A Wisdom Poem on Marriage and Morals
- Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D. Two Becoming One
- 2003 11 Dec
Some things just fit. They were meant to go together. That’s the way God created them. He creates the object and then places it into its perfect setting. And when He highlights this kind of a match and displays it before us, we are amazed. It takes our breath away. It is a thing of beauty.
Yet today many are willing to substitute the things of beauty, such as, “the way of a man with a maid,” with cheap and unholy imitations. Entertainment and media are replete with depictions of sex outside of marriage: fornication, adultery and homosexuality. This is why we need to turn to the Bible and be reminded of God’s wondrous creative matches — creating the perfect object and placing it in the perfect setting.
When the wise sages of Israel wanted to express their own amazement at God’s creative matches, they often did so through their numerical proverbs:
“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand” (Proverbs 30:18).
This sage of Israel begins by portraying three of God’s beautiful scenes before our eyes: in the air, on the land, and in the sea, and then a fourth climactic personal scene (30:19). God designed each lovely scene to take our breath away, to cause us to stand back in surprised silence and recognize the amazing beauty of His creative genius. Like a marvelous artisan, He displays His creative wisdom through His works of art (see Proverbs 3:19-20; 8:22-31). So let’s take an admiring look at God’s beautiful handiwork. First, in the air:
“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky” (Proverbs 30:18-19).
The first amazing work of God is the majestic “way of an eagle in the sky.” When we have the privilege of spotting the grandeur of the great eagle soaring through the sky on unseen air currents, we stand back in wonder and awe. So it is not surprising that the eagle has become one of God’s beautiful wonders of nature (see Exodus 19:4; Psalm 103:5; Isaiah 40:31). How does the eagle do it? The answer is simple. God created it to do it: the eagle in the sky, a perfect match.
The sage then moves from the air to the land:
“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: … the way of a snake on a rock” (Proverbs 30:18-19).
The second amazing work of God is the expeditious “way of a snake on a rock.” Every now and then our eyes catch an elusive glimpse of a snake as it slithers across a rock with such speed that it seems to disappear as quickly as it appeared, just there and then gone again. How does the snake do it? God created it to do it: the snake on the rock, a perfect match.
The sage then moves from the land to the sea:
“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: … the way of a ship in the middle [lit., heart] of the sea” (Proverbs 30:18-19).
The third amazing work of God is the graceful “way of a ship in the middle of the sea.” A ship, launched out into the deep with its sails straining upward into the brisk, unseen breezes, glides effortlessly through the churning waters, a beautiful seascape before our eyes. How does the ship do it? Man may have designed and built it, but it is God who created it to do it: the ship in the heart of the sea, a perfect match.
And finally, the sage moves from three of God’s natural wonders to one of His personal wonders — the most personal and intimate wonder of all:
“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: … the way of a man with a maid [lit., a virgin]” (Proverbs 30:18-19).
The fourth amazing work of God is the intimate “way of a man with a maid.” This is no ordinary man and woman. This is a depiction of the young, virgin groom with his young, virgin bride on their wedding night, consummating their marital union for the first time. It is that holy splendor that newlyweds experience when they come together in God’s wondrous “one flesh” relationship. How does the couple do it? The answer is simple. God created them to do it: the groom and the bride, a perfect match.
Three beautiful and mysterious gifts of God, and especially a fourth, that cause us to stand back in awe of and love for such a divine Creator. But the wise sage is not through. With one final parting shot, he hammers home his closing moral lesson:
“This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Proverbs 30:20).
Talk about a moral meltdown! Here is a moral madness that sabotages the divine order of reality, be it an adulterous woman or man: the right object now in the wrong setting. When we substitute our own fleshly, sexual pursuits for God’s spiritual “one flesh” relationship, we start a process of hardening our hearts that will ultimately result in a moral callousness toward the beautiful things of God.
You see, there dwells within each one of our hearts the potential for both the beauty and the beast. When we distort God’s moral order of things, especially in the realm of sexual ethics, the beast in us turns on the beauty in us and leads us into mental, physical and social destruction. Awe disintegrates into awful. Wonder turns into wander.
But God is more than willing to forgive, restore and renew. If we did not wait for God’s wondrous and holy wedding night or if we have wandered into other destructive relationships, He invites us to return. If we have lost the wonder of God’s moral order of things and especially of His “one flesh” gift, which has now become nothing more than just gratifying a short term appetite, He waits for our confession. For when the beast in us engulfs the beauty in us, life turns bitter and the pursuit of unending and unfulfilling lusts becomes the norm. Then it’s time to return to the Lord and come clean. He is waiting.
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