As we began to discuss earlier in the week…we’ll continue on the thought of how a person is to “find” Mr. or Ms. Right? I put the word “find” in quotations, because I want to accentuate the fact that a person does not have to “find” this person, but rather God helps them to recognize this person. There is a big difference between “finding” and “recognizing.”
When I was at Appalachian State University (many moons ago), my roommate and I had a conversation about dating. We were both “sick to death” of it. We were tired of the wasted time, money and emotional investment. We decided we were going to wait on the Lord and seek His will and let the “chips fall where they may.” There is something very freeing about trusting in the Lord with a surrendered heart. It’s a relief…let me tell you.
Ultimately, the things I will share with you is simply information for you to place in your brain and then pray about. Yes, I recognize that this discussion might be uninteresting for most of my reader audience; however, I believe there are many who might pass along this information to a grandson or granddaughter or friend or another family member.
Folks, we have a 50% divorce rate in this nation. That’s a 50% FAILURE rate at arguably one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. Why do we accept such a terrible failure rate? What has caused this?
Well, there are many, many reasons. But, I will share a few, quickly. First and foremost, we’ve walked away from the Lord. We have a “soiled morality” in this nation. Before WWII there was no such thing as dating. Period. People “courted,” which is really a watered-down form of betrothal, which we’ll discuss in detail shortly. But, the point is this: the divorce rate prior to WWII was almost non-existent. If you want to think through why this was the case…that would be good. But, I’m telling you it has a lot to do with the culture following a Judeo-Christian path.
So what happened? We became prosperous as a nation and we forgot the Lord (Deut. 7:10-15). We entered the era of “Happy Days.” Parents started providing their kids the keys to the car and off to the drive-in they went and unfortunately, many ended up in the backseat before they made it back home.
Today there is rampant promiscuity in our nation. Hook-ups and “one night stands” amuck. We have believed and grown up with the idea that you must “date” in order to “find” Mr. or Ms. Right and that you must “try them on” like you would a pair of pants before you buy it. But, not of this is Scriptural by any stretch of the imagination. You will simply not find “dating” in Scripture. Search as you might…it’s just not there. So, why do we do it? We feel we don’t have a choice. Everyone is doing it. So, we succumb to peer pressure…just like most families are right now with letting their impressionable children see the bloody and extremely violent “Hunger Games.” We’ve just got to do this…everyone else is…what will they say about us if we don’t?
Doesn’t the Bible say we are to be a “peculiar people?” Aren’t we called to be “salt” to this world? Yet, we are being thrown out and trampled by men because we have no courage…no guts to do the right thing…no matter how hard it is.
So, here we are. 2012. E-harmony, online dating, hook-ups, multiple partners, emotional baggage galore. Isn’t there a better way? Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s found in Scripture. You know that book that’s called the Bible. The manual. Our map. Our GPS. It will show us the way. It’s God’s Word! It’s not bound by time. It’s the timeless word of our Lord. It is indeed, His love letter to us. So, let’s look at the Word, shall we?
What does the Bible say about relationships? How does/should a person come to the altar? First and foremost we must remember that the Bible describes our relationship (as believers) with Jesus as the bride and groom. The Church is the bride and Jesus is the groom. One day Christ is coming back for the church.
After all, one day there will be a marriage in heaven. Jesus will “marry” the bride (us, the Church) and there will be a wedding feast. It’s called the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:6-9). The Bible is replete with “wedding/marriage” imagery. The Hebraic pattern is what we’ll discuss for a moment. Now as we examine these marriage customs we must pay particular attention to what Paul says in his letters to the first century Church. Please keep in mind that this is just a “general” look into the customs of the Hebrew wedding and what we’ll do over the next couple of posts is to flesh out how we may follow these patterns today. So be patient. We’ve got to lay a Biblical foundation before we can hang the pictures on the walls. 🙂
The first stage of a young man and young woman coming together in Scripture is the prospective bridegroom visiting the father of the prospective bride. First, he would state to the father his desire for his daughter, and ask for her hand in marriage. This is in essence a way of declaring his intentions. If the father agreed he would then begin to negotiate a price to be paid for the future bride. This is called the “bride’s price.” If the father and the bridegroom agreed on a price, then the groom would pay, thus establishing that the marriage would take place and the bride would be his.
We see the bride’s price in the Old Testament in Exodus 22:16-17. Jesus paid the bride’s price with His own death on the cross. The price to be paid to the Father (God) was the groom’s (Jesus) own death. Paul writes to the Church at Corinth. For you were (bought at a price); therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 16:20). Jesus paid the ultimate bride’s price on the cross.
In Scripture, once the bridegroom paid the bride’s price, the marriage covenant was established, and the young man and woman were regarded as future husband and wife. They were considered “betrothed” to one another. From that moment on, the bride was (set apart) exclusively for her bridegroom. This is the period of time that she is observed for her purity.
Paul writes to the Ephesians ”that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” ( Ephesians 5:26-27).
This is also the period of time that the bride is being trained and prepared to take on the role of a wife and she prepares herself for her mate. When that day comes she will be presented as a pure virgin to her groom and it is expected he (the groom) to be a virgin as well.
This almost seems like a joke today, doesn’t it? A young man and a young woman arriving to the altar as virgins? No way! Truly, this is a rare occurrence today. But, it can happen and it SHOULD happen. Why have we dropped the bar so low? Why do we no longer hold the Scriptures as truth? Why are we seeking our own way? We’ll stop for now. But, please think about the bride’s price. Think about the price that was paid for you (the bride), and as you do…think about why we have a 50% divorce rate in this nation.
And ponder this thought: “It’s not truly love until there is sacrifice.”
More to come…