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God Plans a Wedding - Genesis 2:18-25

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Today, we unroll the original blueprints for the structure of a good marriage. We will see and hear what the Divine Architect had in mind, as the very first marriage was planned by God, Himself. Let's go back in time—before the days of humanism, feminism, chauvinism, and polygamy. Let's go back to the days before no-fault divorce and prenuptial agreements. What was God's intention for the wedding and marriage that He planned?

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5/5/2002
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God Plans a Wedding
Genesis 2:18-25
Skip Heitzig
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Today, we unroll the original blueprints for the structure of a good marriage. We will see and hear what the Divine Architect had in mind, as the very first marriage was planned by God, Himself. Let's go back in time—before the days of humanism, feminism, chauvinism, and polygamy. Let's go back to the days before no-fault divorce and prenuptial agreements. What was God's intention for the wedding and marriage that He planned?
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House That God Builds, The

House That God Builds, The

In today's society, we get a lot of mixed messages when it comes to marriage and the family. Seemingly endless numbers of self-help books line the shelves of every bookstore, but sometimes it's hard to know which sources to trust. We do know that the Bible is the ultimate source for truth. In this two-volume series, Pastor Skip Heitzig explores marriage and family issues through a biblical lens. Discover God's blueprint for building healthy relationships and a godly home.

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  1. The Problem of Man—Aloneness
  2. The Plan of God—Happiness
  3. The Principles for Marriage—Cohesiveness
    A. Leaving
    B. Cleaving
    C. Weaving
    D. Achieving

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And if you’d open your Bibles to Genesis, chapter 2. There is an old Danish proverb that says, “A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple.” (laughter) I don’t know, I think there are probably better ways to have happiness than that. On my wedding day, I was miserable. Now I need to explain that. I was miserable because where I rented my tuxedo from, they gave me the wrong size shoes. Not too big, there weren’t any bigger, but a size and a half too small. So, rather than wearing 13s, which I do normally, they were about 11 or 11 ½. I knew that when I put that on. And I had to walk around like a crow all day long. It was excruciating. But it was a perfect fit for my life. Maybe not for my feet, but for my life it was a perfect fit. That was about 21 years ago. In fact, (applause) thank you. Las June my wife and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. And we celebrated it in Joppa, in Israel, as we waited for our group to come in for our tour. And we had dinner at a fine little restaurant on the seaport of Joppa. Then afterward, she didn’t know I was going to do this, I had bought a ring for our twentieth anniversary and I said, “You put up with me for twenty years, would you do it for another twenty?” And she said, “I’ll think about it,” no, she accepted it.

Some kids were asked about marriage. They were asked the question, “Do you think it’s better to be single or to be married?” You’d be surprised by some of their answers. Nine-year-old Anita said, “It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys, because boys need somebody to clean up after them.” Seven-year-old named Will, a boy said, this is such a boy answer, “It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid, I don’t need that kind of trouble.” (laughter) Kids were then asked, “What is the proper age to get married?” Carolyn, an eight year old said, “The best age is 84, because at that age you don’t have to work any more and you can spend all your time loving each other in your bedroom.” Five-year-old boy named Burt said, “Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” Guy was ready.

Genesis chapter 2 is the passage of first mention or primary reference when it comes to the idea of marriage. This passage is referred to four times in the New Testament. Why? Because it is the first time God gives His ideas, His directives, on marriage. The great Hebrew commentator Rashi said, “These are comments by the Holy Spirit on marriage.”

Marriage, we see from this passage that we are about to read, is God’s invention. Not man’s, not some college professor’s, not some government official, this was God’s idea. You never read a passage that says, “Now in the course of time a bright light, an idea came into man’s mind and he said, “There shall be marriage. And it will be a wonderful tax break as well.” We never read that and I’ll tell you why that is foundational. If it were man’s invention, man could regulate it, nullify it and mess with it. Because it is God’s invention, man has not the right nor the capability to do so. It can only function well under God’s supervision and God’s care, subject to God’s regulations. And Jesus quoted this passage that we are about to read. It’s mentioned both in Matthew and in Mark and after quoting the passage in Genesis, he said, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man” mess with, literally separate. It is God’s institution. Now you may not agree with these biblical principles concerning marriage and that’s your prerogative. But I submit to you that your life will never be fulfilled as God intended it to be until you do.

