A MARRIAGE MADE IN PARADISE
Genesis 2:18-25 (NKJV)
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
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.
We have all heard the expression “a marriage made in Heaven.” But, does such a relationship exist? Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage? Probably not!
However, there was, at one time, a marriage that was made in paradise. In the text we have just read above, we are given the details of the very first wedding in the Garden of Eden. When this took place, there was no sin in the world and everything was perfect. The marriage rate was 100% and the divorce rate was 0%.
Then the fall came and sin entered the world. With sin came all the problems and wretchedness of the curse. With these problems, came trouble at home. One would spend a long time seeking the perfect marriage. Oh, there are many who claim that they “never speak a harsh word.” Either they are screaming too loud for the words to be coherent, or they are just plain liars! The truth is, in many cases, marriage resembles a battlefield more than it does a union of 2 lovers.
Consider these facts in the US. In this century, the divorce rate has risen over 700%. In 1960, there were 393,000 divorces. Now, there are over 1.2 million per year, and the rate is rising! Now, there is one divorce for every 1.8 marriages. Over one million children in America will be involved in a divorce case. Of course, there are some sociologists who say that we can expect to see a decline in the divorce rate in the near future. Is this because people are developing better social skills and are learning how to communicate and work through their problems more productively? No! They just aren’t getting married. They are living together instead. Either way, it is a far cry from what the Lord intended!
Today, I want us to look into these verses and think for a while about A Marriage Made In Paradise. In this passage, God reveals His intentions concerning marriage and His goals for the married couple. The principles taught here will go a long way in helping to “divorce proof” our marriages. Let’s take a few minutes to look into this text and see for ourselves what makes a marriage made in paradise.
I. V. 18 THE LORD’S INTENTION
A. The Lord’s Concern – Ill. The Garden of Eden was a place of unspeakable beauty and wonder. It was a perfect place where God, man and the animal kingdom enjoyed perfect peace and harmony. It was a good place. In fact, looking back on the Lord’s creative efforts in chapter 1, it is clear that the Lord thought it was good as well. (Ill. 1:4; 10; 12; 18; 21; 25; 31.) When God looked at His handiwork, He declared it all good until He looked at Adam and saw that Adam was the only one of his kind. This, God said, was not good. Man had no counterpart. The word “alone” carries the idea of “being cut of, of being a piece which is isolated from the whole.”
(Ill. Lest anyone who is single should get the wrong idea, it is not always God’s will for everyone to be married – Ill. Jesus – Matt. 19:11-12; Paul – 1 Cor. 7:7. There are times and circumstances when God has determined that He can better use someone when they are unattached and single – 1 Cor. 7:32-33. Therefore, instead of being upset with the Lord and doing everything in your power to attract a mate, perhaps the correct response would be to realize that the Lord might have a better plan for your life.)
B. The Lord’s Conclusion – When the Lord surveyed the situation, His decision was to produce a “help” for Adam. This word means, “One who assists another to reach fulfillment.” It speaks of the idea of a “completer”. The word “meet” refers to one who “is suitable to, or corresponds to.” In other words, God is going to give Adam someone who will fill up that which is lacking in his own life. One who makes him complete.
(Ill. This is one of the benefits of marriage. The husband and the wife compliment one another. Men are right brain creatures. We like to analyze things and come to conclusions about stuff. We like to figure it out. I mean just call it like it is and never for one minute try to see any other side of the story. If we are going to look at something from a left brained approach, we have to stop using the right side of the brain and we are left without any reasoning ability whatsoever.
Women, on the other hand, have been gifted by God to be able to use both sides of their brains simultaneously. They can see both sides of the coin at the same time. A fact that makes them very helpful in figuring out things, but very frustrating and confusing to live with. If there were only men, there would be little compassion, little understanding and little caring. Women make up that which we too often lack. When they come along with their left brains firing on all cylinders and point out how narrow we are and what we are refusing to see, then, it become clear that they have made us complete and given us an insight that we otherwise would never have had.)
(Ill. God’s intention in making woman was to compliment and complete the man. By the way, it still works that way today.)
