Summary: The certainty of the Lord’s return should cause us to grow in holy living. His promises will come true. (a continuation of Making a Marathon Marriage)
Living in Light of the Future
As I mentioned last week, because of the depth of practical help for “Making a Marathon Marriage” in Malachi 2, I want to take some extra time this morning to lay out six building blocks of marriage. We’ll conclude by getting back on track with our outline next Sunday.
A man and a woman who had been married for more than 60 years kept no secrets from each other and shared everything. Well, almost everything. The wife kept a hidden shoebox on her closet shelf and had told her husband never to open it or ask her about it. For more than six decades, he had never thought about the box, but one day, his sweet wife got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the harried husband took down the shoebox and took it to his bride’s bedside. She agreed that it was time for him to know what was in the box.
When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000. When he asked for an explanation, his wonderful wife replied, “Before we got married, my grandmother told me that the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She mentioned that if I ever got angry with you I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily.”
The man was so moved that he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all their years of living and loving! He almost burst with happiness. “Honey,” he said, “that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”
“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling all the other doilies.”
That reminds me of the man who said that he and his wife of 50 years had only been in one fight in their marriage. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the fight started on their wedding day and never ended! Last week we focused on six ways to guard our marriages so that we don’t end up as a statistic. Let me list them quickly by way of review:
Take responsibility to grow spiritually
Stay committed no matter what
Set up some practical hedges
Commit to communicate
Think the best of your spouse
Be a servant
These practical suggestions are helpful but they won’t do us much good if they’re not fastened to the foundations of marriage. Please turn to Malachi 2:14-15.
1. God is the witness to your vows: “…the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth because you have broken faith with her…” The word, “witness” means to “testify or record” and was used in the Old Testament of inanimate objects like the heap of stones that testified to the covenant between Jacob and Laban in Genesis 31:44-54. In addition, important legal agreements required the attestation of witnesses, and covenantal commitments called on God as the ultimate witness as in Judges 11:10: “The elders of Gilead replied, ‘The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.’” In the midst of His suffering, Job called on God to testify when he exclaimed in Job 16:19: “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.”
When Jonathon and David made a promise to be friends forever, they declared in 1 Samuel 20:42: “…The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever…” And in Jeremiah 42:5-6, the people pledged to the prophet that they would obey wholeheartedly, even when it wasn’t easy: “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the LORD your God sends you to tell us. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the LORD our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the LORD our God.”
It’s sobering to recognize that God is a witness at every wedding. That should cause us to say, “Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, because God will testify about our vows, we will obey Him by remaining faithful to each other.” When you get married, you are vowing to be forever faithful to your spouse and you are doing so in the presence of God Almighty. It’s as if God is giving expert eyewitness testimony, “I heard what you promised and I confirmed it. I was there and saw it all happen. Your marriage is not just recorded by the County Clerk, I have the record in heaven.”
Married couples, settle this in your mind. God is the witness to your vows.