There was a Peanuts cartoon, it shows Charlie Brown talking about his grandma and grandpa, and he says, “My grandma and grandpa have been married fifty years.” And his friend in the next cartoon caption said, “Wow, that’s great. They’re lucky.” And then Charlie Brown says, “Grandma says it isn’t luck, it’s skill.” And he’s right. It is more than skill however, it is God directed, God given skill. So, what is God’s ideal of marriage? What are God’s standards of a relationship? What did God intend it to be? Verse 18, “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not that man should be alone. I will make him a helper, comparable to him.’ 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. So Adam gave names to all cattle, birds of the air, to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam. And as he slept, he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman. And He brought her to the man. 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.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Where we started there is a problem. We begin with a problem. It’s a problem that man had, it’s a problem that God noticed, it was aloneness. In verse 18, God says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Now I want you just to think about what Adam had going for him. This guy had what guys dream of. He had the perfect life, the perfect environment, there was paradise, there were no mortgages, no taxes, there was no smog, he was in charge, he had the perfect job. He named animals all day long, whatever came into his head. Giraffe, emu, buffa-lo; just whatever he named them became its name. Add to that, a rich personal fellowship with his Creator, it was God and man. Now up to this point, absolutely everything in God’s creation was good. God said, in chapter 1 verse 4, in the same chapter verse 10, verse 12, verse 18, verse 21, verse 25, all remark that God did something and He said, “It’s good.” Look at the very last verse of chapter 1, “then God saw everything that He made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and morning were the sixth day.” But compare all of that with again our text, “And God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’” The first time God said something wasn’t good is when he looked at him, the guy. “Something’s missing, something’s not quite right,” God said. It’s not that Adam was dissatisfied with the circumstances, he didn’t know what he was missing, but God noticed it.

Now, this idea of aloneness, I do not mean solitude. Solitude is good from time to time, you need to air out your soul, everybody needs that. But this is separation, it is limited relationship. There was God and man, but there needed to be mankind and mankind. God noticed that man was not complete. And we read in our text that God noticed that and Adam was still naming animals but none of them, none of them, were comparable to him. In other words, even in the animal kingdom, even dog, man’s best fried, wasn’t enough to take care of this problem of aloneness. See, animals, things, career, hobbies, even fame, don’t make up for that deep need to be satisfied in a permanent relationship. Albert Einstein said, “It is strange to be known so universally and yet be so lonely.” It’s not good that this man should be alone. What would cure the aloneness? A woman. The woman.

I found another cartoon, this time in the Saturday Evening Post and it showed a little boy talking on the telephone and he says, “Mom is in the hospital and the twins and Roxie and Billy and Sally and the dog and me and dad are all home alone.” You’ve got all of them but she’s missing.

Something to note since this is the passage of primary reference, marriage is the rule, it is the norm. There are exceptions of course and it’s okay to have the exceptions but the general rule that we find in society is marriage. It’s always been that way. I have a hunch it’s always going to be that way. But there are exceptions. Jesus even noted them, he said, “Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made that way by others and some choose not to marry for the sake of the kingdom. In other words, God can gift a single person with the ability to not even want marriage so that he or she can be deeply devoted in God’s work. Nothing wrong with that and they should not be looked down upon by the church. You know what I mean, “Hey what’s wrong with you? How old are you? You’re not married yet. You haven’t found anybody yet?” Now sometimes that’s applicable but other times it is not. Marriage is designed to solve the first problem of the human race, loneliness. It is sad and I report to you, it does not always do that. In fact, sometimes in a marriage relationship I’ve observed that aloneness is accentuated rather than cured. Some of the loneliest people I’ve met are married people not single people. Now I want you single people to hear that well. It is meant to cure aloneness, it does not always do that because anybody, even in a relationship of intimacy, can close themselves off and it’s even more frustrating then.

