by Rev Anne Hibbard, Assembly of Confessing Congregations, Uniting Church.
Building marriages according to God’s master plan.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:1, 2-5 NRSV).
Have you ever built an extension, garage or building on your property? It is a lengthy procedure, whether it is development approved or not. First, plans need to be drawn up, and certified with the council, before work can commence. Even when construction starts, each stage requires approval to show that it’s up to standard. It is no good taking matters into our own hands and doing a backyard job. Down the track, there would be safety concerns for all who use the future building. How much more are these safeguards needed with a high-rise structure housing many. Severe consequences happen when corners are cut in the building code.
So too with us, for both our own marriages but also for marriage as an institution in society. Ignoring God’s master plan of the sacredness of marriage and families brings high risk for us as a nation.
In our Scripture verses today from Psalm 127, the Psalmist reminds us that unless the Lord builds the house, those who build labour in vain. This word “house” in the original Hebrew language is “baiyt”. The Strong’s Dictionary defines this word as “house, family, home, household”. In the rest of the Psalm, we see the verse in context. It’s not talking about just a building but family homes. God ordained from the beginning of time that marriage, the union of a man and a woman, is the beginning of family . (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:20-25). The fruit of marriages are children, a “heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:2). If as a society, we sideline God our creator, as the master builder of our families we are in grave danger. The psalmist says, that when we try to build families our own way, outside God’s plans, then all that we are doing is “in vain”. This word “vain” in Hebrew is “shav”. It means “emptiness; vanity; falsehood”.
God didn’t give up on humanity when Adam and Eve turned from him. In the fullness of time, he sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be born into an earthly family. He emptied himself upon the cross so that our futile building of relationships could be transformed back into the fullness of God’s plan and purpose. All we need do is receive this gift of grace as individuals, families and societies. Our families and marriages are holy. They have been bought by Christ’s blood to be places where God can dwell by His Spirit. To activate these incredible blessings, we need to repent as a nation and pray for a revival. Then every home will fulfil God’s plan that it be sacred – a place where God dwells by His Spirit.
Heavenly Father, we praise you that even before the fall you created marriage between a man and a woman. Forgive us as a society when we want to build marriages and families according to our own ideas and needs, and forget that you not only designed them but you continue to be the Master Builder. Forgive us for forgetting that marriage is holy and if we try and build it by our own effort, it will be somehow empty and false compared to what you created it to be. Thank you that even when humanity turned from you in the garden of Eden, you didn’t give up on us. In the fullness of time, you sent your son Son the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to take away the world’s sin. Thank you that Jesus came to give all who believe in him abundant life including in our marriages and families. Thank you that Christ can heal the most broken of hearts, the most broken of families, and by His grace and mercy, even the most isolated lonely ones find home. In Jesus’ mighty name lead us as a country to repentance beginning in our own marriages and families, and bring revival to this land so every home may be a place where you dwell by your Spirit.
Watch Transgender Marriage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbIzWkncqEg
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- A Miracle for Marriage
- Truth to be Exposed
- A Spirit of Repentance in the Church
- Revival and Transformation in our Nation
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