This week I will continue with reflections on Marriage as a Covenant. If you missed last week I strongly suggest you read it before continuing. You can find it here.
The idea of covenant started with God. If you look throughout scripture, you will find that every covenant God makes with His people is based on a blood sacrifice. In the Old Testament (Old Covenant) covenant meant the cutting and sacrificing of animals. In the the New Testament (New Covenant) it meant the blood sacrifice of God’s Son.
God never enters into a permanent relationship with man without a covenant. God takes covenant very seriously a study of various covenants made in the Old Testament (Duet 4:31; 7:12; 1 Kings 19; Jeremiah 34:8-22) would show you when you make a covenant with God or man and break it you would die or pay whatever the consequences were.
When we “cut” a covenant with another it carries responsibilities. It’s some of these responsibilities that I want to look at today.
A good example to look at is the covenant made between Jonathan and David. While this is a covenant made between two friends it gives us a good look at the result of the covenant they made. It also gives us a picture of Christ and our covenant with Him. If you are not familiar with this story you can read it in 1 Samuel chapters 16-20.
David and Jonathan make a covenant of friendship because God knit their hearts together. (1 Samuel 20:12-23; 35-42) There are three involved in this covenant. David, Jonathan and God. Each have responsibilities.
Let’s look at David and Jonathan first, for their responsibilities are the same. 1 Samuel 18:4 says “Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.” Isn’t that interesting? I wonder what the significance of it means?
The Robe: By checking my references and comparing scripture with scripture I find out that taking off one’s robe and giving it to another was a sign of “putting on” the other person. In the New Testament we learn that Jesus puts on our “robe” of humanity so that He could take our place on the cross and so now we can put on His robe of righteousness. Other covenants between man were often made by cutting a finger or arm and mixing their blood, some cultures would even mix the blood and drink it. These actions of putting on the robe or mixing of blood all symbolized the same thing, the two would become one. Check out these verses for more - Galatians 3:26-27, 2 Cor 5:21, Eph 4:20-24, Isaiah 61:10
The armor: The Armor was given to signify that they have a common enemy in the Philistines. We also have a common enemy. Col 1:13 tells us that when we receive Christ we gain Christ’s enemy, Satan. We have a common enemy with Christ and being in a covenant Marriage we also have a common enemy. The enemy is relentless in his attacks on the marriage of believers and the Christian family. So as husband and wife we do have a common enemy.
In Acts 9:1-7 we see Jesus asking Saul “why are you persecuting Me?” But Saul was persecuting the Christians so why would Jesus say “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting”? Because when we are in covenant with Jesus we become one with Him. And by being one with Him anything I do or say to one of His it’s as if I am doing it to Christ.
So lets apply all this to our marriage. We are in covenant with God and our spouse (Of course I am assuming here that both spouses are believers, but even if you enter into a covenant with an unbeliever I believe the responsibilities are the same).
My spouse is my brother in Christ. So not only am I in a marriage covenant with him I am also in covenant with him as part of the family of God. So anything I say or do to him I am doing to Christ. Think about that for a few minutes. How I treat my spouse in my words and actions is as if I am treating Christ the same way.
If I treat my spouse in an unkind or unloving manner, I am treating Christ unkindly and unloving.
If I speak harshly to my spouse, I speak harshly to Christ.
I am sure you get the idea. It is sobering isn’t it?
In a marriage my husband and I are one, we share a common enemy. Therefore, if you treat my husband badly then you treat me badly. IF you hate my husband then you hate me. IF you fight against my husband you fight against me.
We are united as one with Christ in a covenant relationship. We can not be separated.
Oh may God forgive me! I am not the worlds worst wife I am sure – but let’s face it we all battle our flesh! And there are moments that I fail to treat my husband with Christlikeness! Oh God continue your work in my heart so that I might be more like you.