Lord, I thank You for so many of Your people who have gathered together on this day, at this time, in this place. We're all anxious to hear a word from heaven, a message to us that speaks about our situation. It won't speak to everyone equally because of the different life experiences that we all bring, but I pray that You would use not only the information but the inspiration that Your Spirit gives to equip all of us to be ambassadors of Your healing for the relationship of marriage that we find ourselves around with family and friends and coworkers every day. Give us ears to hear. In Jesus' name, amen.
A few years ago, I was in Hawaii with my wife and we were in an elevator, and somebody was on the elevator and gave a big stretch like this and said, "Well, just another day in paradise." And of course every tourist thinks Hawaii is paradise. I mean it's beautiful. I've always thought that the worst, or the easiest job in the world would be to be a weather man in Hawaii. 'Cause it's like the same everyday--85 and sunny with light trade winds; unless there's a hurricane. That's the weather. It's paradise. But locals, people who live on the Hawaii, know that it's a great place to live but there's some problems, and there's some very unique problems to the paradise called Hawaii.
I read an article recently called "Trouble in Paradise" and locals were complaining about several things—racial discrimination in the islands of Hawaii, homelessness is big, cost of living is huge. There's 30 percent more to buy groceries in Hawaii than in the mainland. Gas prices are out of control. Traffic, if you've ever tried to drive in Honolulu and navigate around that town. And then the big problem they're dealing with in this article is what do they do with the trash that is mounting up and their solution is bring it here to the mainland.
There is trouble in paradise, if we were to close our reading with Genesis chapter 2 in dealing with Adam and Eve, that closes with this beautiful, romantic setting in the Garden of Eden, if we were to end there, we would be seeing the book of Genesis like a bunch of tourists. We wouldn't get the whole picture. Chapter 3 introduces us to trouble in paradise. We have trouble in our world. We have trouble in relationships, trouble in families, and marriages. Problem is not a lot of people wanna talk about it.
I got a letter two weeks ago from a congressman, a U.S. congressman, saying that there's a radical shift taking place in our country in regard to the family and, in particular, marriage. And he was asking leaders to stand up and be vocal about what God says about marriage. I thought that was interesting from a U.S. congressman. Now we're coming into election season and it's always fashionable during an election to say that the number one issue is the economy. It is a big issue. There was a saying coined a few years ago by a political strategist. You know it. You've heard it. "It's the economy, stupid." That's the saying. It's the economy. It's always the economy. If we can fix the economy, we can fix the nation. It's the economy, stupid. Well, I'll just say to that, you really are stupid if you think it's just the economy.
There's a deeper issue than just the economy and it's called the family. President Abraham Lincoln once said, "The strength of our nation lies in the houses of its people." Families form the stability of a nation, of a society. And what ties a family together is a marriage.
Patrick Caddell, long-time democratic strategist wrote this, "The decline of the American family is the hidden issue in our election. Sadly, neither presidential candidate is talking about our family structure or traditional values in any positive or constrictive way. But now we are facing a crisis of serious proportions that affects all Americans regardless of race and class."
Well, here we are, trying to conduct marriage in a broken world. This is not the world that God intended it to be. It is a fallen world. It is a broken world. Which means, if we're going to survive and as we say thrive, we have to be tethered to something that keeps us on target, some strong mounts that keep us strong.
I don't know if you caught a couple weeks ago, Nik Wallenda walking across Niagara Falls on the tightrope. Did you see that? Eighteen hundred feet he walked on a tightrope from America to Canada. Eighteen hundred feet, that's six football fields, on a tightrope, on a wire, 200 feet above the Niagara River, into the winds, into the mist. ABC was the primary network that filmed it and they demanded that he wear a tether. He had to have a safety cable. Now he said, "I don't need one and I can do this. I don't need a cable." And he didn't want one, but they made him do it because they were filming it and they didn't want to film a splat in case he were to fall.
So he wore it. He was tethered. And he had a microphone on while he was walking. And so the audience could hear what he was whispering and frequently they heard him giving praise and thanks to Jesus Christ as he's making his way on that wire from America across into Canada. I thought it was precious, beautiful. And I saw that, and I thought, "Now, that's a metaphor of marriage." Walking a tightrope, out into the winds that oppose this institution called marriage, into the mist because you cannot always see where you're going; and to survive we need to be tethered to the word of God and to godly, accountable people in relationship around us to keep us thriving.
