Jump Start # 2544
Genesis 29:25 “So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachael that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?’”
This is a story that seems so hard for us to understand in our American culture. Jacob worked for seven years in order to marry Laban’s daughter. That alone would be a deal breaker for many young men today. Then, Laban pulls a fast one and marries off his older daughter, Leah. There are loads of questions that are hard for us to understand.
How is it that Jacob did not know until the next morning? Very possibly, Leah was covered, as many are today in the Middle East. Their entire head was covered and one could not visibly tell. You’d think by the sound of the voice, he would know. But he didn’t. He didn’t know until morning. He didn’t know until it was too late.
But what Jacob shows us is that he was not the last to marry the wrong person. People tell me this. “I married the wrong person,” or, “I guess I’m not good at picking good ones.” There are some things to consider about this.
First, the dating process is intended to lead to marriage. Here in dating, a person sees what the other person is like. You are showing character, behavior, attitude and what is important to you. Dating is much more than holding hands and kissing. If that is the extent of dating, then waking up with the wrong person will probably be in your future. Think about this for a moment:
How does the person talk about his or her parents? Are they respectful? Are they appreciative?
How does the person drive? If they are disobeying the laws, taking risks, especially with you in the car, it shows that they do not value your life very much.
How are they with finances? Are they responsible? Do they pay their bills on time? Are they cheap when it comes to giving tips at restaurants? Do they give on Sunday?
How do they treat people when things do not go well? Do they explode in anger? Are they an embarrassment? Are you always having to apologize for them?
Do they listen to you? Do they ever do what you want to do? Are they always talking about themselves?
Where are they with the Lord? Do they even care about the Lord? Does spiritual conversations make them uneasy and uncomfortable? Are they always coming up with a reason not to attend worship? Do they try to get you not to go as much as you do? Do they drink? Are they trying to push you into a sexual relationship? Are they always just talking about your body and your looks?
Can this person get you to Heaven? Do they even care about Heaven? Do they know how to get there? Can you pray together? Can you talk about the Scriptures together? If not, why are you still dating this person?
Character. Heart. Spirituality. That’s what matters. Good looks fade with time. Making you laugh will end. If there is nothing on the inside, you will soon find out that you married the wrong person. And, when that happens, what a long, miserable and painful life you will have. The fights, the battles, the stress, will become almost more than you can handle.
Second, people change in a relationship. It took me a long time to understand this. I’ve had people tell me that who they married is not the same person anymore. I doubted that. I thought they just didn’t date long enough. But I found out that I was wrong about that. People do change. We all change. I’m not the same person that I was nearly forty years ago when I got married. I’m glad I’m not that person any more. Some change for the better. Through the years the love, care and consideration has grown deeper and richer. Sadly, others have changed for the worst. Bitterness, selfishness and indifference have taken over. Rather than the marriage getting better and better, it’s become worse and worse. The person of today is not the person that you married. Seeing that person today, you’d probably pass on marrying them.
Life has a way of changing us. Tragedies, disappointments, heartache can certainly make a person turn sour. Wealth, climbing that corporate ladder can also change a person. Their values can change. Power, success and money can make a person forget about that is really important in life. But, walking with the Lord can also change us. Decades of worship, Bible study, prayer can smooth out our rough edges. It can put a heart of compassion in someone who never had that before. It can turn us into a servant. And, looking back, a person has gotten better and better as the years have rolled by. How one faces tragedies, death and heartache is so different when they are walking with the Lord.
We do change through the years. As a disciple of Jesus, we ought to be changing.
Third, what if, like Jacob, I realize that I married the wrong person? There are two answers. One is right and the other is wrong. The world would tell you to dump the wrong person and go find the right person. The world would tell you that you have a right to be happy and you can’t be happy as long as you are married to the wrong person. This is why divorce still soars. People are looking and looking for that right person, never realizing that they need to be the right person. So, often, baggage from one relationship is carried into the next, and then the next. And, that baggage belongs to us. Our attitudes. Our expectations. Drop the drama. Quit being a princess. Look in the mirror and see if there are some things that you need to work on. Be careful that you don’t listen to the world. It has the wrong answer.
The right answer is always the Lord. Before our happiness, comes our holiness. God allows divorce for only one reason, and that reason involved sin. Marrying the wrong person isn’t that reason. What is a person supposed to do? Keep manifesting the qualities that God expects from you. You don’t get a pass because you married the wrong person. Forgiveness, grace and love must be the banner under which you travel. You may need to get counseling. You may need more patience than Job. The thousands of tears that you shed are seen by the Lord. Pray and pray hard. Most of us in our vows said, “for better or worse,” and as young people standing before the preacher, we had no idea of what “worse” looked like. It can be ugly. It can be hard. It can last a long time. It can make us consider options that are not good nor Biblical. But we made a promise. Our mate may not keep their promise, but we will keep ours. Our word and our heart is the most sacred thing we can give to anyone. You promised, so keep that promise.
The hardships in marriage hurt many people. They are seen by many people. They dent our influence. They can hurt the good that we are trying to do. We must believe, as the Scriptures teach, “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” With the Lord as your help, you can do what seems impossible.
When you are having trouble, don’t isolate and withdraw. Surround yourself with godly people who love, support and will help you. God is good. Don’t give up on God. He is still there.
Jacob married the wrong person…sure something to think about.