“If there weren’t consequences to sexual sin, it seems unlikely that God would forbid it. He is a gracious God, not capricious, definitely not malicious, and amazingly kind and generous. Directly rebelling against His wisdom, doing nothing about it, and then expecting there to be no consequences is worse than calling God a liar; it is calling Him a pleasure-killing, malicious liar.”If that defined your life as a single, it carries over into marriage. Only repentance and forgiveness can break you free from its chains of slavery. According to Gary Thomas, “God can intervene, restore, and recreate, but He doesn’t do that on the back of fraud and denial. He heals through the practice of confession, repentance, and the applied blood of Jesus Christ. Anything less won’t cut it.” Only then can you, in the words of Dr. Steve Wilke, “surrender yourselves in a relationship where you are truly loved, cared for, and protected, and where there is spiritual covering through prayer and the Word.” That is the joy of Biblical sex.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Marriage is under intense attack by Satan. Over the next few articles I will examine three ways Satan attacks: 1. rampant hedonism (the playboy philosophy) 2. widespread acceptance of adultery 3. easy divorce All three of these attacks of Satan are made palatable, acceptable, and even desirable to us by the love of self. If our philosophy is, “I’m number one!” where we elevate ourselves to the most important position, we won’t defend our marriage. We won’t fight for it. The “me” marriage isn’t one we are usually willing to put any effort in to. Let’s look at rampant hedonism. This is also called the “New Morality,” which really means “No Morality.” It is sometimes referred to as the “Sexual Revolution,” a revolt against Biblical morality. The philosophy is simply this: sex with whomever and whenever we feel like it. “After all, everybody is doing it.” At least that is what they want us to think. Sex is fine, they say, before and outside of marriage. That’s why we need to hand out condoms in our high schools, because we can’t expect the kids to show any restraint. Really? Why can’t you? Who is giving them all this unsupervised time anyway? It’s too bad they don’t have parents. In reality, the new morality is simply sex out of control, sex with no ethical norms, except some vague, “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” That, of course, is determined by the situation, we are told. Ethics are situational, that is their mantra. But who can really tell what the situation is? Do you know all the facts in any given situation? Can anyone make a rational decision in the passion of the moment while alone in the back seat of a car on some secluded lane? Or while cuddled alone in front of the fireplace in your apartment? Can you rationally consider the consequences in the passion of the moment? Not on your life! The raging hormones turn off the rational part of the brain. Can you always anticipate the consequences of getting AIDs or herpes to take home to your marriage partner? How about an unplanned baby? Nor do people consider the hurt to their spouse at having to share what God intended as exclusive. That applies even to your future spouse who, yes, will be sick at heart that you didn’t wait. Or can you know the consequences caused by the dissatisfaction it might bring into your marriage? You might find that your spouse does not live up to the excitement the other illicit relationships brought you, or that pornography showed you. You live continually with the desire for someone else other than your spouse, feeding off fantasies or pornography. As Gary Thomas writes concerning the man effected by pornography, “His expectations have been jettisoned to a dangerous place. He’s trained himself to think that women like to do certain things, actually enjoy certain things, and act in ways that bear zero resemblance to reality.” Or, your past indiscretions could leave such guilt or such bad feelings toward sex that you rob your partner. When you get married, you always bring your past into the marriage. And illicit sex may leave you experienced, but it never gives you the tools to enjoy God-ordained sexual intimacy in marriage. Hedonism is always destructive to marriage. As Gary Thomas says:
Friday, December 6, 2013
There is a oneness in marriage much deeper than the mere joining of bodies. You live in the same place sharing the same address. There is a oneness in your name. You are now Mr. and Mrs. Whatever. You live together, eat the same food, share the same bathroom and bed. And you have a oneness because of the many memories that you have built together. All these unite a husband and a wife. And you have a oneness in the children you create together. Each of you gives a part of yourself to create a whole, new eternal human being. And soon, Junior begins to walk like Daddy, and has that smile or dimple of his Mommy. They are like you because they are from you. They are indeed a part of you, of both of you, genetically and environmentally. They are the perfect example of one flesh. Not two, but one made out of two. That’s what a marriage is. As God said in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In a body, there is no competition, no playing off one against another. There is no keeping score, no making comparisons. There is no insistence on a 50-50 division of anything. Each is giving 100% to the body. Each is working for the other – pulling with, not against the other. That is one flesh – loving, united, intimate and permanent. This is the kind of an earthly relationship that Christ chose to symbolize His own relationship with the church – loving, united, intimate, and permanent. This relationship was described by Paul in Ephesians 5:28-32, which is part of his long, extended passage on marriage:
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.A husband loves his wife as his own body because they are one flesh. It is only logical he would nourish and cherish her. But this is only symbolic of the same great union we have as believers with Christ. We are part of His body and His bride. This is why Paul calls it a great mystery. We thought this passage talked about marriage, when in reality it talked about Christ and the church. Our marriages have such deep spiritual significance because they are a picture of Christ and the church. The husband must treat his wife as Christ treated the church, loving her enough to die for her. The wife must treat the husband with the same love and submission that the church has for Christ. When that happens, our marriages reveal that perfect unity of being one flesh.
Friday, November 22, 2013
God created marriage. First, He made a man. Then He criticized creation stating, “It is not good that man should be alone.” So He made a woman and joined her to the man in marriage. God began human life with a family. Is that significant? Well, does a cat meow? Is the Empire State Building tall? Of course it is significant. God established marriage as the first and most basic of all human institutions. Long before there were governments, churches, schools, or any other social structure, God started with a family. He started with a home based on the mutual respect of a husband and a wife. All other human institutions grew out of the home. From the authority of the father developed the patriarchal and later tribal systems of government, then monarchies and democracies. From parental responsibility to raise and educate kids developed formal systems of education – schools, colleges, and universities. Nurturing responsibilities in the home led to hospitals and orphanages. The parent’s responsibility to teach their children about God led to Synagogues, churches, Sunday Schools, and Vacation Bible Schools. You can’t think of a social or cultural organization that did not grow out of the home and marriage. But now there is a problem. Marriage is under attack! The attacks are coming from every quarter. It doesn’t matter where you look. The media and the entertainment industry makes fun of or ignores Biblical marriages. The educational establishment and even government is pushing an inclusive view of marriage. Even some churches are condoning same-sex marriage. Marriage as an institution is tottering – it is being destroyed from the bottom up. And who can doubt it? The September cover story in “The Journal” of Summit Ministries states,
“The push for same-sex marriage has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations for one simple reason: Americans quit caring about marriage as an institution. Like Jacob throwing away his birthright for a pot of stew [they meant Esau but misspoke], Americans have become apathetic about the one institution without which civilization cannot survive. They’ve lost the plot and forgotten what marriage is for and why it is good.”In the largest ever survey of morality and attitudes in the United States with the results printed in the book, “The Day America Told the Truth,” we read,
“The majority of men and women now believe in their hearts that it is a good idea to live together before marriage. Almost half of all Americans take that thought one step further: nearly half of us say that there is no reason to ever get married. And even when children are involved, only 32 percent of us believe that we should try to stick out a bad marriage for the sake of the kids. Divorce in fact is what will happen to most marriages. Forty-four percent of us agree that most marriages will end in divorce. And this fact may gladden the hearts of some lawyers: a thumping 59 percent of all Americans believe that it’s a smart idea to draw up a prenuptial agreement, just in case.”That’s scary! The number of unmarried-couple households has increased from 523,000 in 1970 to 4,236,000 in 1998. Professor Roger Rubin at the University of Maryland estimates “that by the year 2000 [this is an old prophecy but still true], half of all American adults will have had a cohabitating experience by the age of 30.” Unfortunately, the Houston Chronicle reports that couples who live together before marriage have an 80 percent greater chance of divorce than those who don’t cohabitate. Oh, yes, marriage is in trouble. This is so scary because of the consequences. If marriage falls, than all the other institutions that grew out of marriage will inevitably fall too. That means churches, schools, businesses, hospitals, and governments. Are we not seeing that happen before our eyes? But what gives us hope is this: God is on the side of marriage. It was God who said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” In other words, marriage as it should be is God’s intention. And praise God, he gave us His instruction manual if we will only follow it.