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Friday, May 16, 2008

Biblical Ways of Knowing She’s the ONE

A quick survey of Biblical women should certainly give us great wisdom for identifying a future spouse. (Or maybe not.)

In our modern culture we seem to really struggle with knowing who “the One” is. There is something to that strong rush of hormones, or that special sign from God that really helps guys know “Yep, she’s the one!” In Christian circles we want some sort of sign or symbol from God, so it makes sense that we have made the Bible our textbook for life and love. Books have been written to encourage courting over dating, watching and waiting for signs and answers to prayer before making a move. Here are just a few love stories from biblical times to enlighten us and help us find the way. A few of these would make any guy rejoice over his babe.

She won a beauty contest.
She threw herself at my feet.
She was a neighbor.
She was totally hot.
She was revealed to me in a dream.
She was part of a package deal.
She was my partner in crime.
She was created for me by God.
She gave my servant’s camels water.
She saved my life.
She was my brother’s widow.
She was…

She won a beauty contest.
Everyone agrees that this would be a sweet deal. Hello, Miss America! She’s the ONE! Queen Esther changed her name and hid her Jewish heritage to win a local beauty contest, but beyond that minor deception, she was courageous and saved her people from certain destruction. Besides, if being the wife of a king were the prize in a beauty contest, you would do the same!

She threw herself at my feet.
OK, that’s not exactly how it happened, but what guy hasn’t thought, It would be great if a girl made the first move. Then I would know. Ruth was a widow who worked in Boaz’s fields gleaning with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. (That means she got whatever was left over after the paid workers had harvested.) She did lie down at his feet where he was sleeping. But it wasn’t her idea, it was Naomi’s. Boaz was the nearest relative who was eligible to marry her. Then they did some ceremony where he took off his shoe and she became his wife. Weird!
How this simple ceremony gave way to Bridezilla and multimillion dollar weddings, I’ll never know.

She was my brother’s widow.
It was the law that if a widow had no sons, she would marry the next brother-in-law or go back to her family. In the book of Ruth, Naomi made reference to this when Ruth begged to stay with Naomi instead of going back to her family. Naomi said, I have no sons for you to marry. This isn't always a bad deal if the widow is hot and you can have more than one wife, eh? But if you didn’t please the Lord by producing offspring, it would cost you your life. On the positive side, there is no guesswork involved. Your brother dies and bam you’re married—maybe to several wives. The movie title for this chapter? Four Weddings and A Funeral.

She was a neighbor.
Not only was she conveniently next door, Bathsheba was also married to King David’s best friend. Just a quick look over the wall where she was bathing led to a lustful rendezvous, pregnancy and killing his best friend in battle to cover it up. Then he married her and added her to all the other wives. It was just a bad idea. But God redeemed the act, and made this story part of the geneology of Jesus.

She was totally hot.
That’s a great way of knowing. It’s all about chemistry! Thunder, lightening, stars in the eyes, seeing her across the way... They result in one wish, Get her for me NOW.The problem: Delilah was not loyal to the same people. At the suggestion of the Philistine rulers, she cut Samson’s hair, the source of his great strength. They gouged out his eyes and paid her off with silver. His last days were spent as a prisoner until he prayed to the Lord for strength and tore down their temple. He died with the Philistines.

The lesson? Make sure your woman is on your side!

She was my partner in crime.
Everyone is looking for someone who was made for them. In this case, the Biblical duo of Anninias and Saphira did everything together, including lie about tithing (giving to God) all they earned. Truly a match, they were both struck dead for their lie within minutes of each other. It’s the Bible times Bonnie and Clyde! OK, maybe being on the same side isn’t the key either.

She was created for me by God.
At first Adam was grateful. Next thing you know, he blamed her for everything that went wrong and she, having learned that lesson, blamed the serpent.

She was part of a package deal.
Imagine falling in love with a beautiful girl, Rachel…you work for her for 7 years to earn her hand. Next thing you know, the father decides you have to marry the older sister, Leah, first. After all, the older sister should be married first, right? He gives you the daughter you love, after another week. He was just kidding! But you have to work another 7 years. It’s the Bible Bait and Switch! Good thing people lived a really, really long time back then! What's seven years when you live to 900?

She was revealed to me after much prayer.
This is every guy’s dream in the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” set. The “one” revealed after hours of sweet communion with Jesus. It’s magic.
Everyone loves the sweet story about Abraham’s servant being sent to find a suitable Jewish mate for Isaac. He prayed and sought a sign. A girl by the well was supposed to offer a stranger drink for himself and his camels. Lucky girl, she got a gold bracelet right away. When she went home with the servant, she and Isaac fell in love at first sight and she gained even more riches. I’m sure she loved his pocketbook, too.

The bad news? This beautiful girl was also the author of the biggest Bible times bait and switch ever pulled. She connived against Esau and secured an awesome blessing for her other son Jacob by sending Jacob to serve a meal to his blind father. To make Jacob seem as hairy as Esau, she told him to wear a sheep’s skin. From sweet, Godly girl to deceptive wife.

