Jentezen Franklin - The Cave Of Couples
So I want you to look with me in Genesis 23 at a remarkable little passage of scripture that I pray God burns into your heart like He has mine in verse 17. And so the field of Ephron was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, the cave which was in it. All the trees, the fields, the borders surrounding were deeded to Abraham as a possession. Verse 18. In the presence of his sons. Verse 19. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah, his wife, in the cave of the field of Machpelah. Everybody say Machpelah. Machpelah means: mach, cave. Pelah, double. The cave of double or the Cave of Couples.
That's what I want to talk about. The Cave of Couples. The word mate is used to refer in the animal kingdom, the mate of a monkey. The mate of a lion. It can also be used about the sock that's missing. That where's the mate of that sock? Where's the other shoe? But when he describes in Genesis the woman, he calls her the helpmeet. M-E-E-T. That is not a mispronunciation or some kind of, you know, difference in translation. That is a specific word for a specific reason. It's interesting. God called the wife the helpmeet, not helpmate. Helpmeet. M-E-E-T. The Hebrew word is nezer. Nezer. It's the word from which we get Ebenezer.
Now the word Ebenezer, if you live in the south, if you live in the south, somewhere in your town, there's a Baptist church called Ebenezer Baptist. Whether you know what it means or not, it's there. How many of you have ever heard of Ebenezer Baptist? I thought so. Well, that's the story, and this is so important, so just stay with me. That's the story of when Israel was fighting the Philistines, and they were about to wipe them out. And God started throwing hailstones from Heaven and delivered God's people. And as a memorial, the Bible said that they built a memorial to God, and they called it Eber, which means to build. Nezer. Ebenezer. The nezer part means divine help. To build with divine help.
In other words, the only way we made it through the battle we went through was with divine help. And when God speaks of the wife, He says she is, sir, your divine help. She's it. That's why the Bible said whoever finds a wife, or divine help, finds favor with the Lord. You're gonna win or lose your battles depending on whether or not you've got some divine help in your corner. You've got some divine help praying for you when you go to your job. You've got some divine help in that wife helping you raise those children. You've got some divine help in that wife building that career and that business.
God says without her, the divine help that you need will not be there. You better cherish her. You better appreciate her. You better love her. Because she is your easer. She'll ease your burdens. Women are multipliers. Women are incubators. Women increase anything you give them. If a man gives a woman a seed, she'll incubate it, she'll multiply it, she'll increase it, and nine months later, she'll give him back a baby. You give a woman your bachelor's pad after you get married? She'll incubate it, multiply it, increase it. You'll get furniture. You'll get curtains. You'll get a house. It'll look, it won't look a battle zone from the Battle of Armageddon. It will look like something got a hold, and she'll multiply it, and give it back to you. You give a woman trouble? She'll incubate it. Multiply it. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall she give it back to you. But don't you ever forget she's a multiplier. She's your divine help.
Look at your wife and say, you are my divine help. Some women fight depression because their husbands are successful, and they build huge corporations, or they really win in whatever field they're in, and succeed. And they're made almost to feel unimportant, and unnecessary, and just everybody's about, I'll speak in my own life, Everybody, you know, they talk about whatever little success I've had. They almost can ignore your family. Your wife. They always are behind the scenes. The truth is, without my divine help, this ministry wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be holding a microphone. We better never forget that. It's a lie. You are important. You do matter. You can make a difference. You're the difference of whether he wins or loses. Your husband needs divine help in a human package.
Except the Lord build the house, they that labor, labor in vain. Except the Lord build your home, you're laboring in vain. And God said the way I'm gonna build it is I'm gonna give you divine help. And you better treat her right because she's your anointing. She's your favor. How you treat her will determine how I'll listen to your prayers. That's an actual scripture in the Bible. She's your divine help, and when you get to thinking that you're really something, and you're ignoring her, belittling her, competing and acting as though you've done it, don't you ever forget she is your divine help.
And unless the Lord builds the house, we're striving together. We're praying together. We're dreaming together. We're doing the Lord's will together. We're raising kids together. We're building a house together. We're doing life together. It's so important. A couple in love. A spiritual union together.
So here's the deal. Sarah and Abraham started out on a spiritual journey that was remarkable. And we talk about Abraham, but we have to remember Sarah's the one who gave birth to the promise. She was his divine help. And she died at the age of 137. Actually, she was 127, and he was shocked that she died. And I'll, you know, why, he was 137, and he thought he would die first. That's why we buy insurance policies because usually the men die first. But she died first, and it shocked Abraham. And the Bible said, I didn't have time to read it all, but the Bible said he kinda panicked. And he said, I have got to have a burial place for my precious wife. And he bought a cave. And the name of that cave was Machpelah, the cave of double. The Cave of Couples. He paid for it.
