I’m going to attempt to say what I have to say with as much meekness as I can muster. I have a lot of zeal for women to find their destinies in the body of Christ. Growing up, I have seen a lot of hypocrisy in the way women are treated and misunderstood. I have always been a strong woman and at times, I admit, a little stubborn and this has caused a lot of misunderstandings to occur. I also get quite aggravated when (some) men believe they need to correct us before they even try to hear what we have to say.
I’d like to point out that despite some insinuations I do not view Jesus as my substitute boyfriend. I can see how some people may get a little too caught up in some false romantic notion of our relationship with God but I disagree with these people entirely. I think it’s a little strange not to mention maybe heretical and dangerous to go on “dates” with Jesus and have some weird fantasy life that He is our earthly husband.
My point in writing these blogs was to study the reasons behind the creation of earthly marriage. I wanted a renewed view of the holiness of this covenant. I also wanted more of an understanding of the bridal paradigm while I was studying this. Marriage is a very dim picure of God’s marriage with us as a church… but He created it, along with the book of Song of Solomon as an analogy of his desire for intimacy with us… not the popcorn and movies type intimacy… but the vast, deep, eternal, unending love that ONLY God can give, intimacy.
Earthly marriage does not last forever because it doesn’t need to. In saying this, I mean it doesn’t last for eternity. When we die, so does our human marriage. We don’t get married in the next age. Why? We don’t need to! Our bridegroom will be back and there will be no need for earthly husbands/wives. The Holy Spirit will satisfy the desire for intimacy to the full extent. Keep in mind, that most likely you won’t even get to hang out with Jesus very often. But it will be the prevalent presence of God that will seal our hearts with the Lord’s for eternity.
14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master. ‘
I suppose this passage at the moment is sort of a banner over my life. God is removing all of my props. I feel that I am in the valley of trouble, yet God is still revealing His beauty to me and beginning to lure me back through the ‘door of hope’. It’s also interesting that singing is in this passage as well. He’s waking up my heart again. He’s given me hope even though I am walking (or attempting to walk) in blind faith right now and as my longing for Him is increasing, so is the song in my heart, the musical manifestation of my love for Him. He’s removing all of my false comforts and luring me back into a place that is real, one that I am not familiar with but I trust is from Him.
In the last part of that passage He speaks of betrothing us to Him. He speaks of a divine covenant, a seal of ownership that He is placing on our hearts. This is the real marriage supper of the Lamb. This is a partnership of intimacy that will last forever… for eternity… for ages to come. God loves to rescue us. He loves to save us from trouble and woo us to Himself.
God placed an innate desire for this in all of our hearts. Women are a symbol of the church. Yes, we, as women are the physically weaker of the two parties just as the church is obviously the weaker between God and man. God placed certain desires in our hearts, as women, towards marriage that He put in the hearts of all humans towards Him. Of course the desire toward Him and the importance of desire for Him is at a much greater magnitude and importance.
We as women, might not always admit it but there is a part of us that wants to be rescued. Hello? Cinderella… IS a popular love story. Cheesy and probably offensive to a lot of women (including myself, I have to admit)… but it’s true. We do NOT want men to rule over us. We should never consider them as “master”. This was part of the curse with Eve but it doesn’t have to remain. What we do want is someone that will rescue us. Weird huh? Just like the Lord rescues us from trouble… from the wilderness, we have a desire for human men to rescue us and men well… they like to be the rescuers. God created all of these tendencies for a reason! It’s shocking even as I’m typing it.
Now, this doesn’t mean that this will actually happen to us, ladies, and men this doesn’t mean that you will be successful at rescuing any damsels in distress but now these emotions that seem scary and weird finally begin to make a little sense to me. Co-dependency is a BAD thing. Ultimately, human relationships will fail us at some point and this is where we can be rest-assured that the emotions of God… His desire for us is always certain. His jumping in to save and rescue us will never end.
Keep in mind that I’m not attempting to be a theologian when I write these blogs. Most of the things I write are purely from listening to messages, reading commentaries or maybe just something that God might be stirring in my heart. It’s not always going to be right on key but I’m doing my best.
I was listening to one of Mike’s messages on Hosea tonight. Hosea was the first prophet in history to actually have an understanding of the bridal paradigm. God showed Hosea how interested in intimacy the creator God is. He loves humans. In fact He not only loves humans, He has a “resolute passion” to have this bride for his own. His desire for us is unquenchable and He will go to great lengths to have us. God desires me. He’s interested in my every movement. I’m on earth to be a friend of God… to be the bride of His son. It’s when we know and receive the revelation that He desires to be a part of our lives, that we can trust Him, that we can know that He enjoys us and He’ll stick with us forever.
It’s the same with marriage. Women have to know that their husbands/boyfriends/whatever desire them. If they don’t know in their very being that their husbands are attracted to them, that they are desired by them, then a lack of trust ensues. Well, if he doesn’t desire me, then how do I know he’s going to stick with me… especially when I screw up, myself?
