes on to name and wanted to see what Adam would call them. And Adam saw each one coming two by two and all. But he said, “For him, there was none found that was good for him.” Verse 21, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall at Adam, and he slept; He took one of the ribs, closed it up in the flesh thereof in its place. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman,” the very first man was made by God. How would he have been made? God makes things beautiful and wonderful. How would she have been made? Beautiful and wonderful. And He brought her to the man and Adam’s eyes were popping out “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones’” She comes from me, “flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman,” ‘Ishshah , out of man, “because she was taken out of man. Therefore” verse 24, “a man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” Why should they be? They’re husband and wife, plus, they were the only two humans in the whole place in the whole Eden, in the whole of the earth.
And so the first couple were absolutely ideal. Everything going for them, right? They had the beauty. They had the physical character, not necessarily spiritual character. But chapter 3 and verse 12, of course, after the temptation, and Eve must have wandered off away from Adam and then Satan tempted her about the trees in the garden and she fell for it. She was deceived, but he wasn’t. And she took and she ate it.
But it says she “gave it to her husband with her and he took and he ate.” Where was leadership? Where was him saying, “No, Eve, we can’t do this!” Where was the recognition of God? God made them. How would you like if God walks and talks with you? That God knows you. He made you. He knows everything about you. And so in verse 12, “Then God said, ‘What have you done? You’ve broken my commands,’” in verse 11. Verse 12, “The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’” “It’s her fault.” Now they begin to play the blame game. That’s not a good thing, either, to not take responsibility for what you did. That happens in marriages. It happens in families, “He did this. They did that. He did this. They did that.”
There’s one little girl who told me, one college-aged girl told me, when she was a little girl, three or four, somebody had written on the wall. She had her friends over playing. Somebody wrote on the wall with, I don’t know if it was indelible ink or if it was colored crayons or what it was, but it wouldn’t come off. And the mother was asking around the house, “Who did this? Who did this?” She questioned all of her kids and she must have felt okay when she said, “Well, maybe it was the girl who came from next door who was playing with you.” And that little girl let her think that because she was the one who actually wrote on the wall. And now she was counseling with me about baptism. And she said, she remembered that and she wanted to tell her folks about it and I said “Well, it’s up to you what you do.” And she told her folks what she had done because she carried this lie for how many years? Maybe up to 17 to 20 years of her life. She carried this lie. Okay?
So Adam and Eve blamed each other. She blamed that other girl. You don’t want to blame. You don’t want to get into the blame game. Notice verse 13, “The Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is it that you’ve done? What did you do?’ And the woman said, ‘It’s that serpent. You know, God, You made that serpent, right? You put that serpent here, that’s who did it.’” So again, neither one was willing to accept responsibility. And what would that be like in a relationship, in any relationship, whether it’s your friend, whether it’s your spouse, whether it’s your relative, if they’ve done something wrong, and they won’t own up to it, what’s wrong with them? Let somebody else take the blame, or try to shift the blame on to them.
Verses 16 and 17, “To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow in your conception; and in pain you’ll bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he will rule over you.’” I don’t know what that exactly goes down to mean except that she will feel like she’s got to be subservient to him and women were for years and years and years and years. Why? I don’t know. Was that because of this? I don’t know. Well what did He mean to “rule over you”? Well, “I’m so sorry, I did that. I’m so sorry I caused all this problem. I’m so sorry.” Is that what it was? I don’t know. When you think about in the United States, it’s only been since 1920, the women were considered smart enough to vote, right? Women’s suffrage.
Before that time, women will just go according to looks and they’ll just go according to this and they’ll just go… and they weren’t given much status at all in that regard. And still many countries in the Middle East, they aren’t. After so many years of school, they’re pulled out. The guys go on to school and the girls learn to do whatever else. Keep them barefoot and pregnant. That’s what happened. But the point being in this first idealistic ideal couple, they played the blame game. Adam did not step up as a leader. They did not listen to their Creator. Their Creator was right there.
So they were cursed. Cast out. They produced the first murderer, their son, Cain, but they may have had a very long lasting marriage because Adam lived until he was 930 years old. Now, it doesn’t say when his wife, Eve, may have died. 930 with the blame game, with disobedience, with that curse that have been cast upon you, kicked out of the garden of Eden, denied the privilege of life eternal, or qualifying for life eternal. So they had no leadership from their husband. In summary, the wife was deceived. She gave it to the husband who was not. They played the blame game, and they did not obey God. Not a good start for an ideal couple.
