Take a Vow: Week 5

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

A Rainy Day at Stonepoint

Today was the final day of a five part series on marriage. I reallTake A Vow_ppty enjoyed this series way more than I thought I would. Being in my stage of life I thought there was not much of a reason for me to attend. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Today’s message concentrated on Genesis 24 and how the person of Rebekah mirrored how the Bride of Christ should be. There were five points:

1. The bride came to learn of the son (Isaac) through his representative. Just as Rebekah learned of Isaac through the faithful servant, so too does the church. Today, the church learns about our Husband, through the representative of the Holy Spirit in our lives. See 1 Corinthians 2: 7-10

2. Rebekah had to leave her old life behind to be with the son. By faith, Rebekah left her old life believing that she would find a lift that he didn’t have in her present situation. The parallel is obvious. To truly know and follow Christ, we need to leave our old life. A life with Christ is far better than anything we can have on our own.

3. Rebekah had to make a journey with the servant before seeing the son. We too, are on a journey with the Holy Spirit. Becoming a Christian does not take away suffering and pain. They will still be with us as long as we are on the journey (1 Peter 3:3-7).

4. Rebekah desired purity before meeting her bridegroom. She covered her head before meeting Isaac. In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 Paul explained that he betrothed the Corinthians (currently the church) to Christ so that we might be presented as a pure virgin.

5. Rebekah was loved and cared for by the son (Isaac) Genesis 24:66-67. Again, the parallel is obvious. We are betrothed to a bridegroom who loves and cares for us. He has promised to never leave or forsake us.

This was truly a blessed and encouraging series. I pray the lessons from it will be life changing for us at Stonepoint and to the Bride of Christ at large. Blessings.

Unnamed Servant

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Well, here it is, Sunday on the Prairie again. It has been a wet, cold and yes, actually snowy week here. I hitched up the Toyota wagon and turned on the horse power and started my way to church. I took the longer trail to get to church because my normal trail head to the church is full of holes, and when wet, quite muddy. Once at church, I did my greeter time, than sat down in the last row as usual.

The message today was particularly good but I can’t do it justice in this blog post. But please allow me to try to highlight one part of it at least. Today was the fourth week of a five week series on marriage. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thought about taking a break during this series, but I just didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I think it was of the Lord because I have thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot that I could incorporate into my life.

Today’s message was about Abraham’s unnamed servant from Genesis 24 and how he is a picture of the Holy Spirit. I must confess I had never thought about that before. Just briefly, the servant made a covenant with Abraham to go find a wife for Isaac. As you read the account, a couple things stand out:

1. In Gen. 24:10-20 you find the servant praying. But he is not praying for himself. He is interceding for Abraham. As he prays, he also the bride he would be choosing for Isaac. He didn’t look for outward beauty, but looked for a bride with a good heart. He had a specific test in mind where the potential bride would go beyond and above giving him a drink but would also water the camels. Rebecca did just that. In the same way, the Holy Spirit looks at our heart, and draws us to Jesus Christ. What a great picture of the Spirit bringing us to salvation. Our natural heart is so hardened about seeking salvation, that unless the Spirit softens our heart, we will not come. But with God, all things are possible, as the scripture says!

2. One more thing for today. In Genesis 24:37 and beyond, the servant speaks, but he only speaks in behalf of his master. The servant knew the heart of his master and spoke accordingly. When we have the Holy Spirit, we have the heart of the Master. “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

Covenant vs Contract

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Today was week two of a five part marriage series. Again, I was greatly surprised at the direction the pastor took on this subject. The basic passage today was Genesis 24 Abraham makes a covenant with his most trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac. Covenants were very important in the Old Testament and they should be today.

In our day, instead of covenants, we have contracts. A contract is a document based on the mutual distrust of the two parties. When you make a contract with some one you usually have a mediator because the parties don’t fully trust each other. Take a contract to purchase a house, for instance. The buyer doesn’t believe everything the seller says, so he gets an independent inspector. The seller doesn’t fully trust the buyer that he will not back out of the contract, or will come up with the agreed upon price.

