Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lessons for Your Relationships from Love Stories of the Bible

Fireside - Conversations by the Fire About Nurturing Home and Family

Let’s face it. There aren’t many good models of marriage in this day and age. Don’t get me wrong – there are some out there, but as a whole, the family unit has been declining for years and much of it has to do with a lack of commitment to the marriage relationship. When conflict comes to a marriage, or people don’t see things the same way, couples often make the choice to discard their marriages with the assumption that it’s a whole lot easier to start over with someone new. But that’s a horrible fallacy.

This week, the school I’m attending has been studying the institution of marriage. My assignment this week is to study some of the marriages of the Bible. Here are some positives and negatives from three of those stories.

Zacharias and Elizabeth

Their story;
After being married for many years, Elizabeth and Zacharias were childless. Bearing children brought value to women in Bible times. It was a source of joy, and a fulfillment of “duty” to their husbands. According to Sue and Larry Richards in the book, Every Woman in the Bible (copyright 1999, Thomas Nelson, Inc., page 176), a woman’s barrenness was grounds for divorce. It also brought tremendous social disgrace. (Luke1:25)

Positives:

1) Zacharias honored his commitment to Elizabeth. He stood by her through years of disgrace and sorrow.

2) Zacharias prayed continually pleading with God to give Elizabeth a child. (Luke 1:13)

3) In the end, we recognize that Zacharias loved Elizabeth deeply and respected her as a wife and as a woman of God. He would rather live life with her by his side and have no children, than live without her and have many children with another wife.

4) Zacharias and Elizabeth were both devoted to God. Their devotion was evidenced by the way they lived their lives (Luke 1:6).

5) When they faced the sorrow of infertility, they faced it together with a continuing trust in God and a continuing commitment to one another.

Negative:

1) Zacharias failed to believe the words of an angel of the Lord who told him they would have a child.

God did give them a child. His name was John. He was the one who “made ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Some lessons for marriages today:

When we face hardship in marriage, it is helpful to:

1) Remain deeply committed to God and dependant on him – both individually and as a couple.

2) Remain deeply committed to our spouses, and face the hard times together.

3) Humble ourselves before God and pray for our spouses.

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Isaac and Rebekah

How they came together:
A servant traveled to Abraham’s homeland to find a mate for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The people of Canaan where Abraham was living had very different values, so it was of utmost importance to find a wife for Isaac who lived by the same principles he did. The servant asked God to identify the wife of His choosing by bringing her to a well and having her offer water to both him and his camels. Before the servant had finished speaking, Rebekah appeared at the well and did just that.

Rebekah left her homeland and her family to marry Isaac who lived in the land of Canaan (400 miles away). For 20 years, she was heartbroken because of her inability to have children. Isaac, who loved her deeply, pleaded with God on her behalf. (Genesis 25:21) God answered his prayer and Rebekah had twin sons.

Positives:


1) Abraham and Isaac trusted God to choose Isaac’s wife.

2) They desired a woman who had similar values.

3) Isaac loved his wife and prayed for her.

Negative:

1) Rebekah played favorites with their children and deceived her husband into giving their youngest son the blessing, rights, and inheritance that normally went to the oldest son. As a result, Jacob (the youngest son) had to move far away from his family because his older brother planned to kill him in anger. (Genesis 27:41) Deceit took a toll on the entire family unit and on Isaac and Rebekah’s relationship.

Three things to take away:

1) If God plans for us to marry, he also has a mate chosen for us. If you’re single, don’t miss God’s best and the mate he has chosen for you. Pray for his guidance and ask him to identify that mate to you then wait patiently for him to reveal that person.

2) Place priority on someone who has similar values and lives by the same principles you do. This will prevent lots and lots of conflict in marriage.

3) Avoid deceit (both minor and major) because of the damage it causes. Relationships are built on trust.

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Aquila and Priscilla

Their story: Only positives!
Aquila and Priscilla were tent-makers (Acts 18:1-3) who had a mutual devotion for Christ. They sacrificed as a couple to support Paul’s ministry, occasionally accompanied the Apostle Paul as he traveled, and graciously opened their home as a “house church” for fellow believers. (1 Corinthians 16:19). Together, they taught the ways of God. (Acts 18:26)

Positives:

1) They courageously stood together to serve, sacrifice, and take risks as they worked to spread the gospel. (Romans 16:3-5)

2) They are a picture of the strength and power that comes from an “equally yoked” couple who live in “oneness” of heart and mind.

3) They had mutual respect for one another.

4) They are a team who complemented each other in business, in ministry, and in life.

5) As partners with a common desire to live in commitment and obedience to God, they worked in tandem to help others understand the truth about Christ, the ways of God, and the gospel message.

Aquila and Priscilla are an inspiration to me personally. Read the scriptures above and ask God to show you strengths that can be applied to your own marriage. One of the greatest strengths I see is a couple who chose to live in a completely surrendered relationship with God and committed themselves to God’s purposes. This cemented their relationship and created a synergy that caused them to have an extremely positive impact on the world.


5 jewels I gained from our speakers this week:

1) The way I relate to God affects the way I relate to other people – including my husband. If my relationship with God is strong and healthy, my relationships with others will be too.

2) Husbands and wives need to protect each other’s weaknesses and be strong where the other is weak.

3) Expectations are pre-meditated resentment.
4) Bounce your eyes. There are many beautiful people in this world. It’s okay to admire the beauty of God’s creation found in another person’s appearance, but don’t dwell and think too far. Move your eyes to something else.

5) All angry arguments have nothing to do with the situation but with my personal core fears.

I’m personally going to work on protecting my husband’s weaknesses with my strengths, getting rid of expectations, becoming more aware of myself and personal core fears that feed my anger, striving to respond rather than react in conflict, and memorize scripture that will help me focus on loving my husband in times when I want to change him.

Friends, I know this has been a long post - but it's necessary for my assignment. Balancing school and family life has been difficult - and the reason I haven't been posting as frequently. My goal is to post at least once a week.

I tell people all the time that this year I am sitting at the feet of Jesus learning from Him. When you arrive at The Warming House for the rest of this school year, you will most likely hear me share what Jesus has been teaching me through the institute I'm attending.

Hope life in your corner of the world is going well. Thanks for stopping by.

Because families are worth fighting for . . .

Lisa ~

1 comment:

Rachel said...

What great Wisdom and Encouragement Lisa! Thank you.