Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Devotional: Here Comes the Bride

“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.”—Revelation 19:6-7

The wedding season is upon us. At the dawn of the first day of summer the wedding invitations begin pouring in, and our weekends are quickly booked with all of the festivities of our friends and loved one’s happy nuptials.

As women, many of us have been planning our wedding since we were five years old, down to the color of the flowers and the number of attendants that we have already chosen. All we’re really missing is the groom, and we are pretty certain that he will come soon to sweep us off of our feet and carry us off to wedded bliss. This is not wrong. In fact, we should desire marriage and look forward to that day, should God choose to give us that. But the end result of our wanting to be married should be a hope in a marriage to a very different man—the God man, Jesus Christ.

Marriage exists to point people to the Gospel, and it’s really easy to lose sight of that when we desperately desire marriage here on earth. Often times we have a Hollywood understanding of marriage, thinking that our life will be complete if that “perfect man” came to our doorstep and promised us love and happiness for ever. The perfect man did come, and will come again to redeem His Bride, the Church.

For many of us, our days are spent dreaming of a marriage here on earth, even to the extent that with the first “hello” from an eligible bachelor we are planning the big event before we even know his name. And for others, we can probably confess that we are all too guilty of confusing a phone call with a marriage proposal. Are we content with our only marriage being the final marriage where we are eternally joined to our Bridegroom, Christ? Carolyn McCulley says that if Jesus came back tomorrow and you are disappointed because you aren’t married yet, you are idolizing an earthly husband, and desiring the wrong marriage. And I think she’s right.

The marriage we should long for is the final marriage that all marriages should point to, Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32). Jesus is not our own personal boyfriend/fiancé/husband. The marriage supper of the Lamb is not an individualized marriage. We will not each be personally walking down the aisle to Jesus in the last day, despite what some women’s Bible studies and worship songs allude to. He is the Bridegroom of the Church collectively, of which we are a part if we are in Christ. In our preparation to meet our Groom, our lives should reflect less of an American, individualistic ideology, and more of our brothers and sisters in the book of Acts, who gave their lives for the building up of the local church. This means we should spend more time changing diapers in the nursery and sitting in the pews under the Word of God, than picking out our wedding songs and drooling over designer dresses.

We muddy the Gospel when we bank all of our happiness on a marriage here on earth. Instead, let us cry out with the whole earth “come quickly, Lord Jesus!” All of our right, earthly desires for a husband are here to give us a temporary picture of an eternal reality—the Gospel.

I am all for marriage here on earth, and I love going to weddings where God is glorified in the joining of two Christians declaring a covenant before God and His people. Like Calvin said, our hearts are idol factories, and every good and biblical desire always has the potential to replace God as our object of worship. Whenever I am struggling with whether or not a desire is an idol, a question I always ask myself is “if God chose to never fulfill this desire in my life, would I still love Him? Would I still desire to serve Him?” Those are hard questions to ask, because more often than not, I find myself chafing at the idea of not getting what I want. But as we seek to honor God with our desires, let us keep an eternal perspective. Resolve today, dear Christian, to love and serve your local congregation, members of the Church. And dream of the greatest wedding party of all, where the Vera Wang dress will fade away in the face of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Sonja said...

What a great challange for us all - single or married - to examine our dreams to see if they have become idols! For yeh, I, a sinner have entered into a covenant with.....yes, another sinner. Thanks for this eternal perspective.

andrea said...

Love that verse and this song and I love our bridegroom, Jesus!!!!

Sing a song of celebration
Lift up a shout of praise
For the Bridegroom will come
The glorious one
And oh, we will look on his face
We’ll go to a much better place

Dance with all your might
Lift up your hands and clap for joy
The time’s drawing near
When he will appear
And oh, we will stand by his side
A strong, pure, spotless bride

We will dance on the streets that are golden
The glorious bride and the great Son of man
From every tongue and tribe and nation
Will join in the song of the lamb

debt said...

let's talk about this on Wed., Court.

Anonymous said...

Are you for real?

Rachel said...

Thanks for the great reminder of where our priorities need to stand. RG