Marriage Should Not be Somber

November 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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In previous lessons in this series on Isaiah 62:1-4, I said that marriage should not be secret, static, or spurious. Now will see that marriage should not be somber.

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Isaiah 62:4

God’s people had been called Forsaken – forgotten or abandoned by their God – but the parallel contrast is that He would remove the name “Forsaken” and replace it with “Hephzibah” which translates as “My delight is in her.” Normally, I’m a proponent of being somber over being silly. That’s kind of my personality, and, as Christians, although we are not opposed to fun, we don’t want to be primarily identified as frivolous. In our marriages, we don’t want either spouse to be – or even feel, for that matter – “forsaken,” nor do we want people to get that impression. We want our marriages to show off the joy of the Lord. In fact, that joy follows closely on the heels of the idea of exercising dominion and kingship in this world, and, according to the Bible, it is a source of our strength:

The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

Psalm 21:1-3

We hear much about having a “happy marriage” these days, but, for Christians, the idea of joy in marriage is not that we have settled into a complacent peace that is dependent on everything going smoothly in our circumstances. The idea is that we are abounding in joy, and that our joy is contagious because we have been “saved” from the curse of sin. We have been given our “heart’s desire.” We have been crowned, not with a withering grass laurel, but with a crown of “pure gold.”

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Proverbs 5:18

Not only will this delight us because of God’s promise of blessing, but the Lord Himself will “Hephzibah” – delight! – in us and our marriages.

In the next lesson we will see that marriage must not be sterile.

The Blessings of an Unhappy Marriage Part 1

February 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 13 Comments
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I have to put a disclaimer on this post. I don’t have an unhappy marriage. I love my wife very much. I love being married to her. From my point of view my marriage is extremely happy. (My wife’s point of view may be a different story!) Even better than being “happy,” my marriage is full of joy – real God-given, Christ-exalting, grace-fueled, Gospel-centered joy! This post is intended to help those who are under the mistaken assumption or belief that the sole purpose of marriage is to give us a shallow, temporary, circumstances-dependent happiness. God’s purpose for marriage is far higher and far greater than that – even when (and maybe especially when) one or both spouses don’t really feel happy.

Here are the first two of four Bible principles to help us understand what God wants to do in our marriages. These are opposed to what the world (and even much of the Church) teaches about how to have a superficially happier marriage.

1. Satisfaction in Marriage

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2, emphasis added

God’s will is perfect. Unless you are a bigamist or a polygamist, you are married to the person to whom God wants you to be married. You may have heard the old joke about the man who wore his wedding ring on the wrong hand. When his friend asked him about it, the man said, “That’s because I’m married to the wrong woman.” It may be a cute joke, but it expresses a horrible idea, and it’s not at all Biblical. I remember (sort of) the words to a song that was popular on the radio when I was a young child. It went something like, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…” Not very romantic, to be sure! And I’m almost certain it was not a very spiritual song. However, it did express something of a solid Biblical principle: Love is something we are commanded to “do” to our spouses, regardless of what sentimental or sinful “feelings” we might have.

God is sovereign. He uses everything that happens to you – if you are truly a Christian – truly His son or daughter – to conform you to the image of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus. That is the ultimate overriding goal – the big purpose of God – His divine will – concerning you.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29, emphasis added

It’s a big job – but nothing is too difficult for God. This is a great encouragement. God is going to conform me to the image of Christ. If my marriage is “unhappy” but God is using it to conform me to the image of His dear Son, then I can find Satisfaction in my marriage.

2. Separation in Marriage

Romans 12:2 says that we are not to be conformed to image of the world. Therefore, we are to reject worldly ideas of marriage. We are to be transformed inwardly – and be conformed inwardly and outwardly to the image of Christ. “Separation in marriage” sounds like an oxymoron. Normally, we think of “separation” as the precursor to divorce. But I’m not talking about separation from your spouse. I’m talking about separation from the affections of others (such as parents, friends, etc.) and separation from “worldly wisdom” about your marriage. When you find satisfaction in your marriage by viewing it as part of God’s divine will, you will be able to handle the principle of separation from the world’s view of what your marriage can be, and you will be able to see God’s view of what it can be.

Next time, we’ll look at Sanctification and Sacrifice in marriage.

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