A covenant is different. It is made based the mutual TRUST of the two parties. When Abraham’s servant agreed to find a wife for Isaac, there was no doubt that the servant would do everything possible to fulfill the covenant. Also, once he agreed to this, there was no backing out. It was binding on the two parties.

It’s sad that we don’t have “covenants” today, especially in marriage. I remember back some nearly 40 years ago, when my soon to be wife were courting. We were both nearing 30 years old and, to be honest, were not all that strong of Christians. I remember one evening we were talking. During the talk we made a promise to each other that, whatever happened, we would not allow divorce to be an option in our lives. We then, bowed in prayer and made that promise to each other before God. We didn’t call it a covenant nor were we even thinking covenants. I doubt if we were even aware of the Biblical concept at the time. But we, inadvertently or not, had made a covenant.

That covenant was tested several times during our marriage. My wife getting these mysterious pains soon after we were married caused a lot of stress and fears. There were times I thought I wanted to get out of the situation. But every time I would have such a thought, God always brought that night back to my mind where we prayed over our “covenant,” and I kept going. My wife, I am sure, had plenty of reasons to be challenged too, but never told me. Toward her death two years ago, she would often tell me that I was the perfect husband. While I appreciated what she said, I knew I was far from that. She even told me once that no one would have stayed with her given he sickness and the things she put me through. That really struck me. Have we come that far in Christianity when a spouse has to be surprised that the other spouse would stay with the marriage? I guess when the divorce rate is around 50% within the church, there is good reason to be surprised. I wonder if couples need to go back to making covenants with each other before getting married? I know it made a difference and bound me to my wife because I had given her that pledge and I had a reverence to God not to break that covenant.

I am finding this series at Stonepoint both interesting and challenging even though I am now a widower and out of the realm of marriage. Thinking of “the covenant” it makes me want to be a man of integrity and that my Yes will be yes and my no will be no. I pray all of us Stonepointers will make every effort to attend this series and that we will have soft hearts toward the Lord to make changes in our lives. May God’s grace be with us.

Marriage: Take a Vow.

Take A Vow_pptBob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I got up a little early today to go to church today. I was starting work as a greeter and I was supposed to arrive a little early. It was fun shaking hands and saying hello to people.

When the service started I sat down like I usually do. I knew that pastor Brandon was starting a series on marriage. In all honesty, I feel I am a little beyond that. I am 67 years old, a widower and marriage does not seem to be in my future. But I realized since coming here, that I no longer come for the music, sermon or for any other reason except to worship our Lord.

As usual, by God’s grace to open my eyes and ears, the message was a blessing. This may be a little long, but if you stay with it, I think you well be blessed as I was.

Pastor Brandon used Revelation 19:7-9 as a starting point. Kind of unusual for a message on marriage. After laying the ground work using the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” Pastor Brandon went over what happens at a Jewish wedding. Here are some highlights:

First, the groom’s father, or his representative, goes out looking for a bride for his son.

2. Once found, they give her a dowry

3. The Bride’s father then assumes the responsibility to keep the bride pure. The bride doesn’t know when the groom will be coming for her.

4. Then there is the “betrothal.” Our closest thing to this is the engagement. But you can always break an engagement, a betrothal cannot be broken.

5. Finally, when everything is ready. There is the wedding celebration.

I hope you can see some parallels here with what God has done, and is doing, for us.

First, God chose us. 1 Thess. 1:4.

Second, He offers us a betrothal covenant.

Third, There is a payment 1 Cor. 6:20.

Fourth, as the bride of His Son, we are kept by the Father. Eph. 5:26-27. We love the idea of God being out there for us, but we hate dying to ourselves.

Fifth, Jesus is building a dwelling place for us. Jn. 14:2.

Sixth, He is sending his Son back for His bride. We need only to be ready.

Matthew 25:1-13.

Finally, the wedding feast. Matthew 26-26-29. Note in verse 29 notice that Jesus will not feast again until that day when He drinks it new until he drinks it with his disciples in his Father’s kingdom.

Final thought: If we model our marriages and relationships the way that Christ did, our lives will be less about ourselves and more about others.