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Tuesday, September 25, 2012


"Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us togevah today. Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam wifin a dweam." My son and his wife had the pastor read this in their wedding, but I'm sure if you're familiar with this you know he didn't originate. It is from Princess Bride. The happy outcome of the story required that the princess never actually married the evil prince. She didn't. It ended well.

How important is marriage to us? Well, to those of us who love Christ, it should be considered absolutely essential. Consider this. The Bible, our sole authority in matters of faith and practice, begins and ends with the joining of a husband and a wife. In Genesis, while all that God made was good, the one thing that God considered "not good" was that man had no partner fitted to him (Gen 2:18). All the other creatures had male and female, but Adam was alone. To remedy that, God made Eve, and the grand joining of man and wife was created (Gen 2:23-24).

In Revelation, we are treated to a scene in heaven. Prefaced by, among other praises, the Hallelujah Chorus (Rev 19:1-6), we get a peek at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready" (Rev 19:7). It is the consummation of the relationship between Bridegroom (Christ) and Bride (the Church) at the consummation of the world as we know it and the beginning of the New Heavens and the New Earth. A magnificant scene, the grand joining of a Man and His wife.

Between these two bookends we find marriage celebrated throughout Scripture. It is the means by which Man was to "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth" (Gen 1:28), this joining of man and woman created explicitly by God to complete each other and imitate God's creative power by creating offspring. Finding the proper wife is a key issue throughout the Word. Even before specific laws were in place regarding who to marry, Abraham wanted to make sure his son married from his family instead of from the women around where they lived (Gen 24:3-4). It was Midianite wives that brought about the 24,000 deaths from plague for Israel in the desert (Num 25:1-9). It was foreign wives that brought about guilt to Israel after returning to their land after captivity (Ezra 10:10). There is almost an entire chapter of Proverbs devoted to the celebration of a good wife (Prov 31). The wrong woman for the wrong man was the wrong thing. The right woman for the right man was beautiful.

Marriage was the context for procreation throughout Scripture. Women who were pregnant outside of marriage were shunned. Wives who were barren were ashamed. Solomon sings, "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They shall not be ashamed, When they speak with their enemies in the gate." (Psa 127:3-5). Children were the delight and the promise of marriage in Scripture.

In the New Testament, the very first sign that Jesus performs is at a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). In Matthew 19, the Pharisees try to catch Jesus in a conundrum on the topic. "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?" Jesus doesn't fall for the faulty thinking. Instead, He affirms that the joining of a man and a woman is the design of God and affirms that a man and his wife are united in marriage. "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matt 19:6). So clear is this affirmation of marriage that the disciples are taken aback. "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry" (Matt 19:10). Jesus assures them that marriage is good and that the alternative to the joining of a man and a woman in marriage is celibacy (Matt 19:11-12).

Look for yourself sometime. I think you'll find that marriage -- the union of a man and a woman in common effort and procreation -- plays a major role from the beginning to the end. It is the start of human life and the culmination of God's plan for our present universe. It is always referenced as the joining of a man and a woman and never anything else. Despite today's dwindling, sad view of marriage, the Bible celebrates it. It is key. So when you hear that the Bible only mentions homosexual behavior in six (or so) verses, understand this. It misses the point. On top of the 6 verses opposed, it is the vast value of the marriage of a man and woman in Scripture that speaks volumes about God's view, God's definition, God's preferences, and God's values. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not from either side of the question.

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