Summary: What if God created marriage in order to make us more holy? How does that change my responsibilities of marriage?
From the Very Start
A Look at the Ancient Text of Genesis that speaks with Amazing Present-day Relevance
- A few months ago I received an invitation to perform a wedding ceremony for a young woman who had grown up in my youth ministry. As we traveled to and enjoyed Meghan & Travis’ wedding, there were a number of memorable moments:
o The beautiful picture
o The gorgeous invitations
o The nervous groom
o The beaming bride
o The kid who fell
- But my remarks? Who is going to remember my remarks? No one remembers what the preacher says in a wedding; we just hope he doesn’t go long.
- But I struggled with writing a new ceremony anyway. Call me an idealist, I wanted to try to explain why God created marriage. So I asked him; “God, why did you create marriage?” As I prayed and considered the question at hand, I found myself drawn to a fairly predictable text: Genesis 2.
§ Genesis 2: 18+
· God looks at the man and sees its not good for the man to be alone.
· Adam views the animals and isn’t impressed (Aren’t you glad Adam didn’t take a strong liking to the walrus?
· So, Adam takes a nap and Eve is formed
· BUT – why?
§ Verse 18 – Remember, God makes an observation: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
· Its not Adam that notices this, but God.
· Its not about happiness, loneliness… So what is it about. Remember our rules of reading the Bible – read the context; notice what precedes and follows a text.
· Following the story of Eve’s creation: “And the man and the woman were naked and felt no shame.” Hmm.
· What precedes this story?
§ Go back to verse 15. Notice the verses immediately preceding this observation!
· “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
§ God knows what is coming – the temptation and the tearing away of humanity from this intimate life Adam has known. The rest of time as we know it, humanity will be looking and longing for some kind of supernatural re-capturing of intimacy with God.
§ SO, God creates as ‘Ezer!
עֵזֶר – ‘ezer – “helper suitable”
What is a suitable helper? I did a little research. Listen to a few of the other times the word ‘Ezer shows up in our Hebrew Testament:
“Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.” Psalm 70:5
“O house of Israel, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield. You who fear him, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield.” Psalm 115:9-11
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
I know marriage is wonderful. Some of the highest, happiest and best moments of my life have come in marriage. But what is God’s purpose in the creation of marriage isn’t about making us happy?
What if God created marriage to make me more holy!
God created in Eve a helper for Adam – to help him with the lifelong pursuit for holiness that will begin after the fall. This is a partner for holiness. God wants to use my marriage to grow me and shape me in holiness!
God intends marriage to be a safe place to discover my struggles with selfishness
- 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.”