Genesis 2: 18-24 (Pentecost 20 – 2015)
“Marriage is God’s Army; Marriage is God’s Gift”
An army of God was created that day. He knew He would need one. He knew that army would need to mirror His wisdom and Word. He knew the Word and His people would be attacked. So He made His people the army. What did His army look like? A man and woman … who were designed to have children and populate the earth with more people who lived and loved HIS way in the face of an enemy who would strive to destroy that image!
A Gift of God was given that day. “For this reason … because God made Eve and therefore designed marriage as a blessing and gift … a man will leave his FATHER & MOTHER (already presents the necessity of man and wife) and be united to his wife and they (man and wife) will become one flesh.” Up until this point the Lord had a refrain after each day: “it was good.” Before the end of the sixth day was completed he interrupted with his first “it is not good.” “It is not good for the man to be alone I will make a helper suitable for him.” The Creation of husband and wife was to be unique and special from all the rest of his creation marked by a new refrain and a new modus operandi.
In wisdom God led Adam to the rest of creation to see that none of what had been made yet was a suitable helper. In doing so he leads him to see the wisdom in His creation of “the woman.” What did He make for him? He did not make … another man, another kind of beast, a coach or mentor. He certainly did not create a solitary cave filled with other “man” kind of things. All of what a man typically was allowed to enjoy was already created. What he needed most, and what was most suitable for his needs, was “the woman.” Everything else in creation was spoken into being. The man was formed and then breathed into. The woman was created from the man. And the two were brought together by God in holy matrimony: they were one; God’s living army in the world; God’s perfect gift to mankind: marriage. God moved man to sing his “this is good refrain by seeing the best gift so far, the resolve for his aloneness: the woman.
This is what Marriage Is. God has the right to say so. Christians have the right and responsibility to reflect it in their words and actions. It is a design that is relative to every society and generation of mankind, because we are his creation, not the other way around. Marriage is God’s gift to mankind. It is His design. It is His idea. It is His to gift to define and describe and he is not interested in the creations opinion of it, unless that opinion honors Him.
Adam and Eve Neglected and Abused that Gift
- Notice that the command not to eat from the tree (vs. 16-17) was given to Adam BEFORE the woman was created. It was his job to teach her to know and embrace it.
- It was his role to care for her, teach her, protect her, love her, and provide a setting for her role.
- It was her role to be the unique companion that only she could fill for God and him.
- It was their mutual role in life to please God through obedience and trust in His Word.
- The collective “first sin” included neglect and doubt regarding God and his Word, Adam failing in his role and Eve giving up her role by usurping Adam’s. “She gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:7). And it has been happening ever since.
In the Lovely Eden it would suffice to say what marriage IS. In a fallen and sinful world, attacked by the serpent, it is also necessary to say what marriage in NOT.
- Marriage is not a guy and a gal sharing a home without getting married both before God and state.
- Marriage is not a man with a man or a woman with a woman.
- Marriage is not to be ended when “better or worse” is defined by human standards rather than God’s.
- A marriage not separated by death, adultery, or malicious desertion was separated against God’s will.
What is the result of sin, but selfishness and ultimately death!
A few thoughts on God’s Army-Gift” in the chain reaction of the Fall into Sin:
- When men no longer want their role they cease to want the role the gal serves them too.
- When women no longer perceive a need for their role they perceive no need for the man.
- When men no longer want their role as Christian Army Leader they hide in the enjoyed creation alone: at work, at athletic fields, on fishing boats, in the man cave, and worse yet all that the world-wide-web has to offer them. He is no longer asleep waiting for God to create his helper, he is a asleep to avoid her.
- When women no longer want their role they play as “the most suitable God-given helper to the man” they are forced to take the lead at home with the Jesus Army thing, or moved to multiple forms of women only groups, careers, and social ladders. They, too, are easily drawn to the hours that fly by while staring at things on a screen.
- Mixed together: the Devil, Society, Absence of the Pure Word, Sinful Natures … and you have a recipe for the breakdown of the family, a twisting of who God is and what he says, men wanting men and women wanting women or neither wanting neither.
- Saddest of all when men stop being men and women stop being women, people stop being parents and the children suffer. When children are not nurtured by “husband & wife” something deeply important is missing and it shows.
- When children are no longer seeing God’s ways carried out by adults we are in severe danger of losing the Gospel and raising a generation of people who do not know the Lord or His ways.
- This down turn all began when Adam tuned out his wife while she and the Word were under attack!
Marriage is God’s Army! Gift! Marriage is Closely Woven into his Saving Plan
Here is the good news! Here is the solution: God’s army does not depend on the first Adam, but the Second. His Champion was to come from heaven. But his Champion was to be a boy in time raised by a man and his wife; a descendant of Adam and Eve. His Champion is Christ Jesus, the Seed of the Woman. God was telling Adam and Eve, “The fight will be difficult, but start having kids. Your children are my blessing to you. You are still designed to get married, have children, dominate the globe, enjoy what I have made, and look to me for forgiveness, guidance and blessings.”
