I was heading home from the office tonight, around dinnertime, and the newscaster was remarking about the large number of weddings that were taking place today. I thought about whether this was some special day I had forgotten, and then got to pondering whether the inordinately large number of weddings had to do with the fact that many states are considering embracing the idea of allowing same sex marriages, which has been forefront in the news lately. In fact, I received a notice on my phone this afternoon that Hawaii is not only allowing same sex marriages but they are counting on this attribute of their state to be an attraction for destination weddings. So Hawaii has figured out another way to attract tourists to this paradise in the Pacific.
Of course, news of this event brought back memories of Janet and me celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in the islands this past August. However, we were only in Honolulu several days, and onboard ship one day, when we received news that Janet’s mother had unexpectedly passed away. We cut our trip short and returned to the mainland for her memorial service several days later. The rest of the summer is something of a blur – what with all the other things that happened including the death of Janet’s father 18 days after his wife entered heaven.
Today, when all the dust settled, another news report mentioned that the reason so many people were married today is the fact that the date is November, 12, 2013. So what, you ask? Well, that means today is 11-12-13. Apparently, a huge number of people think that this sequence of numbers will bring good luck and so couples decided to get married today. Wow!
For centuries, people have followed the idea of numerology. Seven is supposedly the number of completion in the Bible and we all know that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights – David and his son, Solomon, each ruled for 40 years, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan and there were may other occurrences of the number 40, the other number is the Bible supposedly signifying completion. Origen, one of the early church Fathers, thought every verse of Scripture could be interpreted literally, from a numerological perspective and also from a mystical perspective. But this type of interpretive parsing of the Bible leads to conflicts and errors that create deep divides in the church and within groups of believers.
Suffice it to say that there is no evidence to support that 7 is a number of completion; and neither is 40. It just happens that there are multiple events that contain these numbers. The same thing could be said for many other numbers in the Bible as well. By the way, there is no evidence to support that 11-12-13 will bring more successful marriages than any other date.
In honor of the biblical definition of marriage, notwithstanding the popular social views, the verse for tonight affirms God’s position on marriage, regardless of the date. We are told, in Matthew 19:4-6, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to focus on His desires for our lives – not whether a set of numbers entices us to do something. My prayer is that your efforts will be blessed and that you will enjoy a long, successful life filled with divine peace, every day of your life. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…