Mike Gerhardt, Community, Loving Relationships, Matching Pairs, Genesis 2:18-25. Introduction: Are men really from Mars and woman from Venus? The1992 book by John Gray told men and women are different. Really? When it comes to nicknames if Laura, Suzanne, Debra, and Rose go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Suzanne, Debra, and Rose. But if Tom, Charlie, Bob, and John go out, they will refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-head and Useless. When the bill arrives Tom, Charlie, Bob, and John will each throw in $20, even though the total is only $29.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will admit they want change back. When the girls get their bill, they all open their calculator apps. A man will pay $10 for a $3 item he wants. A woman will pay $3 for a $10 item that she may not want right now but it’s on sale. A man has 5 items in his bathroom: toothbrush, deodorant, razor, a bar of soap and a towel from the Holiday Inn. The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 117. A man would not be able to identify most of these items. A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
Paul addressed submission to one another, but then focused submission in three special arenas: marriage, family, and work. I want to go back to Genesis to discover why God created marriage. I believe that the scriptures teach that God created man in a direct and unique way in His image Tzelem and likeness Demuth. Humanity was given the task to rule over the creation. Moses under inspiration wrote poetic words to communicate clearly the who and the why God created. That brings us to chapter two. Here God gives us specific words and details on how he formed man and woman. Everything in chapter one God saw was good except this 2:18 it is not good for the man to be alone. We were created as social beings, needing others. Then God paraded all the male and female animals in front of Adam to name them and to realize that none of them could fulfill his need for companionship and love. God in his wisdom took a rib, not a foot bone to feel superior nor a bone from his crown, to feel inferior but fashioned Eve from his rib to make her his equal. Adam could not think of Eve as just another animal made from dirt, but as he said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Marriage is the bringing of a man and a woman into a holy institution that God ordained from the beginning. It is more than a legal contract, more than a license to live together, it is two people being brought together by God himself to become one, so they can face life's struggles together. Simply put I believe marriage prevents loneliness and provides help through a prescribed intimacy. This formula is found in Genesis 2:24.
Marriage is encouraged by a break from parental authority. The parent /child and the husband /wife are the bonding relationships that provide the cushion for life's difficulties. Parents are to nurture their child's independence as we are to train a child in the way they should go and not stay. We love our children, yet marriage is to be the highest degree of intimacy between two people. Moses under the inspiration of God communicated these truths to the Jewish people. It's common to some cultures that the first-born son lives for the wellbeing of his parents into their old age. Here Moses wrote something that was counter to that culture. The making of a separate home the beginning of another family. A man will leave his father and mother. Marriage is then established by a volitional commitment. Commitment, not just love makes a marriage last. In arranged marriages still done around the world, marriage is not the outcome of love, but the opportunity for love. In India, where most arranged marriages happen, the divorce rate is the lowest in the world. In our country where arranged marriages are unheard of, we have one of the highest divorce rates. Go figure. The Bible is filled with guidelines to help our marriages stay on track. And be united to his wife. The King James’ version translates the Hebrew with cleave. It means to stick, to fuse, to join, to weld as in glue to paper, muscle to bone, or even shrink wrap to a package. It speaks of a relationship that will not let go, an unconditional, wholehearted commitment. Marriage is then expressed by a prescribed intimacy. The union of two people into one flesh. The act of this union is both a physical and a spiritual reality. Is this act of intimacy only for procreation, or is it for recreation? Most women can only get pregnant five or six days out of a month. So, what are we to do the other 22 to 24 days? We enjoy that union. Marriage is to be fun, enjoyable and sensual. This is one of the greatest pleasures God has ordained. It's more than the thrill of the best roller coaster, more than the highest water slide, more than… anything. God-given intimacy is only to be expressed by a man and a woman in the dignity and holiness of marriage.
Now God formed-yashar man. Read verse 7. Hammered, manufactured, slammed together as a potter works with clay. The material used was inorganic cold lifeless dirt: translated rubbish, debris. The man was given the task to be the gardener, verse 15. The woman was made-banah or artistically fashioned, sculpted, a term used for the artisans working on the temple. The material was sensitive living warm flesh. If you think about it, you would agree most men seem to come from dirt. Most women are more sensitive than their male counterparts. In using these specific words, I believe God was making a point. Eve was made to be a helper-hatzar. This word is used in the phrase the Lord is our helper: one who comes alongside to help another accomplish their calling, to be a companion, a partner, a supervising helper which men desperately need. A keyword for understanding each other- different: methods, materials, purposes. Janet and I accept our differences. Janet and I have a perfect understanding. I don’t try and run her life and I don’t try and run my life either. I sometimes counsel couples in conflict. Most of the conflict results from a lack of understanding the word different. Men and women truly are different. Society has fervently tried to remove this concept. Many years ago, a number of socialists reported after a ten-year study that the thinking patterns of men and women really are different. God created them that way. In our day of serial marriages, cohabitation, trial partnerships, I believe we need to emphasize that it is God who created marriage and designed it to be between a man and a woman in a holy union for a lifetime. Let us emphasize that every time we can to our family, neighbors, and friends. Let this be a challenge: to young singles contemplating marriage realize the commitment and the joy that is set before you; to young married couples remember your commitment, celebrate your differences and help your mate to be all that God wants them to be; to married couples that have lost the spark and moved into routine restore your commitment, rediscover your passion for one another and restart the adventure and joy. To the widow, widowers and divorced: God is our refuge and strength our companion and friend. Allow Jesus to be closer than a brother, lean on Him and the family of God for help and friendship. This holiday season, remind yourself why we are celebrating and take time to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.