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Last time we talked about the dangers of dating relationships and about “How far was too far?” We ended with a statement that God condemns premarital sex (Any sex outside of marriage, for that matter). IT is quite simple: Don’t do it! But that leads naturally to the next question: “What if I’ve already blown it?” “What if I didn’t wait till marriage?” What if I did mess up by not remaining pure in my relationships?” The obvious answer is to seek God’s forgiveness. 1st John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God can forgive you. God can make you clean. He can clear your record. He only asks you to confess that sin to Him. Can His forgiveness even include sexual sin? Oh, yes! Of course! 1st Corinthians 6:9-11 gives us an example:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.The church contains many who were once great sinners. There are many who blew it sexually. But when they came to Christ for forgiveness, they were made clean. No sin is ever too great for the Lord to cleanse. If you’ve confessed it, you are clean before Him. He doesn’t take away the consequences. With an unplanned pregnancy, the baby is still there. You can never give away your virginity again. Any STD you may have contracted still needs medical care. And the scars on your soul may well last a lifetime. But before God, you are esteemed as if you had never sinned. Don’t let Satan burden you with any guilt. Jesus has removed your guilt. Jesus paid the penalty for it on the Cross. So believe that God loves you, and that you are clean, forgiven, washed, and sanctified. But what if it wasn’t your sin? What if the one you love was the one who sinned? What if the one you’ve fallen in love with has a past? The answer is: You must forgive them. Perhaps you feel that you have been a victim – that someone else led you into sin, that they took advantage of your love. You must forgive them. You must forgive for both of your sakes. Ephesians 4:31-32 states:
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.I have counseled a number of young men who were in love with a girl with a past. They wanted her so much they couldn’t bring themselves to break up, they hoped to marry her, yet they were tormented continually that she had slept with another man. They would continually bring up her past and argue with her. In general, they made her life miserable. Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to marry a virgin. That should be every man’s dream. But they have fallen in love with a nice Christian girl who isn’t. My counsel has always been this: You must forgive immediately. If you can’t, you must break off the relationship for her best interest. But from this day forth, you must never bring it up again or ever hold it against her. 1st Peter 4:7 tells us that “love will cover a multitude of sins.” You cannot be God’s instrument of wrath against her for something that God has forgiven. If you love her, you will not add to her pain. Why must you forgive? Because before God, she is clean. God has cleansed her and erased that sin from her record. He has buried that sin in the depths of the deepest sea. He has sent it as far away as the east is from the west. He has covered it over with a thick cloud and promised to remember it no more. If you truly love this woman, you will do the same.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
We’ve been examining Genesis 2:24 which says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined [or cleave] to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This bonding, or cleaving, we said, involves a cleaving of body to body, soul to soul, and spirit to spirit. But of these three levels of bonding, which is most important? Obviously, if we were to prioritize them, the bonding of spirit to spirit is most important, followed by the bonding of soul to soul, and last would be the bonding of body to body. But honestly, which is the most common order? Yeah! Most unions are made because of sexual attraction – the desire to bond body to body. It’s that love at first sight thing: “Wow! What a babe!” The stir of the hormones is most powerful. Now, there is nothing wrong with that stir (God made us that way, after all.), but it must be controlled and channeled. Every effort must be made to develop the other two areas of cleaving first. Parents, you need to work with your teens so they can get this order right. Modern dating, or should I say mating practices seem to get this reversed. They almost always begin with romance – the sexual attraction part. So kids start “going out” and “going steady” as early as middle school. And it is almost always because of sexual attraction. But if we most often get the bonding process backwards, is it any wonder so many marriages are in trouble? What is wrong with modern dating as practiced by the world? It, for the most part, violates the mandate of 1st Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality.” It pairs up two immature kids, both in the height of hormonal frenzy, who have picked each other out because of sexual attraction. Then it sets them in all kinds of romantic situations. They are found cuddling at a movie watching actors and actresses “doing it” on the giant screen. Or they are going to dances where they shake and gyrate seductively in front of each other, or slow dancing which is no more than hugging to the music. As one mother said, if they aren’t aroused after that, they are dead. Or they find themselves parking along some secluded lane. And we wonder why so many of them get in trouble. Mary Pride said it is safer to give then dynamite and send them out to blow up skyscrapers than to solo date. How much better to control the environment our kids socialize in? Parents, you need to be actively involved in this. Many church youth groups across the country have taken a “No dating” pledge. That shouldn’t be considered that radical a proposal, but only good sense. It keeps them all friends. As long as they can stay just friends, they can be friends for life. But once they move into romance, they can’t go back to just being friends again. How much better for our teens to do fun things together in a group without the romantic pairing off. That follows the admonition of 1st Timothy 5:2 for the young men to treat “younger women as sisters, with all purity.” You don’t have romantic interludes with your sisters – YUCK! But when the time for marriage comes, they will have built a base both spiritual and intellectual upon which a marriage can be built. Another problem with dating that is perhaps even more severe is that dating weakens the marital bond. Remember? We have said that cleaving is like glue, or better, tape. Tape is meant to be used just once. If you peel tape off and try to reuse tape, it doesn’t stick as well. Peel it off and try to use a third or a fourth time, and there practically isn’t any stickiness left. It is the same with our romantic bonding. We said that the more times we cleave to a romantic love and break up, the harder it is to ever form a permanent attachment. This is another reason why sexual cleaving should be reserved for marriage. The body produces oxytocin, a neuro transmitter hormone, called the love hormone. This hormone has been scientifically found to promote bonding between intimate couples – it is that glue that cements us together in our marriage relationships. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released in a woman during foreplay, and it is released in a man during climax. This hormone plays a huge role in developing that feeling of bonding between a husband and wife. But think how dangerous that bonding is in an illicit relationship, how dangerous that would be in our hook-up culture. Just as an aside, Ladies, with this scientific fact before you, if you want your husband to feel close to you, don’t cut him off. That warm feeling of love that sweeps over him after making love is a huge part of bonding. But men, the release of oxytocin in your wife during foreplay should cause you to take all the time she needs getting her ready. The closeness she will experience toward you is priceless. But in unmarried people, this is incredibly dangerous. Two hearts come together in a romantic/sexual bonding while dating, and the cleaving process begins. But they usually pull apart before that glue is set (most couples only date for a few months before they move on), but what happens? Glue tissue paper together with Elmer’s Glue, then try to pull it apart. The tissue is going to tear. Tender hearts get torn to pieces over and over again in serial dating, and then over time the heart calluses over. But glue isn’t meant to be used over and over. Serial dating, going from one to another to another romantic interest, falling in and out of love repeatedly, ruins the stickiness of our heart. It sets in place the pattern that if you get tired of this one because you’ve had a spat, or you’ve found someone sexier, then you split up. You find someone new. You move on to a new conquest. Modern dating sets in place a mindset that leads more to divorce than lifelong marriage. That kind of dating doesn’t prepare anyone for marriage. One last point about dating: The question always comes up, “How far can I go?” First, that is the wrong question. We shouldn’t wonder how close we can get to sin without crossing the line, we should be repelled by sin. The real question we must ask is, “How can I stay as far away from sin as possible?” Therefore, the real issue isn’t how far we can go, but how clean we can stay. Jonathon Lindvall gave a great answer to the question. He was talking with his son who was leaving on a date that night, and he asked him, “Are you going to marry this girl?” “No, I don’t think so,” responded his son. “Why? I never even thought about that. No!.” “Then do you think she will probably marry someone else then?” Dad asked. “Someday she will be someone else’s wife?” “Well, sure, I suppose so. She’s a nice girl. Yeah, I suppose she’ll get married.” “So,” Dad asked. “You aren’t planning on marrying her, but you are planning on getting married someday? Right?” “Sure.” “Hmmm, then I suppose that the girl you are going to marry someday could be out on a date tonight with someone else?” “I guess so.” Then dad stated the rule, “How far do you want her (your future wife) going with her date tonight?” And his son’s mouth dropped open in shock over the thought. “You should not go any further with this girl you are dating (who will marry someone else), than you want some other man to go with your future wife.” Certainly no man would want some other man touching, and kissing, and fondling his wife. Do you get the picture? God condemns pre-marital sex. Sin never unites, it only divides. You can’t build a marriage that will last on lust. It has to be built on God.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
