Day 5 The Framework for Love
The Framework for Love
The Framework for Love. It was time for bed and once again Sarah checked the oil in her lamp to be sure it would last through the night. She lit her lamp and half halfheartedly laid out her wedding clothes, tossing them on the chest beside her bed.
This routine was part of her agreement in the marriage contract. Sarah agreed to keep her lamp lit and her wedding clothes ready every night in anticipation for Jacob’s return. No one but Jacob’s father knew when he would come and take her to the Wedding, not even her own father knew the date. She must be ready at all times.
Initially Sarah lit her lamp and laid out her clothes with care, always thinking, “my groom will return for me any day now – maybe tonight.” But lately she had become discouraged, “Why is it taking so long for Jacob to return?” Sarah tossed and turned in her sleep with troubling thoughts “It has been 3 years and well into the 4th year I am almost 17! I had hoped after my Mikvah, the Bridal Bath, that he would be here soon…I feel like the Ketubah, the signing of the covenant, was in another life!”
Alone in the night Sarah tried to remember Jacob’s voice, the excitement she felt when he looked into her eyes at the signing of the Ketubah, Covenant. What were the promises he made? He said he would come back. Sarah’s thoughts wandered…what if he found someone more beautiful, stronger, someone whose legs were not crippled? These fears and questions brought fitful sleep rather than the peaceful slumber she was used to.
“Sarah, why does your face look like a storm this morning?” Hannah asked. Hannah was the maid Jacob had given to Sarah while he was away. Her job was to be his representative and Sarah’s helper, teacher and comforter.
The tears fell freely down Sarah’s young face as the pain in her heart spilled out. “Why is it taking so long? Why doesn’t Jacob come? The time is almost past? I’ve kept my lamp lit every night for over 3 years. Every night I take out my wedding clothes. I’ve been learning all I can to be a wife of virtue for my husband…how long must I wait for him to take me to his Father’s house?
My friends and even my sisters are now married…how long Hannah? How Long?!”
Hannah comforted Sarah, “Child, do you not remember how much Jacob loves you? Do you not remember the huge price he paid for you? Your friends and sisters were practically given away in comparison. You are greatly loved Sarah, that is why it is taking longer.” Sarah’s tears slowed down as Hannah continued.
“Do you not remember that Jacob, your groom, went beyond the Ketubah and offered you the privilege of a wife now, with access to all his father owns?” Hannah went to the trunk where Sarah kept her dowry and wedding clothes and removed a large scrolled document; The Ketubah, the covenant contract of Jacob and Sarah’s marriage. “Have you read the Ketubah lately? This Sarah, is not only a contract, it is a Framework for Love. For the deep love of your bridegroom. Do you remember what it says? That your groom will never leave you or forsake you? That he is only gone for a short amount of time and he will return for you? This Ketubah is the contract, the guarantee, that Jacob WILL return!”
“Remember”, Hannah continued, “only Jacob’s father knows the day and the hour he will come for you. Remember, Jacob’s father is making sure the marriage chamber is worthy of you, Jacob’s bride. This is why it is taking so long Sarah, because you are so deeply and fully loved.”
“Yes”, said Sarah softly, “I’ve tried to read it, to remind myself, but the Ketubah is hard for me to understand. How can something I don’t understand bring me comfort and peace?” “My child” Hannah said, “This is why your groom left me for you; to comfort and to teach you.” Hannah sat next to Sarah and and began to explain the beautiful covenant and it’s promises.
Understanding Our Covenant with Jesus Christ
Many years ago at Westside Church in Bend, Oregon I participated in a women’s Bible Study called “Our Covenant God” by Kay Arthur. It completely impacted my life and thinking. Over the years I have sought to understand the Covenant I have from God; the more I understand and walk in Covenant, the more I have peace. My Covenant with God is a Framework for Love.
Working with people to restore their health now for almost a decade, I have noticed one common thread…most people do not understand the concept of Covenant and this impacts their health, their relationships and their personal peace. Although they have “said the prayer” and asked Jesus to be their Savior, some read their Bible, some go to church, some know a lot “about” God, however, their relationship with Christ is remote, distant, and duty-driven rather than the deeply personal relationship of a betrothed couple, a bride and her groom.
The reason? They do not understand what it means to be in Covenant. The modern understanding of Covenant is relegated to rules of homeowners in a housing subdivision. God’s understanding of Covenant is a deeply personal love relationship; in fact it is The Framework of Love.
What is The Covenant Ketubah?