I, some years ago, asked people to stand up and not just greet each other or give each other a handshake but give a hug to the person next to you, after all we’re believers in Christ. Give them a good hug. I got this letter back: “Dear Skip, my husband did as you suggested and hugged the person next to him. We sleep in the same bed and until this morning we have had no physical contact in three months.” That’s isolation, and that’s within a marriage. To the extent that your partner is not alone, that is to the extent that you are fulfilling your role in his or her life. It’s not good that man should be alone.

So, that’s the problem. Here’s the plan. God says, “I will make a helper comparable to him.” Now I want you to go back to chapter 1 after reading that. And let’s start with the beginning of God’s plan for mankind. Back in verse 26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ (this is the trinity speaking) according to our image. Let them have dominion over the flesh of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” There’s the plan: an exclusive relationship between two people of the opposite sex. That’s it, that’s the plan. That’s where it begins. God made man in his image, male and female. They are the same, that is they’re both humans, with very very sometimes VER different from one another, as male and female. As day and night, sometimes. But that all adds texture and color and fun to a relationship. How boring it would be if the world were all male, were all female, or as the trend is today all unisex. Instead of the variety that comes with male and female. So God’s solution to man’s aloneness is “I will make (I will make, I’m taking the initiative) I will make a helper that is suitable or comparable to him.” Now think of the word helper. I want you to do that because it probably conjures up not-too-impressive picture. “A helper? Are you saying that’s all I am is a helper?” It doesn’t sound that impressive I admit. As if the husband would say, “Have you met my assistant? My helper.” Unfortunately that’s how women have been viewed in ancient times. As recently as the Greek times of the New Testament, and the Roman times, and still in certain cultures of our time, women are seen merely as a possession, merely as something to own. Among the Greeks, they said that we have a mistress for our companionship, we have concubines for sexual pleasure, and we have wives to bear legitimate children and keep the home.” So I admit the word helper doesn’t get you off to a home-run start, when God says, “I’m going to make a helper.” However, the word in Hebrew means basically help, I’m going to give him help. I’m giving to give him help, he needs all the help he can get. I’m going to make someone to help him.” Now before you get carried away and think, “What a bad description of a wife, a helper,” understand that that is the same word in Hebrew God uses to describe Himself. Psalm 46, it says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Exer, same Hebrew word. Other Psalms, other scriptures, I’ll give you another one, Psalm 33 verse 20, “The Lord is our help and our shield.” A better translation of what we just read is God would say, “It’s not good that this guy should be alone. I will make a helper matching him, or supplying what he lacks. The word for suitable in Hebrew means something that completes a polarity. Just like the North pole requires the South pole and the South pole requires the North pole for it be complete. That’s the idea suitable has in mind, she’ll complete him, she’ll balance him out, she’ll help him reach maximum fulfillment. I love what Matthew Henry quoting the ancient Jewish sages wrote about this passage. He said, “You will notice that woman was not taken from man’s head to be above him, nor was she taken from man’s feet to be walked on by him. She was taken from man’s side to be equal to him, to be protected by him, to be close to his heart as his beloved.

Now, to the degree that you are not meeting your mate’s needs emotionally, physically, spiritually; they’re still alone, they’re still isolated, the idea is to bring balance, to rescue. Look at verse 19, “Out of the ground the Lord formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them.” It seems that this was just enjoyable a process for God to watch. What’s he going to call them? “And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all the cattle, to all the birds of the air, to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable (suitable, something that matched the polarity) to him. And the Lord God caused a deep (in Hebrew, irresistible) sleep to fall on Adam. And he slept. And God took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place.” It says ribs, literally it is the side, the sides, which would imply not just the bone but the surrounding soft tissue, the flesh. After all, Adam will say, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” So, God acts as the divine anesthetist, causing a deep sleep to fall on him, a divine surgeon, opening up the flesh, the side, taking a portion of it. He acts as a healer, closing it up thereof. So, three miracles all in this verse. Now, this creation of woman was not ex nihilo or out of nothing. God assembled, God took a portion of the man and metamorphosed the side of man and took that portion and made literally built, a woman. You know kids are great whenever you give them a Bible story because their mind just goes forever with it. They wonder how this could be. You know adults aren’t much better. I still wonder how this could be. But there was a kid named Johnny, he went to Sunday School, they told him the story of Creation but what really caught his attention is this whole idea of Eve being created out of a rib, out of Adam’s rib. “oh man, that’s gross.” Later on that week his mom found him lying down on the floor, grabbing his side, he had a stomachache. She said, “Johnny, what’s wrong?” And he complained, “I have a pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife.” (laughter) Adam didn’t know what hit him.

