“Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master” (v. 14).
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be. We agonize over the will of God, thinking that understanding it should be arduous and time consuming. We weigh our options again and again, expending much effort in making our choice.
Certainly, there are times when making a decision requires deep consideration and slow, deliberate steps. But in many cases, discerning the will of God is actually simple, and it does not require a special sign from above or other extraordinary insight to make the right choice. We have seen something of this in our discussion of discerning God’s will for our vocation. Our Lord gives us general principles to follow, and we make our decisions based on those. Is the vocation lawful? Do I have the skills to do it, or can I acquire them? Do others believe I have the aptitude for the vocation? Can it provide for my family, and do I think I will enjoy doing it? If the answer to all those simple questions is yes, then the answer is obvious—I can freely choose that vocation.
We can also complicate things when it comes to choosing a spouse. If we are single, perhaps we think we need a special insight from the Lord to tell us whom we should marry. If it is our child or friend who is seeking a spouse, we may look for a special revelation from God regarding the person whom they should wed. Perhaps we find encouragement for such thinking from stories such as today’s passage, in which Abraham’s servant prays for a sign as to who should be Isaac’s wife.
Yet God never promises us such special revelations, and finding a wife for Isaac was a special case in the history of redemption. Scripture does, however, give us general principles for this decision. Is the potential spouse a believer (2 Cor. 6:14)? If you are a woman, is the potential husband someone to whom you can submit? If you are a man, is the potential wife someone whom you can lead spiritually and love deeply (Eph. 5:22–33)? Is the potential spouse not a relative to whom God would prohibit marriage (Lev. 18)? If you are a woman, is the potential husband a hard worker who will provide for his household (1 Tim. 5:8)? If you are a man, is the potential wife prudent (Prov. 19:14)? Do you enjoy one another’s company (Eccl. 9:9)? If these questions can be answered affirmatively and there are no other reasonable objections from other people, then there need not be much agonizing over the decision. The potential spouse is a good choice, and you are free to marry him or her.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
Whether we are looking for a spouse ourselves or seeking to help another person discern a choice for marriage, we are to be guided by wisdom and the principles given in Scripture. Following these principles will help us make a good choice and give sound advice, and they can help us avoid many problems down the road after the wedding.