What's interesting, if you go to the Holy Land, and we go in November. And when we go, we will go to this place. In Judaism, it's the second most holy site in Israel to this day. The Cave of Machpelah. It's where Abraham and Sarah are buried. It's where Isaac and Rebekah are buried. It's where Jacob and Leah are buried. There are two holy places in Judaism today. Number one, the number one most holy place is the Wailing Wall. And the second most holy place in the Jewish people's minds is the Cave of Machpelah. The Cave of Couples. They go there, and they teach their children, and they have ceremonies there, and dedicate their families, and do all kinds of things there because it's the ultimate place that you can reach in a couple's relationship.
It's we didn't just start out together, and then trouble came, and we broke up. But we made it to the Cave of Couples. That when I die, I die, and we end together. That whatever has happened will not divide us and destroy us. He bought a cave so big that it was 375 feet by 500 feet, large enough to literally hold hundreds of couples. One scholar said it was large enough to hold all of the original children of Israel, which were 12 children of Jacob, plus Isaac, plus Abraham and their wives. All of them could have been buried.
But what is interesting is only three generations kept the marriage covenant serious enough to make the journey back and be buried in the Cave of Couples. By the fourth generation, marriage apparently, potentially, possibly, it just wasn't important enough to make it. Even though we started, the rest of family said we're going to lose this tradition of starting out together and being buried together. And I think we need to understand that we are setting the example for our children. That so much is hanging on us. So much is depending on us. So much is absolutely attached to us that if we go down, our families goes down.
Listen, lemme tell you something. This is interesting. Do you know that the atom is the smallest portion of matter that you can get down to? Everything's made of matter. Everything I'm holding, everything you see is matter. And if you could reduce down to the smallest portion of what matter is, it's one atom. And you cannot divide an atom and get half and half. Because if you take an atom, and you split the atom, you don't get half and half. People think if we get a divorce, we'll just split, and you get half, and I get half. And you get the boy, and I get the girl. And you get the house, and I get the condo. And you get the truck, and I get the car. And you get the dog, and I get the cat. And that's how you end a marriage.
That's not, when you split an atom, you know what happens, don't you? That's how we have the atom bomb. Because when you split an atom, it doesn't split evenly. It splits all the atoms around it. When you split your marriage, it doesn't just affect you two, but it destroys and devastates. All that is is one atom being split, and it attacks everything around it. That's what divorce does. That's what splitting up does. It decimates cousins, and aunts, and uncles, and families, and loved ones. They're decimated because two split.
That's what the enemy wants to do to your marriage and to your home. And you have to have a made up mind, I'm going to the Cave of Couples. Well, you don't understand what's happened. You don't know what I've been through. Fight for what's left. I don't care how bad the enemy has devastated. I don't care if there's been infidelity. I don't care what, these are real things that people deal with. You've been shocked, you've been hurt, you've been broken. But I'm telling you that God can heal, God can restore, God can fix, God can bring back.
Fight for what's left. The enemy may have attacked your family, but it's not perfect families that make it to the Cave of Couples. It's families that have been through hell, but they got the grace of God, and they said we'll fight for what's left. And God gave them the grace to recover it all. Hallelujah. Give God a great shout of praise if you believe He restores what the enemy tried to take. Rebekah made it. Jacob and Leah made it to the Cave of Couples. And none of them were perfect. Abraham was a liar. Yes, he lied. Don't you know she was disappointed in him? Read your Bible. Isaac was a luster, Abraham was a liar, and Jacob was a loser. So God said, I'm the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I'm the God of liars, lusters, and losers.
If you'll give me your family, you got any of those stuff in your home? God says give me all the lies. Give me all the lust. Give me all the losers. I can touch it with my grace, and I can make winners out of that house, and I can bless that house, and I can anoint that house. If you don't praise God, the rocks will cry out. It's the truth. You don't have to give up. You don't have to quit. The Lord spoke to me in studying this message, and He said how would you treat her if she was your anointing? How would you treat her if she was your revelation on the Bible? How would you treat her if she was the key to you being able to effectively touch the congregations that you minister to? How would you teach and treat her all week long?
