Marriage is God's design - One man for one woman as we read in Genesis, the book of beginnings…. Although the word "covenant" is not actually used , Moses describes what is in its essence the first covenant of marriage writing …. Then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the man 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. Ge , 22, 23, Wayne Mack : One plus one equals one may not be an accurate mathematical concept, but it is an accurate description of God's intention for the marriage relationship.
Matthew Henry : The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. Jesus reinforced the idea that marriage is a covenant relationship when the Pharisees tried to trap Him knowing that the rabbis were divided on this issue with the question of whether or not it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for "any cause at all".
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Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together note Who joined them , let no man separate.
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- How the Beautiful Hebrew Marriage is Symbolic of Our Covenant.
Mt , 5, 6. In ancient times, covenant was the most solemn and binding agreement into which two parties could enter. It is tragic that this vital truth seems to have been lost in much of our modern culture, including even in the church, with devastating consequences to American families and to America's moral foundation.
Keeping the Marriage Covenant
As J C Ryle said in 's "The marriage relation lies at the very root of the social system of nations. The nearer a nation's laws about marriage approach to the law of Christ, the higher has the moral tone of that nation always proved to be. It is therefore critical that we understand the truth about covenant as it relates to marriage.
Remember that truths that are seldom pondered, will become truths that are soon forgotten. In covenant you become identified with the other individual and there is a supernatural commingling of two lives. In marriage, your family becomes your spouse's family, your desires your beloved's desires, and yes, even your finances are your covenant partner's finances including credit card bills! When God entered covenant with Noah, He gave Noah the rainbow which was to be a testimony that God would remain forever faithful to keep the covenant never again to flood the earth so as to destroy all flesh.
When the rain bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. When a you enter covenant with your beloved, the sign is usually a ring which serves as a constant reminder memorial of the solemn and binding of your marriage covenant. To the present day, an important ceremony at the coronation of a sovereign of Great Britain, is the investiture of the sovereign per annulum, or "by the ring.
A similar practice prevails at the coronation of European sovereigns generally. It also runs back to the days of the early Roman emperors, and of Alexander the Great. The very covenant itself, or its binding force, has been sometimes thought to depend on the circlet representing it ; as if the life which was pledged passed into the token of its pledging.
Thus Lord Bacon says: "It is supposed [to be] a help to the continuance of love, to wear a ring or bracelet of the person beloved " I and he suggests that "a trial should be made by two persons, of the effect of compact and agreement; that a ring should be put on for each other's sake, to try whether, if one should break his promise the other would have any feeling of it in his absence.
On this idea it is, that many persons are unwilling to remove the wedding-ring from the finger, while the compact holds. No longer shall your name be called Abram , but your name shall be Abraham ; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. As the wife takes on her husband's name, this change symbolizes the supernatural identity and oneness God intended for the partners who had entered the marriage covenant. Biblical covenants were often commemorated with a "covenant meal". The most famous "covenant meal" is of course found in the New Covenant where we read that the Lord Jesus on the night.
In a short while you will probably celebrate your new covenant relationship by feeding each other wedding cake which is a picture that you are now sharing a common life , that two lives have become one. Since God instituted this covenant and it is His will that it remain unbroken, you can be assured that His supernatural hand of blessing will be on your "covenant cake" ceremony. Related resource: See discussion of the Oneness of Covenant. As you read the following dictionary definitions of the word friend , you might see if any of these definitions apply to you and your covenant partner.
Webster says a friend is one attached to another by affection. A friend is one who is regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty. A friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
The Bible's Teaching on Marriage and Family
A friend is a person with whom one is on good and, usually, familiar terms. A friend is one who entertains for another sentiments of esteem, respect and affection, which lead him or her to desire the other's company, and to seek to promote their happiness and prosperity. Friend is a covenant term and is beautifully seen in God's covenant with Abraham.