Let’s look at the next one. This one I call the older couple. The older couple because when we start to learn about them, they’re already older, right? 75 and 65 when we learn more about them. We know briefly about them that Sarah or Sarai was barren. We know that they married over in the land of Chaldea or whatever, in that area of Arabia. We know that they finally migrated to the area where God began to work with them. So we find that Abraham and Sarah, the older couple. At 65, it is said of Sarah, that she was beautiful, 65, she was beautiful. Abraham was perhaps a relative of hers, maybe a half cousin or a cousin or second cousin, first cousin, whatever.
So when they went through the land of Egypt, he said, “Look, you’re so beautiful. People, they’ll want to take you from me and they’ll kill me if they know I’m your husband because they want you, they’ll kill me. So let them take you.” I guess that was his idea. Not a very good plan, by the way, from the father of the faithful. But at that time, he had some lessons to learn. So he lied. He said, “I’m her brother and she’s my sister.” And so Pharaoh said, “This is a beautiful woman, I’ll add her to my harem. And then God began to curse him because of that. So you can read about this in Genesis 11:29-30 Genesis 11:29-30 29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
American King James Version×, talks about she is barren. Let’s look at Genesis 12:1-5 Genesis 12:1-5 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you: 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
American King James Version×and learn a little bit more about this older couple. Genesis 12:1 Genesis 12:1Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you:
American King James Version×. “Now the Lord had said to Abraham: ‘Get out of your country, from your kindred, from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. I want you to depart, go to the land that I’ll show you.’”
Not even knowing where he’s going, a faithful man. “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you, I will make your name great; you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, curse those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” And that’s because of Jesus Christ came from his lineage, but also because the nation of Israel came from his lineage. Joseph came from his lineage. Ephraim came from his lineage, part of it. And they’ve been a blessing and a ball work, and everywhere they’ve gone, they tried to spread law and order. They tried to give order to the countries and nations that they once occupied or took over or emancipated. They brought a lot of good because of Abraham. That’s verse 4.
So verse 4, notice, “So Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abraham was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abraham took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son,” we already knew from chapter 11 that she was barren, had no children, “and they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.” So they were willing to come. However, along the way, chapter 12 and verse 19, after he had lied, said she was his sister, verse 19, then Pharaoh was cursed. So Pharaoh calls Abraham and said, “Why have you done this to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore here is your wife; take her and go your way.”
So he lied about it. Okay. So he tried to do his way. Then, of course, later on, they were promised a child, right? He said, “Your seed will be blessed.” And what did Sarah try to do? She tried to do it her way. Said, “Here Abraham, take Hagar, she’s my handmaid. If she has a baby, it’ll be like me having a baby. We’ve waited enough years.” And, of course, God didn’t like that either. And finally said, “I’m going to give you a child.” And she laughed at God, laughed at Him. But through repentance, through change, through the years of growth as a couple, he became the father of the faithful. He was called the friend of God, and both of them are in the faithful Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11. Now, what were some of their issues?
They were both hospitable. Remember when the Lord God appeared with the angels, they were like strangers in town? He said, “Hey, strangers, come on over here. Quick, Sarah, go fix some food for them. Go kill the fatted calf.” And they were hospitable. They cared. Abraham was very giving. Remember, when they had the choice of the land, he told Lot, “You choose whatever way you want to go because different henchmen or hired men are fighting each other. You pick which way you want to go, and I’ll go the other way.” So he gave him the first choice. He didn’t take first choice.
So you find from that they’re hospitable, they’re agreeable, but they were compromising. They compromised with what God said. They even compromised with honesty. And so because of that, and then they became faithful. So here was this older couple, we could learn from them, we could learn the kindness, we could learn… we can also learn not to try to get out of a situation by lying, by distorting or trying to do it our way. You know, the famous Frank Sinatra song, “I did it my way,” and you want to be sure you do it God’s way. So that’s the second couple. The older couple.
The third couple we look at is the love at first sight couple. The love at first sight couple. And this would be Isaac and Rebekah. Abraham was concerned about Isaac, especially after the death of Isaac’s mom. He was morning and he hadn’t yet as a bachelor, an older bachelor, acquired a wife. So Abraham sent his servant over to the land of Syria area where he would try to find a wife. And so the servant laid down some pretty specific things in his prayer to God, “God, I’m going to come by this well and if anybody comes by here and offers me a drink and then offers to take care of my camels and accepts my offer, this must be the one you want.” So sure enough, while he’s there, who should show up, but Rebekah? Rebekah was the sister of Laban. We’ll learn about him next.
But in Genesis 24:16 Genesis 24:16And the damsel was very fair to look on, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
American King James Version×, I call this the love at first sight couple. Genesis 24:16 Genesis 24:16And the damsel was very fair to look on, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
American King James Version×, here’s how it describes what Rebekah did. “Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. She went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her and said, ‘Please, let me drink a little water from your pitcher.’” Now, you’re out there and you’re drawing your water, and it’s your bucket, or whatever you’re the one that did the work, and you’re thirsty, too, and your cattle… or your camels are thirsty and you draw it up and somebody says, “Let me have a drink from your pitcher.” And she gave, she said, “Sure, here.”