We are dealing in Genesis 2 and 3 with the very first couple. It's the prototype, the prototypical couple, the first of all couples, Adam and Eve. Eve could have said to Adam, "Oh Adam, do you love me?" He would have said, "Who else?" She was it. Now in Genesis 3 as we discover trouble in paradise, I want to look at it with you in three layers. The layers are written out in your worship folder, in an outline. There's certain things that end, and there's certain other things that begin. Three things end, three things begin. Here's the first, the honeymoon ends, trouble begins. In Genesis chapter 3 the honeymoon ends, trouble begins.
Men, we don't even have enough time to bask in the romance of chapter 2 when all of a sudden, we read about a deceiver in chapter 3. Trouble comes to this couple. So let's read it, but let's read it without the break. The chapter break was inserted later on by translators. It wasn't in the original. To really get the flavor of the story, let's begin in chapter 2 of Genesis verse 23 and read down to 3 verse 1. "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.
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made and he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'" You see the flow of the writing? That beautiful picturesque serenity of the Garden of Eden doesn't last very long. Somebody once said, "If the wedding is the dream, then marriage is the alarm clock." There is nothing like getting married to wake a person up to the realities of life and the difficulties of pouring into a relationship over time.
Paradise, trouble has entered it. It begins in chapter 3 but it continues throughout the lifetime of Adam and Eve. You might say, "Trouble comes early and stays late." If you were to take all of the story of this first couple, you discover in chapter 3 that they're evicted from their home. In chapter 4, they lose a child. Also at the end of chapter 4, a rogue son runs away from home. So the honeymoon ends for the Adams family, in Genesis chapter 3.
Think about that statement—"Adversity comes early and stays late." Every couple, every couple will tell you of adjustments, troubles, issues, whether it be communication, or finances, or sexual issues, or in-laws who become outlaws, or all of the above.
That adversity came early and it continues. And why is that? It's simple and we discovered it here. It's a basic truth. Please don't just pass it off as simplistic. Satan is our adversary and he hates whatever God loves. And wherever God works, he is there to destroy it. In verse 1, he's introduced as the serpent. The Hebrew word "nachash" means the shining one. Isn't that an interesting thought? He doesn't come with a pitchfork and horns and a little red suite going, "Hey!" He comes as a shining one, as an angle of light. And he pours it on. And he knows how to do it. The serpent, the shinning one.
As we make our way through the next few verses, just as Adam and Eve are the prototypical couple. This is the prototypical temptation, adversity, struggle. Paul said in the New Testament, "We are not ignorant of Satan's devices." And so we're gonna find a pattern with which Satan typically works in all people and in particular in a married couple. Verse 1 through 5, let's look at it. "Now, the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden."' And the woman said to the serpent"--so it's a talking serpent.
"'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said "You shall not eat it nor shall you touch it lest you die." The serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die, for God knows in the day that you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate."
Now there's a few things I'd like to notice with you about these verses we just read and Satan's typical attack. Number one Satan, the shinning one, the angel of light, the enemy of our soul. Number one, he challenged God's love. That's the implication in verse 1 with his question. He challenged God's love. "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree?'" As if to say, "you mean to tell me that God is restricting something from you? He doesn't want you to live a happy, full life? He doesn't want to give you every option that your whim desires? How can a loving God do that? Wouldn't he want you to have every pleasure?"
How many times does Satan whisper to a married couple? "God doesn't want you in this relationship if it hurts you, if it's painful, if it's hard. He wants you to be happy and the happiest way is out. Why would God, the God of love and mercy want you to suffer?" Well I can answer that. I don't have enough time to answer that well. But I can say God knows us and sometimes suffering is the best way for us to grow up and grow through issues in life. And it's one of the best things for anybody. But he comes and he whispers these things, suggests them.