In Genesis 2:24, God states,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”“Be joined together” is translated as “cleave” in the King James. The most obvious cleaving is body to body in sexual union. We’ve spent quite a bit of time covering that. But cleaving in marriage also must be soul to soul and spirit to spirit. These are even more important than body to body. Better than cleaving body to body is cleaving soul to soul, and better still is cleaving spirit to spirit. Let’s look at cleaving soul to soul. For purposes of discussion, we will refer to the soul as the intellectual and emotional side of us. Cleaving soul to soul is sharing the same interests, enjoying each other’s company, finding conversation together fascinating – it’s the stuff of daily life that we share together. They need to help bond us together. That takes work, and it takes time because our interests and our intellects keep changing and growing. I’ve been married for 39 years, but I’m not married to the same woman. Oh, she has the same name and the same fingerprints, but she is totally different from the young woman I married. She has changed over time. And I have had to learn to change with her. Most young couples realize soon after they are married that they really didn’t know the one they said “I do” to. Our spouse isn’t who we first thought she was. We realize soon that our vision was clouded by our emotions. Infatuation has a way of shutting off the brain, you know. So it takes work. Keith Miller said that he envisioned his bride as a combination of St. Theresa, Elizabeth Taylor, and Betty Crocker. Boy was he off base – his words. So, when reality hits us in the face we can do one of two things: We can try to make our spouse like our image, which is bound to create conflict and hurt feelings. Or, we can accept her for who she really is and work to develop our relationship. But finally, a true union must also be a cleaving of spirit with spirit. A believer indwelt with the Spirit of God must only marry another believer. That was the point of God’s command in 2nd Corinthians 6:14 -
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”Think about it: What kind of relationship can there be when you can’t share the most important part of your life (your faith, your Lord) with your spouse? Besides, if you marry a child of the devil, you are guaranteed to have trouble with your father-in-law. GUARANTEED! So teens, don’t even think about dating an unsaved person. DON’T DO IT!
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Last time, we said that there were two extreme views about sex even in the Christian community. The first was the view of the prude – that sex was really Satan’s invention, not God’s. That view holds that sex is always dirty and a necessary evil required to keep the race going. How foolish. Sex is a wonderful gift created by God and given to us to enjoy fully within the confines of marriage. It was His plan and His invention. The second extreme and opposite view that Christians fall into is buying in to the world’s view of sex – in other words, the kinkier the better, or the more often and with the more partners the better. This is equally an abomination that leads to promiscuity, adultery, pornography, and homosexuality – all of which are SIN! All of which is condemned in Scripture. No! What the world chooses to call sexual freedom is the kind of freedom appropriate to dogs, not moral, responsible people created in the image of God. Sex truly is a gift from God, isn’t it? It is sacred. It is powerful. It is something far too precious to be squandered outside the bounds of a lifelong, committed marriage relationship. Yet everything in our culture is designed to make it cheap and common. Everything from blue jeans to cigarettes to pickup trucks are sold using sex. TV and movies are filled with sexual scenes and innuendo, and most often between unmarried people. The days of Ozzie and Harriet are over in the media. The “National and International Religion Report” (1988) reported that the average teenage girl sees 1,500 sexual acts or references to sexual acts on TV each year, plus she sees an average of 25 sexually explicit “R” rated movies (One has to wonder where their parents were during all this). But, may I remind you that 1988 was relatively clean compared to now. How do we expect our kids to remain pure with that much sexual stimulation? But that kind of sex isn’t sacred. It isn’t holy, It isn’t as God intended. Nowadays, you can read all kinds of garbage from the so-called experts trying to not only justify, but encourage that kind of behavior. Just looking at the magazine covers of the various women’s magazines reveals how prevalent this philosophy is. They have articles with titles like, “Flirting helps a marriage.” Oh, really? An open marriage is as much a contradiction as a jumbo shrimp or a humble politician. A husband and wife can never develop the intimacy God intended unless there is an exclusivity in their relationship. God says for a man to leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife – one woman for a lifetime (Why do you think it’s called wedlock?). This cleaving involves a sexual cleaving – body to body – which is God’s plan. We in the church must develop and teach the right perspective on sex and reject the extremes. Sex is God’s blessed gift to us to enjoy with complete freedom within marriage. Repeating Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled.” We may freely and joyously give and receive our bodies to our spouse with abandon knowing God approves and applauds. But sex is also so precious and holy, and powerful, that it must be protected behind barriers. It must be guarded within the confines of the marriage relationship. Only then will it be all that God intended. Only then will it bring the joy and satisfaction that God intended. And only then will it be totally guilt free.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
We have been examining Genesis 2:24-25, which says:
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined [or cleave] to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.We have said that the process of becoming one flesh is the process of cleaving. Ah, but what cleaves to what? Oh, boy, this is going to get juicy. I almost need to make a disclaimer about now, “Caution: Parents with small children should be advised of mature content.” But really, if we can’t talk about sex from a Biblical perspective in church as Christians, we leave the world with the only microphone. Theirs will be the only position heard by our kids. And they scream their message out loud and clear from every venue. But remember: God created man to be a trinity of body, soul, and spirit. The husband and wife are to be united on each of these three levels. But, the first we’ll cover is the union of body to body through sexual intercourse. If this union doesn’t take place, the marriage can be annulled. They would say that the marriage has not been consummated. No sex, no marriage. God also thinks this sexual union is important. After all, sex was His creation, wasn’t it? He thought it up and designed it into our bodies. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God created the man and the woman with very different bodies, complimentary bodies, so that they could perfectly fit together in sexual union. And the reason? Genesis 1:28 tells us, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “’Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.’” How else can we multiply without sexual union? But, wait a minute. That was before the curse, wasn’t it? I thought sex was part of the curse, that it was dirty and naughty, or something. Many in the church are confused over the role of sex, not realizing that sex is God’s gift to us. Many in the church somehow think sex is the devil’s gift, not God’s. They think that sex is somehow always dirty. But it only is outside of marriage. Inside marriage, it is a beautiful, God ordained activity. Parents often give kids the idea that sex is evil by saying something like this: “Sex is filthy, wicked, and disgusting, and you need to save it for your husband.” How ridiculous! And they think that Pastor’s only engage in sexual intercourse for the purpose of procreation, but they never enjoy it. What a warped, unbiblical concept. To any of you who think that, let me point you to you the words of 1st Corinthians 7:3-5:
3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.Are married people expected to have sex? Of course! The only exception is by mutual “consent” for a time “period of fasting and prayer.” God is making it clear here that we really owe sexual enjoyment to our marital partner. The older women (Men could never say this and get away with it) should teach the younger women that they most often should say “Yes!” rather than “No!” Lots of husbands would like to engrave these words on the headboard of their bed. But don’t misuse this, men, or your wives might too. Indeed, God said this in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled.” There is nothing noble or spiritual about having a lousy sex life for a married couple. There is nothing Christian about settling for boring while the world goes for the gusto and the truly satisfying sex lives. Let me tell you, God is no prude. He wouldn’t have included the Song of Solomon in the Bible if he was. That book is erotic. It describes in detail the joys and techniques of marital love-making. The Hebrews wouldn’t even let their young men read this book until they were married. Have you ever wondered what can be done in the marital bed? Just read the Song of Solomon and let your imagination run wild. Obviously God intended sex to be pleasurable, both for the husband and the wife, all within the confines of the marriage bond. They could thoroughly look at, touch, and enjoy each other’s body. But, sex is so special, so sacred, that it should be protected and never squandered outside of marriage. In Proverbs 5:15-19, we see a call to both marital fidelity and marital bliss. It says:
