September 20, 2014.
“And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
My best friend got married today, and I am very happy for he and his new wife as they start their new journey together. He is honestly one of the best guys I have ever known. This is a very exciting time in their lives as there will come many new and wonderful experiences, along with undoubted trials that they will have to rely on God and each other to get through. Marriage is such a beautiful thing to me- the trust and commitment on which it must be based is an experience like no other. I cannot say that I speak from experience, but I can speak from general truths and from the word of God. Unfortunately, the society we live in today has utterly marred the idea of marriage and twisted it into something that it was never meant to be, something that often means next to nothing to many people who throw it on and off without a second thought. When marriage is not treated with the proper respect and awe that it deserves, then it deviates from the plan of God. I could harp on the society we live in today, but quite honestly what we do today to mar the very image of marriage is nothing new. Even amongst the children of Israel, God had to allow for a certificate of divorce because of the ‘hardness of their hearts,’ Jesus says. But from the beginning it was not so, nor is it the will of God to separate what he has joined together.
Did you fully grasp that? What God has joined together. When we commit to marriage in this life, the husband and wife become one flesh in the sight of God. They are joined together and are no longer separate. God joined them together. I don’t know how that speaks to you, but to me that expresses so much importance and demands respect and responsibility. Yet we often look at marriage as something we can try, and if we don’t like it we can just throw away and try a new one. I know that this might be a hard teaching, but that is not pleasing to the Lord. But I want to focus on the positive today, for today is a happy day in the life of these two wonderful people; perhaps I will talk about the hard stuff later.
Marriage is the gift of God. In the garden of eden, when God man Adam, he saw that it was not good for man to be alone, so we mad him a strong helper to be with him, her name Eve, and thus set forth the principle of marriage from the beginning. Though Jesus says that there will be no giving in marriage in the resurrection, I would imagine this is because there will be a unity of all believers that is somehow even closer than the union of man and woman in marriage (though I cannot say that this is definitely the reason). Marriage is pure and holy in the sight of the Lord, and it is a crucial representation of the love of God though man and woman, as the union of Christ and the church is symbolized through marriage. The church is the bride of Christ, prepared for her husband.
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
John’s last chapters in his writing of the revelation he received from God give perhaps the most striking visual images of heaven that can almost bring you to tears of joy when you read through and imagine what it will be like. The holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven, as a bride prepared for her husband. What a sight! The advisory will be eternally destroyed and the sons of God will dwell in His presence forever. Hallelujah! The church is depicted as the bride of Christ, and our marriages should ultimately represent this union of Christ and the church.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
I want you to read that passage again, because Paul says it better than I can even try to put it into words. Marriage is about commitment and loyalty- a trust that I believe is beyond any other on this earth (except perhaps the trust between a child and his or her parent). It should be kept holy and pure, forever abiding in the love of God and trusting in His name. Without God, marriage falls apart (for it is God who joins together). Oh how wonderful it is to commit to another person in a manner that echoes Christ’s commitment for us. I honestly cannot describe how beautiful this is to me. I am happy for my two friends and hope to one day share in this commitment, along with all it’s joys and struggles, with someone as they have. I pray that the hand of God ever be before them, leading them as they continue pursue one another.
Suggested Daily Reading: Genesis 2, Mark 10, Revelation 19, 21.
What God has joined together, let no man separate.