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June 7, 2013 / Pastor George Fike

The Way God Planned It


bride_and_groom_silhouette_23rd in a series on the Sexual Revolution

In my last 2 posts I focused on the negative effects of the Sexual Revolution on our society today.  Today I think it appropriate to do for marriage what I have understood the Secret Service does to teach its agents about detecting counterfeit money: show them the real thing.  Once you have a real understanding of marriage from the design perspective, there’s less chance you will fall for the counterfeits being passed around today.  Bear with me, my friends, for this post will be lengthy, but I believe it tells a story that will clear up all the sexual confusion of today.

Picture the newborn earth… at least, earth in the newly created human era.  In Genesis 2, God has formed the crown of his creation: man, fashioned in His image and likeness for some yet-to-be pronounced purpose.  Keep in mind, the world was wild; but God, with great care, prepared a Garden as a protected place for the man to live.

Now, most of us recall the creative pattern of Genesis 1:

  1. And God said, “Let there be ____________, and there was ____________.”
  2. God does some tweaking with the newly created whats-it.
  3. And God saw the _______________ that it was good.
  4. And there was evening and morning, Day ‘n’.

So this was the pattern of 6 creation days, culminating with the creation of humankind.  God created each major component of this temporal universe and pronounced each in turn to be good.  But lo and behold, when we arrive at the expansion of the 6th day in Genesis 2:18, we see him pronounce one component not good.

The Lord God said, “It is NOT GOOD for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Of course we know God didn’t overlook such a key aspect.  He didn’t make an error.  Directly in the ear of Adam He whispered a principle that should have endured to this day.  “Adam, something’s missing…”

In a great object lesson, Father God walks his newborn through a catalog of creation so that Adam can learn the lesson for himself.  He gives man the task of categorizing the animal kingdom – at least those who dwelt with him in the Garden of God.  I can imagine how amusing this biology lesson could have been…

From the middle of a pond in the heart of the garden, an enormous mouth breaks the surface of the water… a hippopotamus-9456gaping maw with two tusks as big around as tree branches as a lumbering beast exits the water to bask in the sunlight.  As it waddles before Adam and his Maker, God asks Adam: “What should you name him?”  Adam looks the creature over, barely containing his amusement.  “Well… it’s really large… and very funny-looking.  I think it needs a name that’s also large and funny… howsabout…HIPPOPOTAMUS?” and the two of them roll on the ground, laughing.  As he wipes the joyful tear from His eye, God says, “Well, how about this?”  Adam looks.  Joining the newly-appelated hippopotamus on the waterside is a very similar-looking creature.  Somewhat smaller. Some of the plumbing looks a little different.  But still seeming to belong together with the former.  “What would you call this one, Adam?”  “Hmmm?… uh,… Hippopota…Missus?”

And on and on it went throughout the 6th day, until at last – in frustration for the man but in perfect keeping with the Maker’s purpose – we read:

20But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

Before Adam can protest his deprivation, scripture tells us:

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Now you remember the job God had given the man?  To name all the creatures God brought to him, right?  So Adam in his post-operative stupor, opens his eyes and as this new development comes into focus, he exclaims:

Woh! MAN!!

(Yeah, I know.  Long stretch for a bad joke.)

He actually goes:

22“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Chapter 2 concludes with: 25 Adam and his wife were both naked (uncovered, open), and they felt no shame.

broken-marriage1

And then we had to go and open Chapter 3!  You recall the thousands of years that ensued, as relationships went from open to closed with our painful, selfish, SINful choices.  Each of us taking the knowledge of good and evil and internalizing it as I’m OK, but what’s wrong with YOU?!  So as a whole, the human race declined into a cesspool of self-justification and discrimination, erecting emotional barbwire boundaries. And sadly, that marital communion which was once so joyful in its openness turned into a sick and sad game of ‘hide-n-seek’ with no winners ever!

But wait… No winners ever?  It can’t be.  Fast forward from the Garden to a thriving young church in Ephesus.  A man bearing a letter from the apostle Paul stands reading:

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 

What’s this?  From long ago, these words still breathe hope into a world ravaged by the weapons of our self-destructive relational rebellion.  What was it he read?

5:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord…

Oh, wait. Back up.  We missed something.

5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, … to your own husbands…

Often we have put the cart before the horse.  Submission in marriage only makes sense when there is mutual submission.  Wife submitting to her husband, of course, but husband likewise submitting to his wife.  What? you say. How so?

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.

Follow me in this: A husband is commanded to submit to his wife by LOVING her!   Interesting.  If you read the rest of chapter five, you’ll see something even more interesting: the wife is not commanded to love her husband.  Wife, before you say “good!” let me explain.  You don’t need to be commanded to do something that is in your nature.  No one has to order me to keep breathing in and out.  It’s in my nature.  I live to breathe and I breathe to live.  A woman’s brain chemistry is wired to connect, to  relate,… to love.  Men’s brains are not built this way.  Their thinking is compartmentalized.  Everything in its place and a place for everything.  (I’m not talking about their cleaning habits; only about their slavery to logic and correlation.  Remember, man’s first job: classify and categorize the animal kingdom.)  So men are built to respect and be respected, to see the order in things.  Women are built to connect and nurture.  This is a good topic for a later discussion, so let me get back to the matter before us.