So it shows a kindness. It shows a kindness and a willingness that she said, “Oh, your camels must be thirsty, too. Let me draw for them.” Again, this willingness to be a very profitable servant to him. So notice verses 64 to 67 then. And so he goes through and he gives her all these jewels and talks about her. His master sent him and his master would love to have a wife. It reminds me of a Syrian man in New Jersey who was alone. He was making good money in the railroads and he wanted to get a wife who was Syrian. So he couldn’t find any over here that he liked. So he figured he’d take a trip back to Syria, Damascus, and see. So some of the families had some correspondence, I guess, by letter, is the only way, they didn’t have cell phones or phones, not very readily, who want to call that distance.
And so anyway, he goes over and he arrives with good credentials because his father was well known, having left there and come to America. And so he went around from house to house and all the ones would show off their girls because they wanted their girls to be married and a good life in America. I can tell you what people over there thought. And this was years ago in the 40s, 50s. They thought America had gold lining on the streets. They thought that money, you could just pick off the tree. That was a story about the United States of America. My grandfather thought that when he came to America in the early 1900s. That’s the story that went around about the United States of America.
So here’s an American offering them to go. And all these women were trying to show him, dance, and come out and look fancy and all this. And the one he had a liking to was the one that blew him off. So what, let me go do this, you know, I’m not going to go show myself to… and he liked her. And after spending a little bit of time with her and the family and all this, she agreed to leave home, and her family was wealthy, they were goldsmiths and come to America. He found his wife. So just like similar to this. The servant of Abraham goes and contracts this marriage of this beautiful young woman who’s willing to leave her family, who’s willing to leave her area of the country and go travel with him. So verses 61 to 67, “Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on camels and followed the man.” I don’t know how long they rode.
I’ve never ridden on a camel. I think my daughter has sat on a camel over in the Middle East, you know, in between the humps or whatever. I haven’t ridden on one. I’m not sure that they’re the most, let’s say, easy riding. I’m not sure of that. But nonetheless, she was riding on it. And she traveled this distance following this man that she had barely known to come back. Very faithful lady. “So the servant took Rebekah and departed. Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming.”
So he spots, “Hey, it must be our camels, or whatever, coming back.” “Then Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel;” so she sees Isaac, she jumps off, I call it love at first sight. I don’t know if he saw her or he saw the camels. And she went running “for she said to the servant, ‘Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It’s my master, the one I’ve been telling you about.’ So she took a veil, covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother’s tent; and he made a contract and took her, Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.” Love at first sight. He didn’t even know her. I did a wedding once for a couple that only met each other at the Feast. They only knew each other very short time and they had a long-lasting marriage, and still, I think, have a long-lasting marriage. I think I did it… one of the first marriages I ever did. But they met each other at the Feast. They liked each other. They wrote back and forth, called back and forth, wrote back and forth, called back and forth, and then they decided to get married. Very quick, very risky, where you don’t really know that person well.
But I take it Rebekah was pretty easy to know. I take it that she had her… who she was really out there, and she was able to be successful. So now, they were great at marriage, love at first sight. She was beautiful, gracious, wise. However, she also became conniving and deceitful, right? So then she didn’t have any children, prayed to God, for which God opened her womb and gave her twins, Jacob and Esau.
Of course, Esau came out first but Jacob came out holding his foot. You know, babies will grasp onto anything. Little babies, you put your hand in, they’ll close on it. And he must have come out… came out and helped his foot and grabbed the hold of it. Now, if somebody grabs my foot, they’ll knock me down because I’ll lose my balance. So if you have one foot being grabbed, you can easily be toppled over. And so it was a forecast of being a supplanter of his brother. So Genesis 25, just real quickly, I’m not going to spend a lot of time here. They had a major problem. They had love. They had kindness. They had sweetness. They had graciousness. There was a certain measure of wisdom and trust. But they played favorites. So look at Genesis 25:21 Genesis 25:21And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
American King James Version×. Genesis 25:21 Genesis 25:21And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
American King James Version×.
So it says, “Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; she said, ‘If all is well, why am I this way? Why do I feel all this?’ So she went to inquire the Lord. And Lord said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, that’s why.’” Two nations. And can you imagine? They became the parents of the Jews who were part of the Israelites and the Arabs. So they became part of that because of the way they bore their children, Esau, so again, or Turks, whatever. The “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” The first one born, they’re going to be subject to the younger.
