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Preparing for Marriage 7 | Part 1

Thank you for continuing with us in this class on Courtship & Marriage. Please be sure, as you receive a blessing from each study, to share the blessings with others… (-click here for the beginning of these lessons-)

 

 

I invite you to turn to Isaiah 62:4, 5. Notice how God compares, illustrates, His love for His people, His church, by referring to this institution and experience of marriage:

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah. – Isaiah 62:4

The margin tells you that, that name means “my delight is in her.”

And thy land Beulah. – Isaiah 62:4

The margin tells you that, that word means “married.”

For the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. – Isaiah 62:4, 5

 

What a picture! And God intends, (Don’t miss this!) that the joy of every bridegroom shall be a reflection, an echo, of the great joy that He looks forward to, in bringing His bride home to the Father’s house in the New Jerusalem. Now you can readily see, dear friends, that if human beings are to experience a joy like that, and a love like that, it must be sacred all the way through. There can be in it not the fun and frolic and froth and foolishness of this world – no, no, but a holy joy, a divine, heavenly joy.

As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. – Isaiah 62:5

Oh, my friends, I pray that any young person who takes this class… I pray that every young man who engages in courtship following out Heaven’s plan, shall think of himself as on an errand like Jesus came to this world for… That concept will effectually exclude a thousand things that are current in the world today. It will take away every bit of deception, every bit of hypocrisy, every bit of this fun, frolic, foolishness idea, every bit of that.

“Ah,” somebody says, “How could anything be happy, then?” Why, friends, Jesus’ presence makes happy those who work with Him and join with Him. Doesn’t it? Yes.

 

–The Miracle of Love–

Turn now to the second chapter of John. I want you to see something interesting here in John, the second chapter. Let’s see whether the presence of Jesus is a kill-joy at a wedding, or not. The second chapter of John, beginning with the first verse. You remember this is the story of Christ’s first miracle. He had been baptized; had been out experiencing that severe struggle of temptation and had come back to Jordan; had been acknowledged by John and His disciples; had gathered a small band of followers Himself; now He had come up to Galilee:

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. – John 2:1, 2

As you look at that, friends, I want to ask you something? Would you like to have Jesus as a guest at your wedding? Would you now? Really? Would you? Would it be well to think of that in arranging the marriage plan? The choice of the companion? In every step toward a marriage alliance? I will tell you this, friends, if we want Him at the wedding, we need to take Him with us every step that leads toward the wedding. What do you say?

Jesus was called to the marriage, it says. Do you think He would have come if He had not been invited? No. He is very courteous. He will not intrude Himself where He is not wanted. If you want Him at the wedding, you should invite Him. If He is going to be invited at all, He ought to be the guest of honor. What do you say? He ought to be consulted in all the arrangements.

But, ah, friends, if we are going to invite Him to the wedding, don’t you think we ought to invite Him in the courtship? In the period of engagement? And before that, shouldn’t He be with us in every step of counsel leading toward the choice of a life companion? Ah, yes! Remember, the great purpose of all this is that human beings may understand the love of the divine heart:

As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. – Isaiah 62:5

When I think of the blundering awkward way, the selfish way, that so many of us engage in these things, oh, I long, dear friends, that the scales shall fall from our eyes, that we shall be anointed with the heavenly eye salve and discern something of the beauty, the glory, the joy of the divine way of doing things. Yes, Jesus was called to this wedding. And did it bring a blessing? What did Jesus do before that wedding was over? He took a problem and made a providence out of it. He took a need and wrought a miracle.

Turn, please, to Adventist Home, page 28. Jesus at the wedding, a kill-joy? Oh, no. Just the opposite. What does it say here?

“The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy. All the common waters of life Christ can turn into the wine of heaven. The home then becomes as an Eden of bliss; the family, a beautiful symbol of the family in heaven.” – Adventist Home, pg. 28

 

 

–The Highest Ideal–

Have you ever seen, after a wedding ceremony, the vehicle that carries the bride and groom thereafter; things being tied on, cans and all this sort of thing. Where, do you suppose, people get those ideas? Do you suppose they get them in consulting with Jesus? All this rice throwing, and foolishness, and froth, where does it all come from? Well, friends, it comes from the world. Jesus says to you and me:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. – 1 John 2:15

 

There is a lot of things that the people of this world are doing that I have no disposition to interfere with at all, neither do I have any disposition to follow them, my friends. Poor folks, they are having their fun. And life is drab enough in this poor, old world. I wouldn’t stop their fun, if that is what they call fun. But I wouldn’t call it heavenly, would you? And I wouldn’t call it a representation of Jesus.

From Heaven He came and sought her, To be His holy bride. Remember, as I told you in a previous class, there is swine’s flesh, and there is quail, and there is manna. And so it is today. There are things going on in this world that are wicked, lewd, vile. God help everybody to keep out of those. The conventional way of carrying on courtship and marriage I would call the quail. If you will be careful about it, you can have clean meat…

But if you want something higher, something heavenly, something exalted, something ideal, something unique, something that will give you an experience like nothing else in this world, then I bring you manna, friends. My business is to bring manna. There are plenty of books and courses that you can read and take that will teach you about the conventional way, how to keep out of the gutter. But, friends, they will never bring you to the mountaintop.

