DATING (THE RIGHT TIME TO DATE)
QUESTION – William (South Africa): Dear Pastor, thank you for answering our questions online. I’m a first-year student; I’d like you to share your views and thoughts on dating. When is it the right time?
ANSWER: The right time is when you become responsible. Now, when your parents are responsible for your education and responsible for everything you do, you are not responsible. So, why go on dating? Dating is really the idea that you are fixing certain times to get to meet someone and know that person, get to learn about that individual and so that’s what it is. So, if you are deciding that “okay I want to do this” because you don’t just date, you date for a purpose, you are hoping to get married to that person if everything is right. So, during that dating period, you are wanting to find out whether she is alright [or] “is he alright?” So, you would only begin dating when you are responsible, but there is more.
Now, usually dating is something that should be done when you know the right direction to go. But, in the world, it is done as “I’m trying to find out”, “I’m trying to know if this is the right person for me”; that’s what it is generally in the world. “I’m trying to find out whether she’s nice, whether she’s good, whether she’s okay for me”, and if I think so then I go ahead and say “well, maybe this is the person I would like to marry”. But, in Christ things are the other way; we don’t try to find out by dating first. We know first and date after. See, we don’t date to try and find out if you are right after; we know first that you are right and then we date. That’s the difference. So, it means that you have to have the kind of understanding, spiritual understanding and maturity to make the right decision, or even better, decisions are made for you.
Now let me explain this to you. In the book of Genesis, we have two brothers by the name of Esau and Jacob, and in the bible, it tells us that these things were written for us for our learning, and it is important for us to know how things ought to function in the kingdom of God. First, we talk about Abraham: Abraham was married to Sarah for many years, and they had no child until the Bible tells us that God visited Sarah after He had made a promise to Abraham, and He said “I am going to bless you and make you a blessing and your seed shall be the source of blessing to all nations”, and He was saying there that He was going to bring forth the Christ. Now, there are several other scriptures along with this, but it does tell us that from then on Abraham became a special person [Genesis 17]. The Bible says that he entered into a covenant with God, so he was no longer an ordinary person, an ordinary man; this was a man who was the friend of God. He was in a covenant relationship with God and that meant that everyone in his lineage became a special person, because the promise was made to Abraham and his seed. Now, his son – Isaac – was going to get married, and what did Abraham do? He didn’t say “Isaac, which of the young girls around do you like?” He didn’t say that. He sent his most senior servant to go and get a wife for Isaac, and Eliezar, the servant of Abraham traveled this long journey [Genesis 24], and he (Eliezar) prayed to God; he said: “Please send your angel to guide me, send your angel to guide me to get a wife for my master’s son, Isaac.” Now, why was that so important? Because Isaac was in the covenant, so it mattered who he was going to get married to.
Then, Isaac had these two boys Esau and Jacob. Esau liked the young girls that he saw; he dated those that he liked. Now, let’s see what happened from Genesis 28:1-7: “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother. When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; [Esau heard it, Esau saw that Jacob obeyed his father] And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram;”
Let me take you through it again. I want you to listen to this: Isaac calls his son, Jacob, after he had received the blessing of Abraham, and he said [now, remember at this time, Jacob had received the blessing and Esau had missed the blessing and the Bible does tell us something about Esau – it says that Esau was profane. That you find in the book of Hebrews 12:16; it says that Esau was profane, that means that he didn’t regard spiritual things so including when he wanted to get married, he just did it the way other guys did. But, Isaac was careful about Jacob and he called Jacob to him and said] “I don’t want you to marry from here. Don’t marry the daughters of Canaan”. He told him exactly where to go, he told him exactly which family to go to and the daughters of the particular man, he said: “Go and marry from there”. He gave him specific directions and said “Here is where I want you to go.” Why? Because of the blessing!
And, when he said all of that to him, he said “And the Lord give you this blessing of Abraham to go with you”. That’s so important, and the Bible says that Esau [Jacob’s brother] was watching. He heard it, he heard the instruction [he was already married]. He heard the instructions given to Jacob, and then in verse 7, the bible says: “And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, [Esau saw that Jacob had obeyed his father and went to Padabaram now let’s listen to verse 8]… And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.” [Genesis 28:7-9] He had to add to what he already had because he had married from among the daughters of Canaan and he married two ladies. Now, let me read what the bible says about them in Genesis chapter 26, and from verse 34: “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: [verse 35 says, talking about these two ladies] Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” [Genesis 26:34-35] These wives of Esau were a grief of mind to Esau’s parents – the two of them.
Now, in chapter… I want to show you something here, in chapter 27, reading from verse 46, listen to what Rebekah said: “And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?” [Genesis 27:46] She felt so terrible, and she said, “look, we can’t allow Jacob to make the same mistake – the mistake that was made by Esau,” and that’s why the Bible tells us over where we were reading in chapter 28 and from verse 6, that Esau saw that his father instructed Jacob as to where to go to get married and which particular family to go to get married and that he blessed him with the blessing of Abraham, and he also noted that Jacob obeyed his father and went to where he was sent to get married and he wished he’d changed; he wished he had another chance. So now, what he did was he went [over in verse 9] to the family of Ishmael. He got closer now and got married to…the Bible says, “he took unto the wives which he had [added to the wives which he had] Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son…” That didn’t change anything anyway, because the blessing had already been given to Jacob, and he went again on his own and got the third one.
So, it’s very important that we understand that, for us Christians, we are not supposed to be going around trying to date to find out whether this is right for us. We know what is right first before we say “Okay this is what I am going to do”. So, we need to be guided spiritually; we need to be guided. We must always have the consciousness of our calling in mind; as Jacob was instructed, he had the consciousness of his calling in mind. And, that’s why you would need the Spirit. Now, that’s not to say that it must come from the parents. The reason this was important, coming from the parents, was because Isaac the father of Jacob was the one who had the promise; he had the blessing and he had also been instructed by his father Abraham the same way. The most important here is to have the guidance of God, God’s guidance, spiritual guidance. This is most important and Jacob had that spiritual guidance from Isaac his father; Isaac was a prophet, even though he was Jacob’s father. He was a prophet of God, and that’s important. And, to have spiritual guidance, apart from your knowledge within your spirit which the Holy Spirit guides you, the other person that’s important in your life is your Pastor; that’s important.
Now, it’s not right for a Christian to go looking around for some prophet to guide him about getting married. It’s not even right to go to a Pastor that is not your Pastor, because you know, it’s like just going to any minister of God and say, “I want to get married. Can you give me some spiritual guidance?” He’s not expected to give you spiritual guidance, because he can show you God’s Word, but when it comes to guidance about things that we are not necessarily given exact instruction as to this or that, for example, “Do I take this job? Do I marry this woman? Do I go left or right?”, things like this, you cannot just go to a prophet or a Pastor outside and ask such questions, because these things are given to those that the Lord has brought into your life to guide you through the Word of God on a consistent basis, not just because someone is a spiritual leader somewhere else. Okay.