18The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
The reason for wedding albums is because wedding days are a blur. There is so much activity on a wedding day that a bride and groom might even wonder if that day actually happened. The wedding album allows husbands and wives to look back and reflect on the wonder of that day.
About God’s love for Adam and Eve
All of us could look at a wedding album and see some combination of photos including mom and dad, brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. But there wasn’t any kind of assortment of family for the first bride and groom. Their wedding day was truly different from everyone else. And because we would have never imagined how our first parents met or how they were first drawn to love one another, God in his grace has given to us the first wedding album of Genesis chapter two.
And what the first wedding album tells us is that God created Adam first. God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. God had created half of the all animals male and God made Adam as a male. Unlike the animals, though, God created Adam in his own image. Adam had more than animal instincts. Adam had the ability to reason and to draw logical conclusion. Adam had the ability to work like none of the other animals could! A second truth we learn from the first wedding album is God gave Adam the assignment of naming the animals. And that is what Adam did. Adam gave the animals names that fit their physical attributes and abilities. Adam was smart.
A third truth we learn from the wedding album is out of love for Adam and for Eve, God waited in his creation of Eve. God had created the animals male and female all at once, but God waited with Eve. God sent Adam to work first. And as Adam went about his work of naming the animals he undoubtedly noticed both the wide variety of all the animals and the striking resemblance of each animal and its mate. There was a goose and there was a gander. There was a stallion and there was a mare. There was a bull and there was a cow. Every animal was made with a suitable matching animal, but when it came to Adam there was nothing in all of God’s creation that resembled anything similar to him.
It was at that time when God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. God made Eve female. God could have put Eve in charge like Adam. Eve had all the ability to take care of the garden and to name the animals just as Adam did, but without apology God assigned to her the role of suitable helper. Eve would serve as the suitable match for Adam. You can tell by their reactions how Adam and Eve were more than okay with this arrangement. As the Lord brought Eve to Adam, Adam showered Eve with poetic praise, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” He couldn’t believe there could be anyone like Eve. And Eve did what all of her daughters would do when showered with such appreciation and praise. Eve let Adam talk. Eve let Adam lead.
About the life of husbands and wives
What the first wedding album tells us is about God’s love for Adam and Eve, and in arranging the first wedding album as he did, God is also telling us something about the life he designed for husbands and wives.
The perfect arrangement of God was to raise one perfect boy in one family and one perfect girl in another family. Then God would draw this man and this woman to love each other as a perfect husband and as a perfect wife. This perfect love never materialized. It never made it to the second generation. The wedding song of “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” has been replaced with something like, “Women! You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.” You have heard of that song before. What a lousy song! And the response of wives to listen to their husbands and to follow their husbands’ lead has been replaced with talk, the tough talk of, “Who are you to tell me anything?” And the children are watching.
What should a child think when dad thinks little about mom and when mom talks bad about dad? And when this animal behavior becomes the norm, can we really blame our society for taking the stance on marriage that they have, the stance that marriage can be whatever you want it to be? I suppose, we as a church, can get into a losing argument with our society about what the Bible says marriage is, but maybe our children and our society would be better served if we take a closer look at what God wants our marriages to be. God wants our marriages to be more like what we see in our wedding albums. He wants husbands and wives who think the world of each other, not who treat each like garbage. He wants family members who will support and encourage married couples, not family members who pick sides. And whenever we have fallen short in these two ways, we are accountable to the one who joins husbands and wives in holy matrimony. And he has all the paperwork he needs to send us away from him for all eternity.
But in his grace and mercy he has ripped up the divorce papers. You see, our judge is also our groom. As our groom our Lord God took a vow to never leave us nor forsake us. When his creation sinned, the Lord God did not retaliate with more sin. When his creation sinned, the Lord God did not stonewall his beloved. He met them in the garden with the first gospel and meets us with the love letter of his Word. When his creation sinned, the Lord didn’t go out to make a suitable replacement. Instead, the Lord God went to work. He went to fix what was broken. Our Lord Jesus Christ, our forever husband, led the way when took the first step of reconciliation by his words and actions. And though he didn’t have to die to prove his love to us, he did have to die to take away our sins and so he did. And he was happy to do it. It’s because of him we can know what love truly is. And it’s because of his love for us that we can make some headway on loving one another.
Maybe we can start by forgiving Adam and Eve. If there is one couple all of us could blame for our troubles, it would be our first parents, but don’t. God forgave them. You can forgive them, too. The same is true for your parents. Our parents have all sinned in different ways, but in Christ Jesus their sin has been taken away. In the peace of forgiveness, we can start to let go of any anger we might feel toward our mom or our dad and what they did to our family. In the similar way we can also forgive our spouse or our ex-spouse. If your marriage has been totaled, don’t pile on by trashing your ex. And if your marriage is broken, the only way it can really be fixed is by the one who put it together in the first place. He can make your marriage look more like the wedding album. Start with the one whose love for you has never changed, and you can change your love for one another. This change can start long before you are married. Before you think of someone as a potential husband or wife, think of them first as a child of your Father in heaven and as a brother or sister of your Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t tempt him/her to sin. Don’t fall into temptation either. There were good reasons God made Adam wait for Eve. There are good reasons for singles to keep their marriage bed for their marriage match.
As we look at the first wedding album and perhaps even our own wedding albums, goal number one is to repent of our sins. To love someone is also to forgiven them. Goal number two is to follow God’s design for marriage. Trust him and be trustworthy. Be a friend, not a “friend-emy”. Goal three is your example. Be the spouse you want your children to have. We want the best for our kids. If that’s truly the case, then the best thing a husband can be is sensitive about his wife and a wife supportive of her husband. And finally, I don’t know how we as a church can fix our sinful society, but maybe if we set out to accomplish goals 1, 2 and 3 there might be some in of our society who might look at all the fun the families of believers are having and rethink marriage and the church, God’s family of believers. What a beautiful picture that would be for God’s wedding album! Amen.