July 10

“Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.” (Isaiah 54:5-6)

“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’…And I will make for them a covenant on that day…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.” (Hosea 2:16-20)

God has a high and strict definition of marriage, which should inform our marriages and our view of the relationship between a husband and wife. God called Israel to be His wife, even though she deserted Him and grieved Him. He abandoned her briefly, but brought her back with great compassion, and will continue to have pity on her. As Israel’s husband, God will give her a new heart to love Him as He loves her. God will speak tenderly to Israel, and she will respond to Him and call God her one and only Husband. He will marry her forever in righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness, as he has his church. He alone will be her God, in the times to come.

The institution of marriage is being redefined at an alarming rate today, as the sinful desires of men and women once again determine to take God’s place in deciding what is best in their eyes, imitating the sin of Adam and Eve. Today men are marrying men and women are marrying women, while governments are conforming to and legalizing these civil unions. This study, being thoroughly biblical and true to the intent and authority of God’s Word, addresses marriage between a husband and wife as the only valid matrimony in God’s sight. Biblical marriage is also continuous, monogamous, and unbroken, in spite of the sinfulness of spouses.

Husbands and wives are to love and respect each other as God loves his bride, the universal church. Righteousness, justice, mercy, and faithfulness flow out of God’s love and characterizes biblical marriages. Society will continue to see marriage as a way to combat loneliness by providing a romantic attachment. However, God sees it as a reflection of his care and love for his people, who are uniquely in a marital relationship with him. It is essential to know how God defines marriage, in spite of the temptation to skip over this to the issues facing marriages today. Many Christian couples have never studied the topic of marriage in the Bible and therefore are at the mercy of the world’s viewpoint, rather than God’s. But instead of fearing what Scripture has to say about marriage and its duties, we should all seek to know God’s heart for husbands and wives. The Lord’s love, tenderness, compassion, attentiveness, and wisdom is poured out on spouses.

The marriage relationship is uniquely challenging; should we not seek God’s wisdom to know how to manage it? Is there some way that you have neglected your marriage? If you are single, do you celebrate and encourage others’ marriages without covetousness?

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