I had a very sad phone call this week. A friend of mine, been a long-time friend for many, many years. He's a pastor. I have known him and I've known his mom and dad when he was growing up. His mother died, so this man, his dad was alone and he remarried. And this week, he got a call from his wife, that man's second wife. And the phone call said, "Come pick up your dad. I'm done." The reason she said it was done is because he's an old guy now and he's starting to be a bit forgetful. And I'm thinking, "I'm starting to get forgetful."
But he's forgetting things, and she was married in her first marriage to a man with Alzheimer's and the whole thought of me being a caregiver again was too much. She said, "God wants me to be happy. He doesn't want this." And she kept saying, "God'll forgive me. God'll forgive me. God'll forgive me. God'll forgive me. I'm out." Satan challenges God's love.
Second thing is God was challenged in His Word. Satan challenged God's Word. In verse 4 notice, as soon as Eve says, "We may ate of the trees of this garden except of that one otherwise we'll die." Satan says in verse 4, "You will not surely die." That's an attack on God's Word.
If Satan can get you to question the authority of the Bible, the Word of God, God's blueprint, so you start looking at it and go, "All this talk of marriage in the Bible. That is such an outdated Book. It doesn't work in my situation." Then what will happen is you'll start being separated from church, separated from biblical accountability, from couples who care. You'll start being separated from Scripture itself. You won't read it. We discover in our church here in counseling that people with the greatest problem--we always ask this first question. Do you have devotional time with the Lord, quiet time with the Lord every day? There's a direct correlation to people struggling with major issues and the lack of quiet time.
There's a pastor who does marriage seminars around the country. He teaches in his own church but he travels and he does marriage seminars. He said he always ask two questions to the audience as he begins the seminar. Question number one: "Do you personally, individually, have quiet time, devotional time with the Lord?" Number two, second question: "Do you pray with your spouse?" He said, in every seminar he's done, here's the average. Ten percent of the people in that entire crowd say they have daily devotional time personally with the Lord and only five percent say they pray as a couple. You know what that tells me? You have a lot of Christians trying to do marriage without God. And if God invented marriage, which he did and he brought the man and the woman together, then to try to pull it off in a broken fallen world with all of the temptations, the tightrope walk, without being tethered, not a good idea. Not a good plan.
So, Satan challenges God's love. He challenges God's Word. Number three, Satan substitutes his own lie. Look at verse 5, "For God knows"--He's just making this up--"that in the day that you eat of it, your eyes will opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."--"God is trying to keep you from something and what's going to happen is you're going to be as good and as big and as powerful and as mighty and as all-knowing as God." It's a perversion of what God did in creation, making man and God's image. Now, the thought is, "Why don't you make God in your image? Let's just replace God with you."
Once a person starts questioning God's love and questioning God's Word, he will even start questioning the whole notion of God. Here's the thought. "Well, the Bible isn't enough for my problem. Church isn't enough for my problem. I need real help. Not from the Christian group. Not from the biblical group. Real help from this secular community. I need to pay $100 an hour to get psychobabble, that's real help. That's the only thing that's going to fix me." The whole notion of God is thrown out. Because once you push God and His blueprint out of the picture, well, then you can just start making stuff up. You can insert it with just about anything you feel. Anything you want.
I've stood at this platform, on these steps a few weeks ago with a woman who said, "I've prayed about it and I feel a peace about leaving my husband, dumping him." I said, "Well, what did he do?" She goes, "We're just not getting along. But I prayed about it and I feel a peace about it." I said, "You feel a peace about it? Have you ever read deeply into this book? 'Cause you don't have to feel anything about it. Your feelings can become the caboose that is pulled by your will with God's principles. Are you willing to do that?" She says, "I'll pray about it. See how I feel about it." Satan challenges God's love, His Word, and substitutes God's Word with a lie.
Now look at the temptation in verse 6. Look how good this looks to Eve. "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food,"--nothing wrong with that--"that it was pleasant to the eyes,"--it's beautiful--" and a tree desirable to make one wise. She took of its fruit and she ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate." Let me remind of you a Scripture in 1 John that fits in so perfectly here--it's a dovetail. John writes, "For all that is of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes..." Remember that verse? "...and the pride of life. That is not of the Father, it is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust, thereof. But whoever does the will of God, abides forever."
