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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Covenant of Marriage

Today I saw a man on TV kneel before the woman that he loves and ask her to marry him.  I didn't know them- I had never seen them before - but I was suddenly touched by the heart of God and it brought tears to my eyes. I realized how much this humble gesture so illustrated the heart of God for man.

The Bible tells us that marriage is a mystery that shows the nature of the Bride of Christ and Jesus.  In Genesis chapter one we're told that God created man "in His image."  The word for God in this text is "Elohim" and is plural.  God the Creator, The Word and the Holy Spirit were all present at creation.  They created a being in Their Image and God called this person Adam.

I believe that Adam encompassed all the qualities of God and was neither male or female but rather, both. When God saw that there was no help mate for this person, He took a rib from Adam and created Eve.  All the qualities of Eve were originally in Adam and God made 'the one' - two.  He split Adam into two people. God left all the qualities that we now think of as 'male' into Adam and all the qualities we now think of as 'female' into Eve.  They are all qualities of God.

Genesis 2:23 says, 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."  for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

I believe that they were originally one flesh.  That's why it's so natural that men and women desire to be reunited.  We were originally 'one flesh' with God, in perfect unity and relationship, until that was destroyed by sin.  We have a continuous yearning to be reunited with God.

Marriage is a covenant relationship.  If you've never studied "covenant" I will give you a quick summary.

In Biblical times society was governed by covenants, much like today's society is governed by contracts. But covenants were nothing like contracts in that they were 'love relationships.'  The basis of covenant was not what you could get; but what you could give.

The two people entering the covenant would agree to the terms of the covenant and then have a covenant ceremony.  They would exchange vows and exchange names.  The covenant was a binding commitment that surpassed death and carried on through the generations of one's family.  They vowed that everything they owned belonged to the other.  They drew blood and shook hands, mixing their blood with each other.  They often added ash or ink to the wound and when they met each other in the market place, they would extend their hands, revealing the covenant mark, and shake hands again.

People in covenant called each other, "Friends."  This was not a casual acquaintance but a binding relationship that they carried with great honor.  God called Abraham His friend.  God called Himself, "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

They would then have a celebration and a covenant meal.  They would break bread and drink wine in a symbol of their new relationship.

Today, when a bride and groom come before God, their families and friends, they take a vow - to love, honor and cherish each other, through sickness and health, through good times and bad, until death parts them.  They exchange names and take each other's families as their own.  They cut a cake together and drink a toast - a custom that has been handed down from the covenant meal.  They exchange rings that represent an eternal bond.

All these traditions have passed down through the centuries.  Things have been added and changed over the decades but the basic understanding is the same.  The family blesses the new couple, in the Name of Jesus and vows to support them and never do anything to tear them apart.

This blessing is so very important.  I have known of couples who dishonored their parents by marrying outside their wishes and I've seen it result in infertility.  I'm not saying that this is always the case but a family not blessing a marriage is a very real thing and can have very negative consequences.  God has put parents as authority over children as a protection.  Children reap negative consequences when they step outside of their parents will.

But this marriage ceremony, although important, is not what actually marries a man and a woman.  It's the coming together on the marriage bed that makes 'the two become one.'  There is no physical reason for a woman to have a hymen.  But the breaking of the hymen in the marriage bed is the blood seal of covenant in a marriage.  Sex is spiritual.  It causes a spiritual bond between a husband and wife that is not intended to ever be broken.

When this bond is broken again and again by premarital sex and promiscuity it causes a broken human being that cannot bond as was intended.  The most damaging thing in our society to marriage and our well-being is promiscuity.

We need to make sure our children understand that sex is not just a physical act but will affect them in a profound and spiritual way.  Their sexual activity will affect them the rest of their lives and it can damage their relationship with God.

That is not to say that God cannot restore and heal our every mistake and He does!  He wants to! With love and grace far beyond our understanding.  There is no sin that God does not forgive and heal.  God loves us with a love that is deep and unconditional and He hates sin because sin destroys the people He loves.  

I think a man kneeling before the woman he loves so represents the humble heart of God that lays down His life for the church, the Bride.  The loving heart of God has given all that He has to win the Bride.  He give us all that He owns, His name, His Life, so that we might be united with Him in love.  So that we might become 'one' with God.

The Word tells us that today Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us that all things work together for good for us that love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Jesus bears the 'covenant mark' on His hands and feet - a constant reminder to Him of His loving covenant with us!

I am so thankful for His grace and love in my life!  He has given everything that we might be restored to right relationship with God.  Because of His sacrifice we are invited to come boldly into His throne room of grace and have an intimate relationship with our Father God.

Love and blessings~
 "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

I'm linking up with this party: www.impartinggrace.com