Stephanie Pavlantos: The Betrothal
After four months of dating, my boyfriend Mike planned a three-day cruise to the Bahamas. There were eight of us, and two rooms (one for the guys and one for the girls).
At the end of the evening where we had enjoyed a formal dinner, Mike took me to the top deck overlooking Nassau, the port city of the Bahamas. It was a beautiful star-filled night with the lights of the ship and the city reflecting on the water. As we looked toward the beautiful city on the ocean, he knelt on one knee and ask me to be his wife.
I said, “Yes!”
He wanted to go get the captain and be married right then. But I resisted, knowing how upset my family would be if I did that.
We planned our wedding for six months later when our family and friends could be with us. Ten months after we started dating, we became Mr. and Mrs. Mike Pavlantos. Our twenty-ninth anniversary is in April.
Has it always been easy and full of fun? Absolutely not.
Marriage can be hard. But God created the marriage to be a covenant. Even though many people experience the heartbreak of divorce, that is not what God intended.
God modeled the marriage covenant after His Son.
Let’s look at what a covenant means.
In the Bible, when two parties instituted a covenant between them, they took a fattened animal, the best of the flock or herd, and “cut” it into two pieces. Then the two parties of the covenant would pass through the pieces symbolizing their dedication to the covenant and by this action are saying, “If I do not hold to the agreements of this covenant, you can do to me what we did to this animal.”
Pretty serious stuff, right?
A betrothal started with the father choosing a bride for his son, but, the bride had to agree.
We have been chosen by the Father.
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.~Ephesians 1:4 ESV
But, this is not without our agreement.
The bridegroom and his father go to the house of this woman who will be his bride. The family knew he was coming, but it was the daughter’s decision to open the door. If she opened the door, they came in, had dinner, and ironed out the details of the marriage contract or Ketubah.
If she had cold feet or decided she did not want him as her husband, she did not open the door and the two men left.
Here’s how that looks in our Bibles:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.~Revelation 3:20 ESV
The Bridegroom comes to the door of our hearts and knocks. When we let Him in, it begins an amazing relationship that will challenge us to be holy. However, if we do not open the door—He leaves. That doesn’t mean He won’t try again. But by refusing to open the door leaves Jesus with little choice but to walk away.
Jesus will never change His mind about wanting us as His Bride. But we can back out at any time. We can walk away—as many have.
During the betrothal process, the first thing the couple and their family do is drink the first of four glasses of wine together. The first cup represents servanthood. As they drink from this cup, they vow to serve one another throughout their lives. This glass compares to the first cup of Passover.
Jesus shared three of the four cups of wine with his disciples during the Passover meal. The first cup is the Cup of Sanctification, representing a setting apart for God, serving Him only. Just as our new spouse wants all our affections and faithfulness, Jesus does too.
Jesus sets us apart for Him.
Is that easy? No.
The world can ridicule us for being pure, for not using foul language, for not watching or listening to raunchy popular movies or music, or for not partying and getting drunk, which can make us feel, well, separated—wanting to fit in.
But, being set apart shows God’s love for us. Staying pure and holy shows our love for Him.
When we are faithful to our spouse no matter what, it shows our commitment and loyalty to them.
How are we unfaithful to the Lord? With our idols…. humans always have and will always have idols–unless we acknowledge them and give them to Jesus.
Our idols can be many things, but mainly whatever pulls and keeps our attention from the Lord. When we use food, alcohol, or anything else to self-medicate our hurts or failures we make it an idol. When our spouse or children are more important than our relationship with the Lord, they become our idols.
A day or two before the wedding ceremony, the bridegroom comes back for his bride, but if he found she had been unfaithful, he could divorce her.
In our relationship with the Lord, He may find us unfaithful, but He is compassionate; He forgives our unfaithfulness even though He could cut us off forever. But He requires one thing from us…repentance. Repentance is His gift to us.
Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever. ‘Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God.~Jeremiah 3:12-13 ESV
There is much more to cover in this series on the Betrothal. Believe me when I tell you it will rock your socks off.
Jesus is our Bridegroom who longs to make us His Bride forever.
Answer the door and let Him in. Ask Him to help you remain faithful as He is faithful.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be my Bridegroom. Prepare me so I can be presented holy and pure to Him. Thank You for Your love and faithfulness!
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Genre: Bible study
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