Heavy Ordnance for the Divine Ordinance
Aquila, Priscilla, Apollos
13 February 2017
The divine ordinance is that man and woman should be joined together in holy marriage and live together in this honorable estate until their life's end. Man and woman lawfully joined make a family and a home; not bricks and mortar or wood and shingles. Woman is home for her husband. Man is to cleave to his wife, that is, hold on to her for dear life. Marriage is a blessed estate that provides the basic building block of all human relations; church, government, and community. Marriage also procreates those who choose to remain chaste celibates. Marriage makes everything.
There are those who despise this greatest of earthly gifts by rejecting marriage; either by rejecting those of the opposite sex, men hating women and women men. And despite all our talk about tolerance, a great deal of modern rhetoric about married life just savors of hatred toward the opposite sex. Then there are those who realize the burden that marriage imposes and seeking to flee its challenge desert husband or wife and children. God did not create man and woman to flee from marriage, but live in it and honor it as a divine institution.
How wicked we are that we despise marriage; and all of us do. For the graciousness of God is displayed over and again by this institution which he continues to grant to us. The home that a woman provides a man is, as Luther says, a nest and place of joy. Together they nurture children in that nest, if it is God's will to grant offspring. The triune God Himself married Adam and Eve, and so their joining together was God's deliberate intention. But not for them alone, it is also the heavenly Father's deliberate intention for every marriage, as Jesus tells us "What God has joined together let man not separate." On the lips of our Lord Jesus our heavenly Father hauls out the heavy ordnance of His Word to defend the heavenly ordinance of marriage.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"The wife is still the house of the husband, to which he goes, with whom he dwells, and with whom he joins in the effort and work of supporting the family. In this sense it will be stated below (Gn 2:24): 'Man will cling to his wife, and he will forsake his father and mother.'
"But in addition to the countless other troubles which marriage has because of sin, this living-together is marred to an astonishing degree by perverted natures. There are not only men who think it is clever to find fault with the opposite sex and to have nothing to do with marriage but also men who, after they have married, desert their wives and refuse to support their children. Through their baseness and wickedness these people lay waste to God's building, and they are really abominable monsters of nature. Let us, therefore, obey the Word of God and recognize our wives as a building of God. Not only is the house built through them by procreation and other domestic affairs that are necessary in a household; but the husbands themselves are built through them, because wives are, as it were, a nest and a dwelling place where husbands can go to spend their time and dwell with joy.
"What Moses adds, 'And He brought her to Adam,' is a sort of description of betrothal, which is worthy of special note. Adam does not snatch Eve of his own will after she has been created, but he waits for God to bring her to him. So Christ also says: 'What God has joined let man not separate' (Mt 19:6). For the lawful joining of a man and a woman is a divine ordinance and institution.
"Here, therefore, Moses keeps his own particular expression. 'He brought,' he says. Who? No doubt the entire divinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These say to Adam: 'Behold, this is your bride, with whom you shall dwell, with whom you shall beget children.' Without a doubt Adam received her with great pleasure, just as even now in this corrupt nature the mutual love of bridegroom and bride is extraordinary. But then it was without the epileptic and apoplectic lust of present day marriage. It was a chaste and delightful love, and the very uniting would also have been most honorable and most sacred. But now sin forces itself in everywhere; it presents itself to the eyes and ears and then also to all the senses."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 2.24
Matthew 19:3-12

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." (ESV)
Triune God, whose very name is holy, teach us to be faithful hearers and learners of Your Word, fervent in the Spirit as Apollos was, that we may teach it correctly against those who have been led astray into falsehood and error and that we might follow the example of Aquila and Priscilla for the good of the Church You established here and entrusted into our humble care; for You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign one God, now and forever. Amen.
For Scott Murray, who is traveling to Nigeria to teach in the seminary of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, that the Lord would be with him in his travels
For all persons who have been cast off from holy marriage, that they might find peace in Christ
For all who are lonely and afraid, that they might be freed from their burdens and supported in their need through the rescue of God
For US military personnel deployed to Afghanistan, that the holy angels would guard them in all their ways
Art: MANETTI, Rutilio  Wedding Feast at Cana  (c. 1620)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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