She saved my life.
Rahab was knowledgeable in the ways of the flesh, she was called a harlot or prostitute. This may be your type if the others didn’t suit you. She hid two Isrealite spies came and stayed with her. She secured a promise from them to save her family should the Israelites destroy everyone. She was smart! She found her way to the geneology of Jesus through her marriage to Salmon, reputed to be one of the spies. Her son? Boaz (who marries Ruth.)

That’s a great story, but I couldn’t find one whit of evidence that Salmon was one of the spies, though Herbert Lockyer makes reference to it in his book, All the Women of the Bible. It could be one of those things that just became popular to think like Mary Magdalene being a prostitute. (Look it up if you don't believe me.) In any case, saving the spies did lead to her marriage to Salmon and served as the earliest inspiration on record for Pretty Woman.

God spoke to me directly.
This is what everyone wishes for. If God would just give me a sign or speak to me directly, then I would know… Sigh! And I would just do exactly what God says to do.

Well this next little rose would have made a lesser man wish he weren’t a prophet. God spoke to Hosea and told him to take an adulterous wife because Israel had been unfaithful to their God. He married Gomer. There’s a debate as to whether or not the children they produced were really his, but God told Hosea what to name them. She wandered off, became a slave to another man and God still commanded him to go get her. When God speaks, are you sure you want to listen? Bonus points for the really great romantic name of the girl in this story. (haha, NOT!)

She was my niece.
Yeah, how’s that for weird? Not only that, it was Herodias' second husband. Herod stole his brother’s wife. His brother’s wife was actually his brother’s neice. Ew! We know that Salome is the daughter of Herodias, but the father is not named. She did a dance which "pleased" Herod. He decided to give her anything she asks for. Salome, runs out to ask Herodias what to ask for.

The gift? The head of John the Baptist on a platter in revenge for his declaration that Herodias and Herod should not be married. The only thing weirder? In ancient Egypt, kings and queens were brother and sister sometimes. The practice was also common in Hawaii. Holy inbreeding, Batman!

Great. It seems like there isn’t always logic to how people got together in the Bible. Chemistry doesn’t always seem to be a good thing, since it could get you killed. People changed, people were not always a match, some "lucky" guys got to be with more than one wife. Sometimes there was very little choice involved in marriage. Sometimes great people did really deceptive things. People that were a match got each other killed. Sweet love at first sight ordained by God found its way down the primrose path to the Bible Bait and Switch.

It seems we are expecting some kind of magic, and when it doesn’t happen we are disappointed. Just think about all the people that got together without drama during Bible times. They weren’t written about!! They also weren’t likely to be written about if they weren’t part of the geneology of Jesus. I’m sure there were plenty of them, too. God clearly wasn’t always about picking the best or most Godly person to accomplish his will. There are repentant prostitutes, murderers and adulterers in the geneology of Jesus.

I’m not saying that you should run out and date a prostitute, murderer or adulterer, but don’t wait for the perfect person when there are really great people around you. I’ll let you decide if I’m blaspheming when I say that they are possibly better examples of Godliness in your life than the people we have read about in the Bible. Don’t depend on just one model for how you meet your future spouse. Don’t wait for a sign, just go for it and ask someone out.

The good news from our merry (marry) romp through the Bible is that there is truly more than one way to win a wife. When you drop you perfectionistic dating ideology, you may find yourself actually dating someone.

Of course, if you prefer the more authoritative Christianity Today article, here it is:

Top 5 Myths about Christian Dating


Agnon, the representation of the number said...

Hmmm. I think a requirement is that she treats old religious texts with the level of scepticism they deserve.

Will said...

~~Well. This gave more than One to think of.
~~Many types, and many strengths, and weaknesses~~isn't that just like life.
~~Cheers, to you. The Bible really is a treasure trove [So much for literature & Mythology!:)]


Anonymous said...

Actually, I did have a word from God on the matter the first time around, and it worked out fine for 18 years.

SavvyD said...

Hey singlextianman, that's awesome for you. But why wouldn't God command someone to marry me???? I'm pretty cool. My physical therapist wanted his wife to call me to give her lessons on how to be cool. Anyways, I had fun writing this article. ;)

Amir Larijani said...

I want Jael. She put the tent peg through Sisera's head.

Just think what she could do with a firearm! W00 H00!!!

SavvyD said...

Wow, Amir. You dig warrior chicks, huh? She's something else!??? Judges 4:14-23 if anyone's looking things up. Do you think she did it for love? In anycase, maybe I will have to write an article called Badass Women of the Bible. Is Sisera where we get Sissy? Just wondering!

Ajan said...

interesting read.. But i can contrary each and every statement.. not coz I'm an atheist but its fun to do so.. ;)

SavvyD said...

Comments are still open on this post...

Josiah said...

Interesting read i must say...Haha...Guess the One's not always...the One:)