Sunday, 30 October 2016
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. Ephesians 5:29
Paul, in support of his statement that “husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies,” brings in an obvious matter. Unless mentally deranged, “no one ever hated his own flesh.” It is interesting that Paul uses the term “flesh” rather than “body.” His mind certainly hearkened back to Genesis 2:23 –
And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Though the man and wife have separate bodies, they are one flesh. A man doesn’t hate his own flesh, and the wife is his very flesh. Therefore, it is contrary to what is moral and biblically sound to hate one’s wife.
To further explain, he next says that a man will nourish and cherish his own flesh. The word “nourish” is found only twice in the Bible, and both are in Ephesians. It gives the sense of rearing a child up to maturity. In essence, it indicates “from childhood to adulthood.” This is how a man is to treat his wife. He is to care for her as their marriage moves from stage to stage. She is not be loved while young and in her flower, and then discarded after her body has become aged and worn.
The word “cherish” is also rare. It is found here and in 1 Thessalonians 2:7. “Cherish” is a good translation of it. It originally came from the thought, “to keep warm.” When it is cold out, we will protect ourselves with that which warms us. Maybe we will kindle a fire, make a cup of hot chocolate, and wrap up in something fuzzy. This is what one is also to do for his precious wife. He is to tend to her, cherishing her in a manner which will keep her safe, happy, and content.
And once again, in order to show the basis for this treatment of our beauties, Paul returns to the antitype, Christ. He says that we are expected to do these things “just as the Lord does the church.” He again equates Christ’s relationship to the church with a man’s relationship to his wife. For us to act contrary to this in regards to our wife is to then show contempt of how the Lord has already set the pattern for us in His love of us.
Life application: The Bible shows us, clearly and precisely, that men are to act properly towards their wives, caring for them and treating them in the same manner that Christ treats His church. When we fail to do this, our actions are certainly unacceptable in the eyes of the Lord.
Lord God, You have set a marvelous example for men in how they are to treat their wives. We are to care for them just as You care for Your church. Our care is to extend from year to year as our marriage ages, even bringing the relationship to a point of maturity never imagined in our youth. And our care is to be as if she is our own flesh; keeping her warm, safe, and content in the cold reaches of life’s walk. Help us in this, O Lord. Help us to be loving, caring, nurturing men, willing to put our wives on the pedestal of our hearts. Amen.