God Gave Us Stories
Our text for this occasion is from I Corinthians 10:
For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,
that our fathers were all under the cloud,
and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized
into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate
the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.
For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them,
and that Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them
God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might
not desire evil as they did.
When the apostle Paul wrote this for the Christians in Corinth, he essentially includes the entire library of Old Testament narratives to say to them, “God gave you all of these stories so that you would see how you should live before Him and with each other.” For these stories are examples for us all.
Caleb and Lauren, your story starts here and what a great start it is! All of this pomp and circumstance; you both look great. Your story together begins with being surrounded by people that love you, with great hymns being sung, with prayers, sacred vows, with God’s holy Word being read, with food and wine and dancing . . . not a bad start to your life together.
3 Examples to Show Us How to Live
And since you both belong to God, I will charge you with three minor examples from God’s Word in the hope that they will help you, and remind us all, of how we should then live.
In Job Chapter 2 we read:
Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
in the categories, “For better or for worse” this would qualify as the worst day ever! To make things even worse, Job’s wife is trying to get him to do exactly what the devil predicted Job would do—curse God.
One has to wonder how Job’s story would have been different if his wife had been encouraging. What if the Scripture recorded something different—her collapsing in grief at the loss of their children or her sobbing because her husband is in pain? What if she had cried while singing and then joined her husband by sitting in the ashes. What a better example for God and to others she might have been. Her story is here so that your story will hopefully be much more glorious.
Caleb stands here at your side. Marion and Chesley have done their best to raise Caleb for this day . . . well, they did what they could with what they had to work with. He is a good man; your mother and I approve of him as your husband with great enthusiasm. Most of the story of your life will be with him. By God’s grace, make it a story that causes others to be able to see the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ lived out.
In I Samuel Chapter 25 we read:
There was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved.
When we read these verses about the wise and beautiful Abigail, we cringe. “What a shame” we all think. We grieve that such a great woman would be married to such a fellow. We have all seen this in measure, in marriages around us: great wife/foolish husband. Just so that everyone knows, there will be no more casting calls, for these roles have been filled to the point of redundancy.
But we are left to wonder, what if Abigail’s husband had valued his wife’s wisdom and grace? What if he would have became “one” in heart and soul, mind and strength with his wife? How might the story have changed?
Lauren stands next to you today as your bride. In spite of the best intentions of her mother and I, she has turned out to be a good woman. Your parents have welcomed Lauren in a far greater way than we could have imagined. The story of your life will always include how you treat her. By God’s grace, show the world how much Jesus loves the Church.
These two stories were given for our edification—for us to see ourselves. To consider what could be, what should be. Now here is one more story, the story of a godly couple, of what was, of what can be.
In Acts Chapter 18 we read:
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue.
When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned, only briefly, six times in the Bible. From these snippets we know this about them: they worked together, they were fully engaged in building the kingdom, and they were an ongoing encouragement to others.
We also know this about them. Of the six times that they are mentioned, Aquila and Priscilla are referenced with equal billing for their names are constantly transposed. Their story reads this way; and if you have ears to hear, it reads like poetry: “Aquila, and his wife Priscilla, ” “Priscilla and Aquila,” “Aquila and Priscilla,” “Priscilla and Aquila,” “Aquila and Priscilla,” “Priscilla and Aquila.”
This is, at-a-glance, what being Spirit-filled looks like. This is the symmetry of leading and following. This is the beauty of authority and submission. In a word, this is marriage, where two become one.
It’s as if Aquila’s first name is “Bone” and Priscilla’s first name is “Bone.”
It is as if Aquila’s last name is “Flesh” and Priscilla’s last name is “Flesh.”
Caleb and Lauren, Lauren and Caleb. When people think of you and mention your names, may this be what they think, what they mean, what they see.
For then they will see what Jesus can do to, and for, and through, the two of you as you play out your roles in glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever.
That is the exhortation, the charge that I have for you.