Look at the end of verse 22. It says, “And He (capital, that is God) brought her to the man.” Here’s God acting as the father of the bride, giving her away. God brought the woman to the man. God took the initiative. God said, “It’s not good that man should be alone.” God built the woman. God brought the woman to the man. And I believe that if you give God charge of your life, God will bring to you in His time someone that is suitable for you, to bring you to complete fulfillment.

Now, Adam waxes poetic, verse 23 is a poem in Hebrew. He’s acting very poetic although it doesn’t sound all that romantic but this is first try. He says, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called (esha) woman because she was taken out of (esh) man.” And you might think, “Oh great, Adam.” But there is the original language a sense of excitement that the translations just don’t pick up on. The Living Bible translates this, “Adam said, ‘This is it!’” In other words, “Wow! Here’s the one I’ve been waiting for all my life!” Although his life was only a few days old. Today’s English version conveys it the best, he says, “At last, here is the one of my own kind, bone taken from my bone, flesh from my flesh.”

Every time I do a wedding, I look at the reaction of the groom as the bride hits the back door and is about to come down the aisle. Usually grooms don’t see their brides up to that point, at least they shouldn’t. There’s a reason for that, it’s that reaction, it’s worth everything. Usually he’s nervous and you know squirming and sweating, and then he sees her and it’s like “Aaah. Wow.” I think that’s the idea of this first wedding. You would do well, men, to remember back to your wedding day when you first laid eyes on your bride. I remember that day like yesterday. I remember that feeling of seeing her come down the aisle. Wow! I forgot all about my feet during that walk. Just to remember that. This is the first wedding of the first two humans, one man, one woman for one lifetime. That was God’s intention.

Let’s look at the principles for marriage now. There’s a three-part directive that God gives. I think it’s some of the best counseling ever given, the best ever given. Verse 24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” There’s a three-art directive in that one verse. We’re going to go through each word and then give you an applicational principle.

The first principle of marriage is therefore shall a man leave, there is leaving. Second, there is cleaving. Third, there is weaving. I’ll explain each one. First of all, a man shall leave his father and mother. And here’s the principle behind that: Marriage begins with the severing of one relationship to solidify another relationship. Marriage begins with the severing of one relationship so that there can be a solidifying of another relationship. In this case, a man shall leave father and mother, this is a general principle for the future since Adam didn’t have a father or mother. This is the principle for mankind, “Therefore a man will leave his father and mother.” Now what does that mean, leave? Well it doesn’t mean abandon, “I can have no contact with you mom and dad the rest of my life, I’m to leave my father and mother. Never write me, never call me, never look at me again.” It doesn’t mean that. Nor does it mean necessarily to leave geographically. After all, in ancient times, after the couple would get married, the couple would live in the same tent, just put up a sheet to separate the parents from the children. The idea of leaving father and mother is to move away emotionally, make a spiritual move. You change the relationship. You have an adult relationship with your parents now. You are severing one relationship of dependence, of emotional stability and dependence, of financial dependence; to cleave to your wife. I always ask a young couple getting married, if I’m doing the wedding and we have a premarital session, I’ll say to them, “What do your parents think of this guy?” Because that’s an important answer. The may say, “Oh, they love him. They think he’s the best.” But if they say, “Actually, they hate his guts. I love him but they think he’s a jerk.” I’ll say, “Okay, you understand that that brings complications into the relationship. And so the next question to you is, “Does that matter to you what they think? Will what they think make you try to change him to be like what they want? Then there’s a problem.” Frankly I am concerned that some kids never leave their parents. It’s troublesome. You know parents can still be dead, and kids even though parents are dead can still not leave their mom and dad. Parent’s thinking passed on to them can sometimes hold couples emotionally hostage. It can ruin a marriage. Instead of just move on, cut it, sever it, separate. A note to parents who have children getting married, do them a favor, release them. That’s the symbolism in a marriage. “Who brings this woman to be married to this man?” Usually he says, “Her mother and I do.” Mean that. Let them be separated that they might solidify. Don’t try to run their lives. Isn’t that the goal of parents? You want to get your kids to leave. Not to stay. You want to launch them. You don’t want them to hang around forever, depending in the same way they did when they were young. So don’t wrap your lives around that young couple and don’t insist that they wrap their lives around you. I have always appreciated my father-in-law for making this part of his philosophy. And in our early marriage when they would talk, my wife and her father, he would say, “Well, what does Skip think?” Always deferring to the head of the household.

