Summary: Context is always important when we study the Bible. Genesis 1 gives us a complete narration of creation; Genesis 2 retells the story in order to fill in the details concerning the creation of man and the construction of marriage.
Marriage as it’s Meant to Be
Rev. Brian Bill
Two weeks ago we established that singleness is good, it’s a gift, and it can be used to bring glory to God. Last week we were reminded that if you’re going to get married, make sure there is a spiritual match. It might seem like I’m trying to talk people out of marriage but I’m not. I’m big on matrimony and love being married to my best friend. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 18:22: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Marriage matters to God. And because it does, we must make sure we’re doing marriage His way.
I’ve opened the last two messages with quotes from kids regarding romance and marriage. This past week I decided to ask our own children what they think of the Marriage Matters sermon series. It got pretty quiet around the table when finally one of our daughters spoke up and said, “I think it’s pretty boring.” A couple others agreed with her. I guess it’s a good thing that they’re not thinking too much about marriage at their age. But some kids are…
When asked why people fall in love, 9-year-old Mae said, “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with the way you smell…That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” When asked what falling in love is like, 9-year-old Bart commented, “It’s like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” Carey, age 7 said, “Love will find you, even if you’re trying to hide from it. I been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” Another boy was asked what role good looks play in finding a mate: “It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet.” And Gavin, age 8, gave his insight into why married couples often hold hands: “They want to make sure their rings don’t fall off because they paid good money for them.”
If you’re married, how do you make sure your rings don’t fall off? This morning we’re going to look at marriage as it’s meant to be. Someone who is not big on matrimony once said that marriage is a three-ring circus: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and suffering. Someone else has said that marriage is like a phone call that you receive in the middle of the night: first you get the ring and then you wake up! Well, that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Let’s go back to the Book of Beginnings: the Book of Genesis.
Context is always important when we study the Bible. Genesis 1 gives us a complete narration of creation; Genesis 2 retells the story in order to fill in the details concerning the creation of man and the construction of marriage. The first chapter portrays God as powerful, using the name Elohim, the God of Creation; while the second chapter pictures God as personal, using the name Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God. By the way, in January we’re going to kick off a nine-part series called the Old Testament Challenge as together we study the first five books of the Bible.
In Genesis 2:18-25, we’re first introduced to a problem. Second, we see God’s provision and finally, God paints a portrait of marriage partnership. Please turn to page 2.
1. The Problem: A Need for Companionship (18-20). God creates Adam, breathes life into him and puts him into a garden “to work it and take care of it” (verse 15). Then, in verse 18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” This is a remarkable statement by God. Six times in Genesis 1, after each major creation event, God looked at what He created and said, “It is good.” In verse 31, He declared that it was “very good.” But now in this expanded account of the sixth day of creation, God suddenly says that something is not good. There’s a problem in paradise. That’s a bit jarring, isn’t it? Just as the Trinity lives in community, so too God sees that Adam is in need of companionship. The obvious point here is that fellowship with God and companionship with animals is somehow not enough for Adam.
When God decides that He will create “a helper,” many people picture someone who is subservient. That’s not the idea at all. The word literally means “a help answering to him.” In Psalm 46:1, this word is used of God Himself: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” A “helper” is one who supplies what is lacking in another person, one who is “like but opposite him.” God created Eve to do what Adam could not do by Himself. It’s not that the man is better than the woman, or the woman better than the man, but that each one is somehow incomplete without the other. That’s how God designed the marriage relationship. The husband and the wife both need each other. In Song of Solomon 5:16, the bride affectionately refers to her husband with these words: “This is my lover, this my friend…” 1 Peter 3:7 challenges husbands to be considerate and respectful because wives are “joint heirs of the “gracious gift of life.”