rings1 A verse from Hebrews 13:4 has been ringing in my head the last two weeks. "Let marriage be held in honour among all..." Our society today does not highly esteem the institution of marriage. I was commenting to a group of friends how quick we are to tell people to walk out of their marriages for all manner of big and petty reasons. But if we honoured marriage, if we thought of it as highly as God does, we would not get into it as lightly and casually as we often do. We would not treat our unions and those of others with the contempt that we often do. And we would not be quick to dissolve it as we are in the habit of doing. The Bible commands everyone to honour marriage. Not just the married people but everyone — the State, the church, the media, children, the single, the divorced, the widows, those who swing the other side, inlaws. To honour in this sense means to highly value something — to appreciate, cherish and recognise it as a priceless treasure or jewel. How many of us think of our marriages in this sense- as something of value, a priceless treasure? Are our hearts where our treasure is? John Piper, author, founder and teacher of desiringGod.org, writes: "Let marriage always be thought of as precious. Let it be treasured like gold and silver and rare jewels. Let it be revered and respected like the noblest, most virtuous person you have ever known. Let it be esteemed and valued as something terribly costly like the long, black, marble Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. In other words, when you think of marriage, let yourself be gripped by emotions of tremendous respect and sanctity. In relation to marriage cultivate the feeling that this not to be touched quickly or handled casually or treated commonly. In God's eyes marriage is precious and therefore he says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all." Making stupid jokes about marriage dishonours marriage. Coming in between a couple dishonours marriage. Rushing into marriage vows dishonors marriage. Infidelity dishonours marriage. And dishonouring mariage dishonours God who highly values marriage. In Malachi 2: 13-16, the prophet writes: "And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?[a] And what was the one God[b] seeking?[c] Godly offspring. So guard yourselves[d] in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,[e] says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers[f] his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” Are some men's (and women's) prayers not being answered because they have broken their marriage vows? What did you vow to do on your wedding day- it might be time to get your wedding DVD out and brush up on the things you committed to do and be before God and many witnesses. Peter in 1 Peter 3:7 calls on men to live with wives with understanding and to honour them so that their prayers may not be hindered. The Message paraphrase says, “And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse. I believe there are several reasons why God honours marriage and wants us to do the same. First, he ordained marriage. It was his idea. For his purposes. Secondly he is a part of the covenant and if the Bible has taught us anything is that God does not break his covenant. Marriage isn't a legal contract between two people but a covenant made with God as a witness and sealer. Third, He says he seeks godly offspring. In God's perfect plan, marriage is the ideal situation to raise godly children. Divorce devastates children and threatens their spiritual destinies. Fourth, marriage illustrates the relationship between Christ and the Church and Christ does not take that relationship lightly. I mean, he gave his life for his bride. I don't think Christ will ever forsake his bride; neither should we. I have put a mental note to everyday look for ways to appreciate the preciousness of this gift that God has given me and to let God's purposes be worked out in my marriage; that I will not take my marriage or those of others lightly or treat them with disdain. Let's honour marriage and keep the marriage bed undefiled.

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