Pastor Dan Borgelt
“I don’t think it’s a secret that marriage is on the decline. In the last few decades, we’ve had about a 25% decline in the percentage of adults who are married. A few decades ago around 75% of the people who are adults in our country were married. And now today we’re at roughly 50 percent of the adults in our country who have chosen to get married.
Marriage is indeed on the decline.
Now,, I don’t know all the reasons why marriage is on the decline. Several reasons are being given by people. I think quite frankly one of the reasons why my marriage is on the decline is that there’s just this rebellious spirit in some of us.
Starting a couple of decades ago people grew up in the context where they were expected to get married. And the surroundings around them sort of expected them to get married. And everybody was pointing them and pressuring them in that direction. And it felt kind of rebellious and freeing and independent to choose an alternative option besides marriage.
Other people have listed financial reasons as a reason not to get married. They say, “We’ll be better off financially if we choose not to get married.”
Well, we looked briefly last week at the statistics behind that, and they’re not true at all. Some have seen the statistics of marriage and said, “Hey if such a large percentage of people who get married end up getting divorced then maybe marriage is like a relationship killer and therefore if we want our relationship to survive we’ll just avoid marriage”.
Well, of course, the problem with that is that the statistics of those people who just live together happily ever after without getting married are far worse than those statistics behind marriage.
Whatever reason and there are many many reasons why people have decided not to get married, it’s ultimately because there’s a low view, a poor view of the marriage relationship.
But what we’re after here at Kirkmont is what does the Bible have to say. in particular this morning, what does the Book of Proverbs have to say about the subject of marriage?
Here’s our BIG IDEA for you that despite what the culture has to say, we believe that Proverbs teaches that marriage is good. That,
Despite what the culture has to say, we believe that the Book of Proverbs teaches that marriage is good.
And not only that but that in it we discover the goodness of physical intimacy. We’re going to take a quick look at that together this morning as well. Not only that marriage is good, but in that marriage, we discover the goodness of physical intimacy. Marriage is good, and in that marriage, we discover the goodness of physical intimacy.
Let’s look at our first proverb together this morning Proverbs chapter 18 verse 22 says,
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
He who finds a wife finds what is good.
Last week we said that the Book of Proverbs was written to mostly two young men. So it makes sense that it’s addressing a he finding a wife but there’s absolutely no reason biblically not to just take most of the Proverbs and go ahead and see them in the reverse as well.
She who finds a husband finds what is good.
The emphasis isn’t so much on the fact that he’s good or she’s good, but the idea that they’ve come together in a relationship, a marriage relationship that the Bible is calling good.
Now some people may not have taught you that. Your classmates not but may not believe that marriage is good. Your best friends may not believe that marriage is good. Your parent’s marriage may not have taught you that marriage is good. Your current marriage may not make you feel as if marriage is good.
But the Bible says this very real and true thing that “s/he who finds this special marriage relationship finds a good thing.”
Not only does it say that we find a good thing but notice that word “find”… “He who finds a wife”.
I think it’s an important word in this verse because many people, particularly in church circles, have reduced this idea to marriage may be to being something like,
“Okay, if God has the special perfect fit for me out there, then my job is just to sort of sit here and let Him bring that person to me.”
Well, last week one of the things we said was there isn’t a special perfect person. There’s no such thing as 100% compatibility. Now, let me be clear I commend those who are willing to wait upon the Lord and Trust in his timing and his leading and Direction, and I’m not suggesting that finding a marriage partner has none of that involved. I’m just simply offering to you that I think the Scripture gives you a greater license to be proactive in pursuing a husband or a wife then maybe some of you currently believe.
He who finds right a wife finds what is good?
