Ground Rules Simulate your spouse’s reaction to what you say before you say it. Use this series as an opportunity for self- evaluation first. This is not an inventory of everything your spouse is doing wrong. Be prepared to talk through the functioning of your marriage with God, your spouse, and godly counsel if needed.
Recap So Far… Adam and Eve had a perfect marriage in the garden, marred by sin, regained by us through Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear about the functional structure of a godly marriage: –The husband is the head of the house, submissive to Christ, reflective of His Word, attentive to His will. –The wife unconditionally supports her husband in this role, and partners with him in the management of the home.
3 Modes of Marriage Strong (Christ-Centered) –Rooted in Christ, Good Communication, Respect –Adversity Adds to its Strength Weak (Dysfunctional) –Eyes off Christ, Spectacular Examples of Dysfunction –Heading Toward Dissolution, Misery, or Both Indifferent (Individualistic) –Drifting Steadily Apart, Despite “Healthy” Appearance
All the Best Intentions… Where in the order of priorities do children fall in the marriage? Why are children sometimes shuffled to a higher slot on the list? What are the ramifications of valuing your children more highly than your spouse? –Dysfunctional relationship –Dysfunctional child
Not to put too fine a point… The sin of adultery and putting children before spouse share many common characteristics: –Satisfy “instinctual urges” –Substitute what God intends to be fulfilled through the marital relationship –Destructive to your relationship with your spouse –Distorts the image of your spouse –Creates collateral damage, even if well-intentioned
Isaac and Rebekah Isaac is the literal manifestation of God’s faithfulness to his parents. Abraham continues to model submission to God, even unto binding his son for sacrifice. Isaac clearly loved and deeply appreciated his parents. –Read Genesis 24:67 –Rebekah brings comfort to Isaac after Sarah’s death
Isaac and Rebekah Isaac himself is a probable victim of smotherly love, in light of his father’s generosity: –Read Genesis 24:34-36 Evidence? –Although arranged marriages are the practice of the day, Abraham waits a length of time before commissioning his servant to get a wife for Isaac. –Abraham knows God’s purpose for Isaac. Is he exhibiting faith or savoring his son?
Isaac and Rebekah Rebekah makes an excellent first impression. Genesis 24:15-20 –Beautiful –Energetic –Friendly –Sacrificial –Obedient –An Answer to Prayer
Isaac and Rebekah Isaac’s Personality: –Unassuming –Mild-Mannered –Pacifist –Genesis 26:18-25 In Genesis 26, Isaac follows in his father’s footsteps: –Direct communication with God –Prone to the same shortcomings
Isaac and Rebekah So, what was their marriage like? Clearly affectionate (Genesis 26:8) Editor’s note: –“Indifferent” marriages can exhibit some clearly strong qualities, and yet contain key weaknesses in other foundational areas.
Isaac and Rebekah Potential rough spots in the relationship: –Rebekah was barren – a source of at least stress and possibly tension (Genesis 25:21) –Isolation in communication? No evidence that Rebekah shared God’s revelation to her about the future of her children (v. 23) Romans 9:12 – Rebekah is listed as the recipient of God’s revelation about Jacob and Esau’s future. Isaac further evidences this by intending to bless Esau over Jacob, apart from God’s spoken will.
Isaac and Rebekah Never let the man off the hook! –WHY would Rebekah have withheld the knowledge God gave her from her husband? –Is Isaac distant? Hard to talk to? –Has Isaac allowed dysfunction take root in his marriage to the point where Rebekah would not approach him with this?
Kids Over Spouse Sorry to disappoint – we’re not just going to talk about how Rebekah valued Jacob over everything else. Each spouse did the same thing for different reasons. –Isaac latches on to the uber-manly Esau –Rebekah latches on to the homebody Jacob, probably influenced by her knowledge of his future.
Impact on the Kids Jacob and Esau both demonstrate what happens in either scenario. –Esau exhibits himself as a tank of testosterone, showing little of the sensibilities his mother would have instilled in him. –Jacob shows a lack of will and character that would have been instilled upon him by the spiritual head of the household.
Impact on the Kids We know well moral struggles and shortcomings Jacob experiences under the influence of his mother. What of Esau? –Genesis 26:34-35
Impact on the Kids This dysfunction in this family shifts from moderate to severe. –Rebekah offers to accept whatever curse comes with the deception she leads Jacob into to obtain Esau’s birthright. Where is the evidence (fruit) of a healthy model of leadership and adherence to God’s decrees?
So that lightning doesn’t strike me: Isaac does show indications of a strong walk with God, even in his debilitated state: –Hebrews 11:20 – Isaac is credited for his faith in blessing Jacob over Esau –When Isaac realized he had been deceived, he accepted the circumstances as God’s will and acted accordingly.
Things come to a head. Rebekah lies yet again to her husband in hopes of saving the life of her favored son. –Genesis 27:46 In the end, Rebekah would never see her beloved son again. Her relationships with her husband and first-born son are broken.
Conclusions Valuing or serving children over spouse may be symptomatic of underlying and/or preexisting deficiencies in a marriage, only highlighted when children come on scene. This deficiency often leads to the child disrespecting the indulging parent and despising the rejecting parent.
Application What are you hiding from your spouse right now? Why do you feel unable to communicate these things to them? Do you value your spouse more highly than your children, even in certain areas? Is there evidence (fruit) attesting to that?
Application Are there spectacular successes mixed with spectacular difficulties in your marriage? Do you and your spouse have a mutual understanding of each? How are you addressing those difficulties? How else can you keep from slowly drifting?