This past Sunday, my eldest child and daughter got married. I was privileged to be both give her away and to be the wedding’s officiant. This was the first of of our four children to get married. Needless to say, it was a joyous day in the Lawrence family!
Here is what I said in my opening homily of the wedding ceremony. Maybe this will bless someone.
What is more beautiful than a family? Dad and mom and the kids playing, working, being together. In my mind, I’m picturing a family picnic in a bucolic setting, or a dad and mom pushing a baby stroller down the sidewalk, or a family bike ride with dad leading the way and mom and the kids following. Add to that loving and supportive grandparents along with the rest of the extended family, and you have a little bit of heaven on earth! When I see such a sight, I pause for a moment to savor it, and then reflect on it and then I look upward to thank the Almighty Creator for this loving institution that he has created called marriage and the family. This all starts with a man and a woman uniting in holy matrimony before YHVH Elohim, the Creator of marriage.
Marriage is a divine institution established by YHVH Elohim, the Creator at the very beginning of time. We read in Eph 5:22–33,
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 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 higher ideal of marriage remains a mystery to the average person. To most people, it is simply a physical institution. In reality, it’s much more than that! It is Elohim-ordained, and even more importantly it is a picture of the Godhead on the earth. In the institution of marriage, heaven and earth meet. When this happens, children are born and the family of Elohim is potentially perpetuated. Moreover, marriage and the family helps show the world the way to Elohim. For it is Elohim-ordained responsibility and privilege of the husband and wife, and father and mother to perpetuate the light of Elohim’s truth and the principles of right living not only to their offspring, but to all those around them as well. In this way, the kingdom of Elohim—his love, joy and peace and the truth of the gospel message—is promoted and expanded at the expense of evil spiritual darkness. It is for this reason that the institution of marriage it is currently under such attack in our society by the forces of evil darkness who hate Elohim and his divinely revealed word.
As spiritual representative of Yeshua on this earth, the Bible, the Word of Elohim, has charged the husband and father of a family to be the loving leader of that family, and to lead his wife and children in the ways of Elohim as revealed in the Bible, and to lead them to Elohim. As such, the husband must set an by example by being like Yeshua who was and is three things: He is a priest, a prophet and a king. In the Bible, a priest taught the people the ways of Elohim and interceded on their behalf before the throne of Elohim. A prophet brought the word of Elohim to the people. Finally, a king ruled over the people not as a tyrant or a dictator, but as a servant-leader who put the needs of his people ahead his own needs and desires. He also ruled according to constitutional law. For the godly king, his constitution must be the Bible—the Word of Elohim. This means he must know the Bible by studying it and then living according to the truth, wisdom and commandments of Elohim found therein.
Marriage is also the process by which the Creator reproduces himself, in a sense. Elohim created man and woman in his image to perpetuate himself. He made marriage and gave a loving husband and wife to be able to join him in the creation process by having children. This is an incredible joint venture to which he has called a husband and his wife!
When the children arrive on the scene, the husband and wife now have a new responsibility—to make disciples. Children are fragile and vulnerable creatures. Animals mature to adulthood very quickly unlike humans, who need the loving, stable structure of a family to raise them to adulthood, and not only to raise them, but to instill in them the right values, morals and ethics from the Creator.
The discipling process with which the Creator has tasked the parents is implied in the biblical ten commandments. The fifth commandments is the pivotal point of all the biblical ten commandments. Honor your father and mother it says. This command stands in the center of the first four commandments, which tell us how to love our Creator and the last five which tell us how to love our fellow man. The married couple—father and mother—at the center of the fifth commandment is the linkage between heaven and earth, between Elohim and man. This is because a loving, Elohim fearing married couple will not only procreate children in the image of Elohim, but will, ideally, train them in the ways of Elohim thus insuring the survival of the species not only in this time space dimension, but into the next dimension as well.
The institution of marriage is also a powerful force in society. Marriage is instituted by Elohim, since the family is a model of the Godhead and the building block of society by which we pass on down the life-giving truth of Elohim generationally.
With your new marriage, you have the glorious opportunity to help uphold the divine institution of marriage and to help build stronger families and a morally and spiritually upright society. Here are some wise nuggets that will help you to accomplish this auspicious and divine mission.
To insure that your marriage remains inviolate, keep these things in mind:
- Remember this. Today three people are getting married. The third member of this triad is the glue that will hold your marriage together. It is YHVH Elohim. Give him first place in your marriage, and with your cooperation, he will insure that your marriage stays together.
- Marriage must be built on a foundation of selflessness, not selfishness. The former is outward focused, while the latter is inward focused. The husband and father must lead by example in this, even as our Father in heaven sent his Son, Yeshua, to this earth to save undeserving sinners.
- Some say that marriage is a 50-50 percent proposition. I’ll do my part if you do yours, they infer. This is a false proposition that is based on conditional love. No. It’s a 100-100 percent deal, and is based on unconditional love. You decide to love, even when it hurts, and even when the love is not returned. That’s following in the footsteps of our loving Heavenly Father who loved us while we were all still sinners, and sent his Son, Yeshua the Messiah, to this earth to die for our sins. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if this kind of love were practiced?
- When there are struggles, altercations, misunderstandings and even fights in your marriage—and they will come—remember one thing. Your spouse is not the enemy. Satan is your enemy, who comes to steal from you, to kill your marriage and to destroy that which YHVH has given you. He is real enemy. Unite in prayer and submission to YHVH’s Word to fight against him. Don’t fight each other!
- Marriage isn’t about a beautiful wedding, fancy homes, cute kids, nice cars and white picket fences. Marriage is hospital stays, working long hours, fight through struggles, setting up life insurance, paying bills, keeping the faith and staying together through it all.
- Love is a decision backed up by loving actions, not an emotion. Emotions and feelings come and go, but love a decision, as an act of the will, as an unconditional response to offences, hurts, wounds, misunderstandings and outright sin will carry your through the hard times.
- To insure that a marriage weathers the storms of life, a wise couple will build their marriage on a foundation of rock, not sand. That rock, Yeshua tells us in the Gospels, is the Word of Elohim. Yeshua is the Word of Elohim. When this is done, there is a strong, healthy, happy marriage, family, tribe, community, nation and world. It’s all built upon the family and grows out from there. This is Elohim’s divine order of things and a key to human joy and happiness. To go against the Creator’s design is to invite the opposite. It, therefore, behoves you both to work hard to regularly feed your marriage spiritually, and seek the Creator’s input and guidance, you will be assure of a long, fruitful, happy and successful marriage. To the degree that each of you steps up to the plate to do this on a daily basis will be the degree to which this joint venture you are embarking on called marriage will be successful.