Now think of that verse, with verse 6. The lust of the flesh--tree looks good for food. The lust of the eyes--it was pleasant to her eyes. And the pride of life--it's desirable to make one wise.
Your enemy and my enemy, Satan, is incessant. Incessant. He keeps comin' back and comin' back. You know he's like a woodpecker. Now, woodpeckers'll go on a tree and they're trying to find the soft spot. And once they find the soft spot, they're in. Satan and his satanic host, they've been studying humanity for a few thousand years. I think they've got us wired. And I think individually whatever demons are assigned to you know your weaknesses--your weak spot. And that's where he hammers. He carefully studies our character to mount the attack. Be aware of that.
There was a woman married to a miserly man. He wouldn't give her anything. She had to fight for everything she had. She said one day, "Honey, I'm going shopping." He immediately said, "Look, but don't buy. Look, but don't buy." She said, "I'm just going window shopping." "Look, but don't buy." So she goes out, comes home a couple of hours later with a bag, with a brand new dress. He gets all upset, "I told you to look but not buy!" She was, "I know. I know. But when I tried the dress on, Satan was there. And he said, 'Boy, that dress looks great on you!'" And her husband said, "Well, you should have said, 'Get thee behind me Satan.'" She said, "I did. But he said, 'You know from the back, it looks really good, too.'"
Here in the text, the temptation looks really good, really pleasant. He comes on with such soothing and reassuring words and speech. Notice the rapid-fire verbs in the text, four of them. She took. She ate. She gave. He ate. And there, friends, is the darkest day in human history. It's when it all began. All the troubles began. A new virus was infected into the human bloodstream, the S-I-N virus. We're all S-I-N positive.
Paul summed it up by saying, "By one man"--that is Adam--"By one man, sin entered the world and death through sin and death has spread to all man." Sin. Nobody even uses that word anymore. Preachers don't even use that word anymore. They like to say, "Well, we all have many vices. We all deal with our own hang-ups. All of us have baggage." Okay, call it whatever you want. But eventually, get down to what the Bible calls it. It's sin. I have sin. I'm a sinner. The quicker we admit that, the better we are. Because if we want to help for a problem we have, if we keep denying we have the problem, we'll never go to the doctor for the cure. When I realized what I need to do because of who I am, the better off I'm going to be.
Now, we like to blame our sin. "Well, I uhh, it's my Irish temperament, you know how it is. It's my German exactness. It's my Spanish passion." Whatever are the little peculiarities of who we are. And so, we get really good--I mean, really good--at playing the blame game. It's never ever, ever my fault! It must be somebody else's fault.
You're going 75 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone, you get a ticket. Whose fault is it? Well, the police officer could have been more compassionate. Really, it's his fault? You spill something in the restaurant on yourself. Well, the waiter didn't have to fill the cup up that high. You go into a store, you want to buy something, you can't afford it, you can't buy it, who do you blame? Obama! It's his fault. Bush! It's his fault. It's my wife's fault; she won't let me have it. Or my husband's fault. Or the devil who said, "Looks good from behind."
So, sin enters and contaminates the marriage. What does the couple do? Well, let's look. This brings us to the second layer. The first layer is, the honeymoon ends, trouble begins. The second layer is innocence ends and the cover-up begins, verse 7. "Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew they were naked,"--duh--"And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." I'll show you in a minute why that wasn't a great idea.
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." As if that's even possible. "And the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' And so he said, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.' And He said, 'Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?' And the man said, 'The woman you gave me to be with me, she gave me the tree and I ate,'" Great guy! "And the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' and the woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'" Of course, the serpent, he's the end of the line. He can't point the finger at anybody.
Everything changes now. Innocence ends. The cover-up begins. Now look at something here. First off, they become self-conscious. In verse 7 it says, "They knew they were naked." I read that and I go, "You mean, they didn't know that before? This is like the first time they've discovered that? You don't think like the cool breeze blowing across the skin would like give them a clue? 'I think I'm naked.'"
Here's the point: Their nakedness was never an issue before. Now that sin enters, it is accompanied with guilt. And they become very, very self-aware, very self-conscious. Second thing to note is they become isolated--the idea of covering themselves, withdrawing from one another, covering themselves up with foliage. Sin now complicates the relationship. They're not vulnerable anymore. They were selfless. Now, they're selfish, self-absorbed, self-consumed. They're uncomfortable with each other.
