"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
After six years my wife and I have seen, felt, heard, and dealt first hand with many of the elements you could possibly run into as a couple. From personal conflict to family challenges, we have braved the good days and storms together. Marriage has only one identity and rightful definition. That definition is formed by none other than the Word of God itself. The book of Genesis itself gives us more than enough proof as to how to define the formal union of one man and woman. Among the books of the Bible you will also find among the Gospel, many examples of how a marriage union should bring a man and his wife together as one. Marriage is the perfect picture of the union of Christ the bridegroom and His church the bride. Along with that perfect picture are the perfect portrayals of our relationship with Christ. Much like Jesus is let down, there will be times we feel let down by our spouses just as we will feel as if we are also very blessed to have our spouse.
Abraham and Sarah acted outside of God’s will. God tells them both that they will conceive a promise child and instead of staying in fervent prayer and giving it all their effort, they act outside of God’s will by taking matters into their own hands. Abraham has a child outside of marriage and now is faced with a jealous spouse having to handle the “side family”. The people that wind up hurt in this situation are Ishmael and Hagar, who are forced out the camp into the wilderness. Try that today outside your marriage. You would end up in DSS court paying support and fighting for visitation rights to ever see your kid again. Tell me how well that would work in the dynamics of a marriage with the remaining spouse. Joseph and Mary weren’t very wealthy, not to mention she was with child during their engagement. This was even though she was a proclaimed “virgin”. The financial issues alone would have provided enough turbulence for many couples today not to make it, but add the allegations of cheating and that would have surely meant the breaking off on their engagement for the 21st century marriage. Rachel and Leah had to share Jacob. Before you think it sounds like a good plan to have more than one wife, consider the aspect of sibling rivalry. This marriage was hinted at as having internal turmoil that constantly resulted in heated exchanges and resulted in a “baby war”. I have difficulty finding the income to raise two kids in today’s world; I surely wouldn’t be able to handle twelve boys and two wives. Most of the arguments me and my wife have gotten into the last few years have been the result of a disagreement on how to handle a situation involving our kids. How would twelve boys and additional daughters complicate the potential for conflict on the home front?
Love is not always a perfect story, but it is always beautiful. This relationship between a man and woman paints the most awesome portrait of how our own relationships are with Christ. While He may be our bridegroom, we (the church) are the sought-after bride. Sometimes, like many sought-after brides we make it difficult to be caught. As God pursues our hearts, we turn a blind eye to his unconditional love. Even though we know deep down what is best for us, we reject His love on account of our own selfishness. Marriage requires self-less commitment. In today’s society, we are taught that above all things we should seek out personal happiness. However, our personal happiness could cause us to perish. Personal happiness is often driven by self-indulged pleasures of the world. Most self-indulged pleasures are also self-destructive as they are centered in sin. The wages of sin are death. Sin feels good for the moment, but enables the enemy to sneak in our lives slowly causing us to perish. For this very reason, God has chosen the union between the man and woman to be that example of the perfect love of Christ. Thank God for the passion and love that my wife has for me. She has been the best example of Christ like love that I have ever witnessed.
Even though there are times when we will face the hard choices of responsibility in our relationships, we are tasked with the commitment of our vows to keep our relationship with God in unity. Marriage can often get ugly and dirty. As we read in Hosea 1-3, we see a story of unconditional love and forgiveness. Hosea’s wife had committed adultery, prostituted herself, and walked out on her family. Despite the sins she had committed against her household, Hosea saw her as his hurting wife. He was willing to obey God and forgive her of those sins. Do we as God’s people love the way that God commands us? Do we hold ourselves accountable to the same standards of love that we expect from our God? How many times do we intend on walking down to the whorehouse of idols (money, relationships, drugs, etc.) to have our way and expect God to take us back when we are done lavishing in the pleasures of this world rather than the loving arms of Christ? There is one truth and answer to all of this. No matter how much or how far we dive into the self-indulging sins of our flesh, we will never fill the void where God belongs. We can only fill that void by surrendering our hearts to God. We may not be the unconditional loving follower of Christ that many Christians expect us to be, but we become a little more a like Him every day that passes. Things may get tough and the road may become bumpy for a while. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). I pray that you will find it in your heart to also serve the Lord. Let SCM help you find that way today! If you are lost and without a personal relationship with Christ: click here.
Hosea 3 (ESV)
Hosea Redeems His Wife
3 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech[a] of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.