The other day I was reading Genesis 2:24-25, God's creation of marriage. Jesus quotes it (Matthew 19:5-6) and so does Paul (Ephesians 5:31) thus affirming it as the definition of marriage.
It says, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Something odd struck me. God said, "a man shall leave his mother and father."
Wait a minute...what mother and father was God talking about when it came to Adam? He was created, not born. He had no belly button (think about that one). Was this statement for just Adam and Eve or for all marriages to come? It was for all marriages. If you want a "marriage made in heaven" then you have to have a Genesis 2:24-25 marriage.
So, what is a Genesis 2:24-25 marriage? I'd say the only kind, but let's break down those scriptures.
The phrase "for this reason" asks the question, "what reason?" A God ordained marriage -- that's the reason. The first word we must look at is "leave."
Now leaving seems contrary to marriage. But there are things we must "leave" or make secondary to our marriage partner. We must leave singleness, selfishness, and any system not marriage.
God wasn't saying forget your parents but now they are not the primary relationship. Neither are your friends. Kids are also a temporary assignment. What I mean is they live with you for 18 or so years then they are off on their own.
Sure, you're still a parent but they are not in your home. You know who is still there? Your spouse. Do you know them or have they become a stranger in your own home? If your life is wrapped around your kids, run by your parents, or consumed by your job, friends, or hobbies, then your marriage is in trouble.
The second word that jumps out is "joined." When Adam saw his wife for the first time, he said, "That's me" not, "That's mine" (Genesis 2:23). She wasn't a possession (his), she was a partner (part of him). It was no longer "you and me" but "we."
Cleave is another translation of the word. Not the axe murdering kind of cleaver you're tempted with sometimes (joke) but it's not far from that meaning. It's where we get the word cleaver which means split or cut. We must split away from anything incompatible with a Godly marriage.
Cleave means cut and covenant always involves cutting (God cut Adam to make Eve, Abraham was circumcised, Jesus was pierced, etc.) Marriage is a blood covenant -- we cut away from the world and cut a covenant with the Lord and then our spouse. Our vows are said to Him and our spouse.
The phrase "become one flesh" means marriage takes work. One plus one is two. But in Christ, one plus one plus one equals one (Jesus, husband, wife.) To become one flesh in marriage you have to crucify both of your flesh. The opposite of fleshly is kind, patience, self-control, gentle, love, peace, goodness, and joy (Galatians 5:22-23.)
"Become" means it won't just happen overnight. You won't become fully "one" the first year of marriage or even after 10 years. It takes a lifetime. If you want that golden anniversary (50) then remember you don't have to fix everything instantly but you do have to start somewhere. Love each other deeply. Carry each other's burdens. Lay down your rights and pick up your responsibilities. Out-serve one another.
Lastly, your marriage needs purity. Verse 25 is interesting. It says, "The man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed." I tell couples preparing for marriage all the time, "Make sure you get verse 24 (the marriage) and verse 25 (the nakedness) in the right order.
God created sex to join married couples and for married couples to enjoy one another. Remember, if your spouse can't honor your body before marriage and be pure then what will they do after marriage? The marriage bed is to be honored and kept pure by all because God will judge the adulterer and sexually immoral (Hebrews 13:4).
Stephen Harrison is the former lead pastor of Family Church at White Hall. He is the lead pastor of The Summit Church Saline County.
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