Take 5 (August 4-8, 2014)

take5

Pastor Bill Tanzey • Associate Pastor of Community Ministries

Monday: What a Covenant and a Covenant Marriage Are

Mark 10: 6-8

God is a covenant God, the Bible a covenant book, and we are covenant people. It is clear that God has chosen to function in the lives of His people on the basis of a pledged promise. In the Old Testament, or Old Covenant, there was the sacrifice of animals and sprinkling of blood, which served as a covering for sin. In the New Testament, or New Covenant, the death of Christ on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice for sin. The Lamb of God fulfilled the covenant for all humankind, paying sin’s debt in full.

What does marriage have to do with covenant? Everything! Covenant is God’s purpose for marriage. It mirrors a picture of God (through the Son) and His own.

For Today: Read Mark 10:6-8 and revisit the importance that God places on this unique relationship between one man and one woman.

Tuesday: A Covenant is Unified

Matthew 19:6

The essence of covenant marriage is that two people become one. God’s math is simple: 1 + 1 = 1. Covenant demands the death of two wills and the birth of one. “I” becomes “we.” The Hebrew word for being “united” or “joined” together means to “cling.” This is Super Glue clinging. It’s a Velcro-like adherence that survives storms, arguments, pressures and marriage demands. It requires the supernatural merging of lives and the binding of hearts.

To marry by covenant is to say, “I am giving myself to you unconditionally.” The focus is on giving. In a covenant, two become committed until death parts them. Marriage covenants are enforced by character.

For Today: If you are married, pray that you will be less “ME” and more “WE.”

Wednesday: A Covenant Marriage is Serious

Malachi 2:13-16

Marriage is the second most important relationship you will ever have. (Your relationship with God is the first.) This covenant isn’t to be taken lightly. The Hebrew word for covenant is berith, which connotes a cutting of the flesh causing the blood to flow out. The Hebrew act of “cutting covenant” was so serious that it was inaugurated with blood. I think by now you are seeing the weightiness of the marriage covenant. Even though marriage is being trivialized and redefined in our age, it remains a weighty, serious covenant for two people to devote their lives.

In Malachi, God addressed this marriage covenant, making it clear that it cannot be broken without serious consequences. He holds us all accountable to fulfill that covenant to our best ability. Oh, by the way, when both marriage partners seek that kind of marriage, it is fun and rewarding! Covenant marriages are gratifying marriages.

For Today: Read Malachi 2:13-16 and rewrite it in your own words on a piece of paper.

Thursday: A Marriage Covenant is Intimate

Genesis 2:18-25

God created sex. He built sexuality into people’s original design. When God finished creation, including the making of man and woman, He declared it “very good.” He created Adam and Eve as a relationship unit, with sex as part of the glue to hold them together. Sexuality is a wonderful gift from God reserved for marriage.

Never has anything so pure and good been misused and corrupted as sex. Sex was designed as a powerful tool of intimacy and procreation for married couples. It involves a complete disclosure of one person to the other. Adam and Eve were “naked,” yet not “ashamed.” The invasion of sin into the world, however, complicated every part of life, including sex. When men and woman enter into a committed marriage, they can experience sexual intimacy as loving pleasure and a means for procreation. Following God’s guidelines will make this act of intimacy to be “very good”.

For Today: For married readers, write a love note to your spouse. For single readers, recommit yourself to practicing sexual abstinence.

Friday: A Covenant Marriage is Sacrificial

Ephesians 5:22-33

I am often asked what the biggest destroyer of marriages is. My answer is always selfishness. Selfishness is the root cause of marriage conflicts. Dig to the bottom of marital sins, and you will find a core of selfishness. Therefore, the key to a successful marriage is for individuals’ wills to die. It takes a lot of dying for good marriage living. “Me-ness” must become “we-ness.” Wives must feel loved, and husbands must feel respected; and unselfishness is at the core of meeting those needs.

The OT covenant involved a “walk of death.” After the animal was sacrificed, covenant participants would walk between the sacrifice and then face each other. This ceremony said two things: (1) I am dying to selfish rights; (2) I am saying to God “I’m all in” with this covenant. May we so honor marriage.

For Today: Regardless of any failed past marriages, pray three times today for your marriage.