Summary: 5 observations about God's marriage (title and material adapted from an article by Al Janssen in Focus on the Family February 2002)
Al Janssen- A few years ago, my wife, Jo, and I were walking through our neighborhood on a warm summer evening. I talked on and on about my day. “So, how was your day?” I asked Jo. “Did you have a good time at brunch?” That morning, Jo had met in a home with several women for a potluck brunch following their monthly prayer time. “There was one person missing,” Jo said. She paused, then with a sigh said, “Mary Ann didn’t come. Yesterday, Tom served her with divorce papers.” With that, the tears flowed. I grabbed Job’s hand. After a few silent moments, I asked, “Is there another woman?” Jo nodded. Anger welled up as I thought of this man who had served as a leader in the church we attended. I could almost write the script- I’d heard variations of it too many times. In this case, it was a “midlife crisis.” Tom wasn’t happy with his job. He wasn’t happy with his wife. He wasn’t happy with his life, and it was everyone else’s fault. So he was changing careers, switching churches and starting over with a woman 15 years younger than his wife.
Starting a series on the family and we will talk a great deal about marriage, the basic building block. This morning talked about how we need to be concerned with the next life and not so concerned with this life. Some might object to talking about family and especially marriage with the idea that there is no marriage in heaven (words of Jesus: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:30, NIV). Since there is no marriage in heaven the state of marriage and personally my marital state is not a matter of concern. We should talk about something else.
No, the Bible talks a lot about marriage and the family. Marriage and the family is talked about in the beginning in Genesis 2 and the Bible ends with the wedding supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19. In between the Bible has much to say about marriage and the family. Yes, all of this will be different in heaven but let us not be naive, the state of our family on earth has eternal consequences in many ways.
Judith Wallerstein makes this observation in her book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: “Having been raised in divorced or troubled homes, young adults have no idea how to choose a partner or what to do to build a relationship.” Where can young people find good role models? Unfortunately, many turn to the world of entertainment or sports where there are few healthy role models.
So where should we look? Our church and the Bible provide some good role models. Be surprised that God doesn’t just give us instructions about marriage. He inspires marriage with meaning by getting married himself!
In the OT God insisted that He was a husband to Israel. In the NT, the church is talked about as the bride of Christ. God hates divorce because He is married, and He has been faithful to His beloved despite many struggles. It is God’s marriage that can inspire our marriages with significance and meaning. No matter what our circumstances, God desires that our earthly marriages be a reflection of His and His love for us. So what does God’s marriage look like? What does this mean for my marriage?
Thesis: 5 observations about God’s marriage
God’s marriage is a covenantal marriage
When did God get married? Hard to say but a good answer is in Genesis 15. “So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.” “When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.” Genesis 15:9-10, 17, NIV.
This seems strange to us but here God chose a ceremony that was used among the tribes of the region for, among other things, pledging a boy and a girl in marriage. Such a covenant was irrevocable, even though it might be years before the 2 had a wedding feast and consummated their marriage.
God’s marriage is a passionate marriage
In one book of the Bible we find a young maiden working in the fields when a handsome young man notices her. He introduces himself as a shepherd and wins her heart. Then he asked if he could speak to her family about marriage and promised to make all the arrangements for their wedding. After that the young woman did not see him for months. Doubts came to her, and nightmares caused her to wonder if she’d lost her beloved.