“So when her days were fulfilled to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. The first came out red.” And all covered with, I guess, reddish hair and “…like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.” Red. “Afterward his brother came out, and took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob.” Supplanter. “Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.” So Isaac would not have been really as able to be an involved dad being that old. Of course, back then old was probably relative, but he would have been older already. He had a lot of cares, a lot of things going, and maybe not as much time to spend with the kids. Who knows? So then verse 27, “As the boys grew, Esau was a skillful hunter.” So Esau took the hunting, big white hunter, you know, great white hunter. I remember one man wanted to go hunting so badly. Of course, in the early years, some of the ministers felt if you go hunting, you kill something and you rip it up and you drag it out of the fields and you’re really a… “That’s a man.”
Well, this guy went out and he didn’t know stuff that he should know. And he took his rifle and he took the wrong ammunition. And had he actually shot the ammunition that was in there, the gun would have exploded on him and anyone else near him. So big white hunter goes out. Okay? He does and he becomes very good. He became “…a skillful hunter, man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man,” because Jacob is not a wild man. You have the wild man and the mild man. Anyway. Naturally, dads are going to love their son who brings home venison. “He’s a hunter, every time he comes home, he brings game home, wild game for us. We’ve got it stored in our freezer.” They didn’t have freezers back then.
But anyway, “We could salt it and keep it.” But then who wants to brag about their son? “Well, you know, Jacob, he really makes good stew. Jacob is really good at cooking. He can really dust the coffee tables very well. He sweeps the floor.” It’s not that type of thing that a man usually probably gets so happy about, but he was a mild man anyway. He liked to stay at home. It says, “…dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game.” “Oh, I love that venison.” “And Rebekah loved Jacob.” So now you have sides being taken. See, it’s one thing for the children to be hurt by this, it’s another thing for the whole family to be hurt by this because this causes wrinkles throughout the family. It’s not fair, right? It’s not fair. You know, mom slides things off… you know, let’s Jacob off on things and dad lets Esau off on things and one prefers the other.
And almost always, mom will prefer the baby, almost. Not always, almost. She says, “That’s my last child… or the second one” or whatever. And of course, the one that you have a personality toward and for, that’s easy. And it’s not wrong, parents are parents, children are children, and you will connect nicer with one of them than the other. It’s easy for one parent to connect. It’s just more easy to get along with, with you, personality wise, or whatever else. So they had problems. Family problems can cause marital difficulties and vice versa. Ill will in the family. And don’t think kids won’t notice it because they do. Kids have a very strong fair meter. If they’re not being treated fairly, they will know it and you will know it. But they don’t always play fair. If they can get away with something, they will, but they don’t want you to be unfair.
So childhood, they became parents of the Jews, the Israelites, and Arabs or Esau’s descendants. And childrearing was a major issue, deception, conniving, one against the other. But even worse off than that finally where Esau said, “When dad dies, I’m killing Jacob.” And that’s why his mother sent him down to Uncle Laban, which then gets the next story. So the love at first sight couple look good to start with until they had to work together, and childrearing requires communication and childrearing requires togetherness. And that doesn’t mean if dad says do something outlandish to the kid, and you know better if you’re the wife and you say, “Well, he’s the head of the home. He’s the boss. He does…” Just say, “Honey, can I talk with?” You know, not in front of the kids. “Can I speak with you for a moment?”
And go into another room and talk. That’s communication. Say, “You know what? He really didn’t do that. I know you’re about to punish him for it, but I was there, I saw it. I didn’t want to contradict you in front of him. Now, perhaps there’s a way we can go in and you can save face because you don’t want to punish this child. They are not guilty.” Talk. Communicate. Number one on the list of needs for marriage is communication. Do you talk? Do you listen? Do you listen to each other? Do you share? Do you agree? All those are very good issues to discuss. They did love each other. That was a plus for them. They did love each other.
All right, let’s go to number four. Number four is two for the price of two couple. I wanted to say two for the price of one but it wasn’t. Remember, Jacob gets down there and he sees this beautiful Rachel, the daughter of Laban, and he says, “Wow, I’m a relative of yours.” He gives her a kiss. That doesn’t say what kind of kiss. Kiss on the cheek, kiss on the forehead, whatever. He gives her a kiss. And he really likes her and he has a good talk with the dad who says, “I recognize the traits in you. Yeah, you’re like my sister. I see some of those. You’re part of me. I’m part of you. Why don’t you stay here for a while? And what can I do for you?” “Well, I really like your daughter, Rachel.” “Well, what will you do for me?” “What can we do? What would you suggest?” He says, “I will work seven years for her.” Now, are you willing to wait seven years for somebody you love? Not just wait, work. He worked seven years.
