"I Take You To Be …"
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” —Proverbs 18:22, NIV
One might tend to be a little cynical about this verse considering, among other things, today’s divorce rate. You might wonder if Solomon pens these words with some longing in his heart. The Scriptures say that he loved many women, and none of them seem to stand out as a blessing to his life. From the historical record it seems that the king’s many wives led him into idolatry and brought God’s judgment down on his head.
If we read the Song of Songs, or the Song of Solomon, as the book is sometimes titled, we wonder if somewhere among all those ladies in his life, there might have been one who was different from all the rest though many take the Song of Songs to be allegorical, describing God’s love for Israel and/or the love of Christ for His church.
Whether it was wishful thinking or true love, Solomon’s statement reminds the readers of God’s intent for marriage. At the very beginning of the Biblical record, God said: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him…a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” —Genesis 2:18, 24, NIV.
Marriage was to be an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the believer. Ideally, it does just that—love, respect, union, oneness, order, along with a host of other things, should typify marriage as much as they should typify the relationship between the believer and his Lord. Unhappily just as the dysfunction within the family, disunity, power struggles, abuse, infidelity, divorce have marked our society so profoundly, so the relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church, doesn’t always work the way it was designed to.
Women often complain that the Bible portrays them as the villains in the story and treats them unfairly. But if we follow the idea that marriage illustrates the relationship between Christ and His church, we know that Christ is not the unfaithful party. We, His bride, are the ones who walk away from Him and commit spiritual adultery, replacing Him with other people, projects, and possessions.
When the Lord finds us, it is a good thing and a blessed thing. That union that comes through faith and forgiveness can’t be matched by any other. He keeps His vows, now it’s up to us to keep ours.