And again, I think that this is a goes in reverse as well. I think it’s culturally based. We embrace the idea and have for a long time that a man is the one who finds a woman, but I think to take for example the headship of a man and say that because we embrace that principle, a woman has to just not only wait on the Lord but has to wait and hope that a guy finds her, is conjecture–that the Scripture doesn’t clearly teach that. I think that’s a cultural influence. I think actually more biblically would just see that both a young man or woman or one that’s you know, looking to be remarried later in life are welcome to seek to find a husband or a wife.
And of course, the Bible doesn’t say exactly how we do that. Nor does it say there’s a lot of wrong ways about how we shouldn’t do it.
I remember when I first became a pastor, I think of the first 5 minute marriages that I performed, three of those couples when I sat down with them for the first time and asked them. How did they meet? They said, “We met online.”
And at first, when they would tell me they met online, I used to have to kind of make sure I maintained a straight face a little bit. And I even sensed that they were apologetic in telling me that.
And then I came to realize like, “Hey, this is the new norm… this is not a big deal. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
I remember I had one father who was worried about his daughter, pursuing the idea of a relationship that way, through one of those dating sites or something like that, and I was able to bring some relief and say,
“Well, you could consider what most of your daughter’s friends are probably doing… which is getting dressed up a certain way, going to the bar scene and hoping some guy sees how attractive she is and enters into a conversation with her based on mere looks alone.”
That’s the common dating culture in America today. And so I mean, I think there’s a lot of variety of ways we might use technology now, maybe it’s old-fashioned,
but either way…
He who finds a wife finds what is good.
Now look at this,
and receives favor from the Lord.
I wish I had the biblical insight to be able to explain to you exactly what favor from the Lord we get when we enter into a marriage relationship. I don’t have that, but I do know that the Scripture talks here about this idea that when we enter into a marriage relationship, there’s a unique blessing or favor that comes from the Lord that is perhaps reserved for those inside of a marriage relationship. And one ought to expect that when they’re in a God-honoring marriage relationship.
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor fr
Remember this thing called marriage, it came back in Genesis chapter 2, like before the fall; before sin entered into the world. It wasn’t like God designed us to be single and then all sudden sin entered the world. And He’s like, “Oh, plan B… we got to find a way to kind of like put these pieces back together. Let’s create marriage.
No, marriage is Genesis 2.. pre-fall pre-sin entering the world. It’s part of God’s design. It’s a good thing. In fact Genesis chapter 2 tells us in chapter 10 verse 21 through 25.
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Now, here’s what this man’s response is… you can’t pick up on it in English, but he breaks out in song. I’m confident, that if Adam had a guitar he would have just sat down on a stool somewhere and written this song. And in Hebrew it probably rhymes or something. I don’t know, but he writes this,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
He’s just ecstatic about this thing that God has done for him.
This (he says) is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Marriage is a good thing. It shows up not only in Proverbs but the beginning of the book of Genesis.
Some of you who are here this morning, you know the goodness of marriage you’ve had a long marriage and you know, the incredible goodness of it.
I suspect many of you here, didn’t fully realize the extent of the goodness of your marriage until you lost your husband or you lost your wife.
And it was in the loss of what God had provided for you… I mean you thanked God for your husband or your wife before… you knew you had something special, but it wasn’t until the loss that you really understood the goodness of marriage.
And others of you, unfortunately, because marriage has the potential to be such an incredible Joy, it also comes with the potential to have such incredible heartache. And some of you only know that side of it.
You were married to a husband or wife who never really was able to show you, and you were never able to really experience with them the goodness of what God has designed for a marriage relationship.
I remember when my grandfather passed away. I’m confident that my grandmother mourned him, for they were married many many decades, and I’m confident that she grieved his loss, but I cannot deny the fact that while she was living after him, she, in many ways, was free for the first time.
He was abusive and controlling and never knew the Lord until his death bed. And she never understood and got to experience the joy of what God has in store for us in this good relationship.
See, some people never experience that, but others of you maybe, you know the incredible goodness of marriage and perhaps you didn’t know it until you lost your husband or you lost your wife.
