Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Proverbs 18:22
Marriage, in every season of life, is a gift from God. As I write this, I’m preparing to meet with a young couple for premarital counseling. The excitement and anticipation of young Christian couples espoused to be married is refreshing. Sadly, for many Christian couples joined in wedlock, the euphoria of wedded bliss is too often replaced with a less than romantic reality. Certainly marriage, in western culture, has been overly romanticized; nevertheless, marriage between a man and a woman is an honorable estate, instituted by God and is a beautiful picture of Christ and the Church.
The book of Ruth (in the Old Testament) reveals a beautiful picture of redemption as we see Ruth redeemed by Naomi’s near kinsman, Boaz. What an introduction we have to this book as we find Ruth tenaciously following her bitter and beleaguered mother-in-law from Moab to Bethlehem. Each step of the way, we see Ruth’s faith on display as she leaves her homeland and her opportunity to be remarried to a man of her birthplace in Moab. Instead, we see her making a covenant to follow Naomi, her mother-in-law, to her death, if necessary. The dearest of vows in scripture are made not to between a man and wife but a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law.
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. Ruth 1:17
Naomi was so grieved at her loss in Moab that she could not see the best thing in her life was the faith filled Moabitess who followed her. Despite Naomi’s attempts to discourage Ruth, she clung to Naomi and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ruth would not take no for an answer and her commitment to God was more valuable to her than her own natural identity as a Moabitess.
Identity in Christ
It is fitting because today, when a woman is married, she takes the name of her husband. She loses her identity in the one she chooses to wed. Before Ruth was identified as Boaz’ bride, she was identified as a faith-filled believer in God. This is the key to any marriage whether new or in its golden years. The identity of both individuals in a marriage needs to be found in Christ. Placing faith in Christ and following Him first is the only effective way to maintain a marriage that glorifies God and brings blessings to all those impacted by it.
Fulfillment in marriage may not come as easily as a Hallmark movie, but Biblical marriage promises much more of a blessing than a Hollywood script. The story of redemption and blessing through the union of Ruth and Boaz ties directly to the promised seed in Genesis 3:15, and the coming king and kingdom promised to Ruth and Boaz’s great grandson David, in 2 Samuel 7:12-29. The impact of Ruth and Boaz’s marriage has touched the lives of every soul born through the seed of David! That is just the picture. Wait until we see the fulfilment of the relationship that Christ has with the church in the ages to come!
It is because every couple who names the name of Christ stewards the picture of Christ and the church in their marital union that every married couple should take care to cherish the gift God has given them. It doesn’t matter if you have been married a year or 50 years; each season of life brings new delights and offers new insights to the union between Christ and the Church.
It is because of the importance that the picture marriage portrays that many couples fold under the pressure that comes from the world, the flesh and the devil. Satan hates the image of Christ and His church and will stop at nothing to destroy its significance in our hearts.
We need not look beyond 21st century society to see the impact of Satan on the God ordained institution of marriage. Unregenerate man has systematically perverted the beautiful picture of matrimony into something that is outside the biblical definition and the heart of God’s intention for a man and a woman. Biblical marriage stands out in stark contrast to the ever-increasing influence of the antichrist culture that is growing in society.
Set aside time for investment
It is for this reason that every married couple should set aside time to invest in their marriage. Your marriage is not only important to you and your family but to the Kingdom of God and a society that is desperate to see the image of Christ. Even if you did not take time to participate in the marriage conference on March 8-9, set aside time to invest the word of God into your marriage. Make sure you are prioritizing your marriage ahead of your job, and even your children.
If your marriage is not strong, your family and job will suffer as well. A strong family doesn’t start with raising children or even loving our spouses. It starts by putting God first and worshipping Him. When we do that, God grants us the grace to love others as ourselves starting with our spouse, moving out to our children and then to others that God intends for us to minister to.
We often forget that Ruth and Boaz lived in a time much like today. It was a time when apathy, apostacy and anarchy ruled society as the people of God took God’s word lightly and found themselves under the bondage of the enemies of God. It was in this setting that God used a beautiful love story and a marriage to turn the course of human history around.
Faith in God’s word will not only lead you into marriage, but guide you through each season. As circumstances change and families are formed, the children grow and eventually go; what remains is the hope of knowing that God continues to bless the man and woman who portray the picture of Christ and His church in the blessed union of matrimony. Before we know it, death does come, that winter season sets in and we are left once more in a position of faith in God and God alone.
Marriage, no matter how brief or long, is a gift from God. The fruit of marriage continues to blossom long after we are gone. Regardless of whether you are attending the marriage conference or not, take some time to reflect, appreciate and invest in the gift of matrimony. Don’t allow Satan to rob you of reflecting the beautiful image of Christ and His Church.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19