To: en & more (Editorial note, from this point circulation list expanded to five)
From: Su Min
My dear children
I praise God for allowing me to extend this electronic circular study session first from Singapore to UK, and now to Bangkok as well.
wws is endoscopic surgeon in the OBGYN dept, U of Chulalongkorn: We met at dinner in Florida, by the grace of God, and I said that I would continue to communicate with him: so this text goes Cc to wws, and the rest of the family will understand why.
Although we have finished Gen 23, as I read through the passage while I was in the air on the plane to Florida, it struck me that Gen 23: 63-67 has a powerful message and teaching about love. If we look at the passage and line up the action words, it seems to me that God teaches us the sequence he desires for us in our love and marriage life.
Do now look and read Gen 23: 63-67, and see how Isaac goes about love and marriage.
- First Isaac goes out in the evening and MEDITATES (67a). So too we can commune with nature in the evening, look up at the stars and the moon, and meditate upon the words of God. I believe that this is step one in an effective relationship with a loved one: Get it right with God first. Meditate.
- Next he LOOKED UP and SAW (67b). There is nothing wrong with looking. Physical attraction usually catches the eye and generates the first interest, nothing wrong with that. It is great for the spouse to be pleasing to the eye.
- Next he LISTENED (66). Isaac pays attention to the council of Eliezier, his father's most faithful servant: council of the elders with their years of wisdom helps us in selection of our life partner.
- Next he BROUGHT her into the tent of his mother (67a), demonstrating family recognition of this new person.
- Then he MARRIED Rebekah (67b). Meditate, look up, listened, brought, then married. Great sequence of events: no love yet!, at least not described as such.
- Then, and only then, she became his wife and he LOVED her (67 b) and she comforted him. The root word here "loved" is Strong's Concordance 157, Hebrew text "ahab", aw-hab, have affection for.
And we learn, that in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah he meditated, looked up, listened, brought, married, then loved her, and in response was comforted by her. Of course we know that God was in this picture, and his angels too (vs 40).
- This love that Isaac demonstrated was not only the fuzzy wuzzy pitter patter of the heart in ecstatic excitement, although that must have been one facet of it.
- This love that Isaac demonstrated was not only the deep yearning to be together all the time although that must have been another facet of it.
- This love that Isaac demonstrated must have been that selfless love, that "other centred" love so characteristic of God's love for us.
- This love that Isaac demonstrated must have been that deep sense of total and forever commitment, that love that said I love you, not because you are nice to me, not if you will be good to me, but I love you because I have decided to care for you.
- This love that Isaac demonstrated must have been as in 1 Cor 13: 4-7, a love that determines to say "I love you, I will be patient with you. I will be kind to you. I will not envy you. I will not boast to you. I will not be arrogantly proud to you. I will not be rude to you. I will not be self seeking. I will not be easily angered. I will keep no record of wrongs. I will not delight in evil. I will rejoice in the truth. I will protect you. I will trust you. I will always hope in you. I will always keep on in the effort to love you. I will not fail".
And I believe that if we meditate on God's will for us, look up, and listen, God will indeed, either directly or with help of angels bring to us that one person in our life to marry, love and comfort.
Praise be to God.
Let us close this time of togetherness in cyberspace with a prayer:
Thank you for the word brought to us today
May we learn from this passage what you desire of us in our love life: that we may learn to put aside selfishness as we plan to live our lives with another in holy matrimony, that we learn daily the richness of perfect love, loving spouse as Christ loved the church, enabled to do so by your grace and by the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name we pray.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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