Seven years were up and he said, “I did my job. Let’s have this great wedding.” Of course, women can wear veils and so on and he gets married or whatever they did back then. What the father does, Laban, he substitutes the older girl who is Leah. And one Scripture says she’s “dull-eyed.” Another one says she’s “delicate-eyed.” I don’t know what it means delicate or dull. But apparently, she was dull-eyed. You know, your eyes are very important. Are they bright? Are they cheerful? Are they welcoming? Eyes are very important. It’s the light of the body, in a sense. He saw in Rachel bright eyes, excitement. He saw in Leah dull eyes.
But they substituted Leah. And I guess she didn’t take her veil off because he didn’t know what was happening, and so he spends the night with Leah. He didn’t know. He thought they’re sisters, probably have similar type of physique. He didn’t know. He gets up in the morning and he’s with the wrong girl. “What did you do to me?” “Well, I couldn’t give away my second daughter till I gave away my first. But you can have the second one too. You can have her now on a layaway plan, seven years more.” So that’s why I say two for the price of two. There was a lot of deception, a lot of shenanigans going on. What I call the switcheroo.
But it doesn’t just stop there. Then it ended up being Jacob and Rachel and Leah and Bilhah and various handmaids because the wives were throwing these handmaids at him. Have another one to see if you can get another child. “Here, take this one, the more children we have, maybe he’ll love me now” kind of thing. And of course, Rachel didn’t have any children. She was very sad. So he served seven years for Rachel. Seven years for Leah, rather, first, she was substituted, and he served seven more for Rachel. But there was polygamy, multiple marriage, multiple women in his life. Multiple women will never work, never work. I read this book called Wife Number 19 . It’s a book from… a person supposedly wrote it about Mormonism.
And they talk about how in one wife and they weren’t 19 all at the same time. She was number 19. He had already gotten rid of some of them or whatever. But a lot of the household, they brought him and she needs a new coat. “Okay, I’ll go out and buy a new coat.” “How come I didn’t get a new coat?” She needs new shoes. “How come I didn’t get new shoes?” Can you imagine what it’s like? I can’t, I don’t, and I won’t. Okay?
But this man had all kinds of women coming at him, Jacob particularly. All kinds, why? Why? Why? “I need another child,” right? “I can’t have one right now, take my handmaid,” and so it went. Not a very happy marriage, polygamy does not bring happiness, you could read the whole account in Genesis 29. I’m not going to spend more time here. Genesis 29:11 Genesis 29:11And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
American King James Version×, 17, 18, 20 all the way through to 28, not happiness, not happiness in this relationship. Of course, they treasured each other, they loved each other, right? He worked seven years for her. Multiple women did not bring happiness. They did have Joseph and Benjamin, Rachel did at the end. And remember, he loved Joseph, didn’t he? He loved Joseph, he loved Benjamin too because they were the children of the wife that he really wanted. So what do we learn from that? Treasure each other, respect each other, but don’t bring other complications into your marriage. They’ll never work out in a positive way. Number five. Number five, I call the daddy-doll, daddy-doll, D-O-L-L couple. You have an older man and a younger woman. The abbreviated story is found in the book of Ruth. Boaz and Ruth, daddy-doll. Ruth 1:8-9 Ruth 1:8-9 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 The LORD grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
American King James Version×. Ruth 1:8-9 Ruth 1:8-9 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 The LORD grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
American King James Version×. Joshua, Judges, Ruth.
Ruth 1:8-9 Ruth 1:8-9 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9 The LORD grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
American King James Version×, you know the story where Naomi goes down with her husband, Elimelech, he dies, goes down to this land of Moab, he and his wife and their two sons. And one of the sons is named, Mahlon and the other one’s named Chilion, and they both end up getting married to two girls in that area, Orpah, not Oprah but Orpah and Ruth, and they die. So the father dies, the two sons die. So you’re left with a widow and her two daughters-in-law, no children involved. “So the woman survived her two sons.” Verse 5, we read, and verse 6, “She arose with her daughters-in-law and that she might return to the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people and is giving them bread.” So she thought “Maybe that’s a good land.”
“Therefore she went out from the place where she was, with her two daughters-in-law; and they sat… they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.” She said, “I’m going to go home, I’m not going to stay here anymore. Sad, too many bad memories.” “Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, and return each of you to your mother’s country… your mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.” “You’ve been very kind through this all, you’ve been kind to my sons, you’ve been gracious and nice, but go back. I’m going back to my home, you can go back to your home.” “And the Lord grant you that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
“Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.” They’d been together, they’d been around each other, they cried. “And they said to her, ‘Surely we will return with you to your people.’” “We don’t want to leave you, Naomi, you’ve been like a mother to us, you’re our mother-in-law, we don’t want to leave you.” ‘And they said, ‘Surely, we will return to your people with you.’ And Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb? Am I going to have any more children so you get married to? That they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way — for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them until they’re grown up? Would you wait another 17, 18 years? No, my daughters; it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!’ Then they lifted up their voices, wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. So Orpah said, ‘Okay, you’ve convinced me, I’m going back.’ But Ruth clung to her. And she said, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone,’ Naomi said, “to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law. Go do what she did.’ But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, your God, my God.’”
