Wednesday, July 21, 2004

It Starts With A Foundation


Commentary to the 3rd Quarter Sabbath School Lesson #4

Anybody who is in the construction business will tell you that the most important aspect of any construction is the foundation. While the foundation is not seen when the building is completed, a person of experience can examine the building and determine by the look of the building, whether its foundation is good and solid or not. A good foundation almost guarantees good construction. A bad foundation guarantees poor construction.

The foundation of a good marriage is in the choosing of the partner. More explicitly, it is in how you chose your partner. There are many checklist systems, and some of these are better than others. A male friend told me his method is based on: how the woman dresses, how she stands and walks, her conversation, the food she chooses to eat, and how she eats. Some women say:
“I look at his teeth, his fingernails, and his shoes.” After having heard all these methods, and having observed the results thereof, I now boil it down to one question: “Will this person help me enter the Kingdom of God?” My sister told me of a friend who disclosed to her via e-mail the bio of a prospect, “She’s very active in church, wears no make-up, and wears no jewelry.” My sister replied to him, “Does she love God?” Although, my sister’s friend no longer is pursuing the young woman, he still has not answered her question.

The World offers dating as an alternative method for choosing a partner. The two main questions in dating are, “How will this person suit my desires for pleasure, and will I stop being lonely?” This is a very selfish and self-centered way of making a decision on whom to be with. Since it is about fulfilling our own desires by ourselves, we use carnal wisdom to make the decision, and usually suffer afterwards.

In the Bible I see a different model. I see God choosing whom our partner should be. Of course this is a major issue of trust, nevertheless, in Genesis 2, we read:

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Genesis 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Genesis 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Genesis 2:23 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.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

What do we see in this passage? God knew of Adam’s need. God knew exactly what Adam needed. While Adam waited for God to bring his partner, he remained focused on the work God gave him to do. God formed a woman just fit for Adam. God brought the woman to Adam. Adam accepted her and became one with her. Christ’s Righteousness covered their nakedness. Further along in Genesis 24, we read how Isaac met Rebekah. In this story we see Abraham using his wisdom to find a spouse for his son, and we find a servant who prays to God to help him chose. Isaac and Rebekah accepted God’s will for each other. So they became one. The Bible says that Rebekah comforted Isaac. This should or could have been our story.

Unfortunately, in dating we tell God, "I assert my right to make my own decisions for my life, (and reject what You have for me), after all, you gave me a brain, and common sense, so there is nothing wrong with exercising it." In letting God choose, I give up the right to choose for myself, and accept by faith God’s will for me. In dating, I rob God of the pleasure and joy inherent in His bringing to me, a person He formed just for me. In dating I am likely to choose wrongly, and may rob myself of: the pleasure and joy of becoming one with someone who is my perfect complement.

In dating I open the door to inappropriate emotional bonding with a person whom, I may later determine, is not for me. This results in either my getting hurt, or the other person getting hurt--and in this sinful world, that's just one more loss to grieve, that didn't have to happen. I also open the door to greater sexual temptation and create the opportunity for pre-marital sex (Fornication) and cohabitation. Of course, both of these are practices that ultimately lead to alienation from God.

Over the last 10 years, I have spoken at length to many separated and divorced individuals. In all cases, without fail, pre-marital sex was a part of their relationship with their former spouse. And in many cases they are unrepentant. They have forgotten that in God's sight inappropriate emotional and physical bonding, as well as fornication and adultery are as murder, therefore they break God's heart. After all, He meant for us to love one another with a pure self-sacrificing and self-denying love as He loves us. He never intended for us to have a cheap substitute. Oh, what a shame that we settle for so much less, and then blame God and each other when things don't work out the way we think they should.

By choosing a spouse for ourselves, we fail to allow God to prepare our betrothed for us. We further forfeit the relational experience He wants to give us, as He sanctifies us, and divests us of sexual impurities and sinful expectations.

Instead of Marriage being seen as a mutual need meeting, it should be perceived as the bringing together of a man and a woman to be a team. God joins them together, for a specific mission. They are to reveal the true character of Christ, as He revealed the character of the Father while here on earth. Therefore, the married couple must learn to know (as in the biblical sense), the character of God, in an ever-deepening way. It is through the Power of the Holy Spirit, as we study, meditate, and ponder the Word separately and together, and through praying with and for each other, that the will of God is known, understood and acted upon. Your spouse / partner is a gift to you from God, the "...Giver of all Good gifts." He desires that you be happy and fulfilled in Him. Will you accept God’s gift to you or will you rather find your own?

If you are already married, God’s grace is abundant enough to cover you and your spouse.
He can and will work a miracle in your marriage. But, you must ask Him to be made willing, and then yield your will to Him. He will give you that unconditional love for your spouse if you let Him. You'll be the happier for it, and so will your spouse.

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