A Land Called Married

Isaiah describes the “marriage” between God and His people. Christians can learn much for our marriages as well.

My youngest daughter was fighting a virus that sapped her strength and made her miserable. Good movies brighten her mood, and soon we were enjoying the six-hour British Broadcasting Company (BBC) version of Pride and Prejudice. Based on a classic novel by Jane Austen (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice mixes romance, social commentary, and morality, detailing the twists and turns of courtship and marriage among the daughters of the aristocratic Bennett family in early 19th century England. The movie poignantly reveals how vastly different society’s view of marriage was two hundred years ago.

In Isaiah 62, the Lord encourages His people, promising them future goodness and glory after their defeat and exile.  God uses the metaphor of Israel as His bride, telling His readers that their land would no longer be called “Desolate” but be called “Married” (v4). Most people in my experience would not juxtapose these two words, partly because “desolate” refers to a place “in bleak and dismal emptiness” and “married” refers to a relationship between two people. Isaiah 62 is not about human marriage per se, but neither is it about the physical land of Israel. Rather, it is about the restored relationship between God and His people. As such, it becomes a model of how human marriage under God can be, and should be.

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Song of Songs – The Mystery and Majesty of Human Love

A commentary on the Song of Solomon

Interpreted for centuries by most Jews and Christians as an allegory about the love of God for His people, modern commentators hold that this is a story about human love, which secondarily reflects the perfect love between God and His people. Though God is never mentioned, His presence permeates the book. There is widespread mention of the wonders of His creation as well as the constant restraining (and liberating) presence of His moral code. Notably, in the Song of Songs the woman did most of the speaking. It is magnificent poetry with extensive use of olfactory imagery. Remarkably, it never mentioned having children as the purpose for marriage. Romantic love was beautiful and desirable for its own sake.

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A Christian View of Marriage

A lot of influential people oppose marriage, and young adults today are believing their lies. We all suffer. And Christ has a better way.

“Marriage is like a three ring circus; engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffer-ring.” Anon.

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”. Irina Dunn, Australian feminist, 1970

“The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.” — Linda Gordon, American feminist historian

“We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” — Robin Morgan, MS Magazine Editor

Most consider Saint Valentine’s Day a time to celebrate romance. In the past, romance was associated with love and marriage. Adults in the Western World today still associate the romance of Valentine’s Day with emotional love but often do not associate it with marriage. With fewer people getting married, divorce rates high, and the media continually disparaging the bonds of holy matrimony, marriage seems passé, or even dangerous. Certain laws, such as the marriage penalty in the tax code, discourage marriage. The US Supreme Court recently ruled that homosexual marriages are legal in the United States. A man in Montana applied for marriage licenses with his two wives, and based on recent events, there is no reasonable legal basis to forbid him. Marriage seems to have become whatever someone, anyone, says it is.

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