Great and Godly Marriages
A wife woke up one morning and said, "Honey, I just had a dream that you bought me a new gold necklace. What do you think it means?" "I don't know, but Valentine's Day is coming soon. Tuesday, you'll know," He replied.
A few nights later, she again woke up after having a dream, "This time, I dreamed you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?" "You'll know Tuesday," He replied.
The night before Valentine's Day, she again woke up telling him about her dream, "This time I dreamed that you brought me a diamond necklace. What do you think it means?" "Honey, be patient. "You'll know tonight." he said.
That evening, the husband came home with a package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it--to find a book entitled, "The meaning of dreams."
Valentine's Day has come to mean a lot of things these days. But it is not all about "puppy love." It is about Great and Godly Love. Valentine, the priest who Valentine's Day is named for, was martyred for the great and godly institution of marriage.
The emperor of Rome at the time, Claudius, passed a law banning marriages. His reason was simple. Men would not volunteer to join his Roman army with wives and girlfriends to leave behind. Valentine knew that God instituted the family and His will included great marriages. So, he kept on performing marriage ceremonies – but secretly. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.
One night, he did hear footsteps. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught. He was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Valentine tried to stay cheerful while imprisoned, and many young people came to the jail to visit him—actually performing ceremonies while imprisoned. The jailer's daughter would often visit Valentine in his cell, and they sat and talked for hours. She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies. On the day, Valentine was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, "Love from your Valentine." That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D.
Great and Godly marriages are worth that kind of dedication because Great and Godly marriages are the beginning of Great and Godly families. And Great and Godly families help to keep the world focused on our Great God.
This fact is not unknown to Satan, and that is why he has attempted to sabotage the marriage even from the beginning, driving a wedge in the first couple's relationship. It began in the Garden, and now marriage is under attack in America. We are at a place where we have to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Is the issue really that important? You better believe it! Marriage is on the top of the spiritual priority list—Satan wants to destroy it, God wants his people to preserve it.
Someone once said, "A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it." Well, we know at least some of the ingredients to a Great and Godly marriage. In this Genesis passage, we find four essentials to great and godly marriages: Monogamy, Fidelity, Longevity, and Intimacy.
"So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,'
for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame."
1.) The first essential is MONOGAMY.
a. One man, one woman. There is no place for same-sex marriage and there is no place for polygamy.
You might not think that people are readily trying to have multiple wives, but as time progresses, American culture becomes acceptant of behaviors that were once repugnant to our nation.
Some of the first behaviors to be accepted culturally were adultery [sex outside the bonds of matrimony], cohabitation [an unwed couple living together], and pornography. Originally considered both shameful and illegal, adultery and cohabitation are now widely practiced and accepted both legally and culturally. Pornography is not only legal, but widely popular in every sector of our society.
--Abortion has become widely accepted both culturally and legally. Prior to 1973, many people did not even know what abortion was. Now it is legal and very widely accepted and practiced all across America.
--Prostitution has become viewed less shamefully than it had in the past. And it is even legalized in some parts of our country.
--Homosexuality is now accepted as a normal form of sexuality. First the American Psychiatric Association declared it was no longer a disease. Then the public began to accept it as "normal". And in 2004, the courts said that homosexuals should be allowed to marry one another.
My thinking is that if people are using insurance benefits as a rationalization for homosexual marriage, then what is to stop people from using the same rationalization for polygamist marriages. After all, all the spouses would be covered on a family plan.
b. We often think of the Old Testament men who had more than one wife: Abraham (Sara and Hagar) Jacob (Rachel and Leah), David (Michal and Bathsheba), and Solomon (700 wives and 300 concubines) but just because these men practiced the behavior doesn't mean that God is affirming the behavior. Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife: The Bible reports it but doesn't support it. It describes it but doesn't prescribe it for us. Contrast the first group with the Old Testament saints who preserved the monogamous marriage: Adam and Eve, Noah, Job, Isaac and Rebekah, Moses and Zipporah, Mary and Joseph. One man, one woman, one life. So the first essential for a godly marriage is monogamy.
c. If you will look at the previous verses of our Genesis text, you will see that God had one and only one mate for Adam. Read vs. 18-20. Can you imagine the parade of animals, going by two by two. Adam's not so dense that he can't see what's going on here. He comes to realize that every animal has its mate. But he has no mate. Then after he wakes, there she is! Adam finds that God has made him the mate perfectly suited for him. Just one.
For most everyone here, God has a unique mate for you. If you are married now, just take a look at that person. Yes!, I'm sure that's him. God doesn't promise that our mates will always live up to our every expectation. Both Adam and Eve let each other down when Satan came to tempt.
And our mates will let us down too, but they are chosen for us by God. Remember the beautiful story of how God selected Rebekah for Isaac? It tells us that God brings us together for a wonderful monogamous relationship.
2.)The second essential for a godly marriage is closely related: FIDELITY.