Now, leaving implies something else. It implies every other relationship should be subordinate to this marriage relationship. If the primary relationship, if the most significant relationship that a child, that a person has which is with mother and father; if that is to be subservient to the new marriage, then every other single relationship must also take a back seat. The includes brothers and sisters and friends and hobbies and career, and kids. Everything is subservient to that oneness in a relationship. So that’s leaving. That’s leaving. It begins by severing one relationship to solidify another.

The second part of this process is cleaving. For it says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” That’s New King James. If you have an old King Jimmy, it says “cleave.” And actually that’s a great translation. It means to cling to, to impinge upon, to follow hard or to stick with. That’s what the word means, it carries the idea of permanence with it., in indissolvable union. It could be translated glued together. Welded could be another translation. They are to be stuck together. You’re stuck, in a good way not in a bad way. You say, “Oh no Skip I’m stuck in a bad way.” Well, we’ll get to that, don’t worry. You might ask at this point, “Skip, are you saying that there is never to be a separation, ever, ever, ever between a man and a roman. Is there any reason at all that there may be a separation? Is there any circumstance?” Yes, one. And we’ll get to that one in future studies. But I will say this, you can never have a separation without damage of some kind. You can’t. You can never have a separation without damage. Show me one divorce, any one, without damage. It doesn’t exist. If you took two pieces of paper and you glued them together, I’ll do that now, I won’t glue it but let’s say I took these two pieces of paper, that are now separate and I decided that I want them to be glued together. That’s my choice. I make this decision, it’s my paper. So I glue it. Now I let it dry. In a couple years I come back and go, “I’ve changed my mind, my decisions are different. I’m a different glue-er than I was two years ago so I’m going to separate these two. Technically I could do it, I could pull it off, I could soak it, I could put steam on it and I could separate these two pieces of paper. But will these ever be the same? Never. They will be forever changed. So, here’s the idea, leaving and cleaving. Leaving and cleaving. The idea is permanence. And I know that I’m speaking to a culture that has seen the fallout of non-permanent relationships and divorce and God has even brought you to himself because of that. I’m glad that He has but this is God’s original intention. And I’m sad to report that we live in a culture, in a day and age that has redrawn the blueprints of marriage. Here’s the marriage house that’s drawn up, but we’ve drawn in a back door (where there shouldn’t be one), we’ve put in an escape hatch, just in case. Though vows are exchanged, though he and she promised to be faithful forever, I fear that under their breath they’re saying, “If there’s a glitch, well we’ll change our minds. I’ll stick with you in case everything is okay. But if it’s not, I’m going to take that escape clause.” We enter but without permanence. So, marriage has become a matter of chance. Let’s see how it works out, shall we?