I. The Lord’s Intention
II. V. 19-22 THE LORD’S INTERVENTION
A. V. 19-20 A Desire Shaped By God – In these verses, God has the entirety of the animal kingdom pass before Adam. He tells Adam to look at them and to give them names and whatever Adam called them, that was the name. Now, God’s intention here is far deeper than a mere intellectual exercise. He isn’t trying to give Adam’s brain a workout. The real goal here is awaken a desire in Adam for companionship.
As Adam saw all these animals pass before him. Surely he must have noticed that everyone of them had a mate. It must have dawned on Adam that he was the only creature who seemed to be alone.
(Ill. That desire that awakens in us that causes us to begin to look on the members of the opposite sex with interest is natural and God given. There is in the heart of mankind a deep seated desire for companionship.)
(Ill. Some parents have a problem with this interest. Even some young people who are feeling these desires have a problem admitting that mom and dad just aren’t going to suffice forever. I want to say that this is a natural part of the transition from childhood to adulthood. There comes a time in every normal, well adjusted life when a person begins to feel a yearning to “settle down” with someone they love. It is a normal part of life.)
B. A Desire Satisfied By God – (Ill. The Lord never awakens a desire that He isn’t prepared to fulfil in His own way and in His own time. Our problem is that we have these desires in us and we set about satisfying them on our own, and in our own time. When we do, we have short-circuited the plan of God and are on thin ice. When this desire came to the surface in Adam’s life, God set about meeting that need. There were three things involved in providing this help meet for Adam.
1. It Involved Sleep – When it came time for God to make a “help-meet” for Adam, He caused Adam to go to sleep while He did His work. In other words, Adam was totally uninvolved in the selection process. It, like nearly everything else in life, fell to the sovereign choice of God.
(Ill. There is a lesson here for those of you who are looking for that future spouse. The best thing you can do is just let that area of your life go to sleep and trust the Lord to bring that person into your life in His time and in His way. But, that isn’t what we are told to do. We are told that one must be pro-active, that one must make things happen. You gotta go out there and grab hold of the one you choose and use any means in your arsenal to see that they do not go to someone else. What a lack of faith! If God can be trusted to save your soul from Hell, do you not think that He can also be trusted to bring you the mate He wants you to have? May I remind you that the “just are to live by faith,” Hab. 2:4.)
2. It Involved Surgery – While Adam was asleep, God performed surgery on Adam, opened him up and took out a rib. It was from this rib that God made the woman.
(Ill. Surgery always involves pain. Often, finding a mate involves pain and even after a mate has been secured and vows have been exchanged, there are still painful times. However, we must learn to trust the Lord during the difficult times and to remember our commitment made to our spouse. We must fight for our marriages. One Christian marriage counselor said, “The only thing that I have ever seen will make a marriage last is that the couple wants to be married to each other more than they want to divorce.”)
3. It Involves Symbolism – Notice where the woman came from. In taking her from the side of man, God was painting a picture that speaks volumes about what the marriage relationship should be. Matthew Henry put it this way, “Eve was made by God not out of Adam’s head to rule over him, nor our of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected and from near his heart to be loved.”
I. The Lord’s Intention
II. The Lord’s Intervention
III. V. 23-25 THE LORD’S INVENTION – (When I speak of the Lord’s invention, I am not talking about woman, although that is pretty remarkable. I am referring to the institution of marriage. These verses constitute what was the first marriage ceremony. There are three aspects that were involved in that first marriage ceremony that will go along way in helping our relationships this day.)
A. V. 23 Marriage Involves A Response – Ill. When Adam awakened out of sleep, the first thing he saw was this brand new, absolutely beautiful, absolutely perfect woman there with him. Adam’s response is to say, “Now this is one like me.” Quite literally, Adam said, “Yes!” Or, as one great theologian put it, “Hot diggety!” What Adam meant was that finally here was one that he just did not want to live without. Here was one who was compatible with him, one with whom he could carry out the Lord’s directive, of Gen. 1:28.
(Ill. The lesson here is that in any marriage, there must be that element of heart felt love and the sure knowledge that this is THE person God has created just for me. Folks, marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. It should be prayed about and strictly observed according to the Lord’s commandments. If His Word is ignored, there can be nothing but trouble in the marriage relationship! It involves a response and that response is to say yes to that person that God has picked and prepared just for you.)