This legally binding document, signed by witnesses was a charter of a woman’s rights and the man’s duties; designed for a woman’s protection. The Ketubah included the husband’s requirement to provide for his wife, the amount he would have to pay in the event of divorce and also the provision for his heirs in case of his death or hers. It was there as a “spokes person”, with witnesses, to provide accountability for the couple. Anytime the thought of divorce would come up over the years of the marriage, the terms were already established…this gave for deep consideration as the consequences were established before the marriage even began.
“The Ketubah was an ethical statement that would safeguard the wife and mother and serve as an anchor in the turbulent seas of marriage. The Ketubah is the Framework For Love.” (1)
The Bible is our Ketubah, our Covenant Contract. It is the Framework for God’s Love for us.
Our future is lined out in the Word of God…”I will never leave you or forsake you” God even promised that though we were unfaithful to Him he would never be unfaithful to us. Romans 8:38-39 assures us that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Like Sarah, we can become discouraged, feel rejected and wonder if Jesus our groom is really there or will really come for us. We may look around and see others who are not in relationship with Jesus prospering. We may get caught up in the busy-ness of this world we live in and forget our covenant relationship. We may see the world around us in turmoil and wonder…is this Jesus thing really real?
However, like Sarah longed for Jacob her groom, when we, from our heart, begin to long for our groom, Jesus, “even so Lord Jesus, Come”, we become aware of “The Helper”, the Holy Spirit Jesus left for us. We receive comfort as The Spirit teaches us all we need to know. When we read the Covenant, our Bible, The Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of who our Covenant partner is and what he has provided for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 & 12 tells us
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (NLT)
Their Covenant Provided for Exchange of Identity
Jacob would become known as Sarah’s Husband and Sarah as Jacob’s wife. No longer an individual identity. At the Ketubah Sarah became known as “one bought with a price”. The veil she wore over her face in public identified her as no longer available but betrothed in marriage.
Once the marriage was consummated at the Wedding, the veil would be removed by Jacob. They would not only exchange identity but according to God’s design they would literally become one flesh. In Mark 10:6-9 Jesus said
6 But ‘God made them male and female’[a] from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife,[b] 8 and the two are united into one.’[c] Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
We too Exchange Our Identity with Christ
We are now seen by God as “In Christ”.
2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
Their Covenant Provided an Exchange of Authority
When Sarah drank “The Cup of Acceptance” and acknowledged the Covenant she was no longer her own; she belonged to Jacob — and Jacob belonged to her. At that point of acceptance if Sarah gave her heart, her body or any part of her life to another man it would be considered adultery, even though they had not yet consummated the marriage.
Song of Solomon 6:3
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”
Our Covenant In Christ Provides for The Exchange of Authority
This exchange means that we give Christ authority over all we have and all we are; as meager as that may be…over our physical body and our spirit; our mind, will and emotions, our gifts and talents, our possessions, dreams and desires. The world and people vie for our affection, call us to leave our Covenant partner and give ourselves away. We must remember….
1 Corinthians 6:20
“You were bought with a price, Therefore Honor God with your body and your spirit which are God’s.”
In exchange, we receive authority over all that He has. Can you imagine? The King of The Universe gives to you and I, as weak and crippled and unworthy as we are full access to His authority!
(Christ is) Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Their Covenant Had Benefits
At the signing of the Ketubah Jacob gave Sarah full access to his father’s resources. Anything she needed was provided for her. He also left Hannah, his own maid, as proof that he would return for Sarah. When Sarah drank the Cup of Acceptance she said “Yes!” to the Covenant promises and conditions of becoming Jacob’s wife.
Our Covenant With Christ Provides for Our Needs
And My God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches (not our resources).
We are not victims of our job, the economy, our abilities, gifts or talents. Jesus Christ, our Covenant partner who owns with His Father, the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth of the universe will provide ALL our needs.
Jesus himself tells us exactly what we can expect from Him
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
All we need to do is ask! The Benefits of The Covenant are fully ours.
Are You Ready To Learn To Walk Fully In Covenant?
This is a deep and beautiful concept that once fully grasped and understood will bring you an incredible amount of peace, increase your faith and revolutionize your life…I promise!
Over the next few days we will look at the elements of Our Covenant and how to put those into our real lives.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this or any of our Days of Honor.
You and I are deeply loved!
(1) The Marriage Contract, Maurice Lamm, http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465168/jewish/The-Marriage-Contract-Ketubah.htm
About the Author: Celeste Davis, is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ with a heart to walk fully in Covenant with Him. As Founder of The Wellness Workshop, Celeste’s heart is to teach women and impact their families to “Be Nourished” as opposed to dieting or trying different life strategies. We nourish our bodies with God-Made Food, our Souls with God-Made Relationships and our Spirits with the Word of God and Prayer. More Info about Celeste