Mark 10:8; Amos 3:3; 1 Peter 3:7
F. A. Hughes.
FEB 1958 (Spoken at a wedding)
We have completed all that is necessary to satisfy the law of this land; and now for a moment we happily turn to what we believe to be a very much higher matter, that is to regard this happy union as before God.
It is a most blessed thing to take account of the desire of our young friends to definitely bring God into this happy day of their lives. I suppose it would be right to say that so far it is the happiest day of their lives. I am not prepared to say that it will be the happiest day of their lives, for what one has found by experience is that the joy and happiness increase as one goes on in the fear of God. And this we earnestly desire for our dear young friends today; that they may not only receive the blessing of God today, but that they may have that blessing tomorrow, and the next day and every day of their lives; that they might know the blessedness of bringing God into their circumstances day by day.
I have read the first Scripture to show that marriage is a matter that essentially stands related to God. It is a matter that has become very largely divorced from God in our day, but how blessed to see that marriage is a dignified matter because it comes from God. Our young friends have taken on this highest privilege granted to men and women in this scene, but whatever happiness there may be in it let us first trace it back to its source, for this wonderful matter is a gift of God to His creature. It is something which originated, not in the mind or thoughts of man, but in the heart of the blessed God, and anything which springs from the heart of God must be tremendously blessed and joyous. We want our young friends and everyone here to see that this wonderful matter, however precious it may be as in the bonds of natural love, is hallowed by the sense of the eternal love of God from Whose heart it sprang.
Now I have noticed, and noticed with considerable joy, that this verse is thrice quoted in the Scriptures; and it would appear that all Divine Persons have Their part in speaking of this wonderful institution of marriage. If you turn to Genesis you will find that God Himself brings this verse forward in the garden of Eden; here in the tenth of Mark the Lord in the days of His Manhood reiterated this blessed fact that marriage springs from God; and when Paul is writing to the Ephesian church in the power of the Spirit of God, he quotes this verse too. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are thus seen in blessed unity, showing to us that marriage is hallowed as springing from the eternal heart of God. What a choice thought for our young friends to take away with them today, that what they have put their hand to is something not instituted by man, not springing from man's inventive mind, but coming fresh in all its lustre and beauty and glory from the eternal love of the heart of God. What a blessed thing! We may well say, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Why should man's circumstances, man's failure, the difficulties of the pathway, incompatibility or anything else interfere with what has sprung from the heart of God? And if our beloved brother and sister, as we are assured they will, go on holding this matter in relation to God, they will find that the love which originated the marriage institution can support them in every day of their enjoyment of it, for there is no diminishing of the love of God.
I turn now to the second Scripture; "Can two walk together?" This word "together" is common to these three Scriptures. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" We are assured that our young brother in his individual pathway up till now in the sovereign mercy of God, in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of the blessed Spirit of God, has devoted himself to the interests of our Lord Jesus. He has his work to do; he will find that his work is a necessity in order to maintain his home. He will have to put his hand to mundane things; as a man here and as a husband he will have to perform his responsibilities, but behind it all is the fact that in his heart what he is set for in the infinitude of the mercy of God is the precious interests of Christ. What shall we say of our young sister? Has she not proved by her pathway hitherto, coming in amongst the saints of God, brought up (as our young brother has been) in a home where the Word of God is read, where prayer is wont to be made, and the precious interests of Christ are carried in hearts that cherish Him, that these same blessed features have been coming out in their measure in her? She has known what it is to assemble with the saints of God to remember the Lord in His death, to be found in the place where the Scriptures are read, where the dependent attitude of prayer is seen, and where the precious gospel sounds out to men from the heart of God. She has devoted herself, as likewise our young brother, to these precious things. And so we are assured that they will walk together because they are agreed. We are assured, and this is our prayer for them and the prayers of others in this room, that these precious interests which have taken hold of the affections of our brother in his individual pathway, and which have taken hold of our sister in her individual pathway, may now be found in their pathway as walking together, the all-absorbing interest in their new life.
"How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight?" What a multiplication of victory there is as they walk together! Whatever either of them has been able to do in their individual pathways is wonderfully increased as together they devote themselves to the precious interests of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our earnest prayer for them is this, that every day might witness the fact that they have one common desire, to promote the interests of Christ in a scene where He is rejected.
I close by a short reference to the other Scripture. "Heirs together." There is a tremendous heritage waiting for our young friends; it is an eternal weight of glory. They are coming into this wonderful fortune, this eternal weight of glory, but in the power of the Spirit they have already received the earnest of it, and what they are heir to can be enjoyed by them now. What is it? "The grace of life" — "Heirs together of the grace of life." What is that? All the active love of God; the precious active love of God made known in Christ and held in the power of the Spirit, illuminating every step of their pathway, shedding its benevolence, its sweetness, its power and its glory upon every day. They will have days of shadow; they will have days of trial; they will have days of difficulty; but what we would have them to know in increasing measure is, that every day is a day in which they can come into the participation of the grace of life. Every day can be a day in which they share together their precious thoughts of the love of God.
We would like our brother as a husband, as head of his house, to be so in the habit of entering the holiest and taking account of Headship as seen in Jesus; and our sister as taking the place of holy subjection which is her part according to the Word of God, alike going into the holiest and seeing the features of subjection portrayed in all their blessed perfection in Christ, that the one having received impressions of Christ, and the other having received impressions of Christ, they may then mingle those impressions together and thus there might be increased enjoyment of and expansion in, the precious love of God. Could we ask for anything better for them than this? "That your prayers be not hindered." They have much to pray for, much to ask God about. Many things will cross their pathway which will present problems and difficulties, and they may not quickly see the solution to the difficulties as they present themselves; but let each one of us, as well as our young friends, take account of this blessed fact. If we are living near to God and in the light and enjoyment of the love of God, instinctively our prayers will go up to God unhinderedly, and He will answer.
Then, as they look out upon the wide range of the interests of Christ; as they take account of the precious gospel and all that God would secure for Himself, their prayers will ascend morning, noonday, and evening, day by day to God in relation to His own precious interests. Not only will their own interests, but the wide expanse of the interests of God also, be carried in their affections in a home in which, day by day, the windows are opened towards Jerusalem, the divine centre being in their hearts' affections. And as they spend each day in the enjoyment of the love of God, their affections will expand towards all that is precious to God and to Christ, covering it all in their petitions at the throne of grace.
This is what we commend them to, this precious abiding sense of God's love helping them to walk together, in holy matrimony indeed, but more than that, in the conscious sense that they are where they are because God has put them there, that they will be maintained because God will maintain them there, and that He would have flowing out from their satisfied hearts petitions in relation to His vast interests.
May God add His blessing to our young brother and sister and His blessing to this simple word for Christ's sake.