Read: Genesis 24:52-26:16, Matthew 8:18-34, Psalm 10:1-15, Proverbs 3:7-8
And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.
Relate: Mary and Joseph had a one-year betrothal before the “real” wedding took place. Sometime after the first but before the second, she got pregnant and had a baby. Samson threw a weeklong party where he told a riddle, killed some folks to give away their coats, and accused the wedding guests of “plowing his heifer.” At the first wedding Jesus attended, they ran out of wine and so he made a whole lot more. He turned 6 full jars holding about 30 gallons each from water into wine. Do the math. We also have the parable of the wise and foolish virgins who were waiting for the wedding to start. After years of being a servant in lieu of a dowry, Jacob had a big wedding party for his wife Rachel only to find out that, surprise, he had just married her sister instead. Isaac simply took Rebekah into his tent and… that was it. They are now man and wife.
When you look at all the different weddings we can see in the Bible, two things seem to stand out. First, none of them would line up with what we would call a Biblical or even a traditional wedding today. Second, every wedding we see in the Bible seems to be different from the others we read about. Interesting thing, the most “traditional” wedding I ever attended was not by any stretch what any American would call such. A Turkish girl who had become a Christian was marrying a Messianic Jewish boy and they were going to be leaving the conservative Turkish town she had been raised in to go live in Israel. Most of her aunts, uncles, cousins, etc were horrified. Not only has she become an apostate, but now she’s marrying a Jew and leaving Turkey? How could she!?!? So they threw the longest, most elaborate traditional Turkish wedding one could imagine to assuage their fears that, even if she is leaving the country she will not forget her culture and heritage.
React: It might be hard for us to wrap our minds around it today but there is no such thing as a “biblical wedding ceremony.” A man and woman having a small wedding at the local courthouse are no less of a biblical wedding ceremony than someone throwing an elaborate ritual complete with pipe organs, expensive dresses and tuxes, and rice throwing at on the way out the door. Now the reasons why someone eloped rather than did the whole big shindig might be less biblical, but the ceremony itself does not matter.
What does matter is not the ceremony itself but rather what happens before and after it. Although the Bible might be silent on commands for a good wedding ceremony, it gives us plenty of instructions for a good marriage. All too often, having a big elaborate ceremony makes us focus on the wedding day as the ultimate goal rather than the starting line. So if you are planning and preparing for a wedding, throw a party. Invite your friends and family. Do whatever you believe that you, your future spouse, and your families believe is best. But just remember, the wedding is not the celebration of the sprint you have finished but rather the marathon you have begun.
You love parties. You love celebrations. And You love the imagery of what the wedding celebration is all about. When You come to take us home, the first thing You will do is throw a wedding celebration for Your bride, the Church. Thank You that You care about this pivotal moment in our lives. But help us not to forget that the wedding ceremony isn’t the finish line but rather the starting block for the race we will run together, for the rest of our lives. Help us, as we begin this race together, to be a picture of Your love and Your grace to the world around us.
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