“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (7/17/10): Demand #40 “What God Has Joined Together Let No Man Separate, For Marriage Mirrors God’s Covenant With Us”

Matthew 19:4-6

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Isaiah 54:5

“Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name.”

Ezekiel 16:8

“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.”

Hosea 2:16, 19-20

“In that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband.’”

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.”

“Jesus demands that husbands and wives be faithful to their marriages. He does not assume this is easy. But he teaches that it is a great thing because marriage is the work of God himself whereby he creates a new reality of “one flesh” that surpasses human comprehension and portrays to the world in human form the covenant union between God and his people. Marriage is sacred beyond what most people imagine, because it is a unique creation of God, a dramatic portrayal of God’s relation to his people, and a display of God’s glory. Against all the diminished attitudes about marriage in our day, Jesus’ message is that marriage is a great work of God and a sacred covenant breakable only by death (pg. 301).”

“With these Scriptures as the backdrop, it is inevitable that Jesus would see God’s creation of marriage in the beginning as a means of portraying his relationship with his people… he had in view (as he has all things in view) that he would call his people his wife and himself her husband.  therefore, the union between a man and a woman is uniquely God’s creation with a view to portraying the relationship between himself and his people… As a God-created union of “one flesh” this man and this woman are in a covenant analogous with God’s covenant with Israel. Their marriage portrays God’s relationship with his people. Through marriage God fills the earth with (mostly unwitting) witnesses to the relationship between him and his covenant people. This is one of the main reasons that divorce and remarriage are so serious. They tell a lie about God’s relationship to his people. God never divorced his wife and married another. There were separations and much pain, but he always took her back. The prophet Hosea is a testimony to God’s radical love for his wayward spouse. God never abandons his wife. And when he has to put her away for her adulterous idolatry, he goes after her in due time. This is what marriage is meant to portray: God’s invincible and gracious commitment to his covenant people—his wife… God freely chose and married Israel so that they would display his glory. Therefore, marriage is the work of God’s creation, the portrayal of his covenant love, and the display of his glory (pg. 302-303).”

“Divorce is painful. It is often more emotionally wrenching than the death of a spouse. It is often long years in coming and long years in the settlement and in the adjustment. The upheaval of life is immeasurable. The sense of failure and guilt and fear can torture the soul. Like the psalmist, night after night a spouse falls asleep with tears (Ps. 6:6). Work performance is hindered. People draw near or withdraw with uncertain feelings. Loneliness can be overwhelming. A sense of a devastated future can be all-consuming. Courtroom controversy compounds the personal misery. And then there is often the agonizing place of children. Parents hope against hope that the scars will not cripple them or ruin their own marriages someday. Tensions over custody and financial support deepen the wounds. And then the awkward and artificial visitation rights can lengthen the tragedy over decades. Because of these and many other factors, people with sensitive hearts weep with those who weep. They try not to increase the pain. And sometimes this care is confused with compromise. People think that loving care is incompatible with confrontation, that the tenderness of Jesus and the toughness of his demands cannot both be love. But surely this is not right. In fact, firm and loving confrontation with the demands of Christ is a form of caring, because a sinful decision is just as harmful to a person as the emotional pain. This is true individually, and it is true for the church and society. Compassionate compromises on the sanctity of marriage that weaken the solidity of the covenant of marriage look loving in the short run but wreak havoc over decades. Preserving the solid framework of the marriage covenant with high standards feels tough in the short run but produces ten thousand blessings the future generations take for granted. The great challenge to Jesus’ followers in the face of divorce and remarriage is to love biblically. The great challenge is to mingle the tears of compassion with the tough love of obedience. This alone will honor Christ and preserve the spiritual health and power of the marriage and the church Jesus founded (pg. 305-306).”

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 12:30 PM  Leave a Comment  
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