Marriage is an innately good thing. It’s part of God’s design. That’s one of the reasons why maybe controversially, I personally am willing to marry two people who are unbelievers–who don’t have faith in Jesus Christ because I don’t think that marriage is restricted to something that the church ought to do.
I think that the church owns marriage because God is the one who designed it and instituted it, absolutely, but I think he designed it as a creation mandate.
It’s his desire to see… he understood that not everyone would believe in him and some would follow him. But either way, the marriage relationship is in people’s best interest whether they’re walking in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or not.
It’s one of the reasons why I’m willing to marry a couple that’s not walking in relationship with Jesus. I talk to them about Jesus. I pray that they will start a relationship with Jesus, but I see the value of the marriage relationship that God has designed in their following those that pattern even if they don’t walk in relationship with Jesus Christ.
There’s actually only one marriage situation that I’ve consistently turned away. And that is what the Bible calls this idea of being unequally yoked.
In 2nd Corinthians chapter 6 verse 14 the Bible gives us an example of when a marriage would not be good. He’s writing about marriage and he says,
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
“Yoked” is a strong word. This is the Bible talking to those who are following Jesus Christ. It’s not saying, “Don’t be friends with people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus.” It’s not saying, “don’t love them, don’t care for him. none of that stuff. The Bible’s filled with the opposite of that…
But yoked is the strong marriage language where they come together and become one. And his rationale is,
For what do righteousness
those who believe in God’s law
those who reject God’s law.
have in common with one another?
Or what fellowship can light
those who have embraced Jesus as light of the world
those who have reject Jesus as light of the world,
what Fellowship can they have together with one another?
2 Cor 6:14
And so the Bible tells us that that’s a relationship we ought to avoid, and a wise Minister, and a wise family member, or wise friend recognizes an unequally yoked situation and encourages someone away from that dangerous trap and pitfall.
Some of you who are here this morning, as I know because every church has couples who, are unequally yoked. For some of you it’s you entered into the relationship that way, but for many of you-you were both non-believers and one of you became a follower of Jesus later. And you know the difficulty and the hardship of not having a husband or wife who shares your faith, and you can imagine, and only imagine what you’re missing out on.
Now some might say, “Well if marriage is so good then why do I feel like I’m supposed to be single?” That’s because the Bible affirms singleness as well. In First Corinthians chapter 7, the Scripture tells us this,
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried,
Please hear this… if you’re single and you’re not married, but you’re of married age, or maybe you’re not a marriage age, but you’re trying to think about, “Like how urgent should you be to get married?”… or one of those kinds of things; or maybe you’ve married and you’re divorced and you’re wondering whether you should get remarried; or married and widowed to whether you should get remarried.
It may be that you should, but please know that the Bible affirms the state of being single,
It is good for them to stay unmarried,
Paul was single and not married,
9 But, he says, if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
So here we get this first introduction to the idea of physical intimacy and he is saying, “Most people are wired in such a way that they desire the opposite sex and physical intimacy. And therefore if they desire that, they should eventually be in a marriage relationship where that can be fulfilled and satisfied.
He says it’s better than to be married, but that’s assuming they cannot control themselves, which is implied that some people can, and it appears to be biblically that those who can, it’s not just naturally that they’re wired that way but that God has designed them that way or gifted them Spiritually that way… we call it maybe the gift of celibacy of the gift of singleness.
I know brothers in Christ who have gone their entire life, who’ve never necessarily desired or lusted to be physically intimate with a woman in their life. Do they feel like they have the gift of singleness, the gift of celibacy, but it ought to be and it seems to be presented to us from Scripture as the exception rather than the norm, and a unique gifting from God.
He goes on to say in First Corinthians 7 a little bit later on in the chapter.
32-34 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided.
and rightfully so
An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
So here, not only does the Bible affirm the state of singleness, but one of the reasons it gives for the affirmation of the state of singleness, is that Devotion to the Lord a married person might not be able to bring.
