One of the greatest responsibilities that I have as a pastor is pre-marital counseling. I love marriage, and I love being married. Perhaps the most evident grace in my life, and one of the greatest assurances I have that God loves me, lies is the fact that I am married to one of His beloved daughters.
I remind husbands-to-be of the above fact in our counseling sessions. I tell them with passion the fury and wrath of God that must rightly descend upon a man when He fails to treasure his wife. Think of it, brothers. What greater gift on earth has God given to you? Surely not money or land or house, all such will be destroyed with a fervent heat. Do you think that God cares more for such things than the woman you call your wife?
Before the world was formed out of nothing, God knew the woman who is now your wife. He formed her in His mind, and He longed for her in His heart before a single star shined or the first flower grew. He purposed to take this woman, your wife, and rescue her from sin and shame and hell, and to lovingly make her perfect. The Father would make her as a love-gift to His own beloved Son, and by the power of His Spirit, He purposed to make her shine with His glory. He has been thrilled with your wife for centuries; His heart yearns for her with a love that has not been diminished by time or circumstance. She is magnificent to Him; the Lord died for her. Will you now treat His beloved, His daughter, as a thing of your fancy?
How it must burn the heart of God to see His daughter treated with contempt! When a husband speaks hurtful words to his wife, God must rage. When a man betrays her heart by defiling the marriage bed, how He must simmer with wrath. That is the King's daughter!
But in His grace, and despite our faults, He gave her to us. He entrusted her heart to us. He has charged us to love her as He has loved us, and His heart soars when we comply. How happy must the Father's heart be when a husband loves his wife! How delighted the Lord is when He sees His daughter honored with affection and faithfulness! Husband, do you wish to fill your Father's heart with joy? Then love His daughter.
It is my hope and prayer that every man with whom I counsel will realize the gift that God has prepared for them in a wife. I pray that they will tremble at the responsibility, but delight in fulfilling it. I trust that as the measure of the gift of marriage settles into a man's heart, that he will daily cry out for mercy and guidance as he seeks to honor God through the gift He has given. So husband, love your wife, and do not neglect the gift that God has given you.
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