A wife said to her husband, "We have a strange and wonderful relationship. You're strange and I'm wonderful." They were both strange after this.
Third thing to note is they became afraid. They became afraid. You notice that God starts walking toward them in the garden and they run away from Him in the garden.
Now, we are told that the Lord God came to walk with them in the cool of the day--a better translation, in the breeze of the day. I won't belabor it but the text seems to suggest that there was a daily time, probably early in the morning maybe late in the afternoon, where God would meet with His creation to fellowship with them. That's why He created them, that He might be with them. The word, "to walk," means to be at ease among or to be conversant with. It suggests an open fellowship. God walks toward them. That was typical. That's what He would do. But, they ran away from Him.
That's instinctive with guilt. Guilt makes us hide. What do you do when you see a police officer? What do your hands do? Tense up. What do criminals do when they see a police officer? Do they run toward him? They ran away from him. That's fear. It's instinctive with guilt.
My son was young and he got a bad report card, I'll never forget. He usually would come home, be happy-go-lucky, throw his backpack in the kitchen on the sink and hang out. But this day, I knew something was up. He came home, had his backpack on, kind of hunkered down, walked into, I don't know, a closet and locked himself in it, hid. 'Cause he had a bad report card. And I looked at that. We dealt with it. But I thought, "Who taught him that?" And I thought, "Ah, Adam taught him that," just like he taught me that, and you that. We hide when we feel guilt.
Now, listen to what Adam says about what happened in verse 12, "It's the woman you gave me," blame shifting, passing the buck, "It's her fault." Actually, think of it. You know what he's saying? "God, it's Your fault! It's the woman You gave me. This is Your idea. You gave her to me. It's not my fault. It's her fault."
But I tell you what, when Eve heard Adam say, "It's the woman you gave me," that must have crushed her heart. Don't you think? This is the man who said, "This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." Now, he's throwing her under the bus.
There was a woman sitting in the front row at her husband's funeral, grieving, grieving widow. Somebody walked up to her and said, "I'm so sorry. Tell me, what were your husband's last words?" She said, "You really want to know?" He says, "Yes." She said "He said, 'You don't scare me with that shotgun, Martha, you couldn't hit the side of a barn.'" They'd been in an argument blaming each other. Throwing each other under the bus, "It's your fault." "No, it's your fault." "No, it's your fault." An article in Psychology Today said, "The road to marital ruin begins with blame. People hide behind blame."
So the honeymoon ends, trouble begins. Innocence ends, the cover-up begins. And it's been continuing ever since. Cover up. Cover up. I want to close with this thought. Deception ends, redemption begins. Let's go. Here's Adam and Eve, they feel guilty. They look for a shrub. They cover themselves up with fig leaves. We don't have time to go through it but in verse 15, God prophetically introduces the Redeemer who's going to come and destroy the authority of the serpent, Satan, in verse 15. Look down to verse, well, look at verse 7. "The eyes of both of them were open. They knew they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." Look down to verse 21. I'm skipping ahead. "Also for Adam and his wife, the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them." Let me give you a thought. It's just a fun thought.
In chapter 1, God as the creator. In chapter 2, God is the surgeon taking a side of Adam to make a woman, and the matchmaker, bringing the woman to the man. But in chapter 3, God is the tailor making them animal skins. You see, the fig leaf coverings wasn't a good idea for this reason. They would dry up. They would lose moisture and they would fall off. And Adam and Eve would once again be naked.
So, to help them, now that they understand sin and guilt and they want to cover themselves up, God makes animal skins for them. You know what that means? That means an animal must die. Innocent blood must be shed to cover Adam's sin. What does that sound like? It sounds like a preview of coming attractions. Now, I don't know what animal it was. It doesn't say. My guess is, is it was a lamb. I don't know if you've ever felt lamb skin, but there's nothing like it. It feels really, it feels a lot better than fig leaves. It's smooth, it's silky, and it's warm. It's luxurious. In order for them to be clothed, because of their guilt due to their sin, God provides a sacrifice, an animal dies, shed its, sheds its blood. Because without the shedding of blood, there's no remission of sins. Okay. Now, think of this.
