Thursday, March 16, 2023

A Good Thing (Proverbs 12:4; 18:22; 19:14)

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing …" (Prov. 18:22).

Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” We might ask, can this always be the case? Job’s wife, and Samson’s, certainly did not seem like a good thing. The contentious woman of Proverbs 21 could not be considered a good thing. Proverbs 19:14 is more specific about what is good—a prudent wife is from the Lord. We could probably be even more specific and say a Christian wife is a good thing and from the Lord. Bridges teaches that the good thing implies godliness—a godliness that can only be found when a man marries “in the Lord.”

God commands that a Christian not be unequally yoked. If a Christian covenants in marriage to an unbeliever, he or she is in direct violation of God’s law. No doubt this was foremost in Manoah’s mind when he rebuked his son, Samson, for wanting to marry a Philistine: “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” (Judg. 14). Surely, Manoah thought of Abraham sending his servant to his own people to fetch a wife for Isaac rather than pluck fruit from a foreign land. But Samson refused to listen. His response reflected that of a willful and foolish son, “Get her for me, for she pleases me well.” Samson soon tasted the bitterness of his folly.

A wife (or a husband) is a good thing, a blessing of unfathomable quantity, when she (or he) knows the Lord. Many would do well to heed the resolution of Bishop Beveridge, who said, “I will always endeavor to choose such a woman for my spouse who has first chosen Christ as a spouse for herself; that none may be made one flesh with me, who is not made one spirit with Christ my Savior. For I look upon the image of Christ as the best mark of beauty I can behold in her, and the grace of God as the best portion I can receive with her. These excellences, which, though not visible to our carnal eyes, are nevertheless agreeable to a spiritual heart; and such as all wise and good men cannot choose but be enamored with. For my own part, they seem to me such necessary qualifications, that my heart trembles at the thought of ever having a wife without them.”

Read 2 Corinthians 6:14–18. What kind of advice would you give a Christian who wants to get married? Where would you advise them to look for a spouse? Where not to look? What role does prayer play in finding a suitable spouse? What warnings would you give? What are some practical consequences of marrying a unbeliever?