LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23:10)

It is easy to become discontent. Our flesh always seems to think it deserves more than it is getting. It is especially tempting when under another’s authority to think that we deserve better treatment than we are receiving.
As wives, we often become discontent when we think our husbands are not giving us the attention and affection we “deserve,” the gratitude we “deserve,” the leadership we “deserve,” or the physical possessions we “deserve.” Whenever I hear the words “because you ‘deserve’ it” in an advertisement, I see a red flag. When we think we’re not getting what we want or expect, we become ungrateful and discontent.
In truth, we deserve nothing but eternal punishment in hell. All else that we are and possess are gracious gifts from a merciful God. We must thank Him for everything – including and especially our husbands.
Scripture exhorts us, in fact, to give thanks in *all* things. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:5b).
The verse does not read “…do not be anxious about anything – except that guy who leaves the toilet seat up – but in everything – except that guy whose daily bread consists of Sports Illustrated and American Hunter – let your requests be made known to God.”
For wives who feel unloved, take encouragement from Leah – the unloved wife of Jacob. How must she have felt when her husband “loved Rachel more than Leah.” (Gen. 29:30b). Living in the shadow of her sister Rachel, Leah’s life must have been one of sorrow heaped upon sorrow - day after day into month after month into year after year.
But look what happened over time as God blessed Leah with children while her sister Rachel remained barren. Notice the progression of names Leah gave to her sons:
“Reuben,” which means “Look, a son!” Scripture tells us that Leah believed that giving her husband a son meant that “now my husband will love me.” (Gen 29:32) Doesn’t your heart go out to Leah here?
“Simeon,” which means “hearing” because “the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also” (Gen. 29:33). Did Jacob really hate her? Perhaps not, but that was Leah’s perception of his feelings toward her. Even so, Leah recognizes God’s grace in her life despite her husband’s perceived hatred of her.
Next came “Levi,” which in contemporary Hebrew means “my heart” and is translated in many Bibles as sounding like the Hebrew word for “attached.” Leah says of this child, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me.” Hope still resided within her heart for her husband’s affections through her own “works” – providing him with sons.
And yet - God be praised - sometime between the birth of her third and fourth sons, Leah’s heart must have changed, for at the birth of her fourth child she declared, “This time I will praise the Lord,” and she named him “Judah,” which sounds like the Hebrew word for “praise,” (Gen. 29:35)
It appears that Leah had learned – but only after many, many years of disappointment and sorrow – to find contentment in the only Source of True Love. She was no longer expressing her broken heart – even if justified – over her earthly husband, but instead praising God and rejoicing in His perfect love, one her husband could never give.
Interestingly, her fourth son – Judah – was told by his father upon the latter’s deathbed that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Gen 49:10). From the tribe of Judah came the perfect bridegroom to His people – Jesus Christ.
What an example of the blessings – and how very rich they are indeed – of praising God in the midst of our heartache and seeking His way for our lives in the midst of them.
We must not seek satisfaction in anyone but the Lord. If wives look only or mostly to earthly husbands for their peace and contentment, they may well miss their first and only True Love. He also is then robbed of the attention, praise and obedience that is rightfully His.
An unloving husband or even a husband that truly loves his wife, but may not communicate it in a way that she understands, can be used by God to drive that wife closer to Himself. It’s possible that wives may not discover that if they depend too greatly for their joy in earthly relationships.
I’m not saying that unhappy or unloving marriages are desirable, or that women with unbelieving (or even ungodly yet saved) husbands should not pray for God to have mercy on their husbands to bring them to a knowledge of the Truth for His glory, but true Christian women in such relationships must thank God for the work He is doing in their own lives through their marriages – refining the wives as gold in the fire.
It’s not easy. It may well, in fact, be the most difficult thing a godly wife will ever do – respect and love her ungodly husband in a godly manner– but she does so out of obedience to the Lord, not out of obedience to her husband based on what he does or doesn’t do. She does so “as unto the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22)
When do we most grow in sanctification and ever closer to God – in times of trial or in times of comfort? Therefore, be encouraged during times of trial: “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son,do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.’” (Hebrews 12:3-7)
I consider my own personal spiritual growth during times of trial in my marriage as discipline – God chastening me to be more like His Son. For “He disciplines for our good, that we may share His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10b).
Meditate on those two thoughts: for OUR good and to share HIS holiness. What privilege. What grace. What love hath our Redeemer for us, even and especially during times of trial, marital and otherwise.
I believe that if a godly wife will ask for the strength, wisdom and discretion needed to obey God’s Word with respect to her heart’s attitude, words and actions toward her husband, He will provide for her: “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
He will do the work. You as wife submit to your bridegroom - Christ Jesus. Submit in obedience and with a glad heart, because “those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5). I believe that this verse from Psalms refers to sowing God’s seed, His Word, even and especially when in tears. And if those tears, dear wife, are related to your husband, recall this Scripture, and continue to faithfully sow His Word both in and out of season.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

Dave,
Please do not let this post get in the way of your series with respect to husbands.
I went ahead and put this up because I thought it might be helpful to see both sides - wives' along with husbands' - at the same time.
Let me know if you'd rather I post with respect to wives after the husband's series is ended.