Well, God’s intention, it’s not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice. It’s a choice you make then and the next week and the next year and you keep making that choice. It’s a matter not of chance but of choice. Not of just arrangement but of commitment, of obedience. So that means that when he, the guy, looks in her eyes and says, “I’ll be faithful to you forever, that means ‘I’ll be faithful to you forever.’ You may change, you may not be as beautiful as you are today, wrinkles may appear, you may not decide to cook like you do now. But I’ve made a choice that I’ll stick with you. And when she says that to him, til death do us part, she means that too, even if there are bulges and baldness and bad breath and you lose your wealth. I’ll be with you. In the days of the Model T Henry Ford was asked the formula for a successful marriage. It was thought that he had one. He said, “The formula for a successful marriage is the same formula for a successful car, stick with one model. You say, “It’s not that easy, Skip, I have tried that, it hasn’t worked.” Let’s go back to our text, because there is a third: A leaving, a cleaving, that is a gluing, an impinging, a following hard together, a sticking together.

And there is a weaving. For it says, “A man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife and they shall (notice this) become one flesh.” And here’s the principle: If there’s leaving and there’s cleaving, that forms a basis. That forms a basis of a life-long process that brings unity. A life-long process, it is a process. The two shall become one flesh and its basic form, its basic idea, perhaps as some commentators suggest, is a sexual physical union producing a child. Here’s our child, here’s the merging of two gene pools into one, one flesh. That’s only part of it. One flesh means you share everything. You share everything, your bodies, your possessions, your sufferings, your joys, your failures, your ideas. It’s total union that includes but is not limited to a sexual union. It’s a process, because it says become. They shall become one flesh. It is a lifelong process more than an instant procedure. So it’s not like, “Oh, good, the wedding’s over. Now let’s just cruise.” Oh no, no, no; contrare, there is a process that must be tilled and cultivated and worked on, manicured, attended to, it is a becoming, it is a process.

You know, it takes a lifetime to weave two personalities together. You take a guy who was a slob, he comes in and he throws his socks in the sink. And belches in the restaurant and he’s married to a girl ho likes iron paper napkins, put makeup on when she comes to bed at night; you know the whole June Cleaver vibe. To get those two kinds of people together for a lifetime is a process. It’s a process, it takes time to weave two people together, to form ties that are inseparable. Picture two welders, since the translation for cleave can mean welding, picture two welders, and there they are building their house but once it’s up if they’re wise, they will attend to the wells, they will continue to bring other joints together. They’ll bring other joints together, they’ll bring fortifications over time because they know metal can warp, they know that there are storms on the outside. I was at the Eiffel Tower two weeks ago on my way back home from the Ukraine and they were rewelding joints that hadn’t been touched for years, so that thing would stand strong.

So, there’s the three principles. Marriage begins with the severing of one relationship for the solidifying of another relationship. Second, it requires a deep and committed determination of commitment that lasts over a period of a lifetime. And that basis of leaving and cleaving helps a process that cultivates unity. When those three things happen, when there’s leaving and cleaving and true weaving, a fourth thing will happen. Verse 25, they will be achieving intimacy with each other. It’s interesting that it closes with “and they were both naked (the man and his wife) and they were not ashamed.” Why does it say that? Because, the next chapter, they are ashamed. They’ve suddenly discovered they were naked and God said, “Who told you you were naked?” What’s the big deal. There was no big deal, there was openness, there was honesty, there was total vulnerability, until sin entered the relationship. Then they got into the process of hiding from each other and hiding from God. Sin does that. Selfishness does that. It ruins intimacy. Then we become very self conscious.

