Summary: Just as rivers always run purest at their source, so does the concept of marriage. (Based on a book by Bob Russell, this series looks at examples Old Testament couples set for marriage.)
Adam & Eve: Seeing God’s Model
(First in the series, Marriage by the Book)
Introduction: In 2004, the institution of marriage is under attack.
In "The Effects of Divorce on America" by Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector, we are told that American society may have erased the stigma that once accompanied divorce, but it can no longer ignore its massive effects. As social scientists track successive generations of American children whose parents have ended their marriages, the data are leading even some of the once-staunchest supporters of divorce to conclude that divorce is hurting American society and devastating the lives of children.
Nationally, 49% of all marriages end in divorce. But you might think the odds of failure are much less for couples heavily involved in church. Not so!
Ministries Today reports the divorce rate up 279% in the last 27 years. Taking a survey of all ministers in all denominations, 50% of their marriages will end in divorce,
An ABC broadcast reports that the divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" is 50% higher than in other areas of the country.
The Christian-based Barna Research Group reported in January, 2000, that 21% of atheists and agnostics will or have experienced divorce, while 29% of Baptists and 34% of non-denominational Christians will or have experienced divorce. The average rate for all Christian groups is 27%.
It’s time to look at some examples of marriage in the Bible. Although marriage practiced in the Old Testament was far from the ideal, we can see what God intends marriage to be. The solution is not the abandonment of the institution of marriage, but the return to God’s intention of marriage.
Why as Christians claiming to follow New Testament teaching and example do we continually review lessons learned in the Old Testament? Didn’t that ancient material only apply to the Jews living before Christ? Regarding Old Testament characters and events, the apostle Paul wrote, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). There is much to learn from other’s successes and failures.
The practice of OT marriage was far from the ideal, yet through the patriarchs, we can see what God intends marriage to be.
Proposition: Looking at the marriage of Adam and Eve, we can see that a river runs purest at its source. Let’s elevate our appreciation of what marriage is designed to be.
1. The first marriage was purposeful.
God established marriage for the purpose of companionship. The word helper means ally or friend.
God knew that His creation would not usually function well on its own.
Ladies, I know that men are accused of being thickheaded. Here we might see God agreeing with that notion. Notice how God paraded the animals before Adam, each having its partner.
Adam realized there was no partner for him. A desire for companionship cannot be forced.
Note what happened in verses 21-23: The world’s 1st surgery!
Why not form Eve from the ground as He did Adam?
A show of unique closeness
God chose a rib from Adam’s side
Not from his head that she would be over him
Or his foot that she would be under him
But his side that she would be next to him
From under his arm, that he might protect her
Next to his heart, that he might love her
A marriage relationship has the highest potential for companionship because it was designed for companionship.
2. The first marriage was exclusive.
Duh! According to the Bible there weren’t any other comparisons or options.
Did you hear the one about Eve being concerned because Adam came home at 3:00 am. She wondered if there was another woman. So, she waited until he was asleep & counted his ribs just to make sure!
Unlike this first couple, we are surrounded by 100’s of comparisons and choices every day.
Too many look over their shoulders, wondering if they made the right choice, or if there is someone out there who could make them happier.
A Christian marriage is not based on the idea of finding the top prize. It is based on the premise that this is the person God has provided for me, and I will be the best companion I can be to this one person…exclusively.
A Christian marriage is exclusive because it reflects the unconditional love and commitment Jesus has for the church.
Take measures to close doors of temptation. At work or social events, lift up your wife, husband, & kids.
3. The first marriage was transparent.
Since there was no sin, there was nothing to hide.
Then everything was spoiled. Sin makes us self-conscious; it removes trust; it alienates us from God and each other.