There was a time when I spoke to a man who would soon be performing a funeral service. He was trying to move me in this oneness-thing in marriage, how difficult it must be for the wife of the dead to let go of the man with whom she spent her life. I couldn't understand this man's words because at that time I saw death as the only release of a mistake I had made. What a difference it is to have the right partner. I think back to his words, and today I sympathize with the widow. I have only been married to Brant for a year and a half, but I do not know how I would ever be without him. There were times while he was away at work for just those 8-10 hours that I would just earnestly miss his presence. We go with each other practically everywhere -- I accompany him when he golfs, went with him to his scheduled interviews, he goes with me grocery shopping, etc. There is scarcely anything we do that we don't do together, just for the sake of being together.
More than having someone's presence is the unity of being one. Being in the presence of does not make a marriage, unlike the unity of it. It means more to us that our faith matches, our rules are the same, even that my pet peeves become his pet peeves, and that I cater to his desires as if they were mine -- not in a fake, 'you're forcing me to be here' sort of attitude, but the sincere, authentic adoption of his desires as if they were mine.
This is the sort of unity that God is after. So when we read His laws that do command us to act in certain ways and to be at certain places during certain times, we can understand that it is because this is Him and to be as He is, is to be one with Him.
"'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'" -- Exodus 31:15-17 ESVThe Shabbat is one of those ways. God says He rested, so be one with Him and rest. There are many signs out there, because there are many things and people to belong to. You are probably familiar with Revelation's description of the mark of the beast, upon the forehead or hand. In the Shema (Deuteronomy 6) God says let His Law be upon your forehead and hand. Take this sign, the sign of His Law, most inclusive of the Shabbat, and likewise join in unity with Him. Like the above example of presence without unity, Christianity today shows us the belief that presence of God for marriage does not have to come with unity with God. We know that is false. Even in living our marriages we can tell you that is not a marriage.
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD." -- Exodus 32:5 ESVThey made a golden calf and then turned around and proclaimed a day of feast in the LORD's Name. People do this today -- mix paganism with the LORD's Name. Honestly, many even go as far as to call that "feast of the Lord" day after a pagan god! Is this the sort of unity that God is after? "You bring your gods and I bring myself and let us join ourselves together as one?" He did not say that, but rather:
"Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice..." -- Exodus 24:12-15 ESVWe are to tear down their asherim, not bring them in our houses. He plainly tells us we would be invited to their feast days, though it was not meant for us to attend. We have today allowed the church to redeem their feast days, and even justify it as God enjoys a feast. Yes, God enjoys a feast and God accepts worship, but God is holy. He is set-apart, and He knows your heart is after worship and feast. He did, after all, create you to worship Him. If you want worship and feast, okay! Here is the acceptable worship and feast for His set-apart Majesty:
"You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt..." -- Exodus 24:18 ESVThe Lord continues with the rest of His feasts. You would do this, but instead you should do this... That is the way I read the shift from pagan worship to set-apart worship in this chapter. Everyone has terms to their marriage. Certain things are deal-breakers, and we can hardly think God is unreasonable if He doesn't wish His birthday to be forgotten and you gift Him on the birthday of your ex-lover instead; celebrate your anniversary with Him on a day not its true date, but rather on a day special to you and your ex-husband. What husband would gladly accept a wife commemorating her ex's birthday? What person would say this is okay because she is not celebrating the birthday with the ex, but with her current husband?
Marriage is unity. It is, as God wrote it, "twain one flesh." He, above all, keeps His own Word. Therefore, God's marriage is...twain, one flesh. The Old Testament teaches us that there are 2 opposing forces here: us and God's Word/Law. If there is to be marriage between God and us, something has got to change. Many times we err when we say it is God's Word (covenant) that had to change. The Old Testament meets the New with a restoration above all, with a debt paid and release of broken covenant curses, in Messiah Yeshua.
The LORD said to Moses, "Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke." -- Exodus 34:1 ESVThe first tablets were broken, symbolic of how the children of Israel broke the Covenant. Yet, God wrote the same Covenant...upon new vessels. In Messiah, and by His Holy Spirit, WE ARE those new vessels. From the Haftorah portion:
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." -- Ezekiel 36:25-27 ESVThe verses prior to this passage speak of God's concern for His Name. We read the start of it, when Aaron mixed His Name with a golden calf worship. That continued and God's name was defiled. It is like how the Bible teaches women to be meek and gentle, discreet and chaste for their husband's sake. What a shame a woman brings upon a husband when she goes around philandering, loud-mouthed, tactless, graceless. It is an embarrassment. Mothers speak of how bad behaviors of their children in public is an embarrassment to their upbringing. As well, a wife's behaviors can be either an embarrassment or praise to her husband. Brant has a shameful mistake of his past (don't we all), and through the ridicule of something of old, God has really shown me that people will see him differently through me. If I praise him, he will be praised. A woman really is gifted.
Anyway, so God was saying His Name was brought to such defilement through public embarrassment by His own children and bride. He says He will look after His Name, and perform these things in Ezekiel 36:25-27 (above) for His Name's sake. How GREAT is the Lord shown to be when He can take His same Word and rewrite it upon new vessels, restoring His Covenant once broken upon a people who once broke it. Of the 2 in the Covenant (us and God/His Word), one had to change, and Beloved, that is you. The other, having no fault, remained the same. Great is His mercy and His power. Great is His salvation, His Yeshua.
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