Our Genesis text points out that a man and woman in marriage will become one flesh.
a. Keep your Bibles open at Genesis chapter 2 and go to Hebrews 13.4: "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." The marriage bed is to be undefiled. This means that nobody else is to be in your life sexually—only the spouse. (And in the Gospels, Jesus makes sure that we know that fidelity—even on a mental level—also counts!) If everyone believes that marriage is honorable, then why does our society have such a problem keeping the marriage bed pure? One answer is found in Romans 1—I believe that purity is under attack from those who are refusing God and some can't even see the unrighteousness of it any more. READ Rom. 1.24-29
b. Look again at our text, v. 24. "a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." There is the "leave," then comes "cleave," and becoming one flesh, we can call "weave." Breaking up one woven material certainly comes with a price. Have you ever glued two pieces of construction or craft paper together and then needed to pull them apart again? The pages are so entwined that neither piece remains intact and usable. This is why God says that He hates divorce. It causes so much destruction, that he literally hates it.
--In 1 Corinthians, Paul attempted to explain the high price married couples pay when a partner is unfaithful. 1 Corinthians 6.16 says, ""Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh."
--And in Ephesians 5:28, Paul explains that how we treat our spouse has a boomerang effect on ourselves. "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself."
If married spouses are unfaithful, they risk the destruction of their marriage, their family, and even their own soul.
3)That thought brings us to the third essential: LONGEVITY.
a. How long do you think God meant for you to cleave to your wife? Whether it is a 25-day Hollywood marriage or a 25-year marriage that goes bad, they both are not what God has planned for married couples. God's Word says we are to cleave. Cleave and never leave. That word cleave means "to glue." The couple is glued or stuck together and cannot come apart. Marriage is meant for longevity.
--Romans 7:2 tells us that we are to be bound together until death. Ecclesiastes 5:5 warns us that it's better never to vow than to vow and not live up to the promise.
b. Turn to Matthew 19:3-8. The Pharisees are hitting Jesus with questions about divorce.
Divorce seems to be just as much an issue then as it is now. In order to help those questioning divorce, Jesus, first, asks, "what does the Bible say." He explains that a couple is one flesh, and you really can't separate one flesh. His theology on marriage is simple: God has joined one man and one woman, they become as one. God is the joiner and if what is joined together is separated, it is by the cruel hand of man. God had nothing to do with it.
But the Pharisees want to know the "what if's," and Jesus speaks to that. Didn't Moses tell us that we could divorce? Jesus tells us, that Moses did permit divorce but that was not from God, that was from Moses. But doesn't that still matter? Yes, God gave Moses the privilege as Jesus gave the Apostles to bind on earth and loose on earth. That meant that Moses permitted divorce, but that was not the way God intends things to happen. Divorce needs to be eradicated from the Christian population, and "till death do us part must be upheld.
c. The following letter appeared in the Ann Lander's newspaper column a few years ago. It is a great image of what marital love is like.
"Dear Ann Landers: I'm going to tell you about a love story that I witness every time I go to the nursing home to see my husband who has Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, I know firsthand how this terrible illness affects family members, but I would like the world to know what love really is. I see a man who, I understand, has spent the last eight years caring for his wife who has Alzheimer's. They have been married more than 50 years. He cooks and feeds her every bite of food she eats. He has bathed her and dressed her every day all these years. They have no other family. She lost a baby at birth and they never had any more children. "I cannot describe the tenderness and love that man shows for his wife. She is unable to recognize anyone, including him. The only things she shows any interest in are two baby dolls. They are never out of her hands. "I observed him when I parked my car beside his the other day. He sat in his old pickup truck for a few minutes, then he patted down, what little hair he had, straightened the threadbare collar of his shirt and looked in the mirror for a final check before going in to see his wife. It was as if he were courting her. They have been partners all these years and have seen each other under all kinds of circumstances, yet he carefully groomed himself before he called on his wife, who wouldn't even know him. This is an example of the love and commitment the world needs today."
4.) The last essential I see in our text is that of INTIMACY.
a. "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25).
This verse speaks of intimacy. God designed marriage to be the most intimate of human relationships (even more intimate of that between a mother and a child, I believe). The kind of intimacy we see in the Garden was complete openness and sharing, with the absence of any barrier what so ever. It's not just describing their sexual relation-ship—although that is a major part of the Godly Marriage—Biblical intimacy envelopes the whole person:
--emotional intimacy—closeness that comes through shared feelings
--mental or intellectual intimacy—when a couple has a mutual understanding of who they are and where they're going—life goals
--spiritual intimacy—the couple share beliefs and observe practices together
--recreational intimacy—when you enjoy doing things together
--physical intimacy—when couple share the power of human touch
b. Biblical intimacy is what our Lord uses to describe His desire to be close to us because that is the closest of human interaction. Jesus calls the Church his Bride. And Paul explains this even more in Ephesians 5:22-33: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body."
c. And in 1 Cor. 7 Paul actually addressed that physical intimacy problems some in the congregation were facing. (He was like a Biblical Dr. Phil, I suppose). READ 1 Cor. 7:4–7.
I think two words sum up what Paul is saying here about physical intimacy: AUTHORITY and AGREEMENT. Authority and agreement if kept in balance help a married couple prevent opportunities for weakness. On the other hand, if this is not addressed in your marriage, you have opened your marriage up to Satan's temptations.
A good marriage is really like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it. And you know if you want your marriage to be Great and Godly, it must be filled with large helpings of monogamy, fidelity, longevity, and intimacy.
Do you want your marriage to be great and godly? It takes growth, communication, romance, and especially Jesus Christ. Cultivate your relationships that you can model a Great and Godly marriage for those of who need to see what God has intended for us.
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