August 23, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In the last two blogs we talked about Seven Promises that God gave to Israel in Hosea 2:19 and 20, when He brought her back from unfaithfulness to again be His wife. That study made me think of Four Promises I made to my dear wife early in our marriage.
We only knew each other eight weeks when we were married – too short a time to really get to know each other, especially when you intend to marry! But God has been so gracious to us. What could have been a tragic relationship – tragic because we each were choosing a mate we did not really know – God turned into a wonderful 45 year marriage! My wife is my best friend, my confidant, my lover, and my chief companion. My apologies to all the rest of the women in the world but, in my opinion, I have the best one!!!
Yes, we have had our struggles through the years. Don’t all marriages have struggles? But how is it that our relationship in our marriage turned out so good? I believe it had a lot to do with the Four Promises exacted of me by my wife. We sat on our bed in our first home together – a rented mobile home – only one week into our marriage. With tears of sincerity and intensity, my wife asked me:
1. “Will you go to church with me?” I was raised in a non-Christian family and we three boys were sent to Sunday school at a Congregational church in Connecticut for several years. I became a Christian at age 19 when I was in the Air Force, and I attended Roman Catholic mass because the Catholic faith interested me. I also attended a few other denominational churches, but I was not going to church regularly when I met my wife. I answered her question by saying, “Yes.”
2. “Will you pray with me?” Oh, I prayed, but not usually out loud and not with someone else. But I thought it was a good idea, so I answered, “Yes.”
3. “Will you read the Bible with me?” I had read the Bible once in awhile, but not every day. But, again, this sounded like a good idea to me, so I said, “Yes.”
4. “Will you tithe with me?” I knew enough about church terms to know tithing was giving ten percent of our income to some aspect of the Lord’s work. I tend to be a giving person, so I said, “Yes.”
I suppose I might have said “Yes” to any number of questions! After all, I was sitting on the bed with a beautiful young woman whom I had married just the week before! But because we were both Christians – young Christians, with a lot of growing to do! – we took seriously the task of making Jesus Christ the central part of our marriage. Now not always did we succeed in this, but we tried. And this – more than anything else – has cemented our marriage together into the joyful union it is today.
I found out later by studying my Bible that all four of those requests by my wife were very Biblical:
1. “Will you go to church with me?” Believers are admonished in Hebrews 10:25, “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the Day [of the Lord’s return] approaching.” Do NOT neglect regularly gathering for worship and fellowship with other believers!
2. “Will you pray with me?” There are several passage of scripture that would apply here, but consider I Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing….” That some of that praying is encouraged to be done with another believer is evident from what Jesus said in Matthew 18:19 – “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” My wife and I pray together every day, about all sorts of things. I have met couples who have been married for many years, and have never prayed together! What a tragedy!
3. “Will you read the Bible with me?” Paul tells Timothy in II Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The early Christians often studied the scriptures together, according to Acts 2:42. Married couples should do the same.
4. “Will you tithe with me?” While tithing is not commanded to be strictly observed in the New Testament, it was in the Old. It is written in Leviticus 27:30 and 32, “…all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy to the LORD….the tithe…the tenth…shall be holy to the Lord.” My wife and I have tithed – and more – for 45 years, and we have proved what Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over….”
Do you want to build your marriage on Biblical principles? These Four Promises my wife exacted of me so long ago are a good place to start!