I think you should consider that if you’re single no matter what stage of singleness you’re in.
– If you’re single and you’ve never been married, or
– If you tried marriage and it didn’t work and you’re now single, or
– If you’re single and you’re widowed and you’re trying to decide whether or not God wants you back into a relationship, again,. He may want you back into a relationship…
…but I do think you should pause and consider and pray about this whole idea of being divided and devoted and think about, “Hey, what might I be able to do for the kingdom of God in this new stage of singleness that I haven’t had before?”
Have you ever viewed your singleness from that positive of a lens in this opportunity that you may have to serve the Lord, like you may not have been able to when you were married?
The Scripture goes on we see Proverbs chapter 18:22 talking to us about marriage from a positive light.
He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord
Whatever reason one might give to argue that marriage is not good.. the popularity of such a view is wholly dependent upon a culture that embraces casual physical intimacy.
What I mean by that is, the only way that 50 percent of the adults in America today can reject the concept of being married… they don’t all have the gift of celibacy, right?
The only way that 50 percent of the adults in America can reject the concept of being married is because a huge portion of them have embraced physical intimacy as some casual thing to do and therefore don’t care whether it happens within the marriage relationship or not.
That’s what we’re going to look at next Proverbs Chapter 30 verse 18 tells us this,
“There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
Have you ever seen an eagle on National Geographic… pretty cool scene.
the way of a snake on a rock,
Probably not one I would have chosen but okay right number two is this is kind of a cool thing… the snake’s body slithering on a rock.
the way of a ship on the high seas,
Up and down., as it’s navigating the waters, a beautiful thing. I mean, personally, I think that the writer of Proverbs is using graphic illustrations for us, he’s helping us to imagine a husband and wife together.
Okay. but anyways, that’s for your minds now. Okay those three things and now he says,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
Sorry, ladies.. if you don’t consider yourself young. Remember this was written two young men who were pursuing young ladies.
But this is actually not all about all that positiveness. It’s all made to create a negative point here. Verse 20,
“This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth
and says, ‘I’ve_done_nothing_wrong.’
~ Proverbs 30:20
It says this physical intimacy that can happen between a husband and a wife is an amazingly beautiful thing, but it comes along and says, well, there’s a woman who’s labeled as an adulterous woman. An adulterous man gets the same statement said about him… the adulterous person, right?)
There’s a way of the adulterous person: they eat and they wipe their mouth and they say “I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong”
You see here in this proverb physical intimacy is being compared to casual eating… and not just casual eating but sloppy eating. Sloppy eating whose consequences last no longer than merely wiping your mouth and moving on.
That’s the way of an adulterous woman.
Having this physical intimacy with a man or woman is nothing more than sitting down for a meal, whose consequences can be put behind and aside by merely cleaning up after oneself, and after supper.
That is the casual nature of our culture’s view of physical intimacy.
And because our culture has embraced such a low view of that physical intimacy, then who the physical intimacy comes with, and what commitments may or may not in most cases come with that, is almost irrelevant to most people.
The other thing, of course, that comes from this analogy that the proverb is using is from this mule comparison is this excuse that says,
“The physical intimacy hookup culture is nothing more than the satisfying of a simple craving or desire like sitting down for a meal of some kind.”
And particularly troubling to me is when I hear within the church culture and world people who say, “Yeah, but this is a God-given desire. That’s why we’re hooking up this way.”
Now see, the proverb says, “those who have such a casual attitude about physical intimacy, ultimately carry the same mindset as the adulterous woman or the adulterous man.
Because we treat physical intimacy so casually, our appetite for it goes then completely unchecked.
So, let me tell you Church… if you’re here, and you’re married, and you are considering the way of the adulterous woman, or the adulterous man, please, do not make the mistake of believing the enemy, that this is no big deal.
Please do not make the mistake of thinking that you’ll be able to sit down and have your enjoyable meal and then wipe away the consequences and move on with your life.
