An Unsung Love Story

An Unsung Love Story

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

(Today, I’m pinch-hitting for Carl, who’s on his honeymoon this week. This is the wedding sermon portion of the ceremony performed last Friday in Summerville, GA. It was a beautiful wedding venue and occasion).

Neal Pollard

Introduction

A. One Of The Most Unsung Love Stories In The Bible Is Isaac & Rebekah

B. Their Romance & Relationship Is Revealed In Gen 24

    1. What impresses me most re: them is how they did so much right

        a. Rebekah is a very beautiful & pure young woman (16)

        b. She was a hard worker (16-20) & she had a wonderful attitude (58)

        c. She had a good relationship w/her family & his

   2. Isaac had a good head on his shoulders, he was a man of faith & family

       (25:21)

       a. & it apparently was love at first sight for Isaac (24:67)

       b. He was successful in his life's work (26:12-14)

       c. He was a patient & peace-loving man (26:20)

   3. In a day when God permitted a man to have more than one wife, & 

       his father Abraham did & his sons Jacob & Esau did

       a. Isaac was a one-woman-man

   4. It was a beautiful lifelong love story

       a. It was a story of devotion & affection

D. Their Story Is Not Unlike Yours

    1. I think Emily has the attributes of Rebekah we just saw

    2. Carl is a lot like Isaac in the ways we observed

    3. & your devotion & affection is so much like theirs, too

E. & To All Of Us Who Have Come To Witness This Joyful Occasion,

    There Are Other Parallels For Us To Consider:

   1. Many had invested so much into the moment the young couple met

      a. In Gen. 24, there was Abraham, his servant, & Rebekah's family

      b. They had invested their prayers, possessions & plans for these 2

   2. God was at the heart of both families' lives

       a. "God" is found 7 Xs in Gen 24, "LORD" is found 16 Xs

          1. Both families invoke His name a similar number of Xs

          2. Their faith was strong, & they conveyed that deep faith to I & R

              a. The moments before Isaac met Rebekah, he was worshipping (24:62)

              b. She was willing to leave her home to go to Isaac's home out of her trust in
God's providence & guidance in her life

          3. Their families encouraged them to serve & obey the Lord

              a. Abraham wanted his son to have a wife God would be pleased with

              b. Rebekah's brother & parents saw God's will in this & encouraged her to marry
Isaac

F. For A Few Minutes, I Want To Share With You Both Some Of The Blessings & Promises Shared
With Isaac & Rebekah

I. YOU WILL LIVE LIFE TOGETHER BEFORE THE LIVING ONE WHO SEES

A. When Isaac Met Rebekah, He Was Standing At Beer-Lahai-Roi

    1. It was the well at the place Hagar called "El-Roi," "A God who sees" (16:14)

    2. In 25:11, we read that the newly weds lived in this place

B. May I Encourage You To Remember That Today & Every Day For the Rest Of Your Lives, You
Will Be Living Before The God Who Sees

    1. Let that bring you comfort & hope, to encourage you

    2. He will see your ups & downs; Your victories & defeats

    3. There will be times when His presence & help are undoubtable

        a. Other times, you may be tempted to wonder

C. He Will Walk With You Both Throughout Your Lives

    1. Give Him 1st place, the most honored & cherished seat at the table of your marriage

    2. Pr 15:3--The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil & the good

        a. It's not just a warning vs. sin; It's a promise as you do good

II. GOD WANTS TO HEAR YOU PRAY FOR YOUR SPOUSE

A. There Came A Time Of Stress & Adversity In Their Marriage

   1. You're aware that you'll face moments like those, too

B. It's Beautiful To See How Isaac Responds To This

   1. 25:21--Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife

   2. Of all the good Isaac did in his life, nothing was better than this

C. There Will Be Moments When Your Problems May Threaten To Cause A Wedge Between You Two

   1. The best thing you will ever do in these Xs is to pray for each other, motivated by
your love & care for each other

   2. You will always need God's help; Let nothing keep you from praying to Him together

   3. & let nothing keep you from faithfully praying to God for each other

   4. 1 Pt 3:7--You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way,
as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of
the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered


     a. When Peter says "your prayers," it's plural (God's encouraging both of you to pray
for each other)

   5. When you do, God will hear as He heard Isaac's prayer for Rebekah

 III. ALWAYS KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN

A. I've Heard Sermons And Bible Classes Re: The Danger Of Showing Favoritism With Your
Children & This Couple Is Used As Exhibit A

