Matt Hagee - Labor of Love, Part 2
Every day is something that you should celebrate with the person that God has given you, your husband, your wife, in the covenant love of holy matrimony. Every day you should demonstrate to them that they are a priceless treasure. Every day you should honor them, cherish them, love them. Why? So that in showing them love, you set an example for others to follow. One of the problems that we have in the United States is that we get all of our information about relationships from the magazine rack at the grocery store instead of the place where all true love begins. This right here is the greatest manual on love and relationship that you'll ever read. But just like every manual that you'll ever read, none of it will work until you actually take action upon what you read.
So today we long at the song of Solomon. Now I think this is an interesting book in the Bible, because we read in the New Testament that all scripture is given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It means that everything that's bound between these pages is something that God in heaven wanted us to read. And whenever you consider the song of Solomon, in some versions, it's called "The song of songs". Why? Because Solomon was a prolific song writer. He wrote over 1.000 songs. And out of all the songs he wrote, many people believe that this song, all eight chapters of this song, are his greatest work ever. So whenever they came to Solomon, and they said, "What's the greatest song you ever wrote"? He pulled this one out and said, "It's right here". And for some reason, the Holy Spirit felt that it was important enough for us to have it and to be able to understand more about it.
Now I believe one of the reasons is so that we can understand how God looks at us and how much he loves and desires us. But one of the other reasons that this is in the Bible is because the song of songs, Solomon's number one tune, do you know who he wrote it to? The love of his life. Now there's some people who say, "Well how could you tell it's the love of his life"? He had over 700 wives and 300 concubines. I mean that's a lot of love. That's one perspective. Or the other perspective is "Out of all the girls I've loved before, baby, you're the best". Either way, he wrote this song for his wife. Now the reality of Solomon's marriages, 700 of them, they were for political convenience. Solomon figured out that it was easier to get married than it was to go to war. Apparently back then, war and marriage were not such similar things.
So he would go to a neighboring country, and he would say, "I'll take your daughter as my wife. And she'll be number wife 482. And now that we've got a political allegiance, we'll work together". It's kind of like the United Nations before they had a building in New York. So this is why he had 700 wives. But this song is written to the one that moved him the most. And all eight chapters are written from the entire length of their relationship together. So whenever you read chapters 1 through 4, he's describing the love of his life from her neck up. Why? Because they're not married and she has not yet taken off her clothes in front of him. Imagine that. Young lady, you can be in love and keep your clothes on. And every dad said, amen. He says, "Your hair is like a flock of goats".
Now think about it. I mean goats aren't all the same color, so she must have had like highlights or something. He goes on. He talks about her teeth. This is before dental hygiene was a big thing, so teeth were a big deal. He says, "Your teeth are like freshly shorn sheep". That's after you cut all the wool off of them and they all look alike. He's basically saying, "You've got a nice smile". He said, "Your lips, they're like scarlet. Your temples", that's the side of her head, "Are like pomegranates". Now before you start thinking that she looks like a troll, there's some expression here that you need to understand. Pomegranates were fruitful and they had lots of seeds inside. What he is saying is, "You're really smart. Your brain just constantly amazes me". He was telling her, "Not only are you physically beautiful with hair like goat and teeth like sheep, but you're smart and intelligent, too".
Now I don't recommend, men, that you direct quote song of Solomon when you're looking for something to put in your card. But this is his song, not mine. He says, "Your neck is like the tower of David". Line after line, he describes this woman in great detail. But it's all from here up! And he finishes with, "You've Ravished my heart". Think about that. She consumed the boy and never even took one thing off. Chapter 5, they get married. You can imagine what happens next. I mean you turn the page and you hear the sizzle. Chapter 7, chapter 8, probably the most beautiful expressions of love found in scripture. Why? Because at this point in their relationship, they're not as young as they used to be. They've been through some things. They've endured hard times. She's carried his children. They've raised those children.
And here's what he says to her at the end of the song: he says, "Love is as strong as death". He looks at her, in her senior years, and he says, "I love you more now than I ever have before". He doesn't look at her after 30 years of relationship and say, "My God, what happened to you"? He looked at her and he said, "You are more beautiful today than the first time I ever laid eyes on you, because everything I have in this life, I want to share it with you". He said, "If all I could give was all the money I had, it wouldn't be worth anything compared to the love that we have". Think about it. Solomon is the richest man on the face of the earth. And he says, "If a man would give for love, all the wealth of his house".
Well, when you're talking about Solomon's house, that's a lot of money. And he says, "None of it's worth what I have with you". What a powerful picture of love. This kind of love isn't easy. This kind of love takes work. This kind of love is the type of thing that requires your effort if it's going to exist. This kind of love is between a man and a woman. Genesis 1:27, it says, "He created them male and female". He created them. He (God) created them two different kinds, male and female.
Now there's a lot to be said in this verse, and there's an entire sermon that needs to be preached on it. But one of the reasons why this has to be continually stated is because in the world we live in right now, people are creating a gender crisis when there is no gender crisis. There's no gender crisis. There is male and female. And the reason that they are creating a gender crisis is because if they can remove your individuality and identity, they can control you. There is no crisis. The irony of this is the same people, who are telling you that you can pick whatever gender you want, minute by minute, are the same ones who say, "We have to follow the science".
