Will You Marry Me?

 

biblical design for marriage

Pastor Gernan preaching on the biblical design of marriage

Marriage is a beautiful thing.

It is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to man.

But, it is truly beautiful when it operates as God intended it to be. Marriages do not run on auto-pilot; they require attention and hard work. There are so many things to learn about it as we go through the various life phases. If single, and planning to get married someday, Biblical truths are needed to help make wise decisions. If married already, one needs to know these in order to enhance, to enjoy, to guard, and to value the relationship with the spouse. On the other hand, if you have no plan to get married you still need to know this, in order to minister others.

Based on an article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last March 27, 2011, the rate of marital annulments for the last 10 years was at an alarming 40%! That translates to about 22 annulment cases being filed daily. That to me, is very alarming! So, what went wrong? I’m sure this is not how God intended it to be. Again, marriage is a beautiful thing. I have been married for 11,781 days and 9 1/2 hours but I would say I’m still learning, for there are still a lot of things I have yet to learn. As husband and wife, Marissa and I are also still learning.  Today, we are “co-learners” with you.

Many say that in romantic relationships, there are 4 kinds of rings:

 

  1. Promise ring (pre-engagement)

  2. Engagement ring (promise to marry)

  3. Wedding ring (marital commitment)

  4. “Suffer-ring” (enduring trials and hardships)

 

Today, we endeavor to break that cycle and alternatively replace them with the promise ring, engagement ring, wedding ring and “fulfillment” ring.

 

 

Into the Word   

 

So, let’s see what the Word of God has to say from Genesis 2:18-24,

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature,that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam[a] no suitable helper was found. 21 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. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he 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,’
for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 

Contextual Background

 The setting was the Garden of Eden. Sin had yet to enter the world. If you read through the first chapter of Genesis, you see that God had just finished the work of creation. As He evaluated his work, He announced that it was good!  Everything He created was good!

And then in Genesis 2:18…we read something different, the Lord said, “It is not good for man to be alone…” God saw that even though Adam lived in paradise, he was lonely.  Adam was then the king of creation yet something was lacking. Eden,in all its perfection was inadequate to satisfy his emptiness within. From this, we delve into three Biblical truths about marriage. These are important for us to learn in order to value our marriage.

 

  1. MARRIAGE ORIGINATES FROM GOD, v.18a.

“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone…’”

The most foundational thing we see from the bible about marriage is that it is God’s doing. It originates from God Himself. Marriage came before the church…it came before the government. Marriage is…

 

  • It is God’s idea.

It is God-given, God-planned, and God-ordained. It is therefore, a good thing in spite of all the struggles and sacrifices it entails. It isn’t all happiness.  There are many problems. We must realize however, that problems are temporary. In spite of all the pain and heartaches, marriage is a good thing and its goodness will always stand because God authored it. What we have to do is to go back to the author of marriage and follow the owner’s manual.

There will always be differences because God has made us unique individuals. There will always be different mindsets and different ways of doing things. Constantly remember that married couples were joined by God. Therefore, God will always be there to help you iron things out. Marriage has great challenges but it can also be a great blessing if done in God’s way.

  • It is God’s design.

His Word provides us the principles we need for a satisfying marriage. Since God designed marriage, it takes three to make a good marriage: God, the man and the woman. And your marriage should reflect…the character, purpose and intention of God.

  • It should reflect the character of God.

God is Holy. Holiness means “sacred, set-apart.” Set apart from evil, wickedness, etc. If you are married today, your marriage should reflect sacredness, holiness in your relationship. You do not fool around because your spouse is your only one! You give full love, loyalty, truthfulness to your spouse because that is consistent with the character of God. If you are single today and you plan to get married someday, keep yourself pure and remain pure. Your decision today will make a great impact tomorrow.

Another character of God is being loving and caring. When was the last time you showed affection, kissed or said I love you to your wife? It adds not only sweetness, it also adds value to your relationship.

  • It should reflect the purpose and intention of God, Gen. 1:27.

In verse 27, we see the design/intention,

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

The original design of God for marriage is for male and female. That’s the design. Let us not move away from what God designed marriage to be. Today’s norm would say, as long as we love each other…it’s okay. As long as we don’t hurt anybody or step on anyone else…it’s okay. But that is not what God said. No! That is not according to God’s design. When that happens, there will be troubles. There will be no blessing from God. It is not in line with God’s marriage.

