Albu van Eeden
Today is a great and wonderful day. Standing here in Rev Stegen’s pulpit for this wedding ceremony makes me fear and tremble, however, I believe and trust in the Lord because He is greater than everyone and everything. I believe that we will hear the voice of the Lord.
The bridegroom selected a text from Jeremiah 17:
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8
This verse is applicable for a time such as this because we have emerged from a time of drought, and we are living in a time of extreme drought. I have a burden for the decadence, immorality and filth that is sweeping the world. Friends, the bulk of the filth is invisible. The extent to which the greatest filth has penetrated every household is unimaginable. Pornography has conquered all the nations of the world and the most common tool used for this purpose is the cell phone. We have reached a point where, if you want to remain pure, you must flee.
In Genesis 19 we read an incident involving Lot.
16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” Genesis 19:16,17
This is where we are at present. Run, flee, escape for your life. Lot thought he could still invite the angels into his house and show them hospitality. The angels said, “Forget about all that. There is no time. Leave now to save your life.”
The bulk of today’s youth today live in whoredom through the internet and porn. Young man, if you look at these things you are living the life of a whore, you are living in adultery. You cannot even consider marriage because of the filth you live in. One thing will save you - flee to the mountains. Get rid of your smart phone. Be drastic! Chop off your right hand, because you must flee. What make this lifestyle so acceptable? People can watch all this filth and yet live an apparent normal life. Sodom and Gomorrah was like this. Everyone lived immorally but they lived their lives and continued with their daily work. They were not struck down or stricken with disease. Everyone is busy on the internet with the greatest filth - which is an abomination to God and his kingdom. Flee or you will be swallowed up!
What we see here today is the opposite of the internet filth. God says 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” Revelations 22:11. These two young people are blessing us with the opposite. In the filthiest world, they have lived the purest lives, and are marrying in the purest way under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
One of the most common ways in which people lose the Christ Child today is through marriage. Many lose the Lord Jesus through marriage. They allow lust into their lives. They get involved in affairs and sleep around. The wedding day itself has become known as a time of drinking and debauchery. Satan has taken marriage (which belongs to God) and made it a prize piece for his kingdom.
This is what makes today so beautiful: These two people have made sure that they do not lose the Christ Child in this important time in their lives. Christ remained first. Their lives remained on the altar. Their own wills were put on the altar. They said Lord, “Let your will be done. Speak to us if you want us to get married.”
Marriage is not for people who were converted just yesterday. It is for a person who has walked the way and heard the voice of the Shepherd. Some never hear the Lord’s voice but strangely. when the time for marriage comes, then they hear the Lord’s voice. First learn to follow the Shepherd’s voice from day to day before you can dream about marriage. You must have learned your spiritual weaknesses, how to watch out for them and overcome them, otherwise your weaknesses are carried into your marriage and they will complicate things and create a mess. Marriage is not a place for self-pity. It is not a place for grudges which cause you and your partner not to be on speaking terms so that the atmosphere in the home becomes tense because the parents are not on speaking terms.
I would briefly like to look at the effect of marriage and a family life on everyone in order to illustrate what a marriage can do to people, using the example of Jephthah.
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 And Gilead's wife also bore him sons. And when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him. 4 After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5 And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.” Judges 11:1-6
The family can be the hardest, worst and most evil place if God is not in a marriage. Notice what Jephthah, this mighty warrior had to go through before he could lead God’s nation. The family life, the marriage of a husband and wife in marriage can be just as challenging as leading an army. It demands self-control to lead a family. It demands walking in the spirit at all times. It demands walking in faith. It demands extreme wisdom needed by the couple to handle the family and children. It demands self-control and no carnal behaviour towards husband or wife. Never argue in front of your children. You destroy one other if you do so. The worst thing you can do when things go wrong between the couple is to return to your mother and tell her what your husband/wife is doing and ask her what you should do? This is not the Christian marriage.
Phumlani and Nothando have set a high standard for themselves. Do not lose the Christ Child through your marriage. Do not speak to your friends about what happens between you and your partner. This degrades and brings shame upon a marriage instituted by God. In His kingdom we do things differently. God’s word teaches us that if your partner does not behave, respect or listen, share your burden with a counsellor. If the guilty party does not listen, the Word tells us that the partner must be taken before the congregation, and they be allowed to speak.
Leading a family is as challenging as a general leading an army. You need much grace because you are constantly in each other’s company, from morning till evening, day after day, night after night. You cannot reach a point where you say I cannot take it anymore; I will do as I like.
Phumlani’s text is a blessing because this is how he lived before marriage. …like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought…
You will experience times of drought and circumstances that tempt you to become anxious which can lead to short-temperedness. But if you live the life that we have read about, the Bible says you will not cease to bear fruit under the most difficult circumstances.
Regarding Jephthah, he was a mighty warrior and the son of a harlot. His father married and they had more children. His brothers said that he was not one of them because he was the son of a prostitute, ‘a strange woman’. The family can be the harshest place in the world. Lives can be destroyed and not built up in our families. Look at how Jephthah walked in the spirit. It was not his fault that his mother was a prostitute. He could not help it. Look at how he was treated because of his birth. It was the ideal situation for Jephthah to feel self-pity. Self-pity is like cancer in a marriage. There is no room for this in a marriage. Jephthah could have become depressed and oppressed. His brothers’ treatment of him could have dominated and destroyed his life and made him useless. The sin of self-pity and grudges could have robbed him from being useful to God. For Jephthah it was not like this. He overcame. He became the leader of a group in a neighbouring country. In the book of Hebrews he is listed as one of the heroes of the faith. When Israel was in trouble, they returned to Jephthah and asked him to lead them against the Ammonites.
This is what the Christian marriage should be like in the dark world where everyone is filled with sin. Marriages are falling apart – it is said 1 in every 2 marriages end in divorce. Phumlani and Nothando, your marriage should be a symbol of victory and overcoming in this world. Do not allow the things of the world to enter your lives and destroy your marriage. You have the Christ Child with you whereas many have lost Him. He is with you. His blessing is on you. You have done it in His will. Everything is on the altar. Keep the Christ Child in your marriage so that you will become heroes to the world. The world may mock you saying, ‘This is silly! Ridiculous! This marriage will break up in a few years. You don’t know each other. You haven’t kissed each other. It is doomed to fail.’ Later they may return and say, ‘How do you do this?’ The world is falling apart, let them come to you and ask, ‘Please help us.’ Be victorious in this dark world. The world may not understand how you get married. They do not understand the principle of hearing God’s voice. In the world a person can marry whoever they like, but you have said that you have heard God’s voice. Stay faithful to that. We are going to watch you because no one else told you to get married. You claim you have heard the Lord’s voice. Time will show whether you heard correctly. May it prove to be true. What a glorious day this is.