A One-Man, One-God Woman

I’d posted this years ago on a blog I no longer use. In honor of my upcoming 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I’d post it here.

A One-man, One-God, Woman

Written June 11, 2007

Last night, after some sweet time with my husband, God opened my eyes to a piece of His heart on a topic that has plagued me for many years. Over the past 10 years, God has freed me from the chains that had tied me to the pain and grief over my own sin as a multiple-man woman. But last night, I received a fuller understanding of why it is that God wants His children to only love one person “’til death do they part.”

My marriage is to be a picture of my relationship with God. Just as God will not share His glory with another; just as I am to worship one God alone; just as God is jealous for the hearts of His people. I have been created to give my love to only one man. God created me for intimate fellowship with only one man, and only one God.

Unfortunately, I did not understand this truth growing up. I gave pieces of my heart away to any boy sweet enough to look my way and as a tender teenage girl, I fell not once, but twice, for men I was sure were my “Prince Charming.” After marrying Bill, this was a regular source of grief, for both me and him, because my heart was adulterous. My heart still held a place for these other men whom God had never intended for me. Thankfully, God freed me from these chains that bound my heart to them. He granted me the freedom that true forgiveness gives, but I still never understood this piece of the puzzle.

God’s word tells us in Matthew 19:5-6, “…and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Imagine this with me, you have become a follower of Christ, you have been filled with the Holy Spirit and bear the name Christian, until one day when you decide that really Buddha meets your needs better and “Hey, what has Christ done for you lately?” We would all see the sin in turning our backs on Christ, because there is only one true God. Here’s the point: God intends for us to be joined together with one man, to become one flesh with another human being, in that very same way. ‘Til death do we part.

Look with me at 1 Corinthians 16:12-20. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

We have been called to be a “one-man,” “one-God,” people. We have been bought with a price. Christ paid the penalty for our sin, and now our bodies belong to Him. We are no longer our own. The reason we cannot share our body with whatever man we “love” on any given day, is because God miraculously unites the two into one. He intends for us to become one with Him, and also to become one with our forever mate.

There is only one God and no other. Take a few minutes to study Deuteronomy 4:15-39. A key verse from this section is verse 24, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” The Lord had brought the Israelites out of Egypt by many signs and wonders and miracles and He refused to share His glory with any created thing. Notice how passionate Moses is in explaining that the Lord is a jealous God, who will not play second fiddle to anyone or anything. If God feels this strongly about His people sharing their worship with other created beings, think yourself about why God is so determined for His people to not share their hearts with every nice guy who takes a liking to them.

Lest you are left feeling hopeless and downcast over your sins, as I was, return to the passage in Deuteronomy 4. The Lord knew that the Israelites would forget Him. He knew they would turn to idols. He knew. But, He also knew they would return to Him. Look now at verse 31 “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

Return to your one God. Return to your one man. They’re waiting for you.

Deuteronomy 4:15-39 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
“When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

Blessings around the bend

I am overwhelmed by the goodness and power of our Almighty God.

This morning during our ladies Bible study at church we were discussing the sovereignty of God.

One interesting illustration given was about a stoplight which controls traffic in a construction zone. This light is provided to stop people from a head-on collision with oncoming traffic hidden by the bend in the road. Sometimes a person is tempted to ignore this light, assuming that no one is coming and becoming impatient waiting for the light to turn. As a sovereign God who knows the future, He asks us to wait on Him rather than barreling forward because of His great love for us.

The point was then made that God is good to not reveal the future to us for if we knew about the tragedy that lies just around the bend we would spend our lives fretting rather than living each day in itself.

While I do wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, I can’t help but think once again about our human propensity to dwell on the negative, on the coming trial, rather than the coming joy. Several years ago, God revealed to me that when I spend my time fretting about today and about what the future might hold, that I’m missing out on the HOPE that comes from looking forward to the joy that might lie hidden just around the bend. I don’t want to know the future because I wouldn’t want to know that my son was going to die tomorrow, but also I would miss out on the HOPE that comes from waiting expectantly for the JOY that God might have waiting for me tomorrow.

Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25) Remember, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) If we could see what was just around the bend, whether tomorrow or a hundred years from now, then we would have no need for HOPE, no need for FAITH. God grows our faith, our trust in Him, by having us wait upon Him.

This makes me think about Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of people quote this to mean that God is going to give us lives filled with chocolate and roses! This always upsets me because this passage was written to a people who are living in exile in Babylon. In the verses that follow, God proceeds to warn the Israelites of the many trials they will go through! And yet He promises to RESTORE them. He promises that when they return to Him, when they seek Him, that He will be found by them and return them to their promised land. This is like the “blessings around the bend.” Joy was indeed going to come in the morning, even though they were in the midst of years of trials. God KNEW the plans that He had for them. His plans indeed were for their good. His plans indeed were to give them a future and a HOPE!

So, the next time when you and I are in the midst of despair, when things look bleak and hopeless, remember that God holds the future and that He is worthy of our trust. May we be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” Psalm 130:5-7

God wants our attention

In August, I began reading through the Bible in a year. I take turns reading in the Old Testament and the New Testament. At this moment, I am in 1 Kings in the Old and something struck me – not for the first time, but it struck me for the first time in a concise, simple way.

God WANTS to be known. He WANTS our attention. There are all sorts of ways that He hides and all sorts of secrets that He keeps from us, but He WANTS us to FIND HIM!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 ESV)

At the same time, He but knocks. He does not break down the door.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)

While He is knocking, it is OUR responsibility to open the door – Then, He will come in.

Yet, this idea that God wants to be found, is something that I’ve thought about for quite some time. The new idea is this: God gets our attention in two different ways. He will get our attention through the great blessings that He gives to us, His great majesty, all of the good things of God OR He will get our attention through great trial and pain.

Have you ever thought of it so concisely and simply?

Here’s what prompted me to think about this idea. 1 Kings 18 contains the account of when King Ahab (King over Israel) summons the 450 prophets of Baal who contest against the prophet Elijah in calling down fire upon an offering. The prophets of Baal are unable to get their god’s attention.

“Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 18:25-29 ESV)

That was the response of the false god, Baal. He did not answer nor pay attention.

Now it’s Elijah’s turn. He fixes up the altar of God which was in ruins, prepares the bull for sacrifice, and then proceeds to saturate the wood and bull by pouring twelve large jars of water over them.

“And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:36-39 ESV)

Now, if you were King Ahab, wouldn’t this be enough, for you to believe in the LORD GOD, rather than Baal? God’s power and might is so great.

Yet, God is so merciful, that next He speaks directly to Ahab himself, sending a prophet to speak on His behalf. Ben-Hadad (the king of Syria) is preparing to attack Israel after King Ahab has refused his demands. The prophet declares to King Ahab, “Thus says the LORD, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” (1 Kings 20:13 ESV)

Do you see it? God is going to save Ahab and His people Israel, that Ahab would KNOW that He is the LORD. Sure enough, in 1 Kings 20:21, we see that Ahab overpowered the Syrians. This course of events is repeated again in the spring, as the Syrians once again attack the Israelites, yet this time on the plains as they thought the the God of Israel was a “god of the hills.” And, once again, the prophet tells Ahab, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’” (1 Kings 20:28 ESV)

Sadly, though King Ahab and Israel are saved again, the king has not turned to God as a result of God’s power and mercy. Instead, he chooses to spare King Ben-Hadad’s life and God once again sends a prophet to King Ahab, but this time with bad news. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’” And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria. (1 Kings 20:42-43 ESV)