The problem is we insist on what we want and are in effect saying,

“Lord, you are wrong! I love him/her!”

Whenever we veer away from the design and purpose of God for marriage, we get into trouble.

2. MARRIAGE IS ORCHESTRATED BY GOD, vv.18-23.

 

  • God planned a bride for Adam, 18b.

 

It was God from the beginning. God planned a bride for Adam. Read v. 18b,

 

“I will make a suitable helper for him.”

 

God decided to make a suitable helper for Adam. I want to clarify the word “helper” here. The word is not intended to be demeaning. It does not refer to someone who cleans the house, prepares the meals, washes the clothes and dishes. No, it’s not! In the Old Testament,  the word “helper” is used of God Himself as a “helper.”

In Ps. 46:1,

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

It literally means someone who supplies what is lacking in another person. In other versions the word is “complement” (one who will enhance your mate). In other words, God created Eve to do what Adam could not do by himself. That is why God designed the marriage relationship. Husband and wife both need each other. Each of us need someone to share life with. We need someone to talk to, to listen to. Marriage is meant to be a shared companionship between husband and wife. As they walk through life side by side, hand in hand, they share everything together.

Recite Gen. 2:18…Don’t miss that central truth and all important statement.

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

  • First insight: God Himself will make a being perfectly suited for you.

      God made Adam out of the dust (Gen. 2:7).Why didn’t God make Eve out of the dust? Why did God make her from Adam’s rib? I believe God wanted to show Adam that his wife was part of him and equal to him. She was taken from his side so that he would protect her and keep her close to his heart. Not only that…

  • God provided a bride for Adam, 19-21.

 Read Genesis 2:19-21

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature,that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 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.

Have you noticed a sudden interruption in the verses that followed? What was God’s purpose? God was preparing him for marriage. He was teaching him to be a leader and a lover. God brought all the animals to Adam to name each one of them – giraffe, gorilla, pig, crocodile… and the list goes on.  Adam named them one by one. But still, verse 20 says, “…no suitable helper was found.”

Verses 21-22, “So the Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and 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.”

God caused the man into a deep sleep. This means that it was not Adam who finds his mate, but God Himself. The Lord orchestrated everything. And so God performed the first surgery. Adam’s deep loneliness was perfectly addressed by a woman created by God. It was God who provided Adam’s bride. Eve was the perfect will of God for Adam and Adam was perfect for Eve.

  • Second insight: God can be trusted to provide the right mate at the right time.

“You don’t give your heart to anyone. Give your heart to God first.”     -Atty. Aldwin Salumbides, broadcaster 702 DZAS.

  1. For the single men/women: Are you worrying about your future mate? Regardless of your age, the Lord can be trusted. He provides the right mate at the right time.

 

  • God presented a bride for Adam, vv.22-23.

From verses 22-23,

“The man said, ‘This is now the 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.”

This was the first “boy meets girl” story ever in history. It was a celebration for Adam. Verse 23 is a poetic exclamation in Hebrew (admiration, excitement). The first 3 words “This is now” actually means “This is it.”   It’s like – Wow! She’s the one! Finally, thank you, Lord! Imagine this scene:  Adam was elated to see someone so similar yet different from him. She is beautiful. This is love at first sight. The Lord is orchestrating. Adam rejoices in God’s provision for his need. And God performed the first wedding ceremony as He presented Eve to Adam.

Third insight: Involve God!

Take time to seek and ask guidance from the Lord. Pray and ask God because He orchestrates everything! God is actively at work in your life. Out of the 9 billion people in the world, God reserved the best for you. Marriage is not done by trial or error. It must be God’s perfect choice! So if you are single today, take your time. Involve God! He orchestrates. If you are married and your relationship is not doing good. Involve God. Ask God for help. What do I do, Lord? And then act on it.

 

III. MARRIAGE IS BECOMING ONE-FLESH, v.24 cf. Matt. 19:4-6  

 It is joined by God.

