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Friday, April 29, 2011

Another Royal Wedding

It seems as if most of the world, if not the whole world, is thinking of marriage at this time of year, from young people dreaming of marriage someday, to young people in love, to older people celebrating their anniversaries or remembering the spouses they have lost.   Today has certainly not been an exception from this mood.

Today, I wanted to talk about marriage from a spiritual angle.  I believe in marriage!  I think it's a beautiful thing, ordained by God, for the benefit of mankind, since the days of Adam and Eve.  I see it as another way that God teaches us about Himself.  He is the origin, Creator, and epitome of all types of intimate relationships, from the closeness of siblings, to parent-child relationships, to the closeness of marriage.  Each type of relationship illustrates a different quality of the closeness God seeks with us, but none of them approaches the full beauty of what we can have with God.

I was trying to think of an appropriate text for today, and I can't think of anything better than the imagery of Psalm 45.  I know this is a long passage, but I'm sharing it anyway.  As you read it, remember that it is a prophecy about the wedding of the Lamb.  The groom is a symbolic depiction of Christ; the bride is a symbolic depiction of Christians.  The setting is the castle of the King, that is, the throne room of God in Heaven.

Some day, rather than watching on the sidelines, or even participating as the bride or groom in a human marriage ceremony, those who have chosen to devote their lives to Christ will be led into the throne room of God to begin a new life, a purified and joyful life, with God in a new earth.  It will be better, closer, and more true than even the closest human relationship.  What we have known in part in the people in our lives, we will know in full in the presence of God!

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
   as I recite my verses for the king;
   my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
   and your lips have been anointed with grace,
   since God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
   clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
   in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
   let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. 
Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;
   let the nations fall beneath your feet. 
Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
   a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
   therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
   by anointing you with the oil of joy.
All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
   from palaces adorned with ivory
   the music of the strings makes you glad.
Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
   at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
   Forget your people and your father’s house.
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
   honor him, for he is your lord.
The city of Tyre will come with a gift,
   people of wealth will seek your favor. 
All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
   her gown is interwoven with gold.
In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
   her virgin companions follow her—
   those brought to be with her.
Led in with joy and gladness,
   they enter the palace of the king.
Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
   you will make them princes throughout the land.
I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
   therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. 
                                                 --Psalm 45 NIV 2011

What other King would love us, even when we didn't know or love Him?  What other king would love us enough to leave all that He had to purchase with His life the most extravagant of wedding gifts for us--the purification of those who are dead in their sins?  Let us "forget [our] people and [our] father's house," that is, the corrupt way of life we have learned from Adam, and Satan, and seek the presence and the favor of the perfect Bridegroom!