Oh, I am thankful for these wonderful books of the Spirit of Prophecy, along with the Bible, which help us to learn Heaven’s highest way. What do you say?

The ideas of courtship have their foundation in erroneous ideas concerning marriage. – Adventist Home, pg. 55

This is a sentence that will bear a lot of study. The reason, it says, that people go at courtship in the wrong way, is that they have what kind of ideas concerning marriage? Erroneous ideas. What does “erroneous” mean? Full of error. That is right.

“Well,” somebody says, “Don’t people know what marriage is for?” No. People don’t know what marriage is for. They don’t know. That is what this says. Erroneous ideas concerning marriage. As the world looks at marriage it is a matter of carrying out merely selfish, human ideas.

ChalkboardThose of you who took our class for husbands and wives will remember that we spent some time studying God’s glorious ideal in the marriage relation, in which husband and wife reveal and reflect, manifest and understand the divine love, as no other institution can reveal it. But the ideas of this world concerning marriage are such, that courtship is carried on in a spirit that is far from divine and heavenly. So, my dear young friends, you who prepare for marriage, remember, if your ideas of courtship are to be correct, your ideas of marriage must be correct.

In an earlier class, I read you that wonderful statement in which the servant of the Lord sets before us the glorious ideal of being married for the sake of the work of God: do not enter into a marriage engagement unless the work of God can be better advanced thereby. This is the highest ideal. And those who have that reason for entering into marriage will have a relationship to courtship and engagement and to the wedding that is far different from this world.

Notice as we read on in this paragraph, what happens in the world, because people don’t have the highest ideals of marriage:

The ideas of courtship have their foundation in erroneous ideas concerning marriage. They follow impulse and blind passion. The courtship is carried on in a spirit of flirtation. The parties frequently violate the rules of modesty and reserve and are guilty of indiscretion, if they do not break the law of God. The high, noble, lofty design of God in the institution of marriage is not discerned; therefore the purest affections of the heart, the noblest traits of character are not developed. – Adventist Home, pg. 55

In conventional courtship, a young man is out to win the affections of a young woman. In Christian courtship, the basic thought is not trying to entrap someone, or ensnare someone, or beguile someone, or persuade someone. In Christian courtship the desire of both parties is to
find out what the will of God is. And when, after proper counsel with the advisors of both parties, two young people engage in Christian courtship, they do not (Mark this point!) fall into each other’s arms, literally or symbolically, to start with – not at all. That isn’t the purpose of Christian courtship.

May I put it very simply and very plainly, my friends? Both the young man and the young woman should guard their hearts, and should not give away their affections until everything that needs to be counseled over, has been counseled over. The time for the giving of the heart’s affections is when each party is sure, and the counselors of each party are sure that these two are meant for each other in the plan of God.

You see, friends, love is something that is pure and sacred. Not only the physical relation of union is to be reserved for marriage, but the approaches to it, the preparatory experiences of love-making, the kiss, the caress, the tender words of affection, these are not meant, my friends, to be just thrown around here and there to this one and that one. And even in courtship, those expressions of affection, either by word, or by action, belong to the time when everything has been settled that these two are meant for each other.

Otherwise you may find yourself in the position of having given something away to somebody, and in effect, wanting it back. And that is not so easy to do, friends. That is not so easy to do… Notice the next paragraph:

Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above. – Adventist Home, pg. 55

Think of it, friends. If two young people are together, whether they are sitting in the home of the parents of one or the other, or in church, or Sabbath school, or young people’s meetings, or out on missionary work together, or driving along in the car to some destination for missionary work, or for divine service, whatever the occasion of their being together, are there unseen ones with them? Who are they? The angels. And notice:

Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above. – Adventist Home, pg. 55

Isn’t it a wonderful thing, friends, to think of two young people carrying on a courtship in such a way that they are conscious of, and happy for the presence of the angels with them every minute? Isn’t this wonderful? Oh, yes. It can be that way. God intends it shall be that way.

The only kind of restraint that it will bring is a holy restraint, a happy restraint. Anything that puts a restraint on needs a restraint. The best car in the world needs brakes as well as a motor. Am I correct? That is right. And as two young people engage in courtship each of them needs to have their affections as well as their passions under full control. They need to be able to visit together in the proper places at proper times, in a happy way, a sober way, a sensible way, and not start love-making just because they are going together. It isn’t time for love-making, friends. It is a time for getting acquainted, to see whether they are meant for each other and whether God is leading them together...

 

Are you enjoying this series? Have you shared them with at least 3 of your family members or friends?

Next week we will continue with the second part of this study on the wedding ceremony… 

Until then – Maranatha!

 

 

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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.