Summary: Wedding sermon for a couple - bride entering second marriage, groom entering first.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
A bride was very nervous. It was right before the service. She wasn’t sure she could even walk down aisle. Her mother gave her some words of calming wisdom. She said to her. “Honey, there’s only three things you need to focus on. If you focus on these three things, you’ll be fine. The first is walking down the aisle. Just focus on walking down the aisle of the church. I know its rather long, but just concentrate on that. Don’t get caught up with those on either side of the aisle. Just focus on getting to the end of the aisle. Next, focus on the altar. It is your destination today. Make your way down the aisle to the altar. There you will stand before God with the man you love and will make vows to God and him. God will also make vows to you. Focus on the altar that represents the love God has for you in Jesus Christ. Last, focus on the hymn that the soloist will sing. In poetry and song, the hymn embodies God’s love for you in Christ, your love for your husband and his love for you. So, to help you not be so nervous, focus on those three things. Walking down the aisle, standing before the altar and listening to the hymn.”
The bride was very thankful to her mom for her words of advice. The family and friends gathered watched as she walked down the aisle and noticed a look of calm determination on her face. But as she passed them, they began to chuckle quietly. For along with the look of calm determination, she was mumbling three words over and over to help calm her nerves. As she passed them, they heard her saying, “Aisle, Altar, Hymn. Aisle, Altar, Hymn. Aisle, Altar, Hymn.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. These are the word you chose for me to put together a meditation for your wedding day. These are awesome words. God knows what’s going to happen to you and what’s going to happen to you is God’s plan. If God is a vindictive, harsh, or severe God, these words can be very frightening. When he spoke these words to Jeremiah, Jeremiah may have had the God of the Exodus in mind, the God that wiped out Egypt’s army. Or the God of the Exile in mind, that was allowing the Empire of Babylon to take captive the people of Israel because they did not worship him or follow his laws. But God reassures us when he follows up these awesome words. For he says, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
At the beginning of marriage, what better thoughts and feelings than those of prosperity and hope and the future. That is what God has in store for you. He has promised this to you, name and name. And our God keeps his promises, which he has demonstrated over and over again with the salvation of his people Israel, with the birth of his Son Jesus, with the death and resurrection. As you begin your life together, build a home, build a family together, God speaks these awesome words to the both of you and to us who are privileged to share this day with you. But God isn’t finished yet, in addition to plans of prosperity, hope and the future, God speaks words of worship. Because God does this for you, you will respond in love to him.
He says, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” On this day, emotions run high. You may be feeling almost dizzy with love and joy. But to focus on these words of God, all the things he promises to do for you, he gives you these words that show the process of how this works. He does all these things for you and in response you call upon him, pray to him, seek him and find him. He listens to you when you pray to him. He loves you with a love that overcomes the distance of time and space.
One of things that he says here is a very interesting point that is often overlooked by most Christians. He says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Many Christians say that “God is the most important thing in my life.” Or they will admit “God is supposed to be the most important thing in my life – but I really need to work on that.” I commend them for their honesty and pray for them as I know what it is like to work on strengthening my own faith. It’s a constant battle. Let’s face it. One hour a week spent worshiping and praying to God and hearing him speak to us in a sermon and Scripture lessons read – that one hour competes with the other 167 hours in a week where the world and Satan scream at us the opposite of what God speaks to us. Its practically impossible to have God be the most important thing in your life with that kind of lopsided war going on. Think about all the Christians that suffer from broken marriages or have marriages that are in real trouble. One might be tempted to think it is a problem with the church or the worship services. But the problem is with the mind set of God being the most important thing in your life. God doesn’t want to be the most important thing in your life. That’s right, you heard me say it. God doesn’t want to be the most important thing in your life. Here’s one of the main secrets of success for your marriage – God wants to be your life! Not the most important thing, but the only thing. That’s what he is saying in your text, “seek me with all your heart.” Everything else in your marriage is dependent on that. God is all of your life. He is the one who gives you life, forgiveness, love and the ability to give each other your life, your forgiveness, your love.