Friday, December 27, 2013

28 Stories - Study 16: Eden's Wedding

Fundamental: Marriage and Family

Bible Story   

“Will you and I always be together in this beautiful garden?” Adam asked.
“The garden is your home, Adam.” Jesus answered, “But, I will come and visit.”
“I will be lonely,” Adam looked at the ground, thinking aloud. “I need someone like me. I cannot laugh, plan, love or fully enjoy nature’s beauty by myself.”
“It is not good for man to be alone,” Jesus said.
Adam’s head snapped up and he looked into Jesus’ eyes, “You were already aware of this?”
“Yes,” Jesus smiled. “I was just waiting for you to ask! Follow me.” The Creator led Adam back to the patch of clay where the day had begun. He gestured at the remaining clay, “My shadow is only half finished. Lay down.”
Adam returned to the clay he had risen from at daybreak. Lying down, he closed his eyes and was soon asleep. Jesus knelt between Adam and the remainder of the lanky clay man. He quickly gathered the clay into a pile.
Jesus reached over and pulled away a chunk of Adam’s side. He pushed the chunk of Adam into the pile of clay. It turned into clay and become one with the pile. He spoke to the sleeping Adam, “The woman is both my shadow and your desire. You are part of each other, forever.”
The Creator closed the wound on Adam’s side with a rubbing motion and then turned to forming a new body—a woman—smaller than Adam. After some time, Jesus sat back on his heals. He had finished. He reached over and shook Adam. Adam’s eyes fluttered open and he sat up. He looked over at the clay form next to him. He turned his head sideways, not understanding.
“She’s not alive,” Adam said. “Can you give her life?”
Jesus nodded and leaned over the clay woman’s face. He took a deep breath and spoke life into her. The woman’s eyes fluttered open and looked into God’s. She smiled. Jesus put a hand under her back and lifted her into a sitting position.
Adam was speechless. He had never seen anything so beautiful! He tried a number of times to speak, but couldn’t get words to form on his dry lips. His tongue seemed to be stuck to the roof of his mouth. He swallowed a couple of times and then startled everyone as he began to sing:
Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.
Without you beside me, I would be less.
I named the beasts of the land and the birds of the air,
but the name you deserve must suit beauty most fair.
I’ll call you ‘woman.’ For from ‘man’ you were made.
I’ll name you ‘Eve.’ You emerged from God’s shade.
From shadow and breath, we both have been born.
Of all Creation, we’re God’s most adored.
As he sang, Adam faced the same direction as Eve, looking into the Garden of Eden. His voice was rich, deep and beautiful. When he got to the part where he named his wife, Adam stood to his feet, faced Eve and held his hands out to her. She grasped them and stood. The couple faced each other, holding hands, until the end of Adam’s song. As Adam sang the last word, they embraced and turned their faces toward their Creator.
Jesus wiped a tear from his eye. He stood silently in front of His two children. Adam and Eve faced their God, waiting for Him to speak.
“Adam,” Jesus said, “Will you take this woman, Eve, to complete you?”
Adam smiled the widest smile his face could handle. “Yes! She is everything I was hoping for, and more!”
“And you, Eve,” the Creator continued, facing His newest creation, “Is Adam acceptable to you?”
Eve blinked her eyes a few times—startled—she had never fathomed such a question could even exist. She spoke, “My heart is so full of love for this man, there is barely room for a thought of anything else!”
“From this moment forward,” Jesus said with an air of eternal authority, “You are one. One in heart. One in mind. One in body.” The Creator took a huge breath—just as he had when breathing life into each of them—and breathed humanity’s first marriage into being. “What I have joined, let nothing separate!”
Jesus stepped forward and embraced the happy couple. Then turning toward the Garden, He said, “Follow me, I have so much to show you!”

My Reflection

What would it have been like to be there that day? Imagine that you were part of a select group of people taken back in time to be the wedding party for Adam and Eve. Use your imagination and describe the experience in detail. What would have stood out as unique? What would have seemed familiar? What would you talk about at the reception?

My Story

Have you ever had someone who made a fuss over you because they loved you? How did it feel? What do you remember most about that occasion?

Have you ever made something special for someone? What was it? How did you give it to them? How did they respond?

My Assurance

God has a holy plan for couples and families. What promises do you see in these verses? How do our relationships affect these promises?

Genesis 2: 18, 21-22 ~ Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

Exodus 20:12 ~ Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 ~ But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.

My Commitment

Marriages and families are very precious to God. Relationships are so important, that God has given clear advice on how to maintain them. What commitments do these verses challenge you to make?

Ephesians 6:1-4 ~ Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth”. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Genesis 2: 24 ~ This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

2 Corinthians 6:14 ~ Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?

Matthew 19:8-9 ~ Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.

My Outlook

The world is a very distracting and potentially destructive place. If we see our relationships through God’s eyes, we realise how special they are. How do these verses help you see the plan God has for His people and the way they will live their lives?

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ~ And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Ephesians 5:31-33 ~ As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Proverbs 22:6 ~ Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

My Response

The following statement is the 23rd of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Review the doctrine and then write a personal response. What difference does this make to your life?

Marriage and Family

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honour, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message.

Bible Story

You can find the Creation story in Genesis 1-3.

Further Reading

John 2; Ephesians 5:21-33; Malachi 4:5-6.

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