Day 16 Becoming the Bride
Today was her 19th birthday. Sarah, the 13-year-old girl who had signed a marriage covenant with Jacob, the 15-year-old boy, had grown up and was in many ways, a completely different person. Sarah had been waiting for her groom for 6 years…she thought he would come at least by the time she was 17. It was almost 7 years after they signed the Covenant contract and he had not yet come to get her as his wife. Sarah wondered…”I’ve changed so much, is Jacob the same person I loved as a child? Will he love who I have grown to become? Why was he taking so long?”
The Heavy Price Jacob Paid For His Bride
Sarah did not realize the extreme “price of the bride” Jacob agreed to pay. She knew the Ketubah said 3 years wages; however, the amount of wages were equal to that of Jacob’s current job as manager of his father’s business; double the wages of a regular laborer or indentured servant.
Jacob’s father required he work in the family business as a laborer to pay “the price of the bride” for two reasons.
- First, the extreme price would ensure Jacob’s faithfulness to Sarah. Jacob’s father felt a big personal investment in his marriage would create a deep commitment.
- Second Jacob would understand the challenges of a common worker first hand. This would help Jacob to be a genuine and compassionate leader.
Thus the 3 years turned to 6 as Jacob worked in his father’s rock quarry to secure Sarah as his wife.
When Jacob left Sarah at the Covenant contract signing he told her, “Sarah, no matter how long it takes, do not worry, I am going away prepare a place for you in my Father’s house. When it is ready I will come for you.” Now almost 7 years later, “the price of the bride” was paid and Jacob was able to prepare their bridal chamber. The place where he and Sarah would spend their 7 day Honeymoon, be completely and wonderfully alone and consummate their long awaited marriage. It must be perfect for her; his heart swelled with love. When Jacob’s father felt the chamber was fully prepared, he would tell Jacob – go get your bride; it is time for the marriage supper.
Jacob Prepared for the Wedding, but Sarah Prepared for the Marriage
Sarah did not know how much she needed those 7 years to prepare to be Jacob’s wife. Hannah, the maid Jacob left to assist Sarah had been diligent to train Sarah to be a woman of virtue. It was important for her husband to have full confidence and lack nothing of value.
Every task Sarah learned revolved around one concept…Stewardship. Sarah was going from her birth family, a family of laborers to Jacob’s family, a family of owners and managers. Sarah must learn to properly manage her husband’s affairs and learn to bring profit to their home. Sarah must also learn honor, a quality that was in her heart but not modeled in her home.
Learning the Skill of Stewardship
Hannah taught Sarah to go to the market and choose the best wool. They spent time with sheep shearers and learned how to choose sheep that would produce good wool. Hannah and Sarah also spent time with farmers who grew flax and learned how to grow an excellent crop for spinning into fiber to create linen.
An entire year was spent learning the art of spinning thread and learning how to weave beautiful cloth. All these costly lessons were provided by Jacob’s father as part of his generous price; full access of a wife to all his father’s resources. During this time Sarah learned to make beautiful clothing, bed coverings and linens. She was a busy girl.
Another year was spent learning about the buying and selling of land, planting vineyards and crops and learning to market her wares.
Sarah’s family was blessed by her training. Sarah must learn to manage staff, so a cook and a housemaid were provided for her parents’ home. Sarah learned to work with the servants to create food, clothing and a comfortable home for her family.
Caring for her household was not the only lesson; Sarah and Hannah regularly went to the poor with the extra food and clothing Sarah and her servants had created. Sarah became a strong and confident woman as she excelled in these life skills. Sarah’s natural love for people, joyful attitude and kindness made her a gracious manager; a compliment to her future husband.
The villagers spiteful remarks and questions about Jacob’s choosing Sarah as his wife began to cease. The community witnessed the transformation from teenager to Bride. They saw Sarah go from crippled useless girl to talented, strong and confident woman. Their gossip turned to approval and she was known in the region for her Fear of The Lord, her wisdom and her diligence.
