Issac & Rebekah’s Story: Proactive or Passive?

Disclaimer: As far as I know, Joshua Harris hasn’t used the following Scripture to justify “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” or courtship. I have seen it used by others.

Scripture Used: Genesis 24 with emphasis on:

Gen 24:63-67:

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65 And she said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah , and she became his wife; and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.


Long before Joshua Harris appeared bringing his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, others taught and promoted doing things in groups over dating. I use the term “promoted” loosely. Sometimes they did more than just “promote” groups.

One favorite scripture to quote was the story of how Isaac found Sarah. Many would quote the above Scripture example and use it state Christian men should be passive about finding their mate. That is they should follow Isaac’s “example” and be “meditating” and God will drop your mate into your lap.

Building Doctrine on a Bible Story?

One thing that always amazed was how they would use this account as a way to build “dating doctrine” or use it as the pattern to find a mate. Just because it happened that way this one time doesn’t mean it should be a pattern or model for everyone to find their spouse.

A good example of this is the story of King Jehoshaphat and Judah’s defense against the Moabites. God’s answer in this case was to go out with praise and singing. Most of the time God’s instruction to Israel was to go out and fight (knowing that God was helping them etc). See Deuteronomy 20:10 and Joshua 9:2 for examples of where God specifically mentioned he expected Israel to fight. It would be quite incorrect to use the Jehoshaphat story as the only approach when adversity happens.

Thus we need to be careful about using a particular story as a pattern to follow.

A Passive Story?

Even if one could argue that Isaac’s story should be a pattern, I would question how this same story shows we should be passive in looking for a mate.

Sure, Isaac was in a field meditating when God brought him his mate but Abraham was very purposeful and ambitious in getting a wife for his son. Other people have commented on that same passage described it as being very driven vs. passive as some read it.

We no longer have fathers who will send their servant out to find us a mate. Doctrine could be built using the same story and give the following steps:

  • Know when it is time to find a spouse.
  • Go to where God’s people are (Church/Singles Events)
  • Ask God to show me who my spouse is to be.

Again I question building a doctrine from one event that happened in the Old Testament but I use this to shows how this same passage could be interpreted quite differently than how some use it. I question the “sitting in a field and meditate” mentality some will promote. This same story could be used to show that we should be “driven” in our quest to find a mate vs. “passive” as some claim it shows.



Return to Main Page


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Issac & Rebekah’s Story: Proactive or Passive?”

  1. Homeschool Mom Says:

    Would you want to be Isaac in his marriage to Rebekah? She was one very manipulative and deceptive woman!!!

  2. steve240 Says:

    Homeschool Mom

    Welcome to my blog.

    My focus here wasn’t on how the couple met vs. their life after they married.

    If she was manipulative, it is interesting how so many courtship and ikdg advocates used that story as an “example” to try and show how passive one should be in finding their mate.

    The only manipulative account that I know of Rebekah is how she helped Jacob deceive Isaac so that Isaac thought Jacob was Esau and gave Esau the inheritance. Not sure what that point has to do with this discussion.

  3. SavvyD Says:

    For how spiritually it started, it didn’t end so well!! That’s the premise of my blog entry Biblical Ways of Knowing She’s the One. It’s a marry romp through the Bible…
    Please have a read!!!

  4. DB Says:

    There is some speculation that Isaac may have been mentally challenged.

    If you read these passages with that in the back of your mind, some things start making sense.

    And I wouldn’t be so hard on Rebekah, there weren’t many legit. ways for women to influence their environment in those days. Sarah was not the nicest woman in the world, either, but if you look at the men (and don’t you love the way the Bible is honest about these people,) the women were just fine by comparison.

  5. SavvyD Says:

    Well, DB, that’s why the angle of my writing was injected with humor. 😉

  6. Ryan Says:

    Another interesting thought: Abraham’s servant went to a DISTANT land to find a wife for Isaac. That would almost go against the common idea of finding a wife within your own church. Depending on what church you go to, you may not be afforded such a luxury.

  7. Maranatha Ministries Reconsidered – Steve240’s New Blog | The Wartburg Watch 2016 Says:

    […] and it assumed that finding a wife was done passively. I have a blog entry on this type of teaching here. I question how one can assume that how Abraham found a wife for Isaac was the God ordained way of […]

  8. Shari Says:

    I’ve definitely heard this passage used to justify waiting for “the one” that God has chosen for us.

    It’s actually a very dangerous way to approach finding a partner, in my opinion. If you’re to wait, does that mean you take the first person who comes along that, on paper, appears to be a “proper” match? The things that inexperienced young people are taught to look for are actually extremely easy to fake (for a time). Actively looking and actively getting to know someone and what healthy relationship dynamics are without… these aren’t failsafes but they go a long ways towards protecting people from marriages they shouldn’t be in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: