Sunday, January 28, 2007
Staying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part One
January 28, 2007By John Piper
Read, listen, or watch this resource on their website.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Between our more substantial sermon series I am taking up a few subjects that seem to me to be urgent. Marriage is always urgent. There never has been a generation whose view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the human vision is, and has always been, gargantuan. Some cultures in history respect the importance and the permanence of marriage more than others. Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous to most people.
Jesus’ Vision of Marriage
That was the case in Jesus’ day as well, and ours is vastly worse. When Jesus gave a glimpse of the magnificent view of marriage that God willed for his people, the disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10). In other words, Christ’s vision of the meaning of marriage was so enormously different from the disciples, they could not even imagine it to be a good thing. That such a vision could be good news was simply outside their categories.
If that was the case back then with the sober, Jewish world in which they lived, how much more will the magnificence of marriage in the mind of God seem unintelligible to the world we live in, where the main idol is self, and its main doctrine is autonomy, and its central act of worship is being entertained, and its two main shrines are the television and the cinema, and its most sacred genuflection is the uninhibited act of sexual intercourse. Such a culture will find the glory of marriage in the mind of Jesus virtually unintelligible. Jesus would very likely say to us today, when he had finished opening the mystery for us, the same thing he said in his day: “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. . . . Let the one who is able to receive this receive it” (Matthew 19:11-12).
The Biblical Vision of Marriage
So I start with the assumption that our own sin and selfishness and cultural bondage makes it almost impossible to feel the wonder of God’s purpose for marriage between a man and a woman. The fact that we live in a society that can even conceive of—let alone defend—two men or two women entering a relationship and with wild inconceivability calling it marriage, shows that the collapse of our culture into debauchery and barbarism and anarchy is probably not far away.
I mention all this in the hopes that it might possibly wake you up to consider a vision of marriage higher and deeper and stronger and more glorious than anything this culture—or perhaps you yourself—ever imagined. The greatness and glory of marriage is beyond our ability to think or feel without divine revelation and without the illumining and awakening work of the Holy Spirit. The world cannot know what marriage is without learning it from God. The natural man does not have the capacities to see or receive or feel the wonder of what God has designed for marriage to be. I pray that this message might be used by God to help set you free from small, worldly, culturally contaminated, self-centered, Christ-ignoring, God-neglecting, romance-intoxicated, unbiblical views of marriage.
Marriage Is the Display of God
The most foundational thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is God’s doing. And the most ultimate thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is for God’s glory. Those are the two points I have to make. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God. Let’s allow the Bible to impress these things on us one at a time.
1. Marriage Is God’s Doing
First, most foundationally, marriage is God’s doing. At least four ways to see this explicitly or implicitly are here in our text.
a) Marriage Was God’s Design
Marriage is God’s doing because it was his design in the creation of man as male and female. Of course, this was plain earlier in Genesis 1:27-28, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’”
But it is also clear here in the flow of thought in Genesis 2:18-25. In verse 18, it is God, not man, who decrees that man’s solitude is not good, and it is God himself who sets out to complete one of the central designs of creation, namely, woman and man in marriage. “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Don’t miss that central and all important statement: God himself will make a being perfectly suited for him—a wife.
Then he parades the animals before him so that he might see that there is no creature that qualifies. This creature must be made uniquely from man so that she will be of his essence as a human created in God’s image as Genesis 1:27 said. So we read in verses 21-22, “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman.” God made her.
This text terminates in verses 24b-25 with the words, “They shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” In other words, it is all moving toward marriage. So the first thing to say about marriage being God’s doing is that marriage was his design in creating man male and female.
b) God Gave Away the First Bride
Marriage is God’s doing because he personally took the dignity of being the first Father to give away the bride. Genesis 2:22, “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” He didn’t hide her and make Adam seek. He made her; then he brought her. In a profound sense, he had fathered her. And now, though she was his by virtue of creation, he gave her to the man in this absolutely new kind of relationship called marriage, unlike every other relationship in the world.
c) God Spoke the Design of Marriage into Existence
Marriage is God’s doing because God not only created the woman with this design and brought her to the man like a Father brings his daughter to her husband, but also because God spoke the design of marriage into existence. He did this in verse 24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Who is talking in verse 24? The writer of Genesis is talking. And what did Jesus believe about the writer of Genesis? He believed it was Moses (Luke 24:44) and that Moses was inspired by God so that what Moses said, God said. Listen carefully to Matthew 19:4-5: “[Jesus] answered, ‘Have you not read that he [God] who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said [Note: God said!], “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”’”? Jesus said that Genesis 2:24 is the word of God. Therefore, marriage is God’s doing because he spoke the earliest design of it into existence—“A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
d) God Performs the One-Flesh Union
Which leads us to the fourth way that marriage is God’s doing: Becoming one flesh, which is at the heart of what marriage is, is a union that God himself performs. Verse 24 is God’s words of institution for marriage. But just as it was God who took the woman from the flesh of man (Genesis 2:21), it is God who in each marriage ordains and performs a uniting called one flesh that is not in man’s power to destroy. This is implicit here in Genesis 2:24, but Jesus makes it explicit in Mark 10:8-9. He quotes Genesis 2:24 then adds a comment that explodes like thunder with the glory of marriage. “‘The two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
When a couple speaks their vows and consummates their vows with sexual union, it is not man or woman or pastor or parent who is the main actor. God is. God joins a husband and a wife into a one-flesh union. God does that. God does that! The world does not know this. Which is one of the reasons why marriage is treated so casually. And Christians often act like they don’t know it, which is one of the reasons marriage in the church is not seen as the wonder it is. Marriage is God’s doing because it is a one-flesh union that God himself performs.
So, in sum, the most foundational thing we can say about marriage is that it is God’s doing. It was his doing:
because it was his design in creation;
because he personally gave away the first bride in marriage;
because he spoke the design of marriage into existence: leave parents, cleave to your wife, become one flesh;
and because this one-flesh union is established by God himself in each marriage.
A glimpse into the magnificence of marriage comes from seeing in God’s word that God himself is the great doer. Marriage is his doing. It is from him and through him. That is the most foundational thing we can say about marriage. And now we will see that it is to him.
2. Marriage Is for God’s Glory
The most ultimate thing to see in the Bible about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It is designed by God to display his glory in a way that no other event or institution is.
The way to see this most clearly is to connect Genesis 2:24 with its use in Ephesians 5:31-32. In Genesis 2:24, God says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” What kind of relationship is this? How are these two people held together? Can they walk away from this relationship? Can they go from spouse to spouse? Is this relationship rooted in romance? Sexual desire? Need for companionship? Cultural convenience? What is this? What holds it together?
The Mystery of Marriage Revealed
The words “hold fast to his wife” and the words “they shall become one flesh” point to something far deeper and more permanent than serial marriages and occasional adultery. What these words point to is marriage as a sacred covenant rooted in covenant commitments that stand against every storm of “as long as we both shall live.” But that is only implicit here. It becomes explicit when the mystery of marriage is more fully revealed in Ephesians 5:31-32.
Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 in verse 31, “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” And then he gives it this all-important interpretation in verse 32: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” In other words, marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant commitment to his church. Christ thought of himself as the bridegroom coming for his bride, the true people of God (Matthew 9:15; 25:1ff; John 3:29). Paul knew his ministry was to gather the bride—the true people of God who would trust Christ—and betroth us to him. He says in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.”
Christ knew he would have to pay the dowry of his own blood for his redeemed bride. He called this relationship the new covenant—“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). This is what Paul is referring to when he says that marriage is a great mystery: “I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Christ obtained the church by his blood and formed a new covenant with her, an unbreakable “marriage.”
The most ultimate thing we can say about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. That is, it exists to display God. Now we see how: Marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant relationship to the church. And therefore the highest meaning and the most ultimate purpose of marriage is to put the covenant relationship of Christ and his church on display. That is why marriage exists. If you are married, that is why you are married.
Christ Will Never Leave His Wife
Staying married, therefore, is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. “Till death do us part,” or, “As long as we both shall live” is sacred covenant promise—the same kind Jesus made with his bride when he died for her. Therefore, what makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God’s eyes is not merely that it involves covenant breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and his covenant. Christ will never leave his wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps his covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! That is the most ultimate thing we can say about it.
I have so much more I want to say at this point. So I have decided to stay with this topic next week. Here is where we will go, Lord willing. Genesis 2:25 says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Why does the biblical story of the foundation of marriage end on that note just before the Fall? The answer will lead us, I think, to some very practical counsel that I pray will help us in our marriages fulfill the great purposes God has for us.
For now, would you pray with me that God will replace in the church and in our land self-exalting, marriage-destroying, unbiblical commitments to cater to our emotional desires with Christ-exalting, marriage-honoring, biblical commitments to keep our covenants?
Friday, January 26, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
This morning while the boys were jammin' to Justins new My Morning Jacket concert DVD I was getting some cleaning done. I have been keeping my floor cleaning supplies in the garage as it is just off the kitchen. So here I am sweeping away and I am thinking to myself; "something does not feel right here." I look at the broom and it is completely flat in the middle! Flashbacks of putting the broom away in the garage yesterday and hearing the broom fall after back in the kitchen and telling myself I would get to it later pop into my head, and I realize Justin must have run it over when he came home last night. Not only does the thing feel funny it definately had me laughing pretty hard this morning.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Bechtel and Parsons Joint Venture Selected by DOD to Destroy Chemical Weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot (6/13/2003)
SAN FRANCISCO, June, 13, 2003—Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass has been selected by the Defense Department's Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program to design, build, operate and close a plant to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky.
The Blue Grass program is a multi phase project spanning a decade of work, with an estimated life-cycle cost of about $2 billion. Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass is a joint venture of Bechtel National, Inc., of San Francisco, CA, and Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group, Inc., of Pasadena, CA. The joint venture has four teaming subcontractors: Washington Demilitarization Company, Battelle Memorial Institute, General Physics, and General Atomics.
Under the contract’s first task order, a design-build plan will be developed for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. Subsequent tasks will be awarded for design completion, construction, systemization (start-up testing), pilot testing, operation, and ultimately, closure.
The plant will use neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation to destroy the Kentucky chemical weapons stockpile comprised of blister agent in projectiles and nerve agent in projectiles and rockets.
Blue Grass Army Depot is located in east central Kentucky, just southeast of the city of Richmond and approximately 30 miles southeast of the city of Lexington. Since 1944, the Army has safely stored approximately two percent of the nation's original chemical weapons stockpile at Blue Grass. The Army conducted studies to evaluate potential impacts of the elimination of these weapons using incineration and non-incineration methods. The Department of Defense selected neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation for use at Blue Grass based on technical and environmental studies and input from the community.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
1) Grab the book closest to you.
2) Open to page 123, go down to the fourth sentence.
3) Post the text of the following 3 sentences.
4) Name the author and book title.
5) Tag three people to do the same.
"She tiptoed forward and leaned beside Thomas. They could see that the door was open. An indistinct murmur of voices came from within."
from: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (which I began just before we moved but forgot about and was in my nightstand basket, now I am intrigued!)
I tag Beth, Nicole, and Sara.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I thought I would share some thoughts I had jotted as we headed down to our new home and new life.
More pictures(other than the boring ones below) to come soon, I promise.
December 28- We pack up the car, say goodbye to my family until the weekend and head to Justin's parents for lunch and goodbyes. It was hard, I am not going to lie. There were lots of tears, and I already miss them all so much. Seeing the in-laws on Sunday afternoons had become a regular thing, and now is not. It is going to be hard for them to come here because they need to care for Jared, so we are going to have to make frequent visits to them and so that we can spend some time with him too. Jaimee (8) began to cry before we even had our stuff together. She loves Maxwell so much, and he loves her dearly too. They are quite the combo, Max is always talking about her. I sure am glad Mom and Dad are going to make the trip down, even for just a day. We rolled into Lexington at about 1 am, we stopped for dinner in Illinois with our friend Andy and had to stop a few more times for gas and to tend to the boys. The total drive time was about 7.5 hours, not too bad. I cried on the way down...what are we doing? It 's late, I need some sleep.
December 29- This morning we saw the house (for the first time) and while I was excited I was sad. I think the next few weeks will be full of tears for me. I have not slept much so that makes my emotions more unstable.
The house is great...our first home. I am excited to get settled in and I hope the boys love it here. I feel just horrible about taking them away from our parents and siblings. They will be find I know, but it was so fabulous to have them so close.
We headed to close on the house around 10am. I was not in the best mood, the house was a bit untidy. They could have cleaned it better for us, that was a bit frustrating. We signed our lives away not caring what the papers said, I was surprised because Justin is SO meticulous but even he was too tired to read the find print at that time. We got the keys and the house was ours. Our realtor was absolutely fabulous and took us to get some cleaning stuff and then we went back to the hotel to get Max and Jordan. I stayed at the hotel for awhile so the boys could nap while Justin and Jordan went to meet the movers with our stuff at 12. I arrived at the house around 2:30 feeling more excited about it. There were boxes everywhere and the movers were nearly done when I arrived. I began to survey what we needed to clean and we began to think perhaps we should have kept one of our former couches we had thrown away because we had only our hard kitchen chairs to sit in! Mom, Dad, Carl and Peter arrived around 4;30 and we gave them the tour and by now we were all pretty hungry, so we got some Chipotle and ate away. Afterwards Mom, Dad, Evan and I went to Target for some supplies for the house as tomorrow holds a lot of work!