Male and female, these are two equal beings in the eyes of God. God doesn't look at a man in greater esteem than he does a woman. He created them both. He created them to compliment one another. Covenant marriage and covenant love is the relationship that God created for man and woman to live together in holy matrimony. Living together outside of this is not covenant love. Covenant love requires sacrifice.
1 John 3:14, it's a sign of spiritual well being. It says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren". "Because we love the brethren". Say that with me. "Because we love the brethren". So what that means is that whenever you demonstrate the love of God to someone else, who is a part of the body of Christ, you have passed, visibly, from death, your old life, into your new life. Now the thing that's to be remembered here is that oftentimes, we forget that our spouse is also our brother or sister in Christ.
How powerful is this love of God? According to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says, "I'm nothing. If I have all knowledge, if I'm the smartest man on earth but I don't have love, I'm nothing. If I have all the wealth on earth and I don't have love, I'm nothing. If I have every spiritual gift that there is to have, if I could understand what angels say in every tongue and language on the earth, but if I do not have love, I am nothing". This is powerful. If you do not have love, according to the Word of God, you're tinkling brass and sounding cymbals. When you walk into church and you're not demonstrating love to your spouse, but you're pretending to love your brethren, do you know what heaven hears? Dishes breaking, because there's no truth in what you're doing.
Covenant love requires self-sacrifice. And self-sacrifice is something that we do not live in a self-centered world. We live in the kind of world that's described in 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 2. It says, "Men will be lovers of themselves". And if you're going to have a covenant relationship, the first thing you've got to do is deny yourself. And that's not just a masculine denial: that's the feminine denial. Both have to submit to what God wants to accomplish if it's going to work. A father can't look at his family as if they're a burden for him to carry. A mother cannot look at her family as if it's an inconvenience. They're a gift. That's why the Bible says, "The children are an inheritance of the Lord". Every day you should celebrate what God has given you in your household. Jesus Christ is our example. He said, "Love one another as I have loved you". That's not a recommendation: that's a command.
So how did he love us? First, he loved us completely. Say that word with me. Completely. What does it mean to love completely? It means that Jesus loved us, even the worst parts of us. There are things that I love about all kinds of people. I love the fact that my accountant can do math. I may not love his hair. But when you love somebody completely, it doesn't matter, good, bad, or ugly: you love everything about them. I'm thankful that Jesus Christ loved me completely: that when I was a sinner, he gave himself for me. Knowing the worst about me, he still wants me. So if he's our example, that's how you should love your spouse, completely, not just the good parts, but everything.
This is what we say during the wedding vows: we say, "For better or..." Oh, some of y'all remember that one. We say, "In joy or sorrow. Richer or..." Ooh, that one got real loud. And the thing is we smile during the wedding ceremony when we recite these vows, because you can tell that the two people who are reciting them are only thinking about half the equation. They're only thinking about health, joy, and rich. Because if they weren't, they would go, "For better or worse. Joy or sorrow richer, poor". And when the other half of that equation shows up in the marriage, you say, "I didn't sign up for this". That's not sacrificial love. That's not loving completely. Loving completely says it doesn't matter what we go through, I'm with you.
There are a lot of people, who decide that they're going love somebody when they get everything right. That's not how Christ loved you and it's not how he calls you to love your spouse. You have a choice to make. Love like Christ did or be self-centered. Love them while they're a work in progress, knowing that in that love, you give them the ability to accomplish great things. What are you speaking to your spouse? Sacrificial love speaks life even when there's not much to say. Christ loved us completely. Christ loved us sacrificially. And Christ loved us in our hour of need. Husbands, we have a responsibility to see the needs of our wives and meet those needs. This is what the Bible teaches. It's a game of mutual submission. "You, husband, submit to the need of your wife". "You, wife, submit to the leadership of your husband".
We read this in 1 Corinthians 11:3. It says, "I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ". Say that with me. "The head of every man is Christ". He is our example. We should follow him in how we love our wives. Because the same way that he loved us is how we should love her. He saw our need. He met our need. You see her need. You meet her need. You say, "That's a lot of needs". I know. How many things has Jesus Christ withheld from you? Big things, he took care of it. Small things, he takes care of it. Unseen things, he takes care of it. Big things like your salvation, something that you could not do on your own, he had to do for you. He did that. You should do the same for your wife. Things she can't do on her own, do for her.
Small things, if the trash is overflowing, guess what's a great idea? Take it out. Unseen things, how many husbands do the unseen thing and then they want a red badge of courage? Hey babe, I straightened up a pillow on the couch. Anything else I can do to help you around the house? No! That's not how it works. It's a consistent submission to need. The same way that Christ submitted himself to our need, we submit ourselves to her need. And in return, because we have submitted to Christ, she submits herself to our leadership.