Again, think of a powerful example Naomi must have been for this woman, Ruth, to be able to change her mind and to be able to go with her, going to a strange land with her mother-in-law. What kind of an example was Naomi to her? Must have been a great example. She said, “’And where you die, I will die, and there, I will be buried. The Lord do to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me. I’m clinging to you. I’m not leaving you.’ So when she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking.” So Naomi said. “This young lady is determined. What a great attitude. She was faithful. She was determined. She was loving and caring and supportive. What a great attitude in that young lady.
Chapter 2 and verse 1, So they return. “Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a man of great wealth of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.” So this is what you need to know, here was a great, wealthy man, he must have been older. I looked up, “Did he have any other wives?” They said, “Possibly he could have had another wife, but nothing in the Scripture says he did.” He could have been married before. I mean, if he was a wealthy older man, he probably had lots of women wanting to marry him. But nothing says it in Scripture, so I’m going with he’s still a single older man. And so he’s out there, with his orchards or his fields, with his grain.
And verse 8, “Boaz said to Ruth,” and of course, Ruth… So she said, “Go out and glean with him, he’s my kinsman. He’ll let you do that.” And so she goes out to that field, she joins in with all the other women who are also gleaning, you know, whatever the grains that’d fall behind. And verse 8, “And Boaz said to Ruth,” because he said, “Who is that? Who is that girl? I don’t recognize her. Where is she from?” They told him rather. Verse 8, “Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close to my young women. Don’t go anywhere else. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young man not to touch you? I’ve told the young men to leave that one alone. And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn. You can have free reign here, you know, you’re working and so on, you want to go grab something to drink or eat.”
“Then she fell on her face, and bowed down to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?’ And Boaz answered,” this is verse 11, he “answered and said to her, ‘It’s been fully reported to me, all that you have done to your mother in… for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people who you did not know before.’”
And verse 12, “The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. May you be blessed for all you are.” What do we learn from that? What you are speaks volumes about you. You don’t have to spread it, people spread it. How did he know this? Because when Naomi came back, people said, “Well, who’s this girl that came back with Naomi? Oh, she stayed with Naomi, she wouldn’t leave her. She kept with her, she supported her, she encouraged her, she helped her.” What deeds you do and what deeds I do will be known and you will be known by them. So notice in chapter 3 verse 1, “Naomi… said… her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? I’m trying to set you up.’”
She’s going to play “matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.” “Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our kinsman? In fact, he’s winnowing barley tonight. I just happened to know he’s out there all by himself winnowing barley. And therefore wash yourself, anoint yourself, put on your best garments and go down to the threshing floor where he’ll be, and don’t let him see you; do not let yourself be known until he is finished eating and drinking. Once he’s done eating and drinking then it shall be when he comes to lie down.” He’s had a good hard day’s work, he’ll grab a bite to eat, he drank whatever he drank, he’ll lie down and go to sleep. “So watch where he lies down.” Verse 5, “And she said, ‘All that you say to me I will do.’” Then you go lie down perpendicular to him.
So he’s lying this way. She lies that way. Okay. She doesn’t lie this way, besides him, she lies that way. So he gets in this bed and she sneaks under the covers, uncovers his feet out of the edge of the bed and he’s tossing, turning a little, you know, maybe he has a dream or something. He flips over his feet, touch something soft and maybe different than… it’s not hay or it’s not any grain or anything, so he touches something, and it’s her, okay. So there was a woman lying in his feet, verse 8. And verse 9, “He said to her, ‘Who are you?’ So she answered and said, ‘I’m Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a near kinsman. I’m coming to you to appeal to you to look after me. You are my near kinsmen.’ Then he said to her, ‘Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness… kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. I’m an old man, why are you coming after me? You could have gone after these young men. And now my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my time know that you are a virtuous woman. They know you. They’ve seen you in action. They’ve seen how diligently you work, how hard you are, they know what you did for your mother-in-law. Now it is true that I am your near kinsmen; however, there’s a kinsmen nearer than I. I would really like to take you under my wing but there’s somebody else who’s complicating the matter.’”
And verse 14, “So she lay at his feet until the morning,” and apparently, all the commentary say they didn’t do anything untoward. She laid perpendicular to his feet all morning and got up, “and she arose before one could recognize another.” It was still dark, “And he said, ‘Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.’” So he said, “Don’t let anybody know this.” So then chapter 4, he goes and he talks to the nearest of kin, who agrees to let her to say he can’t do it. He can’t fulfill this responsibility of raising up a child to her and taking her under his wing. So in verse 10, verse 10 of chapter 4, “Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to raise up in the name of the dead on his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among the brethren and from the date of his place. You are my witnesses this day.”