   1. But after the deception of Jacob & Esau's anger & grudge, Rebekah comes to Isaac &
freely shares her concerns w/Isaac (27:48)

       a. Isaac listens & the 2 of them work together to resolve the problem

B. Don't Wait For Problems To Arise Before You Start Communicating

   1. But certainly, when problems arise, be sure that you communicate freely, lovingly, &
persistently

   2. Companionship is re: needing each other & leaning on each other

C. Carl, Nourish & Cherish Emily; Love Her As X Loved The Church (Ep  5:25-28)

   1. Emily, love your husband so as to honor God's word (Ti 2:4-5)

   2. & realize the vital role communication plays in conveying your love

IV. FIND LOVE & COMFORT FROM ONE ANOTHER

A. Their Marriage Came At The Time Isaac Lost His Mother

   1. But the Bible tells us re: how they shared love & comfort w/one another (Gen 24:67)

   2. God has given you such a blessing in your marriage 

B. Never Miss An Opportunity To Express It To Each Other

   1. Like Solomon said

      a. Song 4:10--How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your
love than wine,


     b. Or Song 7:6--How beautiful and how delightful you are, My love, with all your charms!

   2. & like his bride said to him

      a. Song 1:16--How handsome you are, my beloved, And so pleasant!

      b. Song 2:3--Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, So is my beloved among
the young men. In his
shade I took great delight and sat down, And his fruit was
sweet to my taste.


C. Of Course, Do More Than Say It; Show It--Never Miss An Opportunity

   1. It will keep you on the sunny side of life on the stormiest days
Listening to the best man speech right before their exit.
Laying Aside “Every Weight”

Laying Aside “Every Weight”

Neal Pollard

I try to write very seldom about my favorite hobby, running, which I picked up when our baby, who Pooh Duke has dubbed “Carlnormous,” was still in the womb (This is Carlnormous).  Running produces so many wonderful benefits, physically, psychologically, and mentally.  Yet, as I have heard said, exercise is only about 20% of weight management.  Therefore, until I have recently begun beefing up my “push back” exercises from the dinner table, I have been running at over 200 pounds for much of those 17 years.  I am 15 pounds lighter than I was this time last month, and Strava does not lie.  Today, I logged a 10K at a pace of 8:19/mile (Strava is cool), while listening to a mellow “Fleet Foxes And More” playlist from Amazon Music (Will Fleet Foxes reunite?)—not exactly heart-pumping exercise music.  This time last month, I was about a full minute slower per mile.  Since today I’m inevitably older than I’ve ever been, the difference has to be the fewer pounds I’m dragging around.  Hopefully, I’ll drop more weight, and if I do I anticipate that my pace may quicken and I’ll feel even better doing it.

New Testament writers use the running analogy on several occasions, but consider what the writer of Hebrews says:  “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:1-3). The NASB says “encumbrance” (NKJV, “weight”), and the word means “that which serves to hinder or prevent someone from doing something—‘hindrance, impediment’ (Louw-Nida, 13.149). While the implication is “of an athlete stripping himself of clothing which would impede his performance” (Ellingworth, NIGTC, np), how much more does something like 15 pounds “impede”?

This passage encourages endurance with at least three ideas.

Laying Aside The Weight Is Meaningful. It helps one with endurance as it helps eliminate obstacles to a successful run.  It shows up in a better quality of life. It impacts more than just the run you are on that day.  The effects are enduring and they impact such vital areas as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.  So it is spiritually.  This is about defeating sin, staying faithful, endurance, and overcoming.  In line with the thrust of the whole letter of Hebrews, it is about not falling away and leaving Christ!  We do not want to hang on to anything that interferes with that eternal prospect.

Laying Aside The Weight Is Measurable. I can tell the difference in myself when I have or have not lost that extra weight.  Certainly, the same is true spiritually.  When something is weighing me down, distracting, depressing, deceiving, or drawing me away, I can tell.  I can see it in my devotional life, it shows up in my speech, my attitude, my ethics, and countless similar ways. Other people can see it, too.  I know that God sees every bit of it!

Laying Aside The Weight Is Motivational.  By laying aside the encumbrances and entanglements, I feel better and improve my physical quality of life. The Hebrews’ writer tells us about a transcendent motivation which follows lightening our spiritual loads of sin problems.  Removing the impediments, I am better able to fix my eyes on Jesus and His example while not growing weary or losing heart.

Past experience tells me that weight can be picked up even easier than it can be laid aside.  This is an ongoing discipline.  But it is so worthwhile!  Oh, that I can remember that as I run the course of earth toward eternity.