But the aim of our church is to grow gardens in the midst of the ashes. Our aim is to rebuild society. And the way we do that is found right here. God has given us a blue print on how to build this garden. Garden growing begins with families.
If we are going to build these gardens, we have to start with good bricks. And, as we see here, before there was a nation, before there was a church, there was a wedding. God started with the covenant of marriage. God started by making good bricks.
That is where we need to begin. We need to go back to the very beginning. We have to start by laying the foundation and returning to a Biblical understanding of the covenant of marriage.
And as we look at this passage, I want us to notice two things about marriage. The first thing we have to grasp is how much men need marriage.
I. The need man has for marriage
You will notice that our passage starts out with a something of a somber tone. We’ve sort of been on an ecstatic high in our study of Genesis so far. We’ve heard the refrain, “And the Lord saw that it was good” repeated over and over. Then, at the end of chapter one, it was almost as if God were calling for an encore. There we read that God saw that it was very good! Reading it straight through can almost make you feel giddy because of all the “good’s”. But our passage starts out, “Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone."
Interesting, isn’t it? Despite all the splendor of Adam’s state, his being created in God’s image, his being placed in the lush garden, despites his having dominion over the animals, and despite even his perfect communion with God himself, a radical deficiency is found to exist. There is a void in his life. He is alone! And God’s unilateral assessment is that this is not good!
God then resolves to fill this need. He says, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” And we see here that its not just a relationship that he’s missing. But he’s missing the ability to fulfill his duty in life to the degree that he should. He needs a helper—someone who will come along side him and help him with his work. He need someone who will encourage him in his work. He needs a companion who will be a diversion from his work—someone who can give him reprieve from his labors, so that he can engage in his work all the more effectively after having been refreshed.
And it is this void that is filled by the woman.
But this is what you need to understand: God has knit this need into the very fabric of creation. God designed man in such a way that he is incomplete without her.
And I want you all to understand this. One of man’s greatest needs is a godly companion. And not just any companion, but a wife. He doesn’t need a drinking buddy. Man’s best friend is not a dog! Man needs a wife. He was built for marriage.
I point this out because we’ve gotten it all backwards today. Marriage is not seen as one of the basic necessities of life. At best, in our day it is typically thought of as a nice option. The average age of people getting married is moving later and later. Our thoughts are that we need to get the education so we can get the job. Then, once we have established ourselves in our career, maybe we can think about getting married. So marriage seems to be something of an afterthought.
And that of course is only among those who are actually thinking about marriage. A lot of people are not even doing that anymore. What we are seeing is that a lot of people are just enjoying a bunch of shallow hook-ups.
So like I said, at best marriage has become an afterthought. But that’s not the way it should be. It should be a primary thought. We men need to be married. We were designed with this deficiency and we need that God given companion.
I want you young men to be thinking about this. Get a wife! I know that there are some exceptions to the rule. The New Testament tells us that some men, like the Apostle Paul, have the gift. But that’s the exception to the rule. And the real gift is not singleness, but the real gift is a god fearing woman. Because you need it! You are only half the man you are supposed to be without her.
And those of us who are parents need to remember this too. If this is true—if a man’s greatest need is a godly wife, why are we not as proactive in getting our children connected with a godly spouse? We home schoolers, our focus is the education of our children. We tend think that is the main thing for their lives. But it is not. It is an important thing, to be sure. But it is not the main thing. And usually, our philosophy is, “We will get them educated, but they are on their own when it comes to making a match.” Sure, we may pray about it from time to time, but our overall focus is the education or maybe their work, and not so much their being wed.
We need to fix that. I’m not saying that we should have arranged marriages. But we need to be mindful of the fact that our boys need to be wed. As we rear our children we need to be teaching them to think marriage. We need to cultivate opportunities whereby they can develop relationships.
Our text reminds us that God has designed men for marriage. The Scripture tells us that the natural rhythm of life for us is that we work, worship and be wed. As we see here: He has built that need into the very fabric of our lives, and we should not delay it unnecessarily.
If we want to rebuild the culture, it all begins right there. It begins with a right understanding of man’s innate deficiency. It begins with understanding how much we need to be married.
And once we understand how much we men need marriage, then we can start thinking about the supply God has made for marriage.
II. The provision God makes for marriage
The passage details for us what God did to fill this need. God has all the animals come to Adam so that he can name them. We could say a lot about this. It says something about Adam’s intellect. He’s involved in some scientific investigation here. He’s not just willy nilly picking out names (I’ll call this one bird. I’ll call this one monkey, etc). He’s studying the animals. And by means of his intensive research he them names them.
Now, we could say a lot about that, but what is more important to emphasize is that he doesn’t find a single one that is suitable for him. After going through all the animals, he still is alone. He no doubt had a lot of fun with the little creatures. But at the end of the day not one of them was qualified to be the companion that he needed.
