BLESSED by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: In the South, when you are about to leave an establishment, people like to say, “Have a Blessed Day.” It’s not as often as it used to be, but you still hear it occasionally. What do they mean by that? Are they saying, “May God bless you,” or “Hope you have a great day,” or is it just a polite thing to do down South? This weekend and the next, we will be in a 2-part series called “BLESSED.” We’re still in our series titled “CONTEND” where we are learning how to defend our faith, and we come to that portion in Genesis where Noah and his family were the new first family in the post-flood world, and God blessed their marriages and future children. In today’s message, we will see what a God-blessed marriage looks like. Here’s the main point: The world wants us to believe that marriage is just an old-fashioned heteronormative institution. Some even look at it as being too restrictive and harmful. To the contrary, the Bible reminds us that God created marriage, and it is his idea. He blessed it repeatedly, and it is very special. This does not mean that marriage will not have its struggles, or that singleness is bad. It simply means that a God-honoring marriage is blessed by him and a beautiful representation of true love and the Christ-church relationship.
Genesis 9 1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.”
Context: You may remember from last week that after the flood had ended and Noah and his family came out of the ark, the first thing that Noah did was offer a sacrifice of the clean animals unto God. When God smelt the soothing aroma, he made a promise that he would never again destroy the earth the same way again. He also gave them a blessing that the seasons and days and nights will continue as long as the earth shall remain. In other words, the price had been paid. Remember from last week: It’s not the flood that makes a remission for sin. It is the blood that makes a remission for sin.
Question: What are you trusting in for the remission of your sins? Your personal flood or his precious blood?
You would think that God would then go back into heaven and be done for now: His wrath against sin had been satisfied, redemption plan had been reaffirmed, and humanity had been promised that there would be no more destruction and life would continue according to plan. There’s nothing more left to do, right? Instead, in Genesis 9, God had one more thing to do. He had to give Noah and his sons a blessing. We just read it – Genesis 9 1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.” In other words, God had to say something very important about the institution of marriage and family. He had to reaffirm the blessing that he had given to the first couple of the first new world. Listen to Genesis 1 27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth…” To begin with, God is the author of marriage. It is his idea. The world is trying to redefine marriage and play fast and loose with it. Even some churches are trying to do the same, which shocks me! We better consult with the author of marriage whether that is even acceptable.
God created marriage after he saw the loneliness of Adam. Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” God made all the creatures and brought them to Adam. 20 “So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” There was no fit, no match. As you know, God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and he performed a surgery. He took from his side. The Hebrew word is “tsela,” which can mean rib or side. What is very important is that the woman was made from the man. Even though they are equal in the sight of God and are equally responsible to take care of the creation, there is a clear order and source here. Listen to how lovingly this took place. 22 “Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.” The Hebrew word for made is “banah,” which means “to build,” “to construct,” or “to fashion.” There is a distinction between how Adam was made and how Eve was made. Eve was not made out of the dust, but a rib of Adam was taken to make Eve. This is not just to remind the woman of her order in creation, but also to remind the man of his need of the woman.
Now, listen to Adam’s response. 23 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.” Adam was shouting with joy! In other words, God did an amazing job in creating Eve. This is not just about physical beauty, but also about partnership. The first recorded words in history are by a man regarding the woman! He even names her “ishah” because she came from “ish” man. The name Eve does not come until after the Fall. Genesis 2 24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
Application: Prior to the fall, there was jubilation at the sight of the woman. How is it now husbands? Prior to the fall, there was an understanding that woman was created from man. How is it now wives?
After the Flood, God reiterated the same blessing he had given to Adam and Eve to Noah and his sons for a reason. He wanted them and all those following to have the same joy and happiness that Adam and Eve had, albeit they had to live marred by the consequences of the Fall.
Unfortunately, marriage is not often looked upon as God’s blessing to us. It is often talked down about in our world. The entertainment world portrays a very negative view of marriage. There are shows that depicts marriage as the end of all joy and happiness. People even joke about marriage being a ball and chain. Recently, a study came out from the University of Chicago by Professor Sam Peltzman of the Booth School of Business. The study was titled, “The Socio Political Demography of Happiness.” It is based on the General Social Survey, conducted since 1972, that asked a representative sample of American adults the question, “[Are] you very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” Even though, there has been a mild decline in happiness since 2000, the overall population is still reasonably happy. After focusing on all the standard socio demographic differences (age, race, gender, education, marital status, income, and geography), he found that married individuals are the happiest people of all. Now, I’m sure it raises questions like, “Are married people happy because they are married?” or “Do happy people tend to get married?” Nonetheless, what is interesting is that the lead is 30 points! Of course, there are those who get upset over such results and call this “single shaming.” We definitely do not want to shame any singles (divorce, separation, death of a spouse, haven’t found the one, or even called to be single).
Pelzman also attributed the drop in happiness to less people getting married nowadays. He may have a point, because according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the rate of marriage in America has dropped about 50%. Something else worth considering: According to Shaunti Feldhahn (Harvard educated social researcher, The Good News About Marriage), contrary to the common misconception that “50% of marriages end in divorce” the divorce rate is actually around 33%. She also showed that contrary to the other misconception out there that Christians are just as likely to get divorced, the overall divorce rate for those who are committed to church and following Christ is actually 27-50% less than for those are uncommitted and non-church going. In fact, those are name only Christians are 20% more likely to get divorced than lost people. Overall, Shaunti Feldhahn found that 72% of married people were still married to their first spouse, and four of five were happy.
Here’s the point of all this: In spite of the struggles that a marriage may face, it is still a source of joy and happiness. God has given it to us as a blessing.
Here are a few ways that you can see marriage as a blessing from God (again, if you are single, this is not shame you in any way):
- Remember, marriage is God’s idea.
- Recognize the order and source between a man and woman.
- Reclaim the joy and happiness that Adam and Eve had for each other.
Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.
- Reaffirm the need for God to be at the center of your marriage.
Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it…”
- Reflect the great mystery of Christ and the Church.
Ephesians 5 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.What if you have gone through the pain of divorce? God is the God of grace and second chances. Seek to make the marriage you are in a God-blessed marriage. Blessings do not mean that there will be no problems in life, but by God’s grace you will overcome them.
Invitation: Do you know the author of marriage? Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and King? It takes 3 people to make a blessed marriage. Do you have Christ in your marriage?