Read v.24,

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

The marriage of Adam and Eve was the first wedding ceremony. Marriage is God’s doing from start to finish. Marriage is not a man-made thing that we can throw away whenever we like. From the story of Adam and Eve we learn God’s plan: One man, one woman joined in marriage for life by God.

It is primary.    –     (For this reason a man will leave) =the highest kind of relationship after God).

It is permanent.    (and be united to his wife) = your mate is for life)

It is exclusive.     –   (monogamy is God’s design)

It is intimate. -(they shall become one flesh…sexual union) relationship.

God joins the husband and the wife into one-flesh union and the world does not understand that true sense of what that actually means. That is why the world treats marriage so casually. It is so sad to know that even Christians annul their marriages.  When things are tough and rough it is so tempting to just break up and walk away from it all, rather than ask God to help and do something to save it. The world treats marriages as some mere form of pleasure and convenience. Marriage has become so unsuccessful because we have not worked it out according to God’s design, boundaries and standards.

  1. Have you thanked God for the partner He has given you? Most of the time we look at this negatively. We failed here. God gave Eve to Adam to nourish, to build, to take care of, to cherish, and to watch over. God designed marriages, including yours!

Remember Verse 24: 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Marriage is becoming one-flesh. What is the heart of marriage? Love and loyalty that comes from knowing, trusting and following Jesus.  There is a deeper dimension to this.

  • It is a covenant

The heart of marriage is a COVENANT. Marriage relationships must be built on covenant commitment not just on feelings. Romantic love is important but the foundation of marriage is a covenant commitment. The heart of marriage is a covenant! It is a covenant before God.

Covenant commitment is what holds a couple together through ups and downs. Annulment, legal separation, or divorce must not be in our vocabulary. “They shall become one-flesh…till death do us part” (part of the vow…) points to marriage as a sacred covenant rooted in Eph. 5:31-32,

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[a] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church

“For this reason…This s a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church.” In other words marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant commitment to his church (Christ is the bridegroom, the church is the bride). “Husband, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph. 5:25). Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice by giving his own life. Christ gave everything for her bride. “Till death do us part…as long as they both shall live” is a sacred covenant promise. Christ will never leave His church!

The good of the relationship is more important than the individual need. I call it the “we-not-me” attitude. We submit to one another for Christ’s sake and for the covenant relationship. The “we is more important than the me.” This will not be easy to follow because we are all selfish individuals. What do we do then? We turn to God and work it out. With God’s help you can overcome. If you’re hurt, your priority is your relationship – it’s covenant relationship. You forgive because your relationship is more important that your personal feelings. You want to bring glory to God!

  1. What now?

Take care of the woman/man God gave you. Take care of the relationship according to Ephesians. 5:15-17,

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

  • Walk wisely.

     Walk wisely…carefully…accurately in your relationship. We cannot leave the marriage relationship to chance. We must make wise decisions and seek to do the will of God. We must go back to the author of marriage and follow the author’s manual.

 

  • Opportunities – make the most of them

     Life is short and so make the most of every opportunity. Make the best use of opportunities

God gives us. Opportunity to love, serve, sacrifice. Remind yourself  always…it’s a covenant relationship.

 

  • With God – everything and anything

     Marriage originates from God. He is the initiator. He is actively involved in your marriage from beginning to end. Marriage must be founded, grounded and constructed in God! Always…with God! Never…never…never take away God in your relationship. It must be a triangle relationship.

 

Make sure Jesus is there

A little boy sat through a Sunday School class and learned about the time Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine. “And what did you learn from that story?” asked the father. The boy thought for a moment and answered, “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is there.” Put Jesus at the center of your marriage and no matter what else happens…it will succeed, satisfy and save the marriage.

Into Life

A healthy, heartily, and heavenly marriage is the WORK and WALK of a lifetime with a GOD-CENTERED relationship, a WE-NOT-ME attitude and a COVENANT-KEEPING commitment – just as God designed it. Don’t just GROW OLD but GROW-UP in your relationship.

This message based on Genesis 2: 18-24, was prepared and delivered by its Senior Pastor Rev. Gernan Villegas at Emmanuel Church Ministries International in Makati last Sunday February 19, 2017.  It is third in a February 2017 series entitled, “Be My Valentine”. This was slightly edited for publication purposes.

 

 

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