Now that’s the study and I’m going to close with a story, about two people that did exactly what we just talked about. Lest you think, well there’s a high ideal that nobody could ever do,” listen to this elderly couple, that’s written by a grandson. “My grandparents were married for over half a century,” he says. “They played their own special game from the time that they met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word shmily S-H-M-I-L-Y in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving shmily around the house and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more. They dragged shmily with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm homemade pudding with blue food coloring. Shmily was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave Shmily on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places Shmily would pop up. Little notes with Shmily scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards, car seats, or taped to steering wheels, inside shoes, under pillows. Shmily was written in the dust upon the mantle and traced upon the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents’ house as their furniture. It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents’ game. Skepticism kept me from believing in true love and one that is pure and unending. However, I never doubted my grandparents’ relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games. For them it was a way of life. Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other’s sentences and shared daily crossword puzzles. My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was and how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew how to pick them. Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings, a wonderful family, good fortune and each other. There was a dark cloud in my grandparents’ life, my grandmother had breast cancer. The disease first appeared ten years earlier. As always Grandpa was with her every step of the way, he comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sock to go outside. Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather’s steady hand they went to church every morning. My grandmother grew steadily weaker until finally she couldn’t leave the house any more. For a while Grandpa would go to the church alone praying to God to watch over his wife. Then, one day, what we all dreaded finally happened, Grandma was gone. Shmily, it was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother’s funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother’s casket, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow I will never forget that moment. For I knew that although I couldn’t begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty. Shmily, S-H-M-I-L-Y which means “See How Much I Love You.”