Don’t we think that about God sometimes? I’ve found myself thinking, He doesn’t want me that badly. I messed up way too much this time and there is no way that He’s going to put up with this. It’s just not possible that He desires me enough to forgive me for this huge mess. I didn’t trust Him in that moment because I wasn’t confident in His affections towards me. I didn’t have the revelation that nothing could quench His love and passion for me.
God created us specifically to have intimacy with His Son. In the garden of Eden, God says to Adam “it is not good for man to be alone.” Mike believes that at that moment, He was saying this to Adam but looking at His Son Jesus. So God takes a rib from Adam and He makes him a bride, one that Adam will “nourish and cherish” (Ephesians 5:29). Interestingly, we look at the moment that Jesus’ own side was pierced and in that moment, Jesus draws His own bride to Himself. HOW AMAZING! God was so in love with us that He wanted to make a model here on earth of His love for us.
This is a BIG DEAL.
I have sort of stalled my study on Genesis for awhile but picked up some interesting insight on marriage and family. Dr. Constable on http://www.soniclight.com says that God may have created marriage and family as a reflection of the trinity. Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “one” so are male and female. We are both “man” and one but we are seperate at the same time. In 1 Corinthians 11:7, it says that man was made for God’s glory and woman for man’s glory. I believe, in essence it is saying that women are a display of the beauty of humankind… of God’s creation. I love Genesis because it reminds us how valuable we are as human beings. It reminds us to value eachother as a holy race, one that was created in the image of God and is worth the price of the blood of the Son of God.
In Genesis 1:28, God says to Adam and Eve, “be fruitful and multiply”. Constable also believes this is another image of the trinity to create a further covenant. The trinity is a family of companionship. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are in constant communion with eachother. They have moments of play and of sorrow together just as a family on earth would have. God wanted to create what was in heaven on earth by creating sons of God here who would reflect the relationships in the trinity. That’s just mind-boggling to me!
There’s more to come. I’m going to start studying Hosea soon. I’m hoping to get some good stuff out of it.
As I said in an earlier post, I’m going to be doing my own study on the correlation between Jesus as our Bridegroom and human marriage. I realize marriage is an unpopular subject here. It’s not looked at as bad but just… unpopular in some respects. Celibacy has gotten to be a trend at IHOP and in my opinion probably a little more trendy than it should be. Though it is honorable to be celibate, to set yourself apart for the Lord, it’s also healthy to recognize how beautiful the covenant of marriage is and what it represents. There needs to be this balance of being celibate because you have too much fear of rejection and being overly-obsessed with getting married.
I have, unfortunately, had a sour attitude about the whole institution of marriage for awhile now. I remember in one of my early PR teams discussing this subject. One of the “moms” in our group said that she was going to put me on the list for her prayer group. Her group apparently prays for all of the singles at IHOP, that they would find the right spouse. I rolled my eyes (very rudely, I realize), and replied with “I don’t need no stinkin’ man”. Everyone in the room stared at me with gaping mouths and then KJ replied with “yes you do!”
Now being single is not a bad thing. I definitely feel like I could make it on my own for the rest of my life, if I needed to. Marriage comes with a lot of responsibility and it is sort of a painful place where all of your weaknesses are exposed. It’s hard to hide inadequacies from your spouse and it is inevitable that you will HAVE to be vulnerable continually. I personally like to have all of my time to myself. I like to spend my money in ways that I enjoy and not having to answer to anyone else (other than Jesus, of course). You can serve the church and the lost more than you would if you were married. You are able to build healthy friendships and relationships with people that you wouldn’t ordinarily have. Being single has a lot of amazing advantages so why the heck would I get married? Well, I plan to have this question answered, the more I continue in this study.
“23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
Ephesians 5:23-25 (TNIV)
This verse use to make me really mad until I heard Stuart Greaves comment on it while I was in Fire in the Night. He said, “submission is just letting your husband love you.”. Dang, that’s good. Submission isn’t something we should fear but it’s something we should embrace… it gives us an oppurtunity to be loved more. Why didn’t I think of that? This virtually elimates much of the fear that I’ve had over marriage, itself. I’m a strong woman and God created me this way. I don’t want to lose who I am as a woman just because of marriage.
Something else that has been really stirring me from this verse is that if you look at it… Jesus is our standard here, ladies. I think one of the reasons I’ve had such a bad attitude towards this is the fact that I have set low standards for myself and have set myself up for some very ungodly behavior from men. We should be looking for guys that closely resemble Jesus but at the same time strive to resemble Jesus ourselves. It’s such an amazing concept to me. We should be choosing meek, merciful, patient, passionate and powerful men and realize that they might make mistakes some times and this is when we have to mirror Jesus by being merciful and patient.
I don’t know all the reasons for God creating marriage but the overwhelming theme I continue to observe is that God created romantic love and marriage as symbol of his jealous, passionate, persistant covenant of love with us. It’s a very holy thing and something that should not be taken lightly. Our spouses (if we are suppose to get married) should be chosen with wisdom and we should be patient for God’s perfect timing in everything. And because we are the bride of Christ as well… we should know that He would want us to be treated with honor and dignity and to not settle for anything less than what He desires for us.