B. V. 24 Marriage Involves A Responsibility – Adam goes on to say that a man is to “leave” his parents and “cleave” to his wife. This is a two step process that many couple would do well to consider this evening.
1. To leave means to place every other relationship at a lower priority than the marriage relationship. Excluding, of course, one’s relationship with God. Your husband or wife is to be more that just a spouse. They are to literally be your best friend – Mal. 2:14. Leaving means that every activity outside of the marriage relationship must take a backseat. This includes things like businesses, hobbies, friends, careers, sports, even church work. Outside of one’s relationship with God, there is no other relationship as important as the one you have with your spouse!
2. To cleave means to “adhere to, to stick to, to be bound together by some strong bond.” Cleaving isn’t an instant thing. Rather, it is a lifelong pursuit. It begins at the marriage altar and continues to the deathbed. It speaks of total and absolute commitment. This is a word that is lacking in our modern society, especially when it comes to arena of marriage. The modern mind set says, “Well, we’ll try it for a while and if it doesn’t work, then I’ll just find me a new one.” That is a far cry from what God intended in the beginning! You see, “cleaving” is not a passive endeavor. In other words, it doesn’t just happen, it comes about as the result of effort. I say that any marriage is worth whatever effort is required to save it! By the way, the New Testament word for cleave means, “to stick like glue, to be welded together so that the two cannot be separated without serious damage to both.” If we really believe that 2 become 1 flesh when they are married, then we would also believe that anything that tore that apart was a serious matter.
(Ill. Every married couple needs to realize that they have been made one. You are not really a couple, you are a single unit. Declared by God in Heaven to be joined together until death rips you apart. If we really lived with this assurance, it would transform our homes, our churches and our nation! Then, divorce would not be an option, but just like we would spare no expense or effort to save a member of our own body, we would everything in our power to safeguard our marriages.)
(Ill. I know this is hard for some of you who have been through divorce. Please do not think that I am without compassion for you. In a later message in this series, I am going to address your situation as well. For now, suffice it to say that divorce is a sin, Mal. 2:10. However, it is no greater sin than any other that can be committed by men. If you have repented before the Lord and made that right with Him, then it if forgiven, 1 John 2:9. Again, I will say more about this matter in a few weeks. Just know this that the Lord does not condemn you and neither do I.)
C. V. 25 Marriage Involves A Righteousness – This verse tells us that Adam and Eve were naked, but that they were not ashamed in their nudity. This verse simply drives home the truth that the only valid arena for sexual expression is within the marriage relationship. Do not be mislead by this world and its twisted definitions of what constitutes sex. In my opinion, one which I think is backed up by the Bible, anything that goes beyond holding hands and a simple kiss is sexual activity and dishonoring to the Lord and demeaning to you and your relationship with another person. It may be old fashioned, but I believe the Lord will bless it! (Ill. Heb. 13:4)
If you were honest and you were to take your marriage and lay it alongside this passage, would your marriage stand as one that was made in paradise? Or, would you have to say that there is some “leaving and cleaving” that needs to take place in our relationship? Is there some activity or pursuit that is coming between you and your spouse? Do you feel that you are one flesh this moment? What I am asking is that husbands and wives take a long hard look at their relationships and then respond together, before the Lord and allow Him to have His way in your marriage. Are there needs in your relationship this day? Maybe you are married to an unbeliever, why not bring them to Jesus and talk to Him about that need? Maybe the sizzle has begun to fizzle, why not come before the Lord and ask Him to rekindle the flames that once burned so passionately. Bring your marriage to Jesus and let Him fix it if it is broken, let Him strengthen it if it is weak and let Him make it even better if it is already good.
Maybe you are not even married, but you are concerned about the future and the person you will marry, why not bring that need to the Lord. Singles and singles again, are there areas of your life that need to be brought under the Lord’s control? Please understand that God has a plan for everyone here. Part of that plan includes salvation, that is a constant for everyone. Beyond that, God has an individual plan for your life. I am asking you this very moment to come before Him and find out what it is. Will you do that?
If we learn nothing else, let’s learn how to keep the home fires burning! Amen!