15 Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. 16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.This passage clearly tells us to stay home to enjoy sex. Don’t spread your lovemaking around. They say there are two things a cowboy would never share: his horse and his wife. But within marriage, we are to fully enjoy one another’s body. We are to be completely satisfied with one another. This is as God intended. This is how He designed us.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Genesis 2:24 records the Words of God about marriage. It says: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The King James translates it a little more descriptively as “cleave.” But what does it mean to “cleave?” What does it mean to become one flesh? How can two separate individuals join together so tightly, so intimately, so permanently, that God calls them one? Peter Marshall, former congressional chaplain, wrote:
“Marriage is not a federation of two sovereign states. It is a union – domestic, social, spiritual, and physical. It is the fusion of two hearts – the union of two lives – the coming together of two tributaries, which after being joined in marriage, will flow in the same channel in the same direction. . . . carrying the same burdens of responsibility and obligation.”That’s what marriage is: two people becoming one flesh – one permanent union – as they “cleave” together. Yes, it happens symbolically during the marriage ceremony, but also more and more, bit by bit, over a lifetime as they continue to “cleave” together. One counselor said:
“Every variety of marriage, if it is to be successful and enduring, has one requirement. . . . two people shall be ready to sink themselves in the creation of a new unit bigger than either of them. The creation must be important to them. They must accept their relationship as the permanent framework of their lives.”Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, “So then they are no longer two, but one flesh.” They become tied together so tightly, so intimately, they are no longer two, but one – one flesh. As W. J. Fields put it:
“This concept has profound implications. Husbands and wives often think of their spouses as their ‘other partner’ in marriage. They think of themselves as two individuals who have contracted to live together as man and wife, each a completely separate entity with his own rights, privileges and desires. But instead of being two separated individuals, they are two parts of one unit, each of which is necessary to make the unity complete. Therefore when the husband loves his wife, he is not loving another person at all. He is loving a part of himself. When the wife loves her husband, she is not loving another person. She is loving herself.”That almost makes me think of the Trinity. There is one God existing in three separate persons – a great mystery. We, in some very rudimentary way, are types of that in marriage. Two become one. Now, that’s all fine and dandy, but it is all theoretical. How does this have any real life application? The word “cleave” means to glue. To be bonded together, to stick together like peanut butter cleaves to the roof of your mouth. Two individuals, a man and a woman, are joined together for life into a single entity with a glue so strong you can’t pull it apart without tearing something. Each individual submerges himself or herself into the unit – the marriage. They become one flesh. This happens as the man and woman join together body to body, soul to soul, and spirit to spirit. We will cover each of these three ways in future articles.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Chuck Swindall wrote this:
“There were two porcupines living in Alaska. It was very cold. To keep warm, they decided to draw close together. But when they did that, they needled one another. So they pulled apart. But again they got cold. And so they moved close again, and they got needled. Poor porcupines! They were continuously either cold, or else needling one another.”So much for intimacy between porcupines. But isn’t that the way it is with people too? Alone, we are miserable, lonely, empty; so we get married. But together, we needle one another, aggravate and hurt one another. Like one guy said, “Women! You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.” The result is that half of all marriages fail and end up in the divorce courts. Most of the rest experience disillusionment, sadness, and hurt; yet they endure despite all that. They endure, not because they experience a good marriage, but because they tough it out and won’t give up. But is that the way God intended marriage to be? No! Not at all! Doesn’t God want us to be able to draw close and be warm and comfortable? Yes! Absolutely! That is exactly God’s purpose in writing Genesis 2:24-35:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”Yes, we are to live together in perfect peace and unity – and with intimacy. That is God’s plan and His will. Let’s look at what happens in a typical home: The husband comes from a big family that is easy going and rambunctious. He always thought the bedpost was a convenient place to hang his underwear. She comes from a quiet, orderly home. She just assumed that everyone picked up their own underwear. You have guaranteed conflict in this match-up, and these are just over petty differences. We haven’t even mentioned finances, sexual frequency or responsiveness, distribution of household chores, spiritual issues like where we go to church, and child discipline issues. Or, what about the big one – Where do we spend Christmas? Do we spend it at your Mother’s house or at mine? It’s funny – when you get married, you only have to satisfy one person. Why isn’t it easier? We stand in bliss at the altar promising to love and cherish till death do us part, and within months we are singing the words to that old country song:
“Why don’t we get along? Everything I do is wrong; Tell me, what’s the reason I’m not pleasing you?”How sad, but how often true. And it isn’t surprising. We come together with built in, ready-made incompatibility. We have different backgrounds, different ideas on how things should be done, and we are by design created differently. Our bodies are built differently for different functions, and we even think differently. Yet we are expected to join together in marriage and live intimately till death do us part. It takes a lifetime of work adjusting to one another, but the blessing of an intimate marriage is worth the effort. What is necessary is summed up in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” We will be talking about how this is done in the next few blogs.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Last time we talked about how it is only fair that we repay our parents for the eighteen years or so they cared for us. We can do that by taking care of them when they get older and can’t take care of themselves. 1st Timothy 5:8 told us that if we don’t, we are “Worse than an infidel.” But, now I want you to see what Jesus had to say on the subject. In response to the accusation of the Scribes and Pharisees that Jesus’ disciples didn’t follow the traditions, we read this in Matthew 15:3-9:
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”The disciples of Jesus may have ignored the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees, but the Scribes and Pharisees ignored the clear teaching of God’s Law. Rather than honor their mother and father in the way 1st Timothy 5 tells us to – by caring for them – the Scribes and Pharisees claimed they had dedicated all their money to God. How pious that sounds. But in the meantime, they used the money for themselves. The point is again, the way we honor our parents is by supporting them in their old age. Is it really commanded? Yes, according to the passage. Matthew 15:6 stated, “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect.” No amount of other good deeds will prove we are pious, if we neglect our parents, if we do not provide for our parents. Instead, we only prove our hypocrisy. James 1:27 concurs: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” This doesn’t mean to visit orphans and widows empty-handed. We are not on a social call, but we are there to supply their needs. If the family won’t do it, then who must? 1st Timothy 5:16 answers that: “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.” If the family won’t do it, it is the church’s responsibility. It is not the government’s role. We have allowed the government to take over way too many responsibilities that really belong to the home and to the church. But this responsibility should even be applied to the believing wives whose husbands have abandoned them, or have run off with another woman. This is especially true if she has children to care for. The family, or church by default, should support her so she doesn’t have to abandon the kids to daycare so she can go off to work to support herself. But, oh, how we have drifted from the Biblical mandate. Quoting from an article in the U.S. News and World Report:
“But Americans increasingly expect government to do this job. Temple University Demographer Joseph McFalls remarks, ‘It’s really not so unusual for one institution, such as the family, to give up some of its functions to another, such as the government. Families used to be responsible for the education of children and the care of the aged; the government does both now.’”But, McFalls isn’t decrying this phenomenon. He goes on to call for even further government intervention into families. He believes what Hillary said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” NO! It only takes a family. Each government intrusion has only made things worse. One only needs to look at the mess our society is in, or look at the terrible job being done by the government schools to realize this. Today, we call on government to take care of all our needs, including care of the elderly. But Social Security is an actuarial nightmare – a time bomb waiting to go off and leave us baby boomers busted. There is no way the coming generation can afford to support a growing and enormous crowd of unproductive old people, and that includes me. Nor can we expect much sympathy from our kids who have been trained by us to ship off our responsibility to others as we ship them off to day care at ever younger ages. We send them off for others to raise so we can pursue our own goals. But if a career is the most important thing for a daughter to pursue, she won’t be around anyway to care of mom or dad when they get old. Care of the elderly is a hands-on experience that requires lots of time. What kind of kids are we raising? Are they ones who will take care of us when we need them? As one child told his mom, “You better be nice to me. I’ll be the one picking out your nursing home.” What kind of example will they see in us?