In 2Chronicles 20 there is a marvelous account of God's deliverance of Judah's king, Jehoshaphat. Upon hearing of the enemy's advance against him, King Jehoshaphat cried out to God, appealing to His covenant relationship with Israel and reminding Him of who He is and of His great power:. And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations?
Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee.
Didst Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend 'ahab forever the promise of the land would endure because it was an unconditional promise to Israel based on the the Abrahamic Covenant which itself was an unbreakable, everlasting covenant. Yes, Israel has been disobedient, but that does not void God's promise - see Deut - See discussion of Abrahamic vs Mosaic Covenant?
James also associates the concept of covenant with friend explaining that when Abraham offered up Isaac his son on the altar, his faith was shown to be working with his works and thus…. Jas , note. Comment : In Isaiah , the Hebrew word for friend is ahab which is the verb meaning to love first used of Abraham's love for his son Isaac - Ge devotional commentary. The Septuagint Lxx translates ahab with agapao - see word study.
Unlike the English term, the Hebrew word has less to do with emotion and more to do with actions. Literally God is addressing Abraham as "the one loving Me. The basis for their mutual love was their immutable unconditional covenant. Can you see how this OT picture would have application to a husband and wife who have entered into the covenant of marriage?
In Genesis God entered into an unbreakable covenant with Abram Abraham Read Ge noting Who initiated the covenant and later declared of His covenant partner and friend …. Shall I hide keep secret, conceal, cover from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? Comment : In other words, friends share "secrets" and they do so because there is a trust between them.
A husband and wife in covenant should be willing to be open, authentic, transparent and "real" with their covenant partner because he or she is their friend! Does this describe your relationship with your spouse? Abraham was the friend of God by virtue of entering covenant with Him. As friends in the marriage covenant there should be no secrets from the covenant partner.
Friends are transparent and honest with one another. Does friendship describe your marriage? If it does not, it can yet describe your marriage. If you can't answer affirmatively, then let me encourage you to humbly, prayerfully allow your Teacher, the Holy Spirit 1Cor , to take these truths about the covenant of marriage including friendship and use them to transform you into the image of Jesus 2Cor note and renew your mind Eph note , cp Ro note regarding the value of your spouse as your best friend.
The Meaning and Power of Covenant in Marriage – Booklet/eBooklet
After 45 years in the covenant of marriage, I can honestly say that my wife is still my best friend. Solomon was correct when he said that "a friend loves at all times. I choose you to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.
True friendship is not fed from the barn floor or the wine vat; it is not like the rainbow dependent upon the sunshine, it is fixed as a rock and firm as granite, and smiles superior to wind and tempest. If we have friendship at all, brethren and sisters, let this be the form it takes: let us be willing to be brought to the test of the wise man, and being tried, may we not be found wanting.
Of course the supreme example of covenant friendship was our Lord Jesus Christ Who said to His disciples " Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. Indeed, "a pledge to take a woman for his wife commits a man to sharing his life in its entirety. This is my beloved, and this is my friend! And again Jesus told His disciples " No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends , for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. As Chantry quipped "How soon marriage counseling sessions would end if husbands and wives were competing in thoughtful self-denial!
In the Old Testament, the solemnity of cutting covenant was often witnessed by setting up a Memorial or Sign. For example, when Jacob cut a covenant with his father-in-law Laban, the latter responded….
Man Created Incomplete
And Jacob said to his kinsmen, "Gather stones. Now Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha Aramaic for "witness heap" , but Jacob called it Galeed Hebrew for "witness heap" And Laban said, "This heap is a witness between you and me this day.
If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me. And Laban said to Jacob, "Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me. Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal covenant meal ; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.
Ge Mizpah meant watchtower and was identified by a heap of stones pillar - Ge which served as a Memorial a preservative of one's memory and witness at Mizpah watchtower that neither party would break their solemn, binding covenant, and God was called as their Witness Ge Similarly when a man and a woman enter into the solemn, binding covenant of marriage and become one flesh Ge , there are always witnesses present who serve to testify that the covenant has been cut.
Related Convenant Principles For Marriage
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