The Marriage Covenant

In February we celebrate Saint Valentineís Day. He was made a Saint because he was martyred for marrying couples when the king had forbidden them to be married. The king wanted to send all the men to war and he didnít want them to be distracted. He made a law that none could marry. Saint Valentine, although not married himself, held the marriage covenant in such high regard that he defied the Kingís orders to join those longing to marry. He paid for that conviction with his life.
The marriage covenant is no longer held in high regard by many in modern day times. But in Godís eyes, and the Bible, it remains a covenant that withstands all time, because God instituted it Himself. Ge 1:27-28; 2:18-24. Pastor Jack Hayford said, ďThe covenant of marriage is the single most important human bond that holds all of Godís work on the planet together. This covenant of marriage is based on the covenant God has made with us. ď
The marriage covenant was made between God, the man Adam, and the woman Eve. It took place in the Garden of Eden. The marriage covenant still remains between a man. and woman. and God. The marriage covenant is a holy covenant. God initiated it to bring a man and woman into a lifetime relationship for the glory of God.
Most marriages that take place today are merely a contract between two people. Contracts are different from covenants. Contracts are a oral or written agreement between two parties that is legal, joining them together in their agreement. Contracts are built on protecting your rights. Contracts include escape clauses in the agreement or in the hearts and minds of the parties, so the union can be broken. Contract marriages include: Iíll meet you half way, you can come and live with me, I will keep my things and you can keep yours, I will keep my bank account you keep yours. In other words you will remain the same person you were, but live together legally. Contract marriages is one of the reasons that our divorce rates are over 50% in our country.
When a man and woman enter into a marriage covenant with God there is a lifetime binding promise. It is a promise of union for life. This covenant was put in place by God for the the multiplication and happiness of all people. The marriage covenant provided the framework that made childrenís lives secure as they were growing up. They knew who they were and exactly where they belonged in their family. Ge 1:27-28; 2:18-24. Many children today donít even try to understand where they fit into their family frame because they are no definite lines with so many people involved outside the original union.
Covenant marriages are built on: I will give 100% and cover your failings, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus will be the center of our lives together, and we will both change and come into His likeness. We will become one person in Him. Everything we have will be shared for the good of our family and others.
The marriage covenant is a holy, life long commitment between God, a man and a woman in a bond where they stick together like super glue. And they let nothing seep in to break that bond. The bond is so sticky that if broken, it would destroy parts of each person. This bond calls for the unconditional love found in I Corinthians 13. That is the love that will carry you through lifeís temptations to walk in faithfulness. It overlooks suffered wrongs, irritations, and mistakes made in life. It carries you through sickness and extended physical care that many have to walk through.
Years ago we were in the Shepherding Movement. During those years we were able to come to be acquainted with Derek Prince and his wife Lydia. Their story is a true love story that only God could produce. Lydia was a single Dutch woman who loved God and received a call from Him to go to Israel when she was near 40 years old. She sold everything she had, gave away her inheritance and moved to Jerusalem. God gave her the purpose He brought her there for after she was living there for a short while. He brought her babies that were orphaned during the war that was raging the nation at that time. She ended up with 12 babies to care for in her humble provision. She walked in faith with Jesus like few walk, depending on Him for all the needs in her life and those He brought to her for care.
Derek was a young English Christian solider in his 20ís when he was stationed in Jerusalem on an assignment. He heard about Lydia and the things God was doing with her, and he sought her out. By that time Lydia was in her 50ís. As Derek visited Lydia and the children he knew that God was speaking to him that Lydia would be his wife. It took some real convincing on his part and God speaking clearly to Lydia, but they were finally married. Derek and Lydia raised 9 girls together and traveled many lands to teach the gospel in the 30 some years they were married. They had a deep abiding love that was clear and solid. There were many give and takes on each side in that covenant marriage that God blessed. With the logistics involved in their marriage in the natural realm there would be no way for a marriage like that to survive, but it was a marriage covenant they made and it flourished.
Derek said, ďI look back on my own first marriage and I think that for over thirty years Lydia and I were continually coming to know one another more deeply and more intimately. Our marriage grew richer and fuller the longer it lasted. There was never an anti-climax. I think sometimes we would sit and travel in the car together for maybe an hour without speaking and then, when we both began to speak simultaneously, we would start talking about exactly the same thing. In other words, the relationship didnít just depend on verbal communion nor did it depend merely upon sexual relationship but it was a total knowing of one person by another.Ē
The story doesnít stop there. Lydia died when she was in her 80ís. Derek was left a widower in his 50ís. The children were raised and he was alone. I remember one day God gave me a vision for Derek. It was so impressed on my thoughts that I contacted him. I wrote out what God had showed me. Little did I know what was going on in Derekís life at that point in time. He was considering a marriage to a missionary lady in Jerusalem. The vision I had was very specific and confirmed that consideration. Later Derek married Ruth and they enjoyed a covenant marriage and ministry life together for over 20 years before she went home to be with the Lord.
There are many places where marriage is no longer held in high regard, and even more so a covenant marriage. Many couples these days are already living together in sin when they marry. God does not sanction living together as a blessed union of a man and woman. It is not the spring board into a covenant marriage. I am always amazed as I talk with people, even Christians, who think that it is okay to live together in sin, and that God should bless their actions. God based marriage on a covenant that includes obeying His Scriptures. The Bible is very clear any relationship outside of the covenant marriage is fornication, which is a sinful relationship. The Bible states that those who practice fornication are not going to be allowed into Heaven. Re 9:21.
As you celebrate Saint Valentineís Day this year remember your husband or wife in a special way. If you have never committed your heart to Jesus Christ open up your heart and ask Him to come in. You can have a huge mess in your life, but He will change your life and your marriage. It is never too late to come into a covenant marriage. When you come to Jesus you are born again. Jo 3:3. Your life is new! Begin your new life by lining up with the Scriptures so that your life will be a blessing and be blessed.