If you’re here and you’re single and you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who would like you to move into a stage of physical intimacy before you’re married, please do not make the mistake of believing him or her or your friends… embracing the lie that the culture is telling you, that this is really no big deal. Or you’ll be able to do this and move on.
No, those of you who are here in this room, who are older, who have been maybe married or were married for decades… you know, the blessing and could testify this morning of the blessing of keeping the marriage vows. And many of you could also testify to the incredible pain of breaking those vows either personally or having a spouse do that.
The way of the adulterous woman is in contrast to God’s good design of marriage.
One of the reasons why we’ve become so casual about the physical Intimacy in our culture, and maybe one of the consequences of becoming so casual about physical intimacy in our culture is an incredible emphasis on the physicality of a potential partner—a man or a woman, because that’s where our focus is, right?
So in Proverbs chapter 11 verse 22 tells us this,
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
This is kind of a peculiar proverb… like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
Let’s take a stab at explaining this one. So he says, okay imagine there’s this precious gold ring, you want it. It’s this beautiful thing and you’re fixated on it. In fact, it attracts you so much that you forget that it’s attached to a pig for crying out loud, right?
He says this is the potential of… he’s talking to young men….right? Don’t be distracted by the beauty of a young woman who has no discretion, no character, no foundational character, so that you see this gold and beautiful ring that is her outward beauty, but you forget that her inward character is that of a pig… you get the idea.
And so he says, “Hey, have the wisdom here to realize that ones physical appearance needs to be put in its proper place.
The number of things that men are blinded to because of the beauty of a Woman, The Proverbs warn about that… and it goes both ways of course.
I remember when I was in college if you don’t mind a story of self-deprecation here… when I was in college, I remember a young woman who had reached out to me through a friend and she wanted to meet me at Froggies Cafe on campus.
I had seen this woman, I knew who she was, but I had never really paid any attention to her… her physical appearance wasn’t enough to really garnish this sort of second look from me.
But I said yes, nonetheless, and we met at Froggies Cafe and she was a pleasant young lady and we had a good conversation. And we enjoyed each other’s company in that way, but I left there feeling still unattracted. And as such, I ended any chance of a second relationship with that person.
Let me be clear before I forget… God has since blessed me with someone who I love their character and their beauty. Amen. Ladies, right? (Laugher).
But I realized the mistake that I made in that night and the days to follow… is that while I was probably right to realize the Bible says we should be attracted to our husband or wife, I thought that the attraction came first and then the other intimacy came after.
In biblical physical attraction, it works the other way around. We develop a relationship and understand one another’s character, and from that flows and develops a physical attraction.
The best, lasting, most biblical, and satisfying attraction is the attraction that we develop towards one another after we get to know each other.
It’s the opposite of the world’s understanding. The world is following a Proverbs 11:22 pattern, and we’re here saying if you’re in a stage where you’re thinking about that, please heed the Bible’s advice. If you’re disappointed because your husband or wife no longer fits the requirements, the goals, the mindset that you had when you first met, please wisen up to realize it’s not their job… to be and satisfy all of your worldly fantasies about what he or she should look like.
No, your attraction to them flows not from what the scale says about them, or what clothing they wear, but from the emotional and spiritual intimacy that you develop with them.
Lest we forget THE WOMEN
Quickly, before I move on to our last proverb. Let me address the women in our congregation as well.
Statistically, women, of course, are prone to perhaps overlook a series of faults about a man because of his physical appearance, but statistically, women overlook other things… I mean overlook these same faults for other purposes and reasons.
So statistically what we find out is that women will crave maybe stability; and so they’re looking for a guy that has the right job, the right career, the right house the right car… there’s some stability. I’m not saying they’re shallow. I’m not saying you’re shallow in this, but I’m saying you overlook that, some of the flaws, because of what that person has to offer in that area.