As soon as Adam and Eve sinned and they knew, "We're naked. We have a problem. Let's run from God." You know why they ran? Because they thought they were gonna die. They thought they were gonna die. God promised back in chapter 2, "In the day that you eat thereof, you will die." So, they sinned and they thought--they heard God in the garden. "Adam!" They go, "We're dead! Let's run!" But now, something dies and it's not them. It's an innocent animal. And I'm suggesting though I can't prove it. It was a lamb.
Now, I want to place another thought in your mind as we're bringing this to a close. With Adam and Eve, it was one lamb per person. If you're going to clothe with an animal skin, you need two lambs. One for her and one for him.
Later on, when there's the Exodus out of Egypt, the Lord will say, "Take one lamb per household and shed its blood and put it on lentils and doorposts of the house." So, it's not one lamb per person, it's one lamb per family. Later on, under the covenant of the Law, the high priest will take the blood of the lamb and sprinkle it on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant to make atonement for the nation. One lamb per person. One lamb per family. Now, one lamb per nation. And then the best part as we come to the New Testament when John the Baptist sees Jesus coming and says, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." The whole world can be forgiven. The whole world can be atoned for.
So, here's the deal: We have two choices in dealing with our sin. Number one, we can run from God or we can run to God. Where are you running? Our two choices are separation or redemption. We got to get this thing covered up. Look for a shrub. Look for a bush, or you run to God and let him clothe you. What's your choice?
I don't know what you expected when you got married but I've discovered many couples have unrealistic expectations. There's two truths I want you to walk away with. Number one, we already stated it. We're doing marriage in a broken world. It's a fallen world. It is not a world that God intended. You're not going to escape this environment that we're in. You're not going to escape the winds and the mist as you try to navigate the tightrope. You are doing marriage in a fallen world.
Second truth, and I'll close with this, you are a sinner married to a sinner. And the happiest marriage is the union of two forgivers. Forgivers. Forgivers. "I forgive you." You know we say to our spouse, "I can't believe you did that." "You can't? Like you just now figure out I'm a sinner? I could have told ya." Well, she figured it out. He figured it out pretty early on. We're a sinner married to a sinner. And the happiest marriage is the union of two forgivers. And the best way to experience forgiveness in a marriage is to know that you've been forgiven by God.
I look at it this way. If God can forgive me after all that I've thought and done in my lifetime. And says, "Skip, I'm willing to wipe it clean. Clean slate. You get a do over and I'll give you my heaven free as a gift. I'm giving that to you. I forgive you." And I can't turn around to my spouse and say, "I forgive you because I've been forgiven by Him." A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers. You're a sinner married to a sinner. You're doing marriage in a broken world. So am I. We need to be tethered to the truth of God's Word, the principles, the blueprint, even though the suggestions are going to come, "God doesn't love you. Look at where you're at. You can't trust that book. Get away from it. Get away from church. Get away from God's people. Run for your life." Stay tethered to God's words. Stay tethered to a biblical accountability. Have couples in your life who can hold you up, keep you walking.
Father, in hearing this we feel a need to come and to talk to You, not as a formality that we speak at the end of a sermon by just bowing our heads and saying a few words into the air. But really, in contact with You, the living God, the Inventor of this relationship that we are considering, one that many of us are in, or will be in, I pray for Your grace. If the church is about anything, it's about celebrating that we sinners have been forgiven. And we're not great, but we serve a great God. And we find greatness being associated with Him. We find worth being associated with Him. Our value is in that. We're, Your special creation. Beyond that, we're Your special redemption.
So, Lord even as you announce in the suggestion of an animal being killed to cover up the guilt. It's a hint of what we experience today as modern believers. We've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and we proclaim it. I pray for couples, Lord, who are dealing with some very, very deep and significant issues, issues that have been tough and had become a wedge to drive a husband and wife apart, to strain the communication, to make them feel a sense of unease when they're with each other. I pray that You would offer them hope. Just as when the first troubled marriage, You offered humanity hope. It shows that You care, and You want to insert Yourself into the equation. I pray that we would not keep You out. In Jesus' name, amen.