And in verse 13, “So Boaz took Ruth, she became his wife; and when he went in to her,” had sexual relations, “the Lord gave her conception, she bore a son.” And who was this son? Verse 17, “And as the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, ‘There is a son born to Naomi.’” Or a grandson. “And they called his name Obed.” And who was Obed? “He’s the father of Jesse, who’s the father of David.” So here, you have this beautiful couple, this daddy-doll couple, apparently, some say daddy-doll situations work depending on all the other circumstances. So she does marry. Their son Obed and their great-grandson is David.
What do we learn from them? Faithfulness, kindness, hardworking, service, love, care, and respect. All awesome traits and characteristics. Number six, I’m going to cover real quickly and that’s the childless couple. The childless couple, that’s Hannah and Elkanah. Elkanah had two wives. One was named Peninnah and the other was named Hannah. Peninah was able to have children, Hannah was not. This is all found in 1 Samuel 1, chapter 1 basically, you could read it all the way through. But remember, she was moaning. And verse 8, “Elkanah said to her, ‘Am I not better than lots of sons?’ And she said, ‘No, you’re not. You know, I want a son, I’m not going to treat you like a son, like a child. You’re my husband.’” But he was nice to her. And he loved her. He gave her double portions and all the rest. Finally, God blessed because she was moving her mouth and acting real weird, and I guess in the eyes of Eli, the high priest. Eli said, “Why are you so drunk you woman? Don’t you have any respect for the temple or prayers or whatever?” She said, “I’m not drunk. I’m sad. I’m asking God to give me a child.”
So then Eli said, “Okay, you’re going to have a child.” So she did. And she promised God if she had child, she’ll dedicate him to God, which she did. She dedicated Samuel, one of the great prophets in the Old Testament. Samuel, she was able to bear. She took care of him. She looked after him and cared for him. They both loved each other. He, Elkanah cared for her, she seemed like a fine mom. She always made clothes for him and took them into little Samuel as he ministered at the temple once she gave him up. She was faithful. The only problem with this couple which I like very much is that there was an extra wife, Peninnah. And that always takes away from a relationship. It takes away from a relationship. That’s why God says one for one, right? He didn’t say create Adam and Eve and Carol, He only created Adam and Eve. He blessed them. Now as time went on multiple marriages did take place, and apparently, that was okay in the Old Testament, but it’s not okay, Jesus Christ said in the New and from that time forward.
So skipping over many of them, I had a trophy wife who was tarnished, that was David’s wife. Remember, David earned a trophy wife, Michal. Michal was a snare to him and gave him all kinds of grief. Of course, David had dozens of wives, many wives, he had Michal, he had Abigail, he had Bathsheba, he had Ahinoam and several other wives that David had. David was a man after God’s own heart, who had a family that was a mess. You have to be careful. If you give up too much of yourself to service and neglect your family, your service to God is commendable but your example to others of how to live God’s way is not so good. You must be careful how you live life. And David was so busy doing so many… running away, running back and forth, remember the account of Michal, his first wife? Saul didn’t like David, so he gave her to Phalti, and I don’t know what Phalti was like, I call him pathetic.
But anyway, Phalti and then when David found out that his wife was with him, and when David came back into power, he wanted Michal back. And so Phalti came walking behind her crying because he had to give her up. She wasn’t his wife because they were never divorced. So he took his wife back but it didn’t work. But anyway, I recall that the trophy wife who’s tarnished couple. And what do you learn from that? Not a lot of good things, except that the family was a mess. And then you have also skipping over Ahab and Jezebel, I call it the couple who deserve each other. A couple who deserve each other. Both were vile, both were wicked, both were horrible as individuals, that must of had quite a marriage.
Skipping over different background couples, you have Hosea and Gomer. So I’m not going to spend time with God told him to go marry someone who is from harlotry, or would go into harlotry, and that then, later on, you say, “Tell the children to plead with her mom to please come back. Please don’t leave us, please don’t go away.” Horrible. Then the unequal couple is the next one I want to cover very quickly. And that is God and Israel. God and Israel, the unequal couple. You see, God was perfect but Israel wasn’t. Israel did not appreciate all that God did for her. He took her when nobody wanted her. When she was left out there to die, He nourished her, He took care of her, He made her and then she became beautiful.
And He said, “Now is the time of love, I spread My skirt over you, and I loved you, you became My wife. I clothed you with the finest things, I put jewelry on you, I put this and I blessed you with so much finery and you became beautiful. But you used your beauty to show yourself to the world. And you used your beauty to cheat on Me.” And you find out that God had to divorce her which wasn’t such a good thing. Ended up, she became unfaithful, and He had to divorce her, Jeremiah talks about that. The last one I’m going to cover, of course, what did we learn from that? They didn’t appreciate God’s blessings, she was unfaithful. And remember, for any marriage to work, it takes two people.