Becoming a Woman of Honor
Sarah enjoyed the tasks. She seemed to feel taller and physically stronger with every new skill. But the lessons of Honor were more difficult. Sarah had grown up very much dishonored by the public, protected by her family from gossips and cruel talk. While she was not a dishonorable person in her heart, Sarah watched her mother, bitter over her daughter’s disability, dishonor God, her father and every other authority. “Don’t pay attention to her” Sarah’s father would say when her mother spewed her bitter gal. Hannah saw some of her mother’s bitterness in sweet Sarah and was determined to expose it and clean it out. Dishonor was not a part of Sarah’s covenant with Jacob.
Sarah’s dishonor did not come out in impurity or unfaithfulness. She did not worship other Gods or even have her heart set on temporal things; drunkenness and partying was not part of Sarah’s character.
Perfect as Sarah appeared, she did have one ugly trait that reared it’s head daily; resentment. Sarah had learned this well from her mother. Resentment boiled inside Sarah and usually came out in quiet stubbornness, but on occasion it would erupt in fits of rage and deep in Sarah’s heart were secret selfish ambitions, fears of needing to take care of herself, fears of rejection; in many ways Sarah was still in covenant with herself. She had learned to manipulate people very well in a sweet and sneaky way. These flaws had to go and Hannah had a way of exposing them and helping Sarah to develop a gentle and quiet spirit.
“My child”, Hannah said to Sarah after an emotional breakdown between Sarah and her mother. “Why are you allowing your heart to be filled with resentment? Your mother does not determine your future. She cannot stop the beauty of your covenant with Jacob.”
Hannah continued, “What is it you are afraid of Sarah? Do you not know how much Jacob loves you? Look around you. Look at the skills you have learned, the home you have created, the food on your table. Look at your reputation that goes beyond the village into the entire region. Do you not realize you have these things because of Jacob’s goodness and favor to you? What are you afraid of?”
Slowly, over the years, Sarah began to exchange the identity she had taken on, one of a crippled useless girl, even scorned by God himself and took on the new identity of her covenant partner, cherished, loved and secure.
Sarah traded her resentment, selfish ambition and fear for love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, goodness, faith and self-control. As these characteristics took over her heart she watched her mother’s bitter resentment slowly fade as well.
Sarah was becoming a woman of virtue and a woman of honor and a worthy bride indeed.
Becoming the Bride of Christ
We are called to be people of virtue and honor as well. Whether you are a man or woman we are Stewards of everything God our Father has provided through our Covenant Partner, Jesus Christ. Diligence, Wisdom and The Fear of The Lord are the marks of a good Steward.
Webster defines stewardship as
“the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”
We are Stewards of the gifts, talents and calling in our lives. We are Stewards of the people God brings our way and most of all Stewards of our own hearts. When we entered into Covenant with the Lord Jesus, we became Stewards of all He owns.
Preparing Ourselves as The Bride of Christ
Stewardship has to do with identity. Galatians 5: 16-26 tells us how to exchange our identity:
v16 “Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the old sinful nature.”
We each have the ability renounce the acts of the flesh
v 21 says that “those who “practice” these things (of the flesh) will not inherit the kingdom of God….Sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy and drunkenness and orgies.”
Does that mean we have to be perfect? No! However, there is a great difference between making a “mistake” and falling back into an old habit and treasuring a way of life and refusing to give it up. When we renounce these things we must receive what God has for us, we must Exchange our old ways for his better ways.
We each have the ability to receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit
The fruit or evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. V25 since we “live by the Spirit” (are in covenant), let us keep in step with the Spirit (exchange identity).
Like Sarah this exchange may take time; even years, but it is possible. Just as Sarah had Hannah to train her to be a woman of virtue and honor and teach her the lessons of Stewardship, the Holy Spirit will be there to guide you, to teach you and to comfort and counsel you. The quicker we recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit and the more intention we give to exchanging our old nature for God’s nature, the more quickly we reflect that exchange in our life and begin to live as The Bride of Christ.
About the Author: Celeste Davis, is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ with a heart to walk fully in Covenant with Him. As Founder of The Wellness Workshop, Celeste’s heart is to teach women and impact their families to “Be Nourished” as opposed to dieting or trying different life strategies. We nourish our bodies with God-Made Food, our Souls with God-Made Relationships and our Spirits with the Word of God and Prayer. More Info about Celeste