Heavenly Father, you love us with an everlasting love. And then you told us, “Because I love you, you are to love one another, even love your enemies.” What is more attainable to us than that? And would make so much sense is that because we’ve experienced your love, we ought to love our husbands and wives. We ought to love and show how much we do love. May that be our testimony. Lord, you’re such a God of grace and forgiveness. We have made mistakes. We have failed. Thank you for Your mercy. That You for your forgiveness. Thank you for Your love. And now from this stage of our lives onward. May we always show how much we love our spouse. That’s your blueprint, Lord, leaving, cleaving and weaving. To the extent we do that, the problem of isolation will be solved. Help us to weave beautifully Lord, powerfully. In Jesus’ name.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/28/2002
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Your House, Your Choice
Joshua 24:14-15
Skip Heitzig
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Follow carefully how one man and one family made a huge difference in a nation that needed direction and a pattern. Upon reviewing the spectacular history of his people, Joshua stakes his claim—not so much on a physical portion of land as much as on a spiritual and relational heritage that would be markedly different from the other nations around them. The choice was concerning his own household. We face a similar challenge—to shape our world or be shaped by our world.
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5/12/2002
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The Breakdown of the First Family
Genesis 3:1-24
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Soon after God stated His intentions in the marriage relationship between a man and a woman, there were problems in paradise. The introduction of a third party into this perfect environment challenged the choices of this first couple. The repercussions of their decision is still felt today and replicated in relationships. But woven into the story is a promise of recovery and emancipation. The grace of God is abundant where the failure of man is prevalent.
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5/19/2002
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The Family: A Well-Lubricated Machine
Ephesians 5:18-21
Skip Heitzig
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Some engine noises can be very annoying. But the knocks, clangs, grinds and whirring that come from your car are all symptomatic of some problem deep inside. Mechanics are trained to help identify and repair the trouble. If not attended to in time, there may be bigger problems in the future, even complete failure. Today we look at the elements that contribute to a smooth running marriage. These are foundational and must be understood before individual roles are discussed.
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5/26/2002
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Submission: A Role With a Goal
Ephesians 5:22-24
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God's plan for your life is the best plan for your life. He designed you to live a fulfilling existence that is overflowing with joy. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). In order to do so, we must function within the parameters of His will for the roles we occupy in life. After discovering last week that being filled with the Spirit and mutual submission is foundational in healthy marriages, today we look at the basic role of a wife.
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6/2/2002
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The Strong Shelter of a Husband's Love
Ephesians 5:25-32
Skip Heitzig
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OK men, it's your turn today. God's blueprint for the husband in a marriage is in view here. You will discover that the kind of love the Bible speaks about a husband having provides a secure shelter for his wife. This kind of love makes it easy for a woman to submit to you. I believe that the husband holds the keys to a successful relationship by the way he initiates and the way he cultivates love within a home. May God raise up more real men!
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6/9/2002
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Weeds of Unfaithfulness In the Garden of Love
Matthew 5:27-30
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A fifteenth century nobleman remarked, "It is with our passions, as it is with fire and water. They are good servants but bad masters." Every married couple needs to tend the garden of their love. That means of course pulling out the weeds that would lead to unfaithful behavior. Many a married couple has been burned by the fire of adultery. The flame of passion must burn only for one's spouse. Let's consider how our marriages can stay adultery-proof.
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6/30/2002
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Building Blocks of Marital Intimacy
Proverbs 5:15-23
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Being intimate with someone involves more than merely a physical relationship. Intimacy is a sense of tender caring and affection in which one can be totally vulnerable without the fear of being hurt or misunderstood. Intimacy is essential if a marriage is going to survive, let alone thrive. How about your marriage? Do these following three elements that foster intimacy exist in your marriage? (Ask your spouse if they feel the same way!)
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7/21/2002
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The Child's Role In a Happy Home
Ephesians 6:1-2
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A young couple, on the way to the hospital to have their second child, heard their six-year-old son give them parting wisdom, "Be sure and get a receipt, so if it's a girl, we can return her!" But we know children are a gift and a heritage from the Lord (see Psalm 127:3). We don't return them. Nor can we exchange our parents for other parents. The ones we have are the ones we must obey and honor. A child contributes to the health and happiness of the home by obedience.
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7/28/2002
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The World's Most Important Job
Ephesians 6:4
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What job would be more important to the world than a parent? A surgeon, lawyer, president, pastor, or economist? No way! Think of a parent's influence: Every word and deed of a parent is a fiber woven into the character of a child that ultimately determines how that child fits into the fabric of society. In fact, a child identifies his parents with God, whether the adults want that role or not. Today, we begin with a few preliminary truths from a very primary text.
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8/4/2002
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How to Fashion a Young Life
Ephesians 6:4
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The tender years of youth are malleable and impressionable like soft clay. Parents assume the role of the artist during those years, shaping and molding the young personalities (though each child has his/her own propensities). This task cannot be done haphazardly; it requires caring involvement. A second pass through Ephesians 6:4 reveals some helpful tools in shaping their lives.
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8/11/2002
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Teach Your Children Well!
Proverbs 1-23
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The kind of curriculum that parents can provide at home for their children is more valuable than any college degree or trade. Parents are to do more than finance their children-they are to bring them up, which as we have already seen, includes involvement and training. A mother and father can provide an ambiance of learning that no other environment on earth can come close to. So what exactly are some of the things that parents should train their children in?
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8/18/2002
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The Single Parent—When Half Must Be the Whole
1 Kings 17:1-24; 2 Timothy 1:1-18
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The family has changed on the American landscape. There's no denying it; there's no way of getting around it. Many factors have led to this change but now we must deal with it. One of the toughest roles in this new society is the role of the single parent. Pressures from life's demands, family members, friends, and even the church make this role more difficult. What do single parents need to know and what can the church do to help?
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8/25/2002
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Living Life Fully While Flying Solo
Matthew 19:1-30; 1 Corinthians 7:1-40
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Is singleness a blessing, a gift, or a curse? Should the top priority of a single person be to find a mate? Why is it that singleness is deemed either as inappropriate and mediocre or seen by some as spiritually superior to marriage? As we consider these queries, the most important matter is that single life be full and enriching, a positive experience. Perhaps you've lost your mate or you are still waiting for "the one" or perhaps you're happy to remain single. Whichever category you fall into, let's consider singleness in light of Scripture.
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9/1/2002
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Finding the Love of Your Life
Genesis 24:1-67; 29:1-35
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Concerning dating, someone quipped, "Some people are unmarried for the same reason that some drivers run out of gas. They pass too many filling stations looking for their favorite brand!" This little tongue-in-cheek quote unfortunately is often true. I'm all for getting the "right ingredients" in a person, but you'd better make sure you're using the right checklist. Let's consider two examples from Scripture to discover the principles for finding the love of your life.
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There are 14 additional messages in this series.