To love, honor and cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. How many of you have repeated those vows, not to your spouse, but to the Lord Jesus? How many of you have ever really considered what it means to be the bride of Christ past just that word bride?
To love, an action, not just a feeling, feelings are deceitful. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) But the actual action of love. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) That infers an action on our part, the emotional context is nice, but it does not show love.
To honor, to lift up above all others, to respect without regard to past faults, if you will, that we would like to blame the Lord for which cannot be His, to not hold Him responsible for our own foolish actions which lead us down paths that we knew we should not have gone down.
To cherish, to hold dear to us, as a mother to a child, without regard to circumstances, to never let go of for there is no finer, not one more worthy of all that we can humbly offer.
Here in these next two is where we see many who claim Christ as Lord falter and doubt, in sickness and in health. The dry and thirsty land (Psalm 63:1) that we may find ourselves in at times is where the deepest most heartfelt prayers are offered. It is in those times that we cannot comprehend His presence that we cry the loudest for Him, where we seek Him with all that we are, for we have tasted His goodness, (Psalm 34:8) and when it is gone from us, we are destitute.
But in health rarely are praises heard, especially when those times of sickness are few and far apart. We begin to rely on ourselves, on the diet we have chosen, the supplements, the exercise program, and not only do we tend to forget to give Him thanks for those times, but we can begin to doubt His continuing love when the sickness reappears.
For richer or poorer, here is the foundation, here is where the prosperity preachers do not tread, for to be poor, to lack what is considered financial stability, is to be out of the favor of the Lord. It means you must have done something wrong, your attitude is askew, perhaps wrongly placed prayers, or even some unrepentant sin that you may not even be aware of. But the opposite can be true, in those churches that believe that earthly wealth is a sin, that no rich person will ever enter into heaven, completely missing the point our Lord made in Proverbs 30:8, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.”
He to whom you have been betrothed to knows all your needs, your wants, your desires, and He should be trusted implicitly in that area, His graciousness knows no boundaries, and He knows your limits better than you do.
There is one final part of the marriage vows, one that is rarely if ever used these days. “Unto thee all my earthly goods I hereby bequeath.” But in this marriage relationship with the Lord, it goes much further than that. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21) All that we have is His, all that we are, all that we will ever be is only because of the mercy and grace of the Lord God. What we offer we do not own, yet we offer all that we are in great humility and reverence to Him by whom all things consist. (Col. 1:17)
We have nothing to offer, yet He accepts what we do offer as if it is a gift to Him. The love that we are loved with is eternal, it will never fade away, it will be ours for all eternity. My friends, this truly is a marriage made in heaven.