Saturday, October 5, 2013
God said in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Some translations use “forsake” in place of leave. They say that a man should forsake his parents, but can that be a legitimate translation? Yes, it is an acceptable translation if you look at the word definitions, but not in the way you might think. We are to forsake our dependency upon our parents, but never forsake our parents. What do we mean by that? As adults, what should our relationship be to our parents? A good explanation is found in Ephesians 6:1-3:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “’Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: “’that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’”The first verse defines the relationship between children and parents. Children are responsible to obey their parents. And it tells us why – “for this is right.” But should a son obey his parents? Well, is he a child? If not, obedience is no longer required, not if the son is responsible for himself. Only those living under the roof of their parents or eating at their table must obey, not adult children who have made their own families. Yet parents still want to control what their sons do – what kind of car they drive, where they live, how many kids they have, how to educate those kids, and on and on. May it never be. Take advice from your parents, but don’t let them control your life. What about the second command in Ephesians 6:1-3, the command to “’Honor your father and mother,” quoted from the Ten Commandments? Is there a stopping point with honor? Is there an age limit? No! You must always honor your parents as long as they shall live. But that brings up a question: How do we honor our parents? Is it merely sending a Mother’s Day card? Is it merely not being rude of insulting? Of course not. The answer is outlined in 1st Timothy 5:3-4:
“Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.“The word honor, the way it is used in this passage, really means to support them; and in this case, it is talking about the support of widows. Specific this is calling for the support of those who are “really widows,” meaning widows who have no means of support. In this passage, Paul calls this “good and acceptable before God.” What is good and acceptable? It is when you “repay” your parents – this is where the rubber meets the road. Repay them for what? How about for the eighteen to twenty years of love and support they gave you? It’s doing the only right and fair thing. They took care of you when you couldn’t take care of yourself. It’s only proper that you reciprocate when they are unable to take care of themselves. And notice: this is addressed to both children and grandchildren. Is it tough? Oh, yes! But is it right? Oh yes! The Bible tells us that. 1st Timothy 5:8 tells us: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Even unbelievers will take care of their own. If we don’t what does that say about us? 1st Timothy 5:7 adds this, “And these things command, that they may be blameless.” Charity begins in the home. Godliness begins in the home. And this isn’t Old Testament legalism, it is New Testament commandment. We obey God by honoring our parents, and we honor them by providing for their needs when they can no longer provide for themselves.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
The two verses of Genesis 2:24-25 are not the words of Adam, but a commentary inserted into the narrative by God. This is God’s instruction to us as to what makes a marriage work the way God intended. And what does God tell us? “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” This is the way it is supposed to be. God said! It obviously isn’t referring to Adam, since he didn’t have a mother and father. This is talking to us, Adam’s descendents. And God wants us to know the necessity of leaving our parents as we join with our wife, a cleaving in which a new family is born. What does it mean for a man to leave his father and mother? Is this about “cutting the umbilical cord?” Is it to “untie the apron strings?” Absolutely! It is the act of breaking the parent child bond. There comes that time when a young man must break off being the dependent child – when he is no longer responsible to, or under the control of, his parents. For years, he has been cared for and supported by them. He was their little boy who was given bedtimes and curfews and allowances. But now it is time to grow-up and give-up the security of home as he cleaves to a wife. It is time for a new family to be formed as this young man becomes the head of his own household. One time Dr. James Dobson was talking about the most common problems in marriage. Surprisingly, one of the most common is when the parents and in-laws who won’t let go. They try to keep control even following their son’s or daughter’s wedding. But God said a man was to “leave father and mother.” The same applies to the daughter. And this means more than simply moving out and getting your own apartment. It means becoming autonomous – a separate family unit. Now, obviously a little common sense needs to apply here. It doesn’t mean we can never borrow money from our parents or get them to babysit our kids, or have Sunday dinner with them on a regular basis. It doesn’t even mean we can’t live in an apartment they provide, or work at taking over the family business. The issue is the change in roles. We must go from being a dependent little boy as we grow into an independent man who can assume our new role as the head of a household - as a husband and father. Therefore, when dealing with the relationship with his parents, he must make sure, for the good of his own family, that he takes the responsibility. Parents tend to want to keep control. Sons let them because it the easiest thing to do. Mom and Dad offer their help, but with strings attached. “After all we’ve done for you, how can you ignore our wishes?” Psychologically or otherwise, the pressure is put on for the son to conform to the Parents wishes. Parents, shame on you if you do that. Sons, shame on you if you let them manipulate you. There must be a cutting of the dependency cord. Ask for their advice, sure. They are older and wiser. Take a loan if one is needed, and they offer the best rates. But do not let them attach strings. You are now on your own. And Parents, let your son stand on his own two feet. Let him make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t always bail them out or support their foolish ways. Just say “No!” Parents, you must let them go. Sons, you must stand on your own two feet. My wife’s Mom told her, “If anything goes wrong between you and Dan, you can’t come home. You must make it work.” Too often, the parents do just the reverse. “Oh, honey, you can always come home.” No! It is no longer their home. They now are the head of a new home. They have left their mother and father and have joined themselves to a wife.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Chuck Swindall told the story of Suzy, who was only four years old. She had just heard the story of “Snow White” for the first time, and she was eager to tell her mother. Excitedly, she told of Prince Charming arriving on his beautiful white steed, and of him leaning over to plant a kiss on Snow White to awaken her. “And do you know what happened next?” Suzy asked her Mommy. “Yes,” said her mommy. “They lived happily ever after.” “No,” responded Suzy with a frown. “They got married.” Depending upon your perspective, there might be a lot of truth in that. Getting married and living happily ever after are hardly synonymous. The ongoing 50% divorce rate proves that. Yes, marriage as an institution is in tough shape. As one commentator put it, “Our generation is watching the death of marriage and the family as we know it.” Both Christians and non-Christians recognize that fact. U.S. News and World Report, in a 1984 special edition, ran a lead article entitled, “Why Family Will Have a New Definition.” In it they wrote:
“Over the next five decades, experts say, society will redefine its concept of the family. . . Serial marriages, a growing trend even now, will be a normal and planned for part of adulthood. Tomorrow’s children will grow up with several sets of parents and an assortment of half and step siblings. . . .Already it is predicted that by 1990 up to 50% of all children will have experienced divorce and remarriage in their families.”Who could deny it? This article is so accurate, it almost sounds like Biblical prophecy. James Dobson, formerly of Focus on the Family, has done a great job of documenting this appalling trend in the family. Sadly, this is true of Christian families as well. But is there no hope? Quite assuredly there is. If marriage is in trouble, it is because we have abandoned God’s requirements as outlined in Scripture, and we have followed the world’s lead instead. The answer, then, is simply to return to God’s Word and follow God’s instructions. The God who created marriage also gave us an instruction manual – the Bible. When a marriage is in trouble, every time one is in trouble, one or both parties in the marriage isn’t following God’s directions. But to follow God’s directions, we must know them. We must understand them. And we must obey them. That is the purpose of this blog. It is to teach what God has to say about the family. But you must make the commitment to obey what God says. We can talk all day about how bad the world is, or how bad other people’s marriages and homes are, but we can’t do a thing about them. Our country is in a mess. It is morally bankrupt. The political parties are deadlocked. And we each have only one vote, which doesn’t mean much amongst so many. But there is one place we do have complete control over, and that is the most important place of all. We control our own homes. If we are upset about the culture and want to make it “Christian;” if we want to see it have good laws, and good art, and good education, and good entertainment; we can start at home where we set the rules and enforce them. You can choose to allow only God-honoring art and literature into your home. You control which magazines and newspapers come in. If you don’t like the content of one, don’t subscribe to it. You control the entertainment that comes into your homes. TVs and radios have this marvelous thing called a power button. You can turn the thing off. You are in control. In other words, we can make our homes holy. We can set them apart for God. Inside our four walls there should never be any pornography, drugs, alcohol, foul language, punk rock, STDs, unfaithful spouses, and no unwanted children. NEVER! And there should be no troubled marriages. Is your home what you want it to be? Will you commit to making it that? Your commitment is the key ingredient. If you won’t commit, there isn’t any reason to continue reading these blogs, because the directions found in the Word of God outlined here will do you no good. If, on the other hand, you will commit, perhaps you will find something of value as you continue reading. But if you won’t commit, you are in for a rocky road – guaranteed.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Last time I presented one of the primary reasons God created marriage. Today, I will present another. God intends our marriages to portray symbolically the relationship of Christ to His bride, the church. You see this most clearly in the long passage of Ephesians 5:22-33, which happens to be the most extensive teaching on marriage in Scripture. Ephesians 5:22-24 talks to the wife:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”Why should the wife submit to her husband? Because the church is to submit Christ, her bridegroom. The wife represents the church, so that is her role. Christ is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife. Ephesians 5:25-27 talks to the husband:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”Why should the husband love his wife sacrificially, even to the point of being willing to die for her? Because Christ died for the church, His bride. The husband represents Christ, so sacrificial love is his role. Leading her spiritually is his role as he attempts to sanctify and cleanse her by leading her into the Word. He must loving lead his wife as her head, because Christ is the head of the church. Do you see this? If not, Paul spells it out quite clearly in Ephesians5:32, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Paul is not really talking about the husband and the wife and how they interact. He is explaining the relationship between Christ and the church. The husband and wife are earthly representations, types of that heavenly relationship. If we understand that, it will raise our marital relationships to new and higher levels. We aren’t just two people fumbling around trying to get some satisfaction out of life. We are supposed to show the world what it is like to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ. How important can our marriages get? It is critical that we do it right. Our marriages are meant to glorify God. Marriage was not created for our gratification (even though that is a wonderful part of marriage given to us by the act of a loving and gracious God), but for His. All of creation is for His glory. You can see this in the King James translation of Revelation 4:11: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Did you see? Not for our pleasure, but for His. The best definition of marriage I have ever found is this: “Marriage is a covenant designed by God to show forth God’s image and carry out God’s plan.” How true! Do you view your marriage that way?
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
We’ve looked at the process by which God created Adam a suitable helpmeet in our study of Genesis 2, but why did He do it? Or for that matter, why would God join them together in marriage? This is the very point where so many people are mistaken. Most people would answer the question by quoting from Genesis 2:18, where God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” and they would surmise that Adam was lonely. This must be the reason for the creation of the woman, they would postulate. “Aha!” they say. “Adam was lonely. Therefore, God must have created marriage for companionship.” They might extend the answer to include sexual intimacy. Jay Adams, for one, takes that position. He writes:
“The reason for marriage is to solve the problem of loneliness. Marriage was established because Adam was alone, and that was not good. Companionship, therefore, is the essence of marriage.”That sounds reasonable, but is it true? No! I disagree with that answer. Yes, God did say, “It is not good that man should be alone,” but why did He say it? Was it really because Adam was lonely? No! The reason God gave was that Adam needed a helper, not a playmate or a buddy. If all Adam needed was a companion, dogs were around. Rover could make a good companion. A woman’s best friend is a diamond, they claim, while a man’s best friend is a dog. That doesn’t sound fair since we have to feed ours, and we have to pay for theirs. But Adam could have spent time with his dog. Or, if it was only to solve loneliness, God could have made another man for Adam to go bowling with, or fishing. It could have been Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve, or it could have been his good buddy Frank. That could have cured his loneliness. But Adam wasn’t drooping around all overcome by loneliness. How could he be? He met with God face to face regularly. They would walk together in the cool of the day. Adam was alone, not lonely. He needed a suitable helper, a woman comparable to him. Remember? God gave Adam a task, a task he couldn’t do alone. Genesis 1:28 says:
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”Adam had a task that, without Eve, he couldn’t fulfill. Adam couldn’t “be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth” alone. The book of Malachi reinforces this reason for the creation of the woman. Malachi 2:15 says,
“But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.”This obviously refers back to creation where Genesis 2:24 says,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”Why did God join the man and the woman, Adam and Eve as well as every man and woman, in marriage? God “seeks godly offspring.” Adam couldn’t produce them alone. It required his suitable helpmeet, his Eve. Marriage has and will always be, in God’s plan, one man and one woman united as one for life for the purpose of bearing and raising children.