So men who are created with the capacity to respect are given the command to love, a command that women are more inclined toward.  So the apostle also needs to explain the command by 2 analogies:

  1. Love her like you love your own body
  2. Love her the way Christ loves the people he came to save.

As your own body?  How did he put it?

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.

Picture the modern household.  Husband and wife wake up one morning and groan, knowing they must shake double vanityoff the sleepiness and make themselves presentable for work.  So they arise and go into the bathroom.  They each stand, peering into the mirror on their respective sides of the double vanity.

From her station on the right she stares painfully at her own reflection.  She grasps a new grey hair and plucks it with a sigh.  She examines the progress of her crow’s feet.  She turns sideways and looks down to her abdomen and posterior and frowns.

He pauses at the sink on the left side, cups his hands under the water, bringing it up to his face and up over his hair in one fell swoop.  Patting his face with a hand towel, he blows himself a kiss and says, “Good morning, handsome!”

Have you ever heard a man ask his wife, “Honey, does this make my butt look big”?  And you probably never will.  Men are commanded to love their wives like they love their own bodies.  Men know how to do the latter; that should help them with the former.

As Christ loved the church… Most people I have asked about this knows what it means.  He died for the church.  Literally, he gave up his own life for the sake of the ones he loved.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

It seems plain and simple.  But I think there’s a reason Paul gives us men the 2 analogies.  They are not distinct; they are 2 parts of a whole.  Let me explain what I mean.  Paul summarizes this way:

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Paul ties the command for loving one’s wife with the initial design in Genesis 2, and then to the example of Christ’s love for His Bride – the Church.  Perhaps the answer lies in that event, as described by the eyewitness in John Chapter 19:

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

I kind of cheated and highlighted a couple of phrases for you. Here’s why…

  • In verse 30, it is apparent that Jesus did not just succumb to the rigors of the cross; he chose the moment of his death.  It’s crucial you understand that.  In fact, Jesus even announced this to his enemies earlier in John 10:

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord…”

The timing of his death was exactly when he wanted it to be.  Capish?

  • Not one bone…What a strange prophecy to fulfill!  When I first read this, I couldn’t understand why breaking his bones was a big deal.  It was a horrendous way to die, bloodied and beaten, then forced to carry his own cross beam.  What difference does a broken bone here or there matter at that point?  I understood the other passage.  It was easy to find.  It’s a prediction of the day salvation finally comes for the whole nation of Israel in the Day of the Lord.  Zechariah 12 and 13 beautifully states it:

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son…  1On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”

Yet I had some difficulty finding a scripture that predicted that none of the Messiah’s bones would be broken.  I looked throughout the prophetic passages of the Old Testament and was about to give up when a cross reference led me to its initial setting.  It was not in the Major nor Minor Prophets.  It was much, much older.

Exodus 12: The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover… 43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal: …46 “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.

Most of us have seen Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments or the animated Dreamworks film The Prince of Egypt, so we’re pretty familiar with the story.  But what does it have to do with Jesus?

John 1:  29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 

So John the Baptizer identifies the mission of the Messiah to be the ultimate Passover lamb.  Ironically, Jesus chose the moment of his death to occur just before the soldiers came to break the legs of the condemned.  So why is this a big deal?

Pick_up_your_CrossWhat did God use to form the woman?  A bone.

What did man call the woman?  Bone of his bone.

Why did Jesus choose that precise moment for his death? So that the bone of his bone would not be broken.

How are husbands to love their wives? Like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her! 

Husband, you are to love your wife SO much that you lay down your life to the point of death rather than see anything BREAK the Bone of your Bone!

How amazing the wisdom of God!  This is why marriage done God’s way is so very important.  We see the entire purpose for our existence in this great love story.  Why do we now think it appropriate to tinker with God’s design?  to amend and adapt according to our design?  to redefine, or as I have recently read – UNdefine what God has definitively defined?

Man has gotten really smart.  Scientists recently “photographed” a Higgs Boson, nicknamed the God Particle.  It is a subatomic particle that causes matter to have certain mass sizes and other stuff that I can’t fit inside my brain.  But…

  • they haven’t touched one
  • they haven’t held one in their hands
  • and they certainly have not created one!

… so why on earth do we think we can redesign ANY of God’s creations?  We can’t even MAINTAIN the creation; how do we think we can IMPROVE on it?  Jesus defined marriage in very familiar terms:

Matthew 19: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

MARRIAGE IS NOW, AS ALWAYS, SUPPOSED TO BE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN, LIVING IN COVENANT WITH EACH OTHER, EXCLUSIVELY, FOR LIFE.

And now your reward for reading to the end… Billy Preston’s great song – the inspiration for my title!

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