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Isaiah 56: 1-12
Isaiah 55: 1-13
Isaiah 54: 1 - 17
Isaiah 52: 13 - 53: 12
God’s Lessons on Marriage
The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,
“ This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
(Genesis 2:20-24 NASB)
With these words we see not only the creation of woman, a helper suitable (not lesser) to man’s opposite, but the institution of the covenant of marriage. Above all else we see that God’s intentions for this institution was to create something lasting in that the two became one, and yet many today, even in the church, have lost site of the purpose of marriage. Rather than a beautiful union that honors God it has become something for the pleasure of the individual, and rather than a lifelong covenant it for many has become a relationship of convenience, but what does God say.
It’s not good for the man to be alone
This does not mean that God created something imperfect within man, but that for every other creature there was an opposite, a compliment. For man there was not. There was no community to which he could belong, there was no creation that had his capacities. This was something needed. We inherently understand this, but you see this was not merely something for gratification. The woman was not created merely for her physical beauty, nor as an object for his desire. She provided something for him that could not be found had God made another man nor in any other aspect of His creation.
Marriage is meant to make us better. Perhaps that’s why it is a qualification for both leadership and for those special servants of the congregation known as deacons. But in looking at those qualifications given by the Apostle in 1 Timothy 3:1 and following and in Titus 1:5-9 we see that the marriage shapes the man. It shapes him as a leader, and as one who cares for those who need him. It prepares a man to be a shepherd.
Too often today Marriage is thought of in terms of what makes me happy, but a marriage that appropriately honors God brings about the growth of the individual.
Marriage helps us to understand Unity
In that the two became one, they were joined together in compliment. Adam accepted her as something to be cared for and cherished in naming her woman. He did not think of her as less than man nor did he think of her as the same. She was something entirely unique, and because of her attributes they were made one.
The thing about this unity is that it is no different from the kind of unity we see in the Church. When the Apostle Paul Describes the Church in Ephesians 4 it is a body that causes itself to grow into the the image of Christ. The growth happens as each part brings to the body its strength. Going back to Ephesians 2 he discusses how two races at enmity with each other were both brought into the household of God by becoming one as the wall that divided them was torn down in Christ.
The imagery here is two things that were separate becoming one. The are bound together in the bonds of unity that are expressed in Ephesians 4:1-5, bonds meant to make them stronger and more worthy of their relationship with Christ. Is this not the sentiment of the wise writer in Ecclesiastes 4:7-12?
We are stronger together when we serve the other part. A marriage is built in just such a way. That’s what we should see in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 when Paul wrote about the obligations of husbands and wives. It is not that one is elevated above the other but that each serves the other with their strength so that union is stronger and honors God by keeping itself free from Sin.
Marriage Helps us to see ourselves as God sees us.
Marriage is the perfect allegory for Christ and the Church. We see in passages like Ephesians 5 and Revelation 21 that she is described as His bride. Not just any bride but one washed with pure water and redeemed with a price. God sees us as something worth making sacrifice for. He desired to be one with us, and so we became the bride chosen for His son. This is an everlasting covenant. A covenant unbreakable because God’s love and the Love of His Son stand as a sure pledge. (Romans 8:26-38)
Should not our marriages reflect this same commitment. In that we take our spouses as our own forsaking any other we make a pledge to them. We say that they are worthy of our best and our strength and we should honor that pledge everyday. When our love for them weakens we should not turn to another, but we should serve them more.
Too often in our society marriage ends in a race to see who can have the right to marry another rather than taking to heart the words of Jesus from Matthew 19:6 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Marriage should not be so disposable that we seek its dissolution over a trivial offense, but when it is at it’s weakest, it deserves our strength. In this is God’s great lesson on love.