Friday, September 6, 2013
God had made a promise that he would fix Adam’s problem. In Genesis 2:18, He said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” He did that by administering divine anesthetic so He could take a part of Adam’s side. This portion of Adam’s flesh He fashioned into a woman. But this is surprising. Wouldn’t it seem like God would make her in the same way He had formed Adam – out of the dust of the ground? But He didn’t. Rather, He built her out of the body of Adam. The woman was not only made for the man, but from the man. So Adam could truly say, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). But this makes the creation of Eve a great picture (a type, if you will) of the way Christ created His bride, the church. Think about it. Wasn’t Christ’s side also pierced on Calvary as Jesus paid the price to redeem His bride? Adam’s sleep is a picture of death, just as Christ slept in the grave after He died on the Cross for us. And both times, it was to create the bride. Adam’s side was rent to create Eve, as was Christ’s side pierced to purchase His bride. As it says in Ephesians 5:30, “For we [His bride – the church] are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” Ah, just like Adam said of Eve. How precious is our bride. But, what was Eve like? Obviously, she was created in the likeness of God, so she must have been perfect. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” They both, Adam and Eve, were created in God’s image. They were equal beings. Oh, not created identical, or even with the same job description, but they had equal worth. Each sex is mystically different, yet each incomplete as far as the image of God is concerned, but they are fitted together to make the perfect whole - the male as the protector and provider, the female as the nurturer, the man to represent God’s justice, and the woman to represent God’s love. Together, they show a complete picture of who God is. A task we are incapable of alone. When a marriage is torn apart by divorce, the couple reflects more of the image of Satan. They reflect his jealousy, his bitterness, his destructiveness and irresponsibility. But joined together, the two halves make that perfect whole, that complete image of God. None of the animals had been formed in the image of God. That is why none of them were found to be a suitable helpmeet for Adam. Adam couldn’t even find a missing link out there to mate with since they didn’t exist. But how old was Eve? We assume that God created her a full-grown woman of say twenty to thirty years old. God wouldn’t have brought a baby for Adam to marry, now would He? Oh, but she had just been created. She is brand new, but she appears old. Isn’t the evolutionist’s problem? They can’t fathom a God who could make in six days a fully mature, fully functioning universe with the appearance of age. Imagine if you gathered all the modern experts and sent them back in a time machine to day seven of creation. The geologist would declare, “That rock is billions of years old because it takes that long for nature to form a rock.” No! That rock was made last Sunday on the first day of creation. The forester would look at a huge tree, cut it down to count the rings, and declare, “That tree is 160 years old.” No! It was made last Tuesday on day three of creation. The Physician would look at Adam, scratch his head wondering why there was no belly-button, and declare, “This man is 25 years old.” No! He is one day old, having been created on Friday, the sixth day of creation. Do you see how ridiculous evolutionary dating is? But God had fulfilled His promise. God had made Adam a suitable helpmeet, one perfectly suited to complete and complement him. Praise God for his great blessing to men, the creation of the woman.
Monday, September 2, 2013
God needed to make good on His promise. He had said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, and He had promised to make him a suitable helper. Adam has spent the day studying and naming the animals, and has come up empty. Not a one of them is like him. God must act. God must fulfill His promise. And He does. Genesis 2:21 says,
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.”“Come here, Adam,” God says, “We’re going to apply a little divine anesthetic and do some surgery.” And God took “one of his ribs.” That’s actually a bad translation. Of all the times the Hebrew word is used in Scripture, this is the only time this is translated as rib. Every time it is translated as side. A side includes the bone of the rib, but also flesh and blood. God took all the elements he would need to fashion a new human. Thus, Adam could truly say in Genesis 2:23, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” What did God do with the flesh He took from the side of Adam? He formed a woman. Genesis2:22-23 says,
22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”What a tender, touching scene. God the Creator brings his two crowning achievements together and performs the first marriage – marriage as He intended: one man to one woman. And what was Adam’s response? Using a loose translation, it was something like, “Oh, boy! This is it!” Adam might have said, “Eve, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.” And she was. God had come through for Adam in the most perfect way.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Along the way to that final assessment of creation by God that everything He had made was very good, God noticed a lack. Something was incomplete. Something in creation was not as it should be. What was it? Adam was all alone. And God realized, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God’s solution was to “make him a helper comparable to him.” That helper was the woman, Eve. But what or who is this helper that God will make? I mean, what is she really? I quoted to you from the New King James Version of Genesis 2:18, but the New American Standard and the New International Version of the Bible translate it as a “suitable helper” that God would make, and the old King James Version translates it as “helpmeet.” What is a “suitable helper?” I heard Chuck Swindall once quote from the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: “helper – n.: one that helps: esp.: a relatively unskilled worker who assists a skilled worker, usually by manual labor.” Ouch! That definition wasn’t very complimentary. Feminists might call them “fighting words.” And any men who actually treated their wives like they were menial servants, believing this definition, are the ones who give this verse a bad reputation. Shame on them – those male, chauvinist pigs. That is not at all what the Bible means. Swindall cleared up the misunderstanding, and so will I. The Hebrew meaning of the word translated helper is entirely different. It means, “Someone who assists another to reach complete fulfillment, to complement, to fill up.” The word was often used to describe a rescuer. Now doesn’t that sound better? Eve rescued Adam from his incompleteness. Plus, God adds that this rescuer He would make would be suitable, corresponding to Adam, exactly what Adam needed. Thus, God designed the woman to make the man all he was intended to be before God. She would be the perfect complement. Now Adam would be able to fulfill God’s mandate on his life. But, what is interesting in the narrative of Genesis chapter two is that God doesn’t form Eve right off. What is God’s first step? He creates a desire in Adam. This is found in Genesis 2:19-20:
19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.No, this isn’t happening now, after man’s creation, but this is explanatory. The birds were created on day five and the land animals on day six. But Adam has the task of naming them. This harkens back to the task, the job description, that God gave Adam in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said,
‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”Naming is part of having dominion. You can’t name what you don’t control. You can’t name someone else’s baby, for instance. You can’t even name their dog or their cat. The one who owns or controls them names them. But to name the animals meant Adam had to study them. Names had significance. They described the character of the thing being named. You didn’t name your son Phineas Cromwell simply because you liked the way it sounded. You attempted to describe your son by his name. To name something was, in a sense, to know it. Therefore, Adam had to be somewhat of a botanist as well as a biologist. And he had to work at it. But can you imagine Adam watching the animal parade? Perhaps God led them by two by two in the same fashion as He brought them to Noah. And Adam studied them, and Adam saw them cavort together and nuzzle each other. Yet, he is all alone with God’s promise fresh in his mind. Is this the one? Is that? NO! It is not the aardvark , the beaver, or even the chimpanzees. Certainly not the dinosaurs. None of them were right for Adam. None of them were like him. Perhaps God wanted Adam to realize his need before He filled that need. Perhaps Adam needs to understand why he should appreciate his wife. Yet, as of this time, Genesis 2:20 says, “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” What now? God must act. God must fulfill His promise. And God does in a dramatic and glorious way. And this gift of a wife is God’s perfect provision for the need within Adam.