May 01, 2007 9:55 AM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

You have a wonderful perspective on marriage and wifing. I can see that it is a matter of "choosing" to be the woman God wants you to be. Keeping one's eyes fixed on Christ rather than on things of earth makes a huge difference, doesn't it?

I wish there was a way I could communicate this truth to young couples who are preparing for marriage! Inevitably and naturally, they are so full of each other that they think that getting married is going to solve all their problems. The fact is, they are about to enter a universe of problems they have never even thought of before! If they could only see the bigger picture and the need to find all of their satisfaction in God they would be spared from being crushed on the rocks of marital disappointment!

How many times have I heard a wife say when she is getting ready to leave her husband, "God wants me to be happy!" You answer that statement eloquently. Thanks.

Do you have some more posts on wives? I like the idea of dealing with the wifing questions and issues before moving on to husbands. Undoubtedly, comments will lead us into the posts on husbands sooner or later. If you want to email me feel free to do so. I sent you an email last week. Do you still have it with my address?

Dave

May 01, 2007 11:48 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Susan, First of all welcome *S*

Secondly, thank you for sharing this, it is so encouraging and true. We as wives have to answer to God first, no matter what we face, we should seek the Lord and obey what the word tells us to do. It can be hard at times to submit to your husband. I will be honest and say I've had my momments, but more and more I have realized when I obey the Lord, I feel a calmness in most situations because I know I am doing what God wants me to do.
Thanks again and it's so good to have you on board.

Cristina

May 01, 2007 12:44 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Dave,
You wrote: "Keeping one's eyes fixed on Christ rather than on things of earth makes a huge difference, doesn't it?"
Amen! It makes *all* the difference!
I don't have any other posts written yet, but I'm thinking and praying on it daily. Believe me, this post was helpful for me to write. I need the encouragement myself. :-)
I feel an urge (or maybe urging) to write more, however, so I hope to have another post or two up soon. Maybe later this week? If that's okay.
And your email address is now in my address book. I'm sorry I didn't reply directly to your email when I received it. I figured you were so busy that I didn't want to bother you unnecessarily.
Christina,
What a gracious comment! Thank you. And you're not alone in those moments. I struggle every day, and longer I am married, the more I am grateful for God's patience with me and grace in His correction. I need it. As my dad once told me (sadly, he and my mom are divorced) with respect to to the Christian walk, "it doesn't get any easier."
But I believe it can be more peaceful - in our hearts - as we walk more closely with Him.
Easier? I don't know.
Joyful? The Bible tells us it can be, so I have hope.

May 01, 2007 1:10 PM

 
Blogger Bluecollar said...

Blessed be the Lord! Susan, the Lord has blessed you with wisdom and strong knowledge of His Word. This post is an excellent compliment to Dave's great series. I'm so thankful for your sharing the things that the Lord is teaching you. All honor and glory to God! Thank you so much for being a part of the bluecollar family!

May 01, 2007 1:21 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
There are some really good points in this post that we all can meditate on.
Wayne

May 01, 2007 2:32 PM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

“Levi,” which in contemporary Hebrew means “my heart” and is translated in many Bibles as sounding like the Hebrew word for “attached.”

My newborn (well, he's actually 4 months now) is named Levi, Susan! He breastfeeds, so when I read where you say that in contemporary Hebrew "Levi" sounds like the word "attached" I got a real chuckle. If you've ever nursed ababy, you know how "attached" it can all seem!
Hey, its neat that you have a blog to post on now.

May 01, 2007 3:39 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Hi Rose!
Well, mazel tov! Many blessings to you and your family upon the recent birth of Levi. I'm so happy for you!
My Israeli son's name is Gil (and we call him Gili, which means "my joy"). My daughter Grace nursed for three years (no typo there), so I do indeed know what you mean by attached.
I'm so blessed to be a part of this blog family. The Lord is so good to us.

May 01, 2007 4:29 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Blessings, Susan! Welcome aboard!

"except that guy who leaves the toilet seat up"

My wife has trained me well on that one!!!!

LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!

Excellent post!

May 01, 2007 5:32 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Thanks, gojira!
That particular issue isn't a problem in our home, but I'm always taken aback when I read something in Scripture like "in all things," and I have to admit to myself that He doesn't say, "except your particular problem, Susan, because I know that's a real annoyance."
:-)

May 01, 2007 5:50 PM

 
Blogger Sista Cala said...

Just this past Sunday, my pastor said of the goldsmith; "he knows when the refining is complete when he sees his own reflection in the gold."

May 03, 2007 12:37 AM

 

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