The text for this lesson is Genesis 24
- God commands that we honor marriage and family. He also offers the blessings of forgiveness and salvation to those who are married, and everyone, through the marriage of Christ and His Bride, the Church.
- Law: Manifestations of sin against the Sixth Commandment are shown in thought, word, and deed by failing to appreciate God’s gift of marriage and by engaging in sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, adultery, use of pornography, and the like. I, too, fail to use my sexuality in ways that please God.
- Gospel: God blessed Isaac with a suitable wife, and He blesses me through His Son, Jesus, who on my behalf resisted temptation to abuse sexuality and then took the punishment for my sins on the cross.
- God poured out His grace and mercy upon Abraham and Sarah, blessing them in old age with a son. Abraham was one hundred when Sarah gave birth. Sarah was overcome with laughter at the event. The child’s name, Isaac, means “he laughs.” However, parenthood was not entirely joyful for Abraham and Sarah. Sarah scorned the child of Abraham and Hagar, her maidservant. She demanded that Abraham send Ishmael and his mother away. With a sad heart, Abraham did exactly that. Later, God demanded that Abraham offer Isaac as a sacrifice to Him. Although Abraham was willing to do so, God stayed his hand and provided a ram instead. Years passed. Sarah died. Isaac grew up, and Abraham’s attention turned to finding a wife for his son.
God created humans as sexual beings and blesses that union within the confines of marriage for the mutual joy of husband and wife and, the Lord willing, the procreation of children. The emotional and spiritual bonds and responsibilities that come with raising children are intended to be present along with a firm commitment to marriage and accountability to God. When enjoyed according to God’s design, sexuality is an excellent aspect of marriage and serves to strengthen the relationship. God also blesses humans with chastity when conditions or situations require it.
Used sinfully, sexuality is a source of tremendous and far-reaching trouble. We see two stark examples of this trouble in the chapters leading up to the account of Isaac and Rebekah. Albeit with his wife’s blessing, Abram fathered Ishmael with another woman, Hagar. Hagar’s pregnancy became a source of contention between Abram and Sarai. Eventually, at Sarai’s request, Abram sent Hagar and Ishmael away, an act that brought heartache for Abram and calamity for Hagar and Ishmael. In Genesis 19, we read of perverse sexuality among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities God destroyed with burning sulfur.
Abraham wanted better for his son Isaac. So, he sent his servant to find a wife from Abraham’s own people instead of from the Canaanites. Abraham’s action demonstrates his desire that Isaac be married and be blessed with sexuality in a God-pleasing fashion. What’s more, Abraham’s servant demonstrated honor for God’s design of the family by offering respect to Laban and Bethuel, members of Rebekah’s family. He also decorated Rebekah with precious gifts from Abraham. Rebekah agreed to be Isaac’s wife and returned with Abraham’s servant. By the actions of Abraham, his servant, and Rebekah, we see what blessings can come from receiving the Lord’s gifts of marriage, sexuality, and family in a God-pleasing manner.
As a human being, Jesus experienced every temptation that accompanies sexuality in a sinful world—temptations of thought, word, and deed. Sinless and yet living among sinners, Jesus was surrounded by those who encouraged Him toward sexual disobedience. Despite it all, Jesus remained absolutely pure. He offered himself as the pure, blameless, unadulterated sacrifice to reconcile sinners to God. And in Jesus, we have the perfect image of marriage. Christ is the Groom; the Church, His Bride. Through Baptism, the Groom vests and decorates His Bride in His death and resurrection, presenting her before God in heaven.