Now ladies, this is a hard thing, because your husband gets to follow a perfect example, which is Jesus Christ, and you have to submit to an imperfect man. One of the problems that we have in marriage relationships is that wives want their husbands to be perfect. Ain't ever gonna happen! You can just take that one off the books. And all the husbands said, as a matter of fact, most husbands need to learn this phrase and repeat it, "I'm wrong. I'm wrong. It don't change the fact: you've still got to follow me". You start with, "I'm wrong," but she's got to follow. Why? Because that's the way God designed it. The way that God designed it, if you work in that way, then the blessings of God will be yours. Submission is how you accomplish the mission. Husband, you submit to Christ. Wife, you submit to the leadership of your husband.
As you submit to accomplishing the mission, it creates a generational blessing. This blessing is something that creates a desire in your life and in the lives of your children and your grandchildren: that they will want what you have. "Jesus Christ is our example," as I said. And the way that he loved us is how we love one another. How did he love us? Not only did he love us completely, but he loved us intentionally. He prioritized us. It says, "He came to seek and to save that which was lost". He was looking for you.
Husband, what would happen if you took the time to prioritize your wife? What would happen if on the list of things that you have to do today, she was at the top? What would happen if you took out just a few moments to pick up the phone and call her, and say, "Hey, I'm thinking about you"? If you wrote her a note and mailed it to her, yes, they still sell stamps. It will work. Or even if you just text her one of them little heart emojis. Some guys are going, "What's an emoji"? Ask your kids: they'll tell you. What if you told your wife, "You're priceless, you're the greatest gift that I've ever been given, it is my honor and my privilege to be your husband"?
Now these aren't my best lines, but you can borrow them if you'd like. Not only did he love us completely and he loved us sacrificially, but he understood us. The Bible says that "Jesus was tempted at all points: yet, he knew no sin," which means he knows why we do what we do. Have you ever done something, and you yourself can't understand why you behaved the way you behaved? You didn't want to do it but you did it anyway. Anybody like that? When it says that Christ knows us completely, he understands why we do what we do, even when we don't want to do it. And he still loves us.
There are two things in life that you should study and study well. One is the Word of God and the other is your spouse. Why? Because you need to dwell with them according to understanding. And anything that you're going to understand requires effort. It requires focus. It requires a priority. You're going to have to set aside time to communicate. You're going to have to ask questions and wait for answers. You're going to have to have conversations that don't involve wifi and a cell phone. I recommend that every couple spend at least a half hour a day with no distractions, "Speaking" to one another. And this is difficult, men, because men have a way of communicating in which we feel like we have said everything, and she believes we've said nothing. And women have a way of communicating in which they say everything, and we've heard nothing. I'll give you an example.
You ask your wife, "How was your day"? She will start with what happened when the alarm clock rang all the way through to how the dishes and the laundry got done. And you're thinking to yourself: I just asked about your day. She will ask you, "How was your week"? And you'll say, "Fine". You have used one word to describe seven days. And she's used 5.000 words to describe seven hours. It takes effort. Why? Because God created them male and female. We're different. And it's in these differences where we compliment each other. Psalm 128, it describes a righteous relationship that happens between a husband and a wife. It says, "Blessed is he who honors the Lord". He says, "His wife will be like a fruitful vine and his children will be like olive plants".
Now this picture requires that every woman ask herself a powerful question. Are you representing the kind of care that your husband keeps you in? Does he treat you like a fruitful vine? And do you produce that kind of fruit in his life? Or does he treat you like a fruitful vine, and all you give him is sour grapes? If the husband treats you like a priceless treasure, shine! Don't act like a lump of coal. Sometimes wives are treated very, very well, and they behave very badly. And sometimes it's the other way around. They're treat poorly and they behave fabulously. But the Bible says this: that when your wife is seen, she is the glory of the man. What does that mean? That means that people will judge your character, sir, based on the quality of her care.
If she walks in the room and she's a gracious soul that makes everyone feel welcome, they'll look at you and high five. And go, "Man, you've got it going on. I'm proud of you. You've got a great wife. She makes everybody happy". You've got one of those wives that makes everybody leave the room, they'll just write you on their prayer list as they're leaving. Pray for Bob today: he's married to her. They'll go home and thank God that they're wives are not your wife. Why? Because when you love someone sacrificially, the Bible says that this relationship produces fruit.
Proverbs 31:10 says it this way: that a virtuous woman is difficult to find: that her value is far above rubies, because she seeks to do her husband good all the days of his life. From her perspective, no matter what she's doing, she's doing because it's what does him good. This kind of love is the kind of love that causes someone like Solomon, in all the things that he accomplished, to say, "Love is a strong as death". It's permanent. "Its flames are flames of fire". "They burn whatever they touch. Water can't drown it. Floods can't overtake it. If you gave up everything you had and didn't have love, it would be despised".
I want you to have the kind of love relationship that causes others to want what you have. I believe that one of the reasons why we have a generation in this country that is not choosing to get married is because they see the types of marriages they want to avoid rather than the ones they want to have. And it's my prayer that you would take today to work on something that you need to work on every day, and that is the kind of covenant love that produces the kind of generational fruit that makes people fall in love with God's design. It's a labor of love. Do it for him. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your family. But do it with his grace, so that from generation to generation, you have the blessings of God in your home, in your heart, and on your life.