A Journal for Bible Teachers

Rest in Marriage

Rest in Marriage

The subject of rest is used in a number of ways depicting the blessing of God. The first time rest is used in Scripture it refers to marriage.This is taken from the book of Ruth where Naomi says to her daughter-in-law, “I will give you rest.” The form of rest she was speaking of was marriage. Naomi was going to enable Ruth to be introduced to Boaz, who was the master of that area of Bethlehem-judah. He was a near kinsman and therefore entitled to marry her.

Let us look at the thought of marriage being rest for a girl and the role of the husband. We should look at this in the natural and the spiritual because the Lord speaks very clearly in many Scriptures that He is the husband of Israel and the Husband of the Church, which is His bride. When a woman has become a widow, many times the Lord will draw her to Isaiah 54, where He says, “I am thine Husband.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is a type of a husband. The husband must look at the Lord to understand the role that is expected of him in marriage. The Lord is our provider, and the husband is the provider of the wife. Ruth was coming under the canopy and into the house of Boaz, who could richly provide for her. Obviously, the husband, when he marries, becomes jealous, and jealousy comes in to his heart. It is a divine jealousy to protect and guide her through life.

Role of the Husband

In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul looks at the Lord Jesus as the comforter and consoler. The husband comforts and consoles his wife emotionally. In Ephesians 5:25-27, the Lord is spoken of as the One who washes His bride. He does so by the word of God. The lips of the husband wash the bride. It is so important what the husband and wife say to each other. He is expected as a husband to cleanse his wife by the washing of the water by the word of God. The husband will make his wife what she is to be by his attitude toward her. He has tremendous power because after all, he guides her. He is responsible for her welfare here on earth and her eternity to come. He is to look after her emotional needs. He is to comfort and console her. The husband’s words form her character. As a pastor, you enter into many circumstances in people’s lives. One of the things confronted with when counseling, is that those who have a happy marriage are so contented and satisfied with life. Those who criticize and are bitter and jealous, have an unhappy marriage. Never have I experienced anyone with a happy marriage who is critical, bitter, or jealous. Women have often told me to be careful when listening to a lady because she is not saying what she is saying. When she is critical or bitter toward someone, the person is not the problem, but the problem really lies in the fact that she is unhappy in her marriage. Someone who is happily married is cheerful, joyful, and at peace. I want you all to have happy marriages as I did, because my marriage was very happy. But I will tell you quite frankly, if I had not married the right one, I do not think I would have had a happy marriage. It is so important to marry the right one. Here are some tips: if you are a man, look at the girl’s mother. Likewise, it is wisdom for the girl to look at the father of the fellow she is going to marry. My wife just bubbled over when talking to me about her wonderful mother and father and home life she had. Although I had never met my mother or father-in-law, I thought, that is the kind of home life and married life I would like to have. Therefore, I married her! Throughout our married life, we constantly talked about our parents.

Role of the Wife

I want to look at the role of the wife. About one hundred years ago, the prevailing attitude of so many young girls was to portray themselves as fragile and lie on the couch all day with the thought that after they were married their husbands would take care of them. I read this in Agatha Christie’s autobiography. She wrote that her mother, grandmother and aunts were like that, and they claimed to be fragile but lived to be in their 90’s. This idea of lying on a sofa and being cared for by your husband is not exactly scriptural!

I want to consider what someone whom I met in another country, a pastor’s wife, shared with me on the role of a wife. The first thing she said was that the wife must be devoted to the husband and to his ministry. She said a devoted wife is worth more than one hundred intercessors. A devoted wife becomes one stick in the hand of God, joined to her husband and giving him such strength. She also said she considered that a wife is one of the highest titles of a woman. The key to a happy marriage lies with the wife. We see in Proverbs 14 that a wise woman builds her house, the foolish plucketh it down. A foolish woman will destroy her house by criticism. This was revealed to me very clearly in France where I was the assistant pastor in a church. The senior pastor’s wife would say to me, “The Lord keeps giving me Proverbs 14, ‘the wise woman buildeth her house and the foolish plucketh it down,’” and do you know that that wife was constantly criticizing, complaining and murmuring to her husband. When her husband committed adultery and it was discovered, she had to stand in front of the congregation and say, “I had never given him the love and devotion that he needed.”