Another one is kids.
How many women get to a certain stage in life, or they’re so desperate to have children that they finally find a guy who will have kids with them and they will overlook a whole multitude of mistakes and failures about this person so that they can have kids finally.
So we don’t want any of these things to get in the way of helping us to see people the way that we really should.
Proverbs Chapter 5, then finally tells us in verses 15 through 19. This is a good positive example to close our time together this morning, It says,
Drink water from your own cistern,
You knew it wasn’t going to just lay it out straight for us, right? It as going to have to be some kind of thing that we had to figure out. What is he saying here?
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
So the Bible uses this imagery of water to make another analogy of physical intimacy. Only this time it’s a positive one. And he likens the desire of physical intimacy in the relationship and marriage of physical intimacy to that of thirst.
And he says, okay, “You drink from your own cistern.” …running water from your own well. You don’t go somewhere else. You don’t go looking somewhere else for you. You don’t go into the streets. You don’t go into the public squares. You leave those things alone. Let yours be alone. You don’t invite someone else into this special thing you have”… right?
That’s where we’re getting satisfied this way.
I love the fact that this proverb gives positive affirmation to our physical intimacy within a marriage relationship. Because the church, in particular, has acknowledged and recognized the abundance of sin that can come with physical intimacy such that some Churches end up making it something that’s almost taboo or bad or negative.
I’ve known couples who could not be physically intimate and pray together the same night… because they somehow saw them as contradictions of each other and failed to see that God has created this wonderful precious beautiful thing.
I love the affirmation of it… and notice what he says,
“rejoice in the wife of your youth.
It doesn’t say rejoice in young women or young men… rejoice in the wife or the husband of her youth. They may not be young anymore… your husband or wife, but that’s who your rejoicing in.
This is a picture of lifelong beauty of it a growing together and rejoicing in each other physically.
It’s amazing to see when couples keep bonding over decades, spiritually and emotionally, that although three decades later their bodies may not be anything like they were 30 years before, how much more physical intimacy can be satisfying because it flowed from this ongoing committed relationship.
Look at that expression of the very last line.
May you ever be intoxicated with her love.
This continuous ongoing wonderful thing happening between a husband and a wife that God gives us. Our wives are going to change, our husbands are going to change, all things about kinds of things about them are going to change… but the Bible gives us this wonderful gift of marriage that we might experience the beauty of physical intimacy inside of that, and it’s one that’s lasting and ongoing.
If you’re here this morning, and you’re like me every time you hear something about marriage it can leave you feeling incredibly inadequate. It can leave you feeling kind of like, broken in that way.
Maybe you’re here and you feel broken because you know that either in reality or in your heart, you have broken your marriage vow. Maybe you’re here this morning and you’re broken in the sense that you know that you have failed to recognize the good thing that God has given you and your husband or your wife.
Here’s what the Scripture tells us,
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
~ Ephesians 5:22-33
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who calls us his bride has died on a cross and to make us holy and blameless without blemish, He is indeed the perfect spouse because we have not been the perfect spouse.
I invite our praise team to come forward. Let’s pray as we prepare to sing our closing song together?
Thank you Lord for your passage of Scripture again this morning as we walk through the Book of Proverbs. Thank you, Father, for the husband or wife that you may have placed us here with. For those of us who recognize that marriage is a good thing, we thank you and praise you for that.
For those who are in the midst of a marriage situation who need it really to be a blessing to them… some things have gone wrong. some things have piled on each other and things are spiraling perhaps of control… we pray that you step in and rescue that situation in that reality.
We pray against a spirit of the adulterous woman or man… that whether we are in a marriage, or single, that we would honor you with the state in the stage in life that you have put us in.
We recognize that your Scripture says that all of us have been unfaithful towards you… and we praise you for your constant faithfulness in the midst of our unfaithfulness. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, who was able to present us pure and spotless without blemish.
We ask these things in his name. Amen.
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