Genesis 17:4 As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman before God.
3 years ago this past October 5th, Brenda and I bought a TV. It was the newest thing on the market. Apparently some guy purchased it and took it home and when his girlfriend saw how much it cost she made him take it back. This TV is amazing. The bells and whistles are cutting edge. When I walk in the room it listens for my voice and waits for my command. It will even follow my hand gestures and I can play angry bird from across the room with just by waving my hand. It has all the built in features of a Smart TV with apps and web browsing.
It is a really smart TV with 3D on demand – it will take a 2D program and 3D it with some depth effects and everything … anyway it is awesome. And, because it had been brought back the manager of the store, who didn’t realize they even had this kind of TV according to the young excited sales lady who said that if it wasn’t against store policy she would have already taken it and put it in her car … anyway … the store manager marked it down to one third its original cost and then the store had another percentage sale going on and as well if we applied for a credit card they would take another amount off plus it came with some rebates connected with this new model and then it qualified for a free sound bar and cables … it went on and on and on. By the time we walked out of that store with our new TV and the keyboard that it came with and the two remotes, one of which I have never learned to use, and all the other stuff it was getting close to the store and Samsung owing us money. These kinds of deals follow my son around all the time – his favor is incredible. We usually send him to buy us anything - - - but on this deal I was too concerned to involve him since I was beginning to feel sorry for the store. If he had of been there we might not have had room for all of the other stuff they would have thrown in.
Then, while paying for the TV they offered us a 4 year warranty, not based on the TV’s original cost but rather on the sales price we had paid!!! That meant that we got a full in home warranty which would repair or replace the whole thing with no cost or hassles to us and we only paid a fraction of the cost it should have been. Plus – the TV worked really really really great … I didn’t understand how it did what it did but that didn’t keep me from enjoying it – at least for the first 3 years.
Because it was so high tech and cutting edge bells and whistles I figured the coming technology would outpace this television and I certainly didn’t understand how it all worked so how could I ever fix it if it broke.
Sure enough about 5 months ago it stopped working and I had to call the repairman out and he asked questions, opened it up, ran tests and figured out what was broke and worked on it until it started working again. I’m really glad there was somebody who understood it enough to troubleshoot the problems and knew how to fix them. If it had been left up to me I would still have an unworkable TV … not that it couldn’t work … just that it wasn’t and I didn’t know what to do about getting it to work.
A man and woman can get married and be happy and raise a family and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and love Jesus and each other without understanding the dynamics and strength of their relationship. We can enjoy and benefit from many things in life without fully understanding them or how they work … we just know that they do.
Take electricity or the internet or cell phones – I dare say most of the people who have them and depend on them could not begin to describe their inner workings but they reap the benefits anyway. Take away electricity or the internet and we certainly hope that someone around us understands it and knows how it works and can either tell us how to fix it or come to our house and fix it for us. We enjoy the benefits of many things which we don’t fully understand.
Many couples are enjoying marriage that do not have a clear understanding as to why their lives are always filled with joy and peace and love and patience and gentleness and faithfulness and goodness and self control. Others however wonder why their marriages are so stress and strained and pressured and filled with aggravations and arguments and frustrations and thoughts of wanting to run away or crack someone over the head with a bottle. It is just not working and they don’t know how to fix it.
Good news!!! Somebody else does know how to fix it! His name is God and He has trained representatives and fully accredited technicians equipped and in your area ready to help you reboot and repair your covenant.
You know, much like that TV – just because I didn’t understand it didn’t mean someone else didn’t know how to find the problem and fix it. Of course, that technician, no matter how good or expert they were in their field or their capabilities to find and know how to fix problems, if I didn’t let them look at it or didn’t follow their instructions or tore out or tore up the work they were doing or fought with them through each appointment – I have a feeling that the problems with my TV might never have gotten fixed. It’s the same with our relationships.
Tonight we are continuing in our Marriage Basics Series by surveying:
The Roles, Rules, Rights and Responsibilities of the Marriage Covenant.
Marriage is a Covenant which is different from a Contract. If we are to ever understand marriage we must first understand covenant. Marriage has been designed by God to work. When marriage stops working it can be fixed. However it will take both people doing their part to make marriage what God designed it to be and accomplish what God designed marriage to accomplish.
Covenant is a giving of myself to fulfill my role and do my part in a relationship. The Bible teaches covenant. Contracts, as good as they are, will not serve in marriage relationships to create the same advantages and benefits as will a covenant. Contract by nature is a protective instrument. A contract says, “I will if you will … and If you don’t, I won’t and on top of that it will cost you …” A contract protects us from the other individual and provides penalties for not keeping the contract.
While a contract is basically my good at your expense, a Covenant is your good at my expense. A covenant says, “I will … even if you don’t.” A contract is often a 50/50 relationship while a covenant is designed to be a 100%/100% responsibility. A covenant says I am 100% responsible to do my part irrespective whether or not anyone else does theirs.
As well, success in the critical areas of life should not be left to trial and error. If we do not teach our sons to change flat tires and provide for their families and if we do not teach our daughters to be nurturing, keep a home and care for the family … how shall they ever learn? If we do not instruct our children how to manage a healthy home and build happy relationships how shall they know? Trial and error is not the best way … we need model the most important lessons we wish to teach our children and one of those areas is the covenant of marriage!
To begin our discussions tonight allow me to share an unpopular truth:
Men and Women are Different!
Each one designed by God and endowed with certain abilities and most often gifted with certain perspectives and strengths generally found within that gender. Variations do not disprove but rather stand as markers to validate a norm. Allowing a deviation to establish a new norm is to imagine no standards or rules of life and law does or should exist. Add to any subject the fact that God has spoken so directly to the matter and we recognize truth which will stand regardless as to whether individuals or society agrees or not. Such is the truth that defines the differing roles of a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage.
God is the one who designed marriage and offers His blessings on this covenant. God had defined marriage and its:
(Information from Marriage Basics guide; Number Two)
21 ¶ And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam said: "This is now 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 mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
The husband is the primary provider, protector, defender and leader.
The wife is the primary homemaker, nurturer, helpmate and support.