By contrast, the pastor’s wife whom I mentioned previously was a woman of great charm and poise. Agatha Christie described her own father as being a very agreeable man. When he died, the comment of so many was that he was a very agreeable man and not many like him. She also quoted Charles Dickens where Pegote is asked, “Is your husband agreeable?” And she replied, “He is a very agreeable man.” Disposition is very important in marriage. Are you a pleasant person to live with? This pastor’s wife had a very meek and quiet spirit, which the Apostle Peter says, is of great price.

Agatha Christie is the third best selling author in the world. The Bible comes first, Shakepeare second, and then Agatha Christie. She met numerous people in her life and said that sooner or later one is convinced that one must write their autobiography, and she started at the age of 60 but said, “I’m taking my time.” At the age of 75 she stopped writing, feeling that was the time to conclude her autobiography. The point I want to bring out is that she said in her autobiography at 75 years of age, “I only know four good and happy marriages.” So she was saying it was a rarity to find a good and happy marriage. I believe that this is wrong. I believe that as Christians we should have happy marriages. I understood that marriage was to be like heaven on earth. Mine was, and it was because of my wife. She always had a cheery attitude. She had a buoyant and positive way of looking on the bright side. If we were going through a trial, she would always stand with me. She never criticized, murmured, and of course was never bitter. These are the qualities that make up a happy marriage.

We look at the woman in Proverbs 31, and see how different it is from the woman of one hundred years ago, depicted as fragile and lying on the sofa all day. It says the “law of kindness” is in her mouth. When you speak you either speak life or death.

When I was nine years of age, a boy and his sister were transferred to my school. Many of the boys in my school were very mean to this boy and his sister for no reason whatsoever. The headmaster brought all the children together, cancelled classes, and spoke to every boy and girl in the school. He said, “You boys can punch one another, have a bleeding nose and split lip, and get up after and be the best of friends.” He continued by saying, “You will forget that fight you had, but the one thing you will never forget is the remarks that one made about you. They wound you and you will take those wounds to your grave.”

What do we say to one another? It is so important when we are married to have the law of kindness in our mouth. The law of kindness ministers life to one another, and we wash one another with the law of kindness. We are to encourage and build one another up. As couples become older, we become like one another. We become like one another because we minister to one another the same thing.

The godly pastor’s wife emphasized that it is so important to be friendly to live with, pleasant, and a strength to one’s husband. You look at a man and think he is very strong. Truly, physically, he can be very strong, and confrontationally, he can be very strong. A man is automatically a leader, so he is accustomed to determining what he is going to do and bring to pass. Yes, you can see all that in a man. What you might not see and do not understand is that that strong man can be very easily wounded by an unkind remark by his wife. That dwells with him and is like poison. It can bring him down. Other men and what they say to him can be shrugged off as “oh, that’s that person or that’s that person,” but not his wife and what his wife says to him. You cannot overcome that because the wife enters into his innermost being in a way that nobody else can. Throughout life and eternity a woman will always be a woman. There is a great difference between a man and a woman. A woman is not treated the same as a man, and so I want to give you some idea of how you can find your place in life as a woman. Recently another pastor and I were in a seminar in India, and many people wanted to be introduced to us. Many came over to us with their wives and greeted us. Then the bishop came over with a couple and introduced the wife first, and then the husband said, “This is the senior district judge of one of the largest cities in India.” The other pastor and I looked at one another and stood up and shook her hand. She had a position and we acknowledged her position. This is what I want to say to the ladies, you have to have a platform in life; a gift makes room for you. You are known for your gift. The direction that you take in life will give you a platform where you will be respected.

As a woman, it is important to have God’s gifting. You will be respected for that gift. My wife was respected because she was a teacher. I remember one situation in Indonesia many years ago, a couple of the men who were ministering got so tired they said, “We are quitting, let Sister Bailey take over.” She was accepted. You do not all have to be senior district court judges to be accepted, but you do have to have a gift in order to be acknowledged and accepted in life. I want to encourage you, those of you who travel with your husbands, ask God for a gift because it will distinguish you and give you acceptance in the eyes of others.