So God causes him to fall into a deep sleep and he takes one of Adam’s ribs. With it he creates the woman. And upon awaking God presents her to the man. Of course, Adam immediately realizes that she is the one. He rejoices in God’s provision and exclaims with joy, “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” He recognizes that she is his perfect match.
Now there are a few things we need to say here by way of instruction. When it comes to God’s provision for the man there are a few things that are important for us to note. The first thing is that God provided him with a woman.
A. God provided a woman
It is of note that God Adam didn’t find any helper in the animal kingdom. God didn’t create another man. God didn’t create multiple women. It was Eve and that was it.
And by this we understand that marriage is to be between one man and one woman. Things like polygamy, homosexuality, and adultery are not part of God’s design. They are perversions from the way He has ordered things.
Today there is an attack on traditional marriage. People are trying to re-define it, tweak it, or completely change it. You saw not too long ago how intense this debate has become. The rage that was sparked over Chik-fi-la expresses how turbulent the situation has become.
But in the face of this onslaught we must stand up and affirm what God has clearly laid down in Scripture. And here we see that God has provided for man’s need. He has provided a woman.
But her femininity is not the only thing you should notice. You should also realize that God provided an equal.
B. God provided an equal
The text here expresses that she is not by any means subhuman or deficient as a person. She has the exact same dignity as Adam.
We saw a few weeks ago that both males and females were created in God’s image. That same idea is being confirmed right here in this passage. Our text says that God created her out of Adam’s rib. By doing this the Lord establishes that she is she is on the same plane as Adam when it comes to her humanity.
The old adage is that she was not created from Adam’s head that she should rule over him, or from his feet that she should trample her. But she was made from his rib, that he should love and cherish her.
This idea of being “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” distinguishes us from the other religions of the world. Unlike many religions around the world, we do not think that women are a lower class of humanity. Wives become something similar to chattel because they are seen as second rate humans.
But that’s not true with us. Wherever Christianity comes into a culture, the status of women changes significantly. They are given a whole new world of freedom because we view them as having equality before God.
But understand, it is this equality that makes the woman the suitable helper. It is this equality that makes her companionship meaningful and fulfilling. The lesser creatures couldn’t provide that.
There’s one other thing we should note about God’s provision. We’ve said that god has provided one who is a woman. He has provided one who is an equal. But we should not fail to see that God has provided one who is designed to be a helper.
C. God provided a helper
The passage indicates this twice. The first time is in verse 18. There, as we saw earlier, it says that it was not good for man to be alone, but God would make a helper fit for him.
Then in verse 20 it is mentioned again. After Adam checked out all the animals, the conclusion was that not a one was a suitable helper. And the solution was the creation of the woman. And the assumption is that woman would be this help.
This is radically different than the mainstream thought today. To be sure, this notion would be blasphemous to many in our day. Feminists have worked very hard to erase this idea of the woman being the man’s helper. We are told today that women are to live independent lives apart from men. They ought to seek their own careers and pursue their own desires, and not see themselves in any way being dependent upon or connected to man.
But you cannot escape what the Bible says here about the woman’s divine design. She was created for the man. She has an inherent connection to him and her life is deeply intertwined with the man.
And before you start thinking that this is a dismal thing, you really need to understand the real glory of it.
The word helper is the word “ezer.” And it is the very same word that is often used of God himself. We just sang “Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’ve come.” The word Ebenezer is “means rock of help.” That comes from the OT where the saints would sometimes erect a pile of rocks as a tribute to the Lord. They would say that God had been their Rock and Help. The only reason they have survived is because of God’s divine assistance.
And in the New Testament you know that the Holy Spirit is called “the helper.”
And here we see that the woman’s role is a reflection, if not a perfect replica, of God’s help. She, in fulfilling her role, is God’s agent of divine care.
You ladies are here to be the means of God’s support.
That is not something you will find in any other religion. Most other religions tell us that the woman is the furthest thing from God. But here we find that she is the very hand of God.
That’s part of the reason why we are supposed to give women the special measure of honor that we are. And, more than that, this is why we need to seek a godly wife. God has provided her for the purpose of being His special means of help for the man.
Not long ago I was sitting in on a Bible study. In that study they were talking about the state of our nation. And one lady was getting a little frazzled. She wanted to do something. She wanted to correct the situation and see the tide turn for the better. She wanted to see a garden built in the ashes. So she asked the person leading the study, “Well, what do we do? How do we take America back?”
The answer is right here. The answer is to quit focusing on the macro and really start focusing on the micro. The house can only be as good as the bricks with which it is made. And we need to begin by making good bricks.
When we come back to the nature of man as God designed him and we get our bearings straight on the companion that He has provided, then the tide will start to change. If we get these things straight, we will change the church. And as we change the church, we’ll begin to change the course of the whole society.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.