The Wedding Series – Engagement

Welcome to the Magnify Him Together “The Wedding Series”. God willing, over the course of the next 8 months, we plan to create an eight part series that will examine the biblical & spiritual principles concerning the commencing of a marriage, the wedding & all that pertains to this joyous decision.

The Goal

Within our ecclesial body, we have been blessed with various resources concerning the very important subject of marriage, and rightly so. We understand that, if chosen, this is the second most important decision one will make in the time allotted before our Lord’s return. When one decides to marry, they decide to serve, to guide, to help, to support, & to love the other as their own body, even as Christ loved his bride & gave his life for her. This decision, as the Apostle Paul explains, is not a command nor is it essential for one’s salvation, but it is truly a blessing if partaken of with God’s word as the guiding light. “Except Yahweh build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127v1). It seems a bit needful then that we bring together some experiences & resources from Scripture & the brotherhood to help in the planning of this incredibly important occasion, to use along side Scripture & the beautiful resources written for marriage thereafter. It is this decision & all of the details therein, that we want to further explore here.

Biblical Engagements

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Genesis 2v18-22)

“…but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual” (1 Corin. 15v46)

The Natural: In this example, we see two individuals joined together by God’s visible hand. We see that Eve in character, in mind, & in purpose was far superior to that of the animals in that the animals were not fit companions for Adam in God’s sight. In the natural, we see that God desires us to seek companions fit in His sight, a companion who far exceeds mere carnal thinking and living. Beyond engagement, we see the need for the man to leave father & mother. This would suggest that when considering engagement, consider whether or not you can leave father and mother financially, emotionally, and as your authority, as you go forward as a new house in Christ.

The Spiritual: In this example, we find a type of the Lord Jesus Christ who, through sacrifice, brought forth a bride that would follow in his example by laying down her own life everyday to the natural ways of the flesh. In the spiritual, we see a need for each individual to reflect this type in the relationship and thus manifest the character & sacrifice of Christ & the ecclesia.


And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.” (Genesis 24:57-65)

The Natural: We find the active and loving involvement of parents in the relationship & future of their children. We see the labour and service of Rebekah to ensure her family was cared for prior to marriage as she draws water from the well daily. We see a separation from the Canaanites, as requested by Abraham. It is Rebekah that is asked by Isaac’s servant (via Abraham) to join him in marriage, but with the consent & approval of both Rebekah & her parents. We see the support of Rebekah’s friends (the damsels) in her choice and new life as they journey onward with her. We also find that Isaac was a man of study & prayer in that he is found by his bride meditating in the field. Also noted, in this account (not mentioned in the quote above) we find a dowry. This can be, if you will, an instance where perhaps we would find it appropriate to symbolize the commitment with an engagement ring or wedding band.

The Spiritual: We see in this example, two willing and busy servants in God’s ecclesia providing the water of the word to those in the ecclesia and without. We see a spirit of obedience and submission in Rebekah in that she obeys the call to join herself to the promises in Christ and veils her head to hide her glory in the presence of his. We see a faith in Isaac that trusts that the Father & His angels will guide his bride by divine selection and bring her unto him. We see a love that exists in Isaac & Rebekah for God that exceeds their love for one another.


“And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife. And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. And Abigail hasted, and arose and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.” (1 Samuel 25v40-42)

The Natural: Abigail believed in God & had understanding of His ways, specifically in His purpose with David. David was king of God’s nation Israel and was called the friend of God. Both of these amazing characters believed in, served, loved, and followed God. Abigail was faithful to an ungodly husband, and despite the circumstances and perhaps the love she had for David, she trusted that God would be with her. And upon the death of her husband, God brings her unto King David to be his wife. As we saw with Rebekah, so with Abigail, her damsels followed her in support and approval. We find in David a moment of error, but we find in Abigail the ability to reprove him in submission and meekness. David hearkens unto her counsel and is turned from sin. Truly this is what God desires in a marriage, “iron sharpeneth iron”.

The Spiritual: Here we see the beauty of Christ calling away his bride after the triumph over the flesh. No longer in bondage, she is now married to the true King of Israel. The messengers of David as the angels of God personally escorting her to her new husband. In this beautiful example of love, engagement, and marriage we see complete trust in God’s plan and his purpose in our lives.


“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1v18-25)

The Natural: So many things here were unnatural, but we see natural reactions and principles upheld in the just and faithful man Joseph. We find an espoused couple who uphold the marriage bed as undefiled as God has commanded and who follow the law gracefully and kindly when infidelity appears to have taken place. This couple works through some of the hardest trials recorded in scripture, so trying it is described as a sword piercing Mary. And yet they endure, and with God’s guidance and in prayer, they bring forth the greatest man this world has ever known.

The Spiritual: The Father entrusted two amazingly faithful people to bring about the birth of His only begotten son. They recognized the holiness of their marriage and that they were raising God’s heritage. We too should see our marriage as a vehicle in the hands of God to bring forth fruit that belongs to Him, that He has lent to us, & that we will return to Him in the end of days.


“And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter: which thing ought not to be done. And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised” (Genesis 34v1-15)

The Natural: We thought it needful to have one poor example of engagement to heed the warning and apply it in the reverse. Here we see a daughter of Israel look out into the world of beauty, vanity, success, and riches. She sees the ways of the women of the land and desires to look, act, think, and be just like them. Of course, these women are not interested in the spirit, nor in finding a man who lives according to it. So we see Dinah drawing nigh to the carnal things and cleaving unto the prince of all things carnal. Forsaking all that her mother & father have taught her, she is defiled. And when presented with this circumstance, her family attempts to fix it with spiritual principles and marriage. We see that this ends in disaster and death, and truly this is the only result for a relationship that is not based on God’s principles.

The Spiritual: The spiritual warning here can be summarized in the words of the Apostle Paul, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8v6-8). God desires the entire earth to manifest His glory and be His bride in the day of fulfillment, but the world only desires death. We must choose who we will serve, especially when considering a lifelong marriage covenant. May we look to the women of old for our guidance and not the daughters of the land around us.

Principles to Consider

In our modern world, it can seem at times that the Bible, written so many years ago, is dated and perhaps incapable of providing answers to guide us today. The reader can be assured that God has promised that all scripture is given by inspiration for “doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness“. There is no expiry date on the principles of our God and He takes delight in seeing us search the scriptures to find answers to guide our steps unto righteousness. And so with that in mind, here is a summary of the principles we have found in Scripture that can be helpful for engagement.

  • We must first love the Father, before we can love one another for “God is love” (1 John 4v16)
  • We must wash one another with the Word of God daily (Eph. 5v26)
  • A marriage covenant is for life, so ensure that the person you choose to marry will bring you closer to God and not further.

 

There are so many beautiful stories that we have heard over time of how one has proposed to the other. We wanted to share a few of those examples, so that, if you’re not at that stage yet, you may feel inspired by some of these unique & simple ideas for when you are.

We pray that as you consider this wondrous adventure ahead, even marriage, that you might bare in mind the awe inspiring principles & words of our all knowing & all providing God.

“His will is best, there let us rest” -Sister Jane Roberts in The Virtuous Woman

If you have any resources related to this post, or any of the content ahead (please see the table of contents) we would love to hear from you!

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