The godly pastor’s wife is accepted for her character, her ministry as a prayer warrior, and her wisdom; she is renowned for it. People go to her in lieu of going to her husband, who is the pastor. I say to you young girls, ask God what is your gift, and what is the platform upon which you will be accepted. It is so satisfying to be one who can walk in equality with one’s husband.

I want to come back to the thought of destroying one’s home. If you criticize, if you murmur, and if you are bitter, sooner or later your home will be destroyed. Work on your character because we reproduce ourselves. The wife, because of her attitude, can destroy the husband’s ministry. When a church is searching for a new pastor the board will inevitably ask, “Please come with your wife,” because they know the tremendous impact that a wife has upon her husband.

Marriage is Rest

Marriage is rest, and it takes two to make a good marriage. A husband should be a provider, comforter, consoler, and one who washes with his mouth and builds up his wife so that his wife can walk by his side. To the women I want to say, you want to be accepted in life. In Proverbs 18:16 it says, “a man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men.” That is true of women, your gift makes room for you. Ask God, “What is the gift you have for me?” One is known by one’s gift. So many say, “If only I had an opportunity.” Abraham Lincoln said, “There are no overnight successes.” What appears to be an overnight success is someone who is prepared. An opportunity opens up and they step into it. An opportunity is no good unless you are prepared. God is a wise builder. He is not going to give you an opportunity unless you are prepared. The key is preparation. Then when the opportunity comes, you are ready.

How Do You Prepare Yourself

How do you prepare yourself? First of all, you have to know your gift, and then secondly, you work at it. Whatever your calling, you work at it and prepare. Then when God says, “Here is your opportunity,” you step in, and you are in the place God has for you. There is no opportunity for those who are not prepared.

You must also prepare yourself in the realm of character. The person who gets an opportunity to marry is the person who is pleasant to live with.

Here is the rest that is promised by God. There is a higher rest and a higher marriage because the Lord said, “I am married to you.” What kind of a bride does He want? He wants one who is rejoicing, who is meek, of a beautiful spirit, and has the law of kindness in her heart. This is the type of person that is going to be a part of the Bride of Christ. Rest applies to marriage. Prepare yourself and your gift, so that when the opportunity comes you are ready. Prepare your character so that you are a beautiful person inside and outside. The Lord spoke to me several years ago that He is very careful whom He gives to be married to His sons, so we have to qualify in God’s sight.

Of course, marriage is not the highest calling. To be single perhaps is, because you can wait upon the Lord without distraction. Nonetheless, married to a person or married to the Lord, let us work at it. By the grace of God, we will have our platform, and from that platform we gain acceptance, and we are noted for who we are as a person. A wise woman buildeth her house. Prepare yourselves, get prepared, be prepared, because when the opportunity arises you want to be ready to step in.

About the Author

Dr. Brian J. Bailey is the President of Zion Fellowship International, Zion Ministerial Institute, and Zion University. He is also Senior pastor of Zion Chapel in Waverly, New York. He has traveled to over a 100 countries during his ministry of over fifty years, teaching in Bible colleges and preaching in leadership seminars. He is a prolific author of over 50 Christian books that have been published around the world and translated into many languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and French.

Dr. Bailey hails from London, England and left there on his first missionary trip to France. From there he went to Switzerland and became co-founder of a missions fellowship called “Croisade Missionaire.” It was there he met his wife who was herself on a missionary trip to Europe and North Africa.

After a pastorate in Washington State, the Baileys were invited to be on the faculty of Elim Bible Institute. Later they were invited to New Zealand where they had an extended ministry and participated in the national awakening that the country experienced. In 1973 they served for more than five years with World MAP, a missions organization that conducted leadership training seminars in many nations throughout the world. This led them to travel and minister in many nations. Then the Lord directed them to establish Hebron Missionary Fellowship at Waverly, NY which is now named Zion Fellowship International.

Dr. Bailey received a Doctor of Theology, Th. D. from Hebron Bible College. He received a Ph. D. in Biblical Studies form Vision Christian Bible Seminary. He also received a Doctor of Divinity, D. D. from Canada Christian College.

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