From the 11/15/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.
The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 24:30-34 I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.
If you were to visit my home today and happened to glance to the left of my house and your gaze fell upon the small part of yard between the fence and the neighbors home, what you would find is about 3 or 4k square feet of overgrowth, weeds, thorns, and the remnants of a small plot of corn surrounded by broken down wildlife netting. It's an eyesore, home to several critters, and represents the fruit which springs from applying the sentiments of the phrase
"Why do today, what you can put off till tomorrow?"
It is a literal example of what our passage of scripture is describing to us today. This text should serve as an important reminder for us men that we are commanded by God to take dominion, with our wives by our sides helping us along the way. Neglecting the dominion mandate, being sluggardly, putting off till tomorrow what you can do today, results in a land, home, workplace, and soul full of thistles and nettles. Being lazy in the field, lazy at your job, lazy in loving your wife, lazy in the discipline of your children, lazy in hospitality toward the brethren, lazy in your church attendance, lazy in prayer, and lazy in the study of God's Word, will leave you with a broken down wall, susceptible to even further ravaging by wild beasts.
I have one point of application this morning, and it is one which, if we get this wrong, all of our efforts to take dominion will be futile. Get this element of the dominion mandate all twisted, and you will find your life's work full of thistles and nettles. All you do will seem vain. Though you labor hard, the work of your hands will produce nothing but rot. Being blind in this area displays a misunderstanding of God's commands, and will leave you feeling hopeless and in want. Failing in this point will make you impotent and useless in service to your Lord.
Husbandry is hard work. Tilling the land, tending to the animals. It demands time from you, right now. Putting off the pulling of weeds, feeding the animals, and fence repair until tomorrow leaves your land and animals open to the encroachment of thorns and wild beasts.
Men, the role which you have been commanded to fulfill towards your wife, as her Husband, is no less difficult and demanding.
As Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her, men, you are to love your wives and lay down your life for her. Why wouldn't you? She is bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, is she not? What man hates his own body?
Just as the man engaged in husbandry must consider his crops and animals before his own rest and comfort, so should the man with a wife consider her needs before his wants.
Husbands, your wife is your helper. As a woman she is the weaker vessel. Just as the Lord Jesus remembers your frame, that you are but dust, you must remember the frame of your wife.
Your wife's nagging, laziness, incompetence, or spiritual immaturity does not give you permission to set aside your duty to love your wife. Christ has not set aside His promises toward His lazy, incompetent Church, has He?
Your wife's stubborn unwillingness to not submit to your leadership in the home does not give you a mandate to neglect your God given duties in the home.
What are some of those duties?
To love her, and lay down your life for her as Christ gave His life for the Church. Love, by not being rude, not keeping a record of wrongs, not seeking your own way. Love, an action which sometimes has an emotional element, that ALWAYS acts for the good of the object of that love. Love your wife, by remembering her frame, considering her needs before your wants.
One way to tangibly love your wife is to wash her with the Word. This is vital. You ever have a child come to you with a wound, perhaps they fell off their bike and scraped their knee. You don't break out a fire hose and wire brush and go to town hosing the child down and scrubbing their skin to the bone with the wire brush. You wash their wounds. Gently. Patiently, knowing that it is painful, the child is likely scared, maybe uncertain and wary that what you are doing is going to hurt.
Men, this is how we must love our wives: by applying God's Word to them. Gently, lovingly, with understanding. The way Christ does so towards His Church. You will not spiritually batter, beat, or manipulate your wife into submission to your headship and a faithful walk with Christ. There are no lessons to teach your wife by neglecting your duty towards her. If this is you: stop it.
Our duties also include physical intimacy with our wives. In a world where brutes leave behind a landscape of battered, abused little girls who grow up to be women who hate male headship and any inkling of patriarchy: you men ought to be at the front of the line to show physical intimacy towards your wife, gently, and patiently. If not you, someone surely will.
Hold her hand. Hug her. Kiss her in public. Shower her with affection. Love her, even when she is unlovable. Don't you dare neglect your conjugal duties toward your wife. This is akin to not repairing a broken down fence. Physical intimacy of this variety is meant as a hedge of protection for both you and her against sexual immorality. To neglect this is not only foolishness of epic proportions, it is hateful. Stop it.
Men, as we can see from the passage today, the work of husbandry in the field and in the home is work which we cannot be slack in, lest our poverty and want come in like armed men. Are you tired and weary? There may be good reason. As we labor in our own strength, our own wisdom, without faith, we will quickly see how hopeless and futile that type of toiling quickly becomes. It will leave you exhausted, and feeling like a failure.
There is a better way. Have faith. Trust in Jesus. Seek to be like Him in the ways He loves His church, with faith in Him. Believe His promise, that just as the gates of hell cannot prevail against His bride, He takes equal concern of your marriage, because it is a reflection of His relationship to the Church.
If you are able, please join me in kneeling as we ask God for forgiveness of our sins.
We come before Your throne of Grace this morning having had our hearts laid open by Your Word which is living, active, and sharper than a two edged sword.
Father, we toil in our own strength: please forgive us.
We toil with worldly wisdom rather than that which comes down from above: please forgive us.
We husbands do not love our wives, and wives do not submit to their husbands: please forgive us.
Please forgive us Father for the damage we do to our children, and the reproach we bring upon Your name, when husbands and wives neglect their duty in marriage.
Father, please help us husbands to love our wives the way Your Son loves His bride. In Jesus's Name we pray, Amen.
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Psalm 128:1-3 How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!