Aidan and Jemima

One of the things we should learn to pray for more earnestly is a particular manifestation of the grace of God. This manifestation is what I like to call Deuteronomic blessings. By this I mean nothing more than covenant blessings, but because we live in a radically gnostic age, and because we don’t want to be mistaken for a health and wealth gospel, we shy away from talking about the actual terms of the covenant.

This is a Christian wedding ceremony, which means that we have gathered here to witness the formal ratification of a covenant. The Bible describes marriage in covenantal terms. The false wife in Proverbs is betraying her husband, and it says that she “forgetteth the covenant of her God” (Prov. 2:17). And in Malachi, we find husbands who are lamenting the fact that God is not hearing their prayers. What is their problem? The prophet tells them that God had observed their mistreatment of their wives. She is described as “the wife of thy covenant” (Mal. 2:14).

But I called them Deuteronomic blessings, and not covenant blessings. This is because we need to cultivate a much fuller understanding of what a covenant actually is, and the book of Deuteronomy helps us to do this. Moreover we need to apply what we learn there to our own covenant marriages and this requires us to fill our understanding out a bit.

A covenant is a solemn bond, sovereignly administered, with attendant blessings and curses. Now certainly most wedding ceremonies look like a solemn bond is being formed. And the appearances certainly would indicate that they are being sovereignly administered. But these appearances are things that a good wedding photographer can deliver. The thing that makes it real are the subsequent blessings and curses, and these are in the hand of God alone.

Every marriage on earth is either under the blessing of God, or it is not. It is either being prospered by Him, or it is not. And the blessings and the prosperity must be defined by the Scriptures alone. We want the Word of God to give us a good understanding of our going out and our coming in.

We need to learn how to pray for the blessings of God’s covenant to rest heavily upon all of our marriages—upon us, our children, and our children’s children. We have certainly prayed that way for you two here. Now as we pray for such blessings to rest heavily, we have to remember that God’s blessings are always weighty. The prayer should be always be looking for God to apportion His blessing in such a way that those under it might rejoice—we don’t want the blessings to be so heavy as to overwhelm, and we don’t want them to be so light as to discourage.

The main thing to remember about such blessings is that they are not contained within some invisible spiritual realm. But Jesus told us to lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20), did He not? Absolutely, and that is the foundation of all true wealth. But true wealth there has repercussions here. Jesus also taught us that anyone who lays down everything for the sake of the kingdom will receive a hundredfold “in this time” (Mark 10:30).

Now there are two aspects of God’s blessing in this way for marriage over time. These two are the blessing of generational faithfulness, coupled with the blessing of like-mindedness. Both of you are Christians, and you are Christians in a covenantal line. You have received incalculable blessings in this, and so your covenantal charge is this—make sure your children are even more greatly blessed in this reality than you have been. You have a spiritual inheritance, and you want to see it increase and grow as you hand it on. One aspect of this spiritual inheritance is the blessing of like-mindedness. As your children grow, and then as you watch the cousins grow, you should be praying for a convergence of like-mindedness. That is going to begin with the two of you, as you grow increasingly like-minded. This is a true gospel blessing.

Aidan, my charge to you is this. I want you to be a velvet-covered brick. Jemima should be able to count on you to be constant, solid, steady, centered, braced, immoveable. At the same time, you need to do this without being abrasive, harsh, critical, or unkind. We live in a time when many men try to navigate married life as a wadded-up piece of velvet, which no one finds actually useful. Others react away from that effeminacy, and play the part of a brick. Some of them go for the role of a low-IQ cinder block. None of that for you. In a carnal world, men can do one or the other all by themselves, but it takes the work of the Spirit of God in you to accomplish these two things together. The thing I am charging you to do is something that only the grace of God can bring about. So look to Him.

Jemima, one of the things we know about you is that you have a very sharp eye. You are a woman who can see things coming. One of the temptations that women with this gift have is the temptation to step ahead of their husbands to “fix everything up.” Just being a helpmeet, they say to themselves. This gift was given to you for a reason, but it was not that reason. If you can see things coming, then you should be able to see where exactly your husband is going to need your help in a minute, and so you should be right behind him, ready to hand him what he needs. Think of a skilled nurse in an operating room, who knows what instrument the surgeon is going to ask for next.

So Aidan . . . solid and steady. Jemma . . . quick and lively. And seek the covenant blessing of God on all of it, to make it fit.     

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.

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