When I was a young man someone told me, “Choose only a date who would make a good mate.” That was good advice. A casual relationship can quickly turn into a serious one. Friendships often become lifelong commitments. There are many choices in life, but few have more lasting consequences that who you will marry.
In Genesis 6:1-2 the Bible describes an ancient society where “the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” This would set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the worldwide flood. Civilization was destroyed because of evil imaginations and carnal desires.
What can we learn from this tragedy?
- Do not choose based on appearance. They “saw.” The women were “fair.” Now, all true beauty comes from God, but not everything sinful men think is beautiful lasts. Sin beneath the surface is always ugly and it always comes out eventually. This is why Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Choose the beauty that comes from God. It does not fade with age.
- Do not choose for yourself. Notice that “they took them wives of all which they chose.” God does give us the capacity to choose. We have a will. The danger comes when we think we know what is best without consulting God. It was Jim Elliot who said, “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” Find God’s choice and you will have found the best for your life.
- Do not choose against your parents. Later in the same book, Genesis 26:34-35, we are told of Esau’s choice to take a wife that was “a grief of mind” to his father and mother. (It would prove to be a grief to him too!) No good ever grows out of rebellion. Contrast this with Jacob’s willingness to wait on God’s choice and follow his father’s instruction (Genesis 27:46; 28:1-9). What a wonderful family grew out of that choice! Choices matter and choices have consequences that may last a lifetime.
God’s plan for marriage from the beginning was “leave and cleave” (Genesis 2:24). But His time and choice is key. A word to young people who are preparing for marriage: Don’t leave before you leave! Stay close to God, close to God’s people, and close to your family. He will show you His choice and you will be glad you waited.