And that ripped my heart out because I don't want to get to the end of my life, and my wife not even want to be in the Cave of Couples with me. I want her to respect me and love me. I want my children, I want my grandchildren to love me and honor me. And, you know, men, I'm kind of rambling now, but I feel like saying God made you, the Bible said in 1 Peter 3 that we're to give honor to the women as the weaker vessel. That's not a putdown. That's a biological fact. Unless you're married to Rhonda Rousey. But in general, and I got a point to this, But in general, men have 30 to sometimes 35% more muscle than woman. We carry in our body more than a gallon of blood than the woman. That's why we have more energy. That's why we're stronger. Why? Because God said I want the man to do two things for the woman.
Number one, I want you to be the protector of the woman, and I want you to be the provider of the woman. You get out in that field with those muscles, and that energy, and that blood. And you work in those fields, Adam, and you come back, and you provide for her. Because if you don't provide for her, you're worse than an infidel. And I want you to take on the responsibility. It's OK, women should be equal pay, and they should have every opportunity. I totally believe in that. As a man of five daughters, of four daughters, I believe in equality in every way. And she can make more than he can, but he still oughta carry the burden of the responsibility.
As a matter of fact, they did a survey, and they said men who feel like it's their responsibility to provide, in other words, they think about retirement. They think about college. They think about the house payment. They think about what our family needs. They think about the car. They think about what the family, they'll do whatever it takes. Work two jobs. They carry the responsibility. And they said people, men who think that way make, on average, $1.000 more a month than men who said hey, we go Dutch. Nothing wrong with a woman working. Nothing wrong with a woman making more than the man. The point is this: the man oughta carry the stress of that. He is the provider. He is the protector.
I'm almost done. He had to buy the cave. She didn't. Come on. Say amen. I'm closing. But I want them to bring my little picture out, and I want to close with this. There's so much on us, you know. So much is hanging on us. So much is connected to us. So much is, so much that if the atom of your marriage splits, it doesn't just split you two, husband and wife, but it splits everything around you. It decimates families and children. Homes. This nail that I have up here this nail represents your marriage.
So this is a test. This nail represents you and your wife, you and your spouse, you and your husband. This nail is you and your husband. This is a portrait of Jesus. And through the cross, through the nails and the blood that He shed, you and your spouse enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ where His blood covers you. Where His blood says what has started for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, here's the big words. Till death do we part.
We're going all the way to the Cave of Couples. And once you enter into Christ, you have His grace, His power, His forgiveness, His anointing, His Holy Spirit on your relationship. But it's not just you and your mate that have entered into Christ. But you've got so many responsibilities, and you've got the pressures of life, and you've got bills that have to be paid, and it just begins to hang on you. And then something happens. Life just begins to happen. Maybe one of the children gets sick, or you go through cancer with a relative, a family, and it's another strain. And you feel the stress of it, and it's hanging on that relationship.
And now the financial pressure begins to have impact on this in Christ marriage, and home, and family. And not only that, but there's nothing, you know, people who lose a child, people who lose in an accident, I've walked through many in this church who've lost tragically a child. And the enemy decimates those marriages because their pain is connected to one another because they lost a child to cancer or a car wreck. And now suddenly it's pulling on them. It's pulling on them. And then, you know, if you get married and everything's good, and then she gets pregnant, and then she gets pregnant again, and then she gets pregnant again. I should say y'all get pregnant, not she. It takes two to tango. And she's pregnant, and there's pressure.
And then there's pressure at work. Oh, the pressure of work. You just don't understand me, Cherise. You just don't understand the pressure I'm under. How many times have you heard me, you just don't know what it's like to have to preach Sunday. It's an exam. It's an essay every week. Dear God. Do you understand the pressure I live under, woman? And then Dad dies. Mom dies. Loved ones die. Funerals. And it just gets heavier, and more and more is pulling on you, and the whole family, because notice the nails going down.
If you notice that, and then everything's hanging on you. And suddenly, the whole family falls to pieces. The whole marriage falls to pieces. The whole, everything. Because here's the reason why. And I want to tell you why. You know why it couldn't handle all the things that were hanging on? It was too shallow. The only way to handle life as it gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier, you gotta go deeper, and deeper, and deeper into Jesus. We got something greater that will hold us together.
Every time life comes, we're going to go deeper into Him. We don't let trials, and troubles, and issues, and problems stop us. We go deeper into Him. He's the answer. And I don't care what's hanging on you. When you get in Him, you can handle it. Give God a great praise if you know that there's a rock that you can build your house on and it will stand.