Day 119: Marrying The Locals

Genesis 27:42-28:5

The words of Esau, her elder son, were told to Rebekah. She sent and called Jacob, her younger son, and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban, my brother, in Haran. Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away; until your brother’s anger turn away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send, and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”

Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good will my life do me?”

Isaac called Jacob, blessed him, and commanded him, “You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father. Take a wife from there from the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a company of peoples, and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you, and to your seed with you, that you may inherit the land where you travel, which God gave to Abraham.”

Isaac sent Jacob away. He went to Paddan Aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, Rebekah’s brother, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.

We can see that now Isaac’s household was disrupted in a big way. Isaac was about to die, Esau wanted to kill Jacob, Jacob had to run, and there was the daughter-in-law problem too. It’s easy to understand why Rebekah would be distressed.

Fortunately, Isaac and Rebekah had learned their lesson regarding foreign wives and agreed to do what God wanted and send Jacob back up to Paddan Aram to find a wife.

It appears that Isaac had repaired his faith in God by this time. He blesses Jacob again, only this time He does it with full knowledge that it is Jacob he is speaking to. He actually called Jacob and specifically blessed him and told him to not marry any of the local women.

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t want Jacob to marry the local women? I don’t know the exact reasons but I can think of a few possibilities. Women actually have a major influence on the life of man and on his children. If a man is godly and his wife is not, it will confuse the children and have a bad influence on the life of the godly man. Almost never does it result in the salvation of the ungodly woman.

I want to be clear about the power of the Holy Spirit inside of a Christian. There are many men who come to know the Lord while they are married. This happens to women also. God
is not advocating divorce in this case, even though it would be understandable under these circumstances. Unlike Jacob, Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside of them and as a result have a huge amount of power to tap into. A Christian spouse is able to live with an unbelieving one as long as the believer stays connected to that Power. After all, every Christian is called to live in the world without being a partner with it. Our goal is to allow God to influence our unbelieving spouse by our godly lives. Choosing who to marry is a different
thing, though.

We should never willingly marry someone who is not a Christian. How can two people work together with completely different goals? It isn’t going to work and the family becomes dysfunctional. The only wise thing to do is to find a believer to marry. I believe that this is a correct way to understand what was happening here in the story of Jacob. God wanted him to find a wife who believed in Abraham’s God. Later, God did allow some foreign marriages, but those were with spouses that believed in the God of Jacob.