November 6, 2010 Matt Pennock

Marriage, The Highest Gift on Earth – Genesis 2:18

It is interesting how the Bible puts the relationship between a man and a woman on a spectrum between what can be the highest blessing in life and or worst curse in life.

Compare and contrast the following verses:

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be
alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

…love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave…(Song of Solomon 8:6)

I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is
snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. (Ecclesiastes 7:26)

God wired us so that a relationship with the opposite sex would be the most fulfilling thing in our lives. The gift of the “two become one” trumps all other earthly gifts by quite a large margin. There was nothing else in creation designed to suit the man. Nor was there anything else in all of creation that the woman was made to suit.

Adam was not incomplete as a man, but he was wired to do specific things: to lead, protect, provide for, and fight for something. Yet there was no place to put those gifts into action. He was alone and God knew it: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” He needs something that would allow him to use those gifts; something he could lead, protect, provide for, and fight for. But more than that it needs to be something Adam would desire to fight for, protect, provide for, and lead. After all, if you’re going to fight for something, it’s got to be worth the fight.

So God made Eve. Perfect.

She was  gifted with companionship—to be able to connect, support, and communicate intimately with great sensitivity.

“…she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14)

“I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

She was gifted with beauty and desirability.

“…rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe.” (Proverbs 5:18-19)

She was gifted with the ability to nurture and comfort.

“…she was the mother of all the living.” (Genesis 3:20)

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted…” (Isaiah 66:13)

“Can a woman forget her nursing child?” (Isaiah 49:15)

This is why the fit is emphasized by Paul who, referring to the Genesis account, said:

For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.  (1Co 11:7-9)

Eve was not incomplete as a woman. However she was wired to suit Adam. Peter wrote:

“…honor the woman as the weaker vessel.” (1 Peter 3:7)

God created Eve weaker than Adam for a purpose. It was not a mistake. She is not less than or inferior to Adam. The idea of evolution might see the woman as less evolved and perhaps inferior–after all, survival of the fittest—but not the idea of creation.  God made the man and woman perfect.

An entire book of the Bible (Song of Solomon) is actually a poem dedicated to the wonder of this highest and richest gift. Consider some of the descriptive metaphors:

“..better than wine” (Song 1:2)

“…sick with love…” (Song 2:5)

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…” (Song 2:16)

“How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!” (Song 4:10)

“…his desire is for me.” (Song 7:10)

“…love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave…” (Song 8:6)

The Proverbs put it this way:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (Proverbs 31:10)

She is far more precious than anything else! Not as a commodity or piece of property as many twisted minds of men have made her out to be, but as a blessing of companionship and a means to do as a real man does on the sojourn of life.

The same principles of course hold true for a woman:

Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)

Ever since the fall, finding a faithful partner is difficult. However there are hints that God is there to help us if we become his servants:

“…let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac.” (Genesis 24:14)

Having observed all of this in Scripture, a bigger question needs to be asked. Why did God create all this? Why did he make men and women the way he did?

“…and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord…” (Ephesians 3:9-11)

God has an eternal purpose in creating all things. This eternal purpose is represented by a  circular flow or trajectory.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.” (Rom 11:36)

If Eve was specifically made and wired for a man, what was Adam specifically made for?

“For a man ought not to cover his head, he is the image and glory of God.” (1 Cor 11:7)

This is the clue that begins to unlock the mysteries and revelations revealed in Jesus Christ.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph 5:25)

Here we begin to see that man is a sermon illustration for God the Father—who leads, protects, provides, and fights for us. Men are called to a very high calling! Conversely, the woman is a sermon illustration of the Church. The glorious bride adorned and made beautiful and lovely by her husband and equipped to nurture and bring comfort to the world.

“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD.  (Ezekiel 16:8-14)

Did you notice how God, as a husband, lifts this bride up into absolute beauty and royalty, no holds barred? My, what many husbands could perhaps learn from this! We are a sermon illustration in the Grand Eternal Sermon of God…his Word. Think of yourself as a word or paragraph in the preaching of God. As long as creation exists, God is actively preaching. What is he preaching exactly? If all things are from him and to him then it must be about none other than himself. And so it is. As the temple was a copy, or sermon illustration, of heavenly things, so is marriage:

“These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col 2:17)

“They serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.” (Hebrews 8:5)

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself…” (Hebrews 9:24)

“…the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities.” (Hebrews 10:1)

Marriage and relationships are all about God. When we make it about anything else we disrupt the eternal glorious flow of God’s sermon, as happened at the Fall, and end up violating and corrupting it. This is why God cannot stand sin and must do away with it. Yet everything teaches us about himself. His dying on the cross for us preaches so loudly of his character as a sacrificial God who fights for those whom he loves.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:8-11)

For from him and through him and to him are all things.” (Rom 11:36)

When we make marriage or relationships about ourselves a mess will result. If all things are from God and end with the man, we are left with chauvinism. If all things are from God and end with a woman, we are left with feminism.  If all things are from God and to God, our marriages and relationships will be powerful conduits of God’s glorious flow—transparent equals through whom God can proclaim his glory and the glory of his Church–the ultimate eternal blessing.

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