Read Genesis 26:34-35
Last post we saw Isaac’s example of persistence as he dug well after well until he finally found one that worked. Now in verses 34-35 we see that while Isaac was out digging wells, Esau was out taking wives. At the age of forty Esau married two Canaanite women. Unfortunately Esau’s choice of wives wasn’t the best. “They were Canaanites,” you might be saying. “So what’s the big deal?” Good question. I think the issue is the cultural background that they grew up in. There are 139 references to the idols, the pagan gods worshipped by the Canaanites. Their culture is one of paganism, it’s a culture where there’s no room for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God Yahweh. The One who gave Abraham the promise of the Messiah, the One who delivered Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah, the One who fulfilled His promise to Abraham, the promise that Sarah would give birth to Esau’s father well after her child bearing years.
Esau’s parents, Isaac, the one who builds altars to the LORD (Genesis 26: 25), the one who prays in the field seeking God’s best (Genesis 24:63), and Rebekah who followed God’s direction to go with Abraham’s servant to begin a new life, were heart broken and grieved.
Interestingly, as I write this post I’m experiencing the opposite of what Isaac and Rebekah did with Esau. I’m in a waiting room at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital where my nine month old grandson Andrew is recovering from a radical skull reconstruction surgery. His surgeon actually removed the front half of his skull, cut it up into puzzle pieces, then rearranged the pieces to correct a deformity. It’s radical. It’s also emotional. Andrew looks like he just went twelve rounds with Manny Pacquiao. It’s very difficult to watch a nine month old baby in pain to the point where he doesn’t want to be touched. Besides which we’re all sleep deprived and travel weary — we even rub on each other just a bit, on occasion. But unlike Esau, my son Gabe made a great choice when he married his wife Charise and we’ve been reaping the benefits of that choice over the last week (as well as over the last nine years since they’ve been married). What a blessing it’s been. What a blessing it has been for Kathy and I, Gabe, Charise, and Andrew, and Charise’s parents Terry and Susan to have Jesus in common during this difficult time. We’ve prayed over Andrew together, enjoyed discussions about the LORD together, and have just appreciated each other in Christ centered fellowship. We’re tremendously blessed by Gabe and Charise’s decision to be equally yoked.
Jesus tells us that we’re to love on people. He also tells us that we’re to be of the world but not in the world. (Matthew 22:39, John 17) Except for a very few of us who might be called to a monastic lifestyle, we’re not to isolate ourselves from people outside of our faith. You can’t love on the people of the world if you’re not engaged with the people of the world.
So we’re to help people, love on people, witness to people who are on life paths that are of the world. You can and should show the LORD’s love to people of the world as their paths come near or intersect with yours.
But, if you’re yoked with someone on a worldly life path, it’s inevitable that you’ll be drug off the LORD’s path at some point. It’s just a matter of time until the yoke that you share will pull you off course, off the path that God has in mind for you and onto a different path, a worldly path.
Jesus said that, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:19) So it’s clear that we’re not of this world. Over the years I’ve observed Christians who attempt to live as a part of the world and they’re life experience is miserable at worst and mediocre at best. You’ll be blessed if you recognize that you do not belong to the world. These aren’t my words but Jesus’.
So even though we’re to love the people of the world, we’re not to yoke ourselves to those of the world. (for those already unequally yoked see 1 Corinthians 7:12-24) Marriage is yoking. Esau yoked himself to wives who were of the world and it grieved Isaac and Rebekah. Yoking yourself to an unbeliever will always cause you grief. Yoking yourself to a believer ultimately results in greater blessings.
I’m watching those blessings unfold right in front of me, right now, here at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Don’t miss out. Paul put it very candidly when he said, Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
In other words:
Yoke yourself with people who are also of Christ.
Yoke yourself with those who follow Him.
Yoke yourself with others who love Jesus.
If you do you’ll find that God’s spirit will dwell with you and walk among you.
You’ll be blessed.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16
When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.