Here is the good news! Here is the solution. God reminded Adam and Eve that all is not lost; and all is redeemable. I have a plan and it involves you living the way I originally designed for you. One day, in your future, a Boy will be raised by a man and a wife. He will undo what happened in the Garden today!
From the very beginning of time God makes it clear that His Word is at the very heart of life itself. His Word speaks all of creation into being. His Breath gave breath to mankind. His Word blesses people with words of instruction and invitations to enjoy a life. His Word intervened when they fell into disobedience. His Word brought promise the certain hope of a Saving Plan. That plan was to come “from the seed of the woman (saying to the devil) ... he will crush your head and you will strike his heal.”
The birth of a baby boy became essential to the sacrificial plan to destroy the Devil’s work and rescue mankind from death. Adam and Eve’s marriage and conceiving of children led to descendents from whom the Savior was born (Genesis 3:15).
Notice that Eve is not named Eve until after the promise was given. Until then the Bible calls her “the woman.” After the promise and consequences are defined, she is named Eve, the beginning of the promise, a promise that would be fulfilled in Bethlehem’s stable.
Luther’s comments on these verses insightfully suggest that Adam and Eve so firmly believed in God’s promises that their first born would be the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15! So they set out to do what they were supposed to do in the first place. Rather than in a perfect Garden, they, in obedience to God, were united as husband and wife, had children, and told those children the stories of their Saving God.
Marriage serves God’s ultimate plan. He had commanded them “be fruitful and increase in number.” Children are a blessing, sons a heritage, blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” The moms and dads of Abraham’s family line considered it a special honor to have a first born son knowing that a first born son would one day be the Messiah. I wonder if our society views the birth of any children with the kind of delight had by Israelite parents. It would be carried out by a Son who knew the battle “was not against flesh blood, but against the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6).
New Testament Christian Marriages picture the relationship of Christ and his Bride. Paul speaks plainly about this in his letter to the Ephesians (5: 21-25). When Christian wives live harmoniously with their husbands and show them love in respect, Paul says that they reflect the believing Church. When husbands lovingly make sacrifices for their wives and care from them, they reflect Christ’s sacrificial love for world. When God-fearing men care for the needs of their wives and children they reflect the care of Christ shows for his bride the Church.
A peasant girl gave birth in an animal shelter in Bethlehem. Her Son, Jesus, is God’s Son. He is the Bridegroom of God’s family, the Church. He crushed the head of the serpent, when his heal was struck on the on the bone crunching steel and wood of a Roman crucifixion. His blood was spilt in order to present his Bride, you, husbands and wives, you, sons and daughters, as “a holy church, without stain or wrinkle.”
Men, you still are meant to be Army Leaders. Women, you still are meant to be a divinely given gift to your homes. Husbands, you are still designed and meant to be soldiers who know the marching orders of Christ the King. Wives, you still are meant and designed to be beautifully strong bringers of Grace in Christ to your homes and lives. God made us both differently for very real reasons. He designed us with unique gifts meant to serve and bless the other, meant to be embraced, not abandoned.
He washed us in the blood of Christ upon or baptisms. He armed us both with Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit. He created a private place, that no corruption, no government, no devil, no society can touch: the union of husband and wife in Christ, the birthplace of the Church, the Christian home where man and wife seek his will and teach their children the words and works of Christ. “For this reason, a man will leave father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will be one flesh.”
At the end of this sixth day the refrain receives one edit: “God saw all that he had and it was VERY good!” See Christ in that image. Reflect Christ in your army of saints. Enjoy his precious gifts to us in Christ!
A few thoughts on God’s Army-Gift” among his People:
- When men see their role in Christ they will love the role he has given to the gals too.
- When women perceive the need for their role in Christ they will desire to be the helper suitable.
- When men take up their role as Christian Army Leader they walk their families to the Cross, they will protect them and provide for them, and see them as a joy and privilege.
- When women sense that they can trust the man to fill his role, they will more eagerly set out in Christ serve in the capacity of how God designed to be.
- When families go to Christ and his Word, they send Devil, Society, and Sinful Natures packing!
- When the Enemy’s ways are silenced the family has peace to function as a family in Christ.
- When children see men acting like Christian men and women acting like Christian women, these children raise up to be God-fearing men and women.
- When young people are nurtured by a Father and a Mother, they will best learn God’s living parable for living as the army of Christ, and will learn how to be parents one day.
- When children are taught the Gospel, they learn to share the Gospel with the next generation, because the first place we either save or lose the Gospel is in our homes.
- Before the Fall, the man and the woman felt no shame in the nakedness. After the Fall, God clothed them, not only with animal skins, but with the robe of His righteousness. Robed in Christ we feel no shame!
- There is reason why God intervened after Adam blew it. He re-united them. He walked them through the blame-game counseling session, repaired the marriage with Christ, and sent them back on their way to be his people. Christ and the forgiveness of sins repairs brokenness! God be praise!
O blest the house whate’er befall Where Jesus Christ is all in all.
A house that is not fully his How sad poor and dark it is!
Blest such a house; it prospers well In peace joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown, How richly God can bless his own! (CW 506: 1, 4)