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Since this is a blog that concerns problems dealing with the family, it is only appropriate that we examine the origins of the family. How did this thing we call marriage begin? What constitutes a family? Whose idea was it anyway? Did it just develop over time and in lots of forms and varieties as the evolutionist claims? Or did it have an intelligent design and practical purpose? According to God’s infallible Word, the family didn’t originate by accident. Along with most everything else, it was God’s doing. And, of course, God explained it all to us in the very first book of the Bible – the book of origins called Genesis. Genesis 2:18 states: “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” Here’s how it went, quoting one eyewitness source which I believe was the Reader’s Digest: “I’m lonely,” Adam told God in the Garden of Eden. “I need to have someone around for company.” “Okay,” replied God. “I’m going to give you the perfect woman. Beautiful, intelligent, and gracious – she’ll cook and clean for you and never say a cross word.” “Sounds good,” Adam said. “But what’s she going to cost?” “An arm and a leg,” answered God. “That’s pretty steep,” countered Adam. “What can I get for just a rib?” And the rest, as they say, is history. Actually, I heard a different account, this one from a lady. She said, “God created man, stepped back to look, and said, ‘I can do better than that!’ and created the woman. After all, you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece.” Maybe we better stick with what God said. And God did spell out the creation of the woman, and the story begins here in Genesis 2:18. Interestingly, in Genesis 2:18, this is the first time God said, “It is not good.” No, not the creation of woman – don’t be silly. Everything up to this point was good. All through Genesis chapter one, as God finished creating for the day He stopped and admired, saying, “It was good.” Six times we read that same statement – once for each day of creation. Then, when God finished, He took time to evaluate the whole of creation and came to this conclusion, “It was very good.” Genesis 1:31 says, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Sometime, however, on the sixth day after creating Adam, God made the admission that something was not good. Something was less than perfect. Something was still incomplete. What was not good? God’s answer: It was not good that man was alone. Ah, but God had a plan. That plan was to make Adam “a helper comparable to him.” God won’t leave Adam alone. God will provide Adam with a helper; but not just any helper, one comparable to him. And thus, we see the creation of Eve – God’s answer to Adam’s need. God made Adam a wife, and the family began.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
We looked, last time at the first half of Psalm 127:1. Now we’ll look at the second half. Here is the whole verse: Psalm 127:1 -
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”There are twin truths here, aren’t there? And they are related. Why does a man work? He works to build his home and to feed and provide for his family. And why would a man guard his city? It is to protect his family from danger. But, just as only God can adequately build our homes, only God can protect our homes. God is our only real security. Think about it: Satan isn’t the least bit afraid of us. The world system isn’t one bit afraid of us. Even the strongest of us are no match for either of them. They will sap our strength and resistance. We’re helpless before them, really, unless the Lord guards the city, the home, the heart of our children. You can stay up all night watching for the enemy, but it’s all in vain. “Oh, but God will protect us! We’re Christians!” I’ve heard people say. “We’ve got His promise on that.” And they blindly trust things will be OK because they are Christian. Oh, but will God always protect our homes? Christian homes fall apart as often as non-Christian homes. There must be some kind of catch if there really is a promise. And there is. How can you expect God’s protection if you knowingly violate His rules for the home? How can you expect His protection if you haven’t followed His plan, or haven’t built on His foundation, or haven’t used the proper tools He’s provided? No, friend. We can’t count on being protected then. Jesus Himself said, in the Sermon on the Mount, that a wise man builds his house on the rock. Look at His words in Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”The rock is the Word of God. And when the storms of adversity and opposition come in like a flood, the house built on God’s Word will stand. The foolish man builds his house on the shifting sand of popular opinion. He does whatever society is doing, or whatever society’s experts tell Him to do within his home. Thus, when the storms of adversity hit his house, man, you’ve never heard such a loud crash. But can the man blame God for that? Jesus told him to build on the rock, the solid rock of the Word of God. If you are dumb enough to build on sand, the results are predictable. If we take short cuts, if we cheapen the home construction, we get just that – a cheap imitation of what God designed our home to be. Even Christians complain, “I can’t understand why my marriage fell apart. I can’t understand why my children rebelled.” Yet, they didn’t follow God’s plan. The man didn’t fulfill the Biblical roles as a husband by being the pastor, provider, and protector of his home as the type of Christ in the marriage. And the woman failed to fulfill her roles as reproducer and nurturer as the type of the church, the bride of Christ. You understand the typology from Ephesians 5:22-32, don’t you? All through that long passage, Paul addresses the roles of the husband and the wife. The husband is to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church. The wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord as the church submits to Christ as His bride. In a Christian marriage, we are to show the world a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bide, the church. And when the wife usurps the husband’s role, or has it handed to her by some lazy, old lay-about man who refuses to fulfill his role, it tears the typology apart. God doesn’t owe our families any protection then. The next verse of the Psalm continues the theme. Psalm 127:2 –
“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”Once again God says it is vain. Long hours of painful labor, rising early and staying up late, are all for nothing unless the Lord is guarding the home. No amount of effort can make up for not following God’s plan; nor can it change the consequences. But in reverse, this tells us that there is no need to worry. Worry only compounds the problem. Worry is a tyrannical master. Once it gets in, it nags us so we can’t think of anything else. It wears us down, frays our nerves, ruins our health, and steals our sleep. It is our families that cause us the most worry. How much better to turn back to Christ and trust Him? Jesus invites us to do just that. Matthew 11:28 gives us His tender invitation:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”Do you want to be able to relax in your own home knowing it is protected? Turn to Christ and rest in Him. When we rest safe in Him securely within the boundaries He has set in His Word, He will be like a Father to us who picks us up like we might a fussy baby and holds us tight in His arms humming us a lullaby until we settle down and fall asleep. There is security when God protects our homes. When we return to Christ, what is there to worry about? We can rest secure knowing that God is on the job building our home and watching over them. I pray that you desire a God protected home.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
One thing is clear as we looking at our culture. Our society is in a moral free fall, and our homes are a disaster. You don’t need statistics to understand this. Anyone who reads a daily newspaper is fed up with all the examples. Our country is in a mess, morally bankrupt – and in debt up to our ears. But while no one would dispute these facts, very few people have any idea what went wrong or how we can correct the problem. But there is an answer. Billy Graham gives us the reason for this situation in his book, World Aflame:
“The immutable law of sowing and reaping has held sway. We are now the hapless possessors of moral depravity, and we seek in vain for a cure. The tares of indulgence have overgrown the wheat of moral restraint. Our homes have suffered. Divorce has grown in epidemic proportions. When the morals of a society are upset, the family is the first to suffer. The home is the basic unit of our society, and a nation is only as strong as her homes. The breaking up of a home does not often make headlines, but it eats like termites at the structure of a nation. As a result of the mounting divorces, separations, and desertions, about twelve million of the forty five million children in the United States (over one fourth) do not live with both parents. A vicious cycle is in motion. The Bible says, ‘The Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’ (Jer. 31:29).”How true it is. But what is the answer? The answer is that God must build our homes. God’s Word must show us how. Most people would admit that they really wish they could have a good, solid family. That’s what they really want most of all. But what few people are willing to admit is that a strong family is possible if we would only follow the rule book God gave us that rule book. The rule book, of course, is the Bible, the Word of God. God thought up this idea of family, and God brought Adam and Eve together. He knows what makes family work. Unfortunately, few people are unwilling to follow the rules God set down. The mess we are in proves it. Yet, we desperately need to mend the fractures in our domestic bones. We need help for our families. And if we don’t find it, the skeleton of our society is surely going to collapse. Psalm 127: 1 says: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” The Lord, Himself, must be the center of our homes, the foundation upon which we build. God must be the one directing the construction. If we try to build our homes any old way, it simply won’t work. We must let God build it. “Yeah, right,” you say. “God doesn’t use a hammer or nails. How does He build our homes?” Here is the answer. God is the general contractor. We, as husband and wife, are the sub-contractors. God builds our homes using our labor. And we must build according to His specifications. He gives us the blue print, and He supplies the tools. He expects us to use them. We cannot, we must not, deviate from His specifications; not without paying a terrific price in disastrous consequences of a home that cracks and settles and crumbles under pressure. To build our homes any other way than by using God’s plan is vain, empty, and useless. You can work, strive, fret, worry, plan, and do whatever you want; but if the Lord is not the very center of your home, it’s all in vain. If you build without following the blue print found in the Word of God, it’s all in vain. Follow the world’s prescription and you’ll get fractured families. You’ll get children born to unwed mothers. You’ll get over a million children each year slaughtered in the womb. Those children born alive will grow up into angry, rebellious young adults. The world presents a recipe for disaster. God presents a recipe for success. But you can have a God built home. Make Him the center of your home. Follow His blue print. Only then can you expect success.