December 30- Today was a full day. I got up early and headed out with Mom and Dad to search for a washer and dryer because I knew I would need one soon! My Dad had found a place online but we were not sure where it was. Justin opted to sleep in ( can I blame him?) and I would call to get the go ahead from him if I found one. We found the mall in a matter of about 20 minutes and headed into Sears and found some potentials but we still wanted to find a better appliance store. We called Jordan at the hotel to hop on the Internet and try and find it on a map. He found it and we started out for the store and somehow found it quite quickly ( must be because my Dad and I were together and we really are the only two in the family who really know anything about directions :) ) . So we head in and I get the guy right away, "can I help you?" and I am not messing around today and tell him I want front loading washer and dryers and to pay less than $1200. He takes me right over to a pair for $1000.00, I call Justin and the deal is done. I am es tactic. I love to do laundry, it could be a sickness, but I do enjoy it. We get to the house around 12 and start in on cleaning and some unpacking. Once again we discover more supplies needed for the house, so Mom, Carl, Pete, Evan and I head to Target once again! On the way home we pick up dinner and after Mom, Dad and the boys head back to Wisconsin. The beds are set up and I have gotten a good portion of the kitchen is set up. Man, that refrigerator was a beast to clean! (thanks for helping scrub it out Mom!)
December 31- New Years Eve. We went out to Target...again. We also asked about the liquor laws here. No liquor for sale on Sundays...just our luck, this New Years Eve is on a Sunday. I am making us sound like alcoholics, but luckily I knew where the wine ( I had to stock up on my favorite in case it was not around here) I had brought was at home. I finished cleaning and setting up the kitchen today, starting to feel more like our place now that our things are staring to fill it. Boy, do we need a couch...and bad. This folding chairs, kitchen wooden chairs thing is not going to work for much longer. We actually missed then New Year by one minute, we clanked our glasses at 12:01. Happy 2007! I have no idea what to expect this year.
January 1, 2007- Happy New Year!
I used my new mixer today. What else to make but chocolate chip cookies..except I did not have all the ingredients like I thought I did, but the raw dough still tasted OK. :) The mixer worked like a charm. I love that thing. :)
We went to Target...again.
My new washer and dryer comes tomorrow! Hooray for laundry!
January 2, 2007- The new washer and dryer came today! They are great...took up more space than I thought in the laundry, so my organization ideas had to be scraped but I will figure it out.
We also decided enough was enough on the hard chairs. We went out and bought a couch and love seat. We decided to just get whatever good deal we could find even if we were not in love and buy nicer stuff next year or something and move the current stuff into another room. The color is great, a dark chocolate brown. I hope it looks good when we get it on Thursday. We also went to Chili's for dinner. Yum.
January 3, 2007- More unpacking today. Danny arrived with tools in hand and the boys worked on some projects.
January 4, 2007- The couches came !! Justin was not sure if I would like them because the piping was a lighter brown but it actually looks pretty nice. It is so nice to have somewhere comfortable to sit. We also bought a small leather ottoman with storage from Target. Who knows how long that will look nice but it is good for now.
January 5, 2007- cable and internet were hooked up today. Yay. More unpacking, I cannot wait until it is all done.
January 6, 2007- Tonight I went grocery shopping with Evan and missed like 5 phone calls from Justin. I got home and found Max about 2 inches from the screen and the boys locked outside. It was pretty funny. They had gone out to fix some flashing above our deck doors and Max shut the door and turned the lock and they tried to get him to unlock it but he could not figure it out. They tried all the other doors and Justin said Max looked a little worried so they all danced around and entertained him outside. Our neighbors probably think we are nuts. He soon settled down though and found interest in whatever what was on TV. It was pretty funny to see when I walked in the door. Luckily my camera was handy so I snapped a few pictures just before my batteries died.
January 7, 2007- We all slept in late, it has been a long week. It is raining today and we are all sick of cleaninf and projects. Danny and Jordan left this afternoon, and now it is just the four of us, and Justin starts work tommorow. I probably will be doing a lot of cring this week too.
Well, so far this week I have not cried. Oh wait I did once. But it was late at night after Justins first day at work. We already miss have Jordan around. But things have been good. The boys and I have been doing some fun things and I feel fortunate to try and work on my culinary skills. I have made dinner every night this week, and it all has turned out good. I LOVE my new Kitchen Aid mixer. A great gift from my parents. Our room and the guest room look like tornados ripped through but the rest of the house is slowly coming together. I am trying to be uber organized...we will see about that. I am pretty organized for the most part anyway, but I am going extreme at this house.
I am glad to be back... and working on the full swing thing. :)