In six days, the Lord created everything in heaven and on earth, and declared it all “very good.” On the seventh day of that first week, He rested and enjoyed His perfect Creation. He “blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it”; and here we have the origin of the observance of one day in seven as a day of rest and worship. It was part of that great system of good which God ordained. It was not appointed to be a yoke or burden, but to be both a physical and a spiritual blessing to the whole human race. And as New Testament believers, our Lord’s Day is doubly sacred to us because it is a memorial of our Savior’s finished redemption and glorious victory over sin and the grave! The Sabbath is a foretaste of the eternal Sabbath of heaven, and of the rest that remains to be enjoyed by all the people of God.
Beginning in the fourth verse of this chapter, we have a flashback to the sixth day of Creation, in which we are given more details surrounding the making of the first Man and Woman. It fills our hearts with wonder and praise to think that even before there was a single human being on the earth, our Lord was thinking of us! He foresaw our needs; and all throughout the several preceding Creation-days, He had already been laying up goodness for us in the storehouses of Nature. No one can say that all this was a mere marvel of coincidences; it could have been nothing else except the love of God planning and preparing the earth to support and sustain His children for ages to come. At the close of all this vast preparation, when his home was ready for him, Man was created in the image of God Himself. Herein we see his exalted rank in Creation; he is entirely unlike any other creature. He was the last of them all to be made, and he was also the noblest and greatest of them all. Everything that had been made was good and beautiful; but when Man was made, he was distinguished above all other beings by the image of his Creator being placed upon him. Plants, trees, rocks, and hills were things; beasts, birds, insects, and reptiles were living creatures; but Man was a living soul – able to think and choose, to love and obey, to commune with God, to enter into close fellowship with Him, to be God’s friend, and to be God’s child. When God had made Man, He gave him power to rule over all things that He had created. “Have dominion,” He said, “over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (chapter 1:28). Not only was Man above all the other works of God in rank and dignity, but he was also appointed to rule over them all. The Lord placed him in a lovely Garden that He had made, called Eden, which Man was to tend and care for. Even in Man’s original state of innocence, God knew that he needed work to do.
Only one small rule was placed upon Man. He was given the right to enjoy the fruit of every tree in the Garden except for one: the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Lord gave Man almost no limits, but there was one link fastening him to his God, so that he might be reminded of Him and His Divine Law. This was a test of obedient love; for Man’s obedience was reduced to the smallest possible point, his liberty was made as wide as possible, and his restraint was almost nothing.
It would have been very desolate for Man to live upon this earth alone. No matter how beautiful the world had been made, its beauty would not have satisfied him. Man has a heart that needs to love and be loved, and only love can satisfy him. There were animals of all kinds in the lovely Paradise which was given to him for his home, but he could not have found the companionship he needs among these. He was made with an immortal soul, and only an immortal being like himself could answer his longing for fellowship. Therefore, it was a mark of God’s loving thoughts for Man that He made a Woman to be his lifelong companion. They could talk together of the lovely things around them; they had minds that were alike, and could reflect together upon the great things of their God; and they had hearts that beat alike, and could love each other. They could commune together on spiritual things; and together, they could also enter into communion with God.
Here, then, we have the institution and Biblical definition of marriage: one man and one woman to enjoy each other’s love and friendship for life. God Himself united this first couple in marriage; heart clasped heart, and life was knit to life. He saw that it would not be good for Man to be alone, and so He gave him a wife who was fitted to be his companion, his helpmate, and his inspiration in all things that are lovely and noble and pure.
Lord Jesus, the idea of marriage in this life awakens our memory to the recollection of our sweet spiritual union with You, as Your Bride. Just as there was no suitable companion found for Adam, there is no worthy companion found for our souls in all the creatures of this world. Only You – the promised Offspring of the Woman – can be the Helpmate for our souls! Lord Jesus, be our Help, our Hope, and our Portion forever. Amen.
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