One person can try to make it work, I’m trying to make this work for us, can’t do it. Both members of the couple have to be willing to put forth the effort with God’s strength and God’s help, of course. One putting forth all the effort is not going to make it work. And number eight, last one is the future endless couple, and that’s Christ and the Church. Christ and the Church. Paul said, “I’m going to present you as a chaste virgin to Jesus Christ.” That’s 2 Corinthians 11:2 2 Corinthians 11:2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
American King James Version×. We find in Proverbs, a good man can expect favor from the Lord. We also find, if you find a good wife, you can expect favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 Proverbs 18:22Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the LORD.
American King James Version×, Proverbs 12:2 Proverbs 12:2A good man obtains favor of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
American King James Version×. Good man and a good woman will make a good marriage.
Well, you have Jesus Christ who’s perfect, and you have the Church that’s trying to keep itself that way. And so what do we find in Ephesians 5:22-33 Ephesians 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
American King James Version×? Our main scripture we use constantly for marriage about husbands and wives and their roles. What does he say at the end? He said, “Why have I written all this? It’s about Christ and the Church, Christ and the Church. Husbands love, wives respect, deeply respect.” Love and respect go hand in hand, major part of a good relationship. And then in Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×, he said, “The wife has made herself ready.” You know, Jesus Christ is ready because He is God, changed to be the very Son of God at the right hand of God. God leads, the wife responds, God loves, the wife loves back. God commits, the wife commits. God is faithful, the wife is faithful.
So which one of these would you say was successful? My choice, Boaz, and Ruth, number one. But the Church, the endless couple, the forever endless couple, Christ and the Church, would be the two. Those are the ones I could learn the most from. Maybe I’d throw Elkanah and Hannah in there, except that he had two wives. That bothers me. Okay, so Christ and the Church, the one that’s yet to be, everything going for it.
So let me give you some positive lessons as I close. Positive lessons from these couples and I took this… I didn’t put them negatively, I tried to put them positively, you write down what you feel you want. Husbands, lead your wife and family. Husbands, lead. Two, stay close to God. Stay close to God. Third point, graciousness, let graciousness be part of you. Think of yourself as being gracious. I’m kind, I’m gracious. I think about people, I care about people. I don’t act that way. I don’t blow up at people. I don’t hurt people. I’m gracious. Agree on childrearing approach, agree. Boy, more and more families have problems. I’ve had a couple in my counselings from people in the world where the wife kept on doing her thing and he wanted to do his thing.
Finally, he just got up and walked out of the counseling because they couldn’t agree. Total opposites. You’ve got to agree. You’ve got to be willing to talk to each other and come to agreement. Be faithful to your wife or husband, faithful. I’m sticking to you like glue. You’re not losing me and I’m not losing you. Treasure and respect your mate. All of these can apply to friends too, treasure and respect your friends. Be a leader with your friends. Stay close to God with your friends. Be gracious to your friends. Now, you don’t rear children with your friends, but be faithful to them. Don’t depart from them. Treasure and respect them. Care for and appreciate. Boy, when you show appreciation in a family, does that ever go far. Love and care for your spouse and your family, love, and care. I have seen over the years, if there’s positivity in the home, it will thrive. If there’s negativity in the home, it will be suspect to growth.
Think of how you approach your family, your spouse, your friends, and we can all get into negative attitudes, we can get…”Everything is bad. Everything you talk about is bad.” I get that way sometimes. “Why am I being this way?” Well, because it’s a world of negativity. And if somebody who’s very negative, he’ll ask me to be negative with him. That’s Satan the devil. But you got to keep yourself positive. You’ve got to look for the good and you’ve got to appreciate the good, you got to minimize the negativity. That doesn’t mean you’re Pollyanna, you never see anything bad, nothing bad ever happens. Of course, bad happens. But you deal with it. You don’t hold on to it and you don’t let it affect your overall approach. Love and care, remember marriage takes two. Marriage is about both. Friendship is about both. Relationships are about both, not just one. Have positive communications. Listen to each other. Create that positive attitude, that positive atmosphere.
And the last one is keep growing in love and in character. Keep growing in love and in character because if you don’t have the character to keep the love going in the right direction, it’s going to fail. So those are some of the lessons we can learn from these biblical couples. I’m sorry, I had to rush through some of them, but I didn’t plan to go through them, any of them in depth. But just in scanning them, I learned a lot of lessons for me. I hope you did too. Because maybe we all have and use these biblical couples of history and their examples, good or bad, to strengthen our relationship ties this summer, as we have more time with each other and beyond.