Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 3:23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 3:24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
One of the greatest, if not the greatest, characteristics of God is His faithfulness; for it is His faithfulness that gives us a reason to trust His goodness and mercy and justice and love, and so on. If He were to ever waver, then it would demonstrate untrustworthiness and unreliability – it would bring the reliance of God into an ever-shifting world of subjectivity where you and I would never know what God we were waking up to. However, as Jeremiah writes, each morning, the unfailing compassions of God, are found to be new all over again. A compassion that never changes, yet is still new each morning. Indeed, great is His faithfulness.
Although this section of scripture may not necessarily be speaking of marriage, it would seem rather fitting that we can learn some things about marriage, as it relates to the faithfulness of God.
How does a marriage get initiated? Let’s ignore all of the social and religious pomp and circumstance that is usually centered around a marriage and just focus on the basic marriage agreement itself.
In the Old Testament, God often expressed Himself as the husband of Israel and we know how Israel often did what was right in their own eyes and thereby, Israel fashioned herself as a unfaithful wife. What is it that a husband is supposed to be responsible for and likewise the wife?
Modern society/religious-society attempts to put this as a 50/50 relationship, whereby, each have their responsibility to the marriage and therefore, each are liable for its success. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree that a successful marriage is on both the husband and the wife, but this idea that it is a 50/50 responsibility seems to disagree with the scriptural picture.
The man, having fully determined that he has the capacity to make a life-long provision, approaches the woman to whom he has chosen to be the woman he wishes to provide for and makes an offer to her. This is the ‘asking her to marry him’ process. The woman, in turn, determines if what the man can provide is sufficient for her needs and if so, agrees to submit to his offer. If she determines that the offer is not worthy, she can rightfully reject the offer.
The man is making the offer based on the promise of his unbroken provision to her and the woman responds. The response of the woman is predicated upon her faith – the man has never, up to this point, provided for her, yet she agrees to submit to his offer of provision.
This is exactly what God did for Israel. God came to Israel while they were in Egypt and made an offer of provision for them. Israel then had a choice to accept the offer, which they did. God, over and over again, demonstrated the lengths of His provision for Israel and yet Israel continued to doubt God and continued to yoke up with other husbands (committed adultery by honoring other gods).
God demonstrates where the true responsibility lies – upon the husband.
It is the husband who provides.
It is the husband who secures.
The husband makes an ‘eternal’ promise to the wife – “…’til death do us part…” The wife, who has, by faith, submitted herself to this promise is completely at the mercy of the husband being a man of his word. Israel had absolutely no reason to doubt. It reminds me of the instance where Jesus walked on the water and asked Peter to join Him:
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
This is a microcosm of what Israel did since their inception. Having seen God’s salvation in the Red Sea, by giving them passage from their enemy as well as killing their enemies in the same. But, Israel continued to doubt and forget the provision of the Lord. When Israel crossed the Jordan River to get into Canaan, their promised land, Joshua tells them to set 12 stones by the river.
Joshua 4:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 4:22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 4:23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 4:24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
Israel should have lived in constant fear (reverence) of God as they reflected upon His unfailing provision. As Israel received new manna every morning, they should have rested in the new compassions that the Lord would provide for them every morning as He demonstrated His great faithfulness.
Do you see how much rests upon the husband? It is completely in the husband’s control to faithfully provide for his wife and the wife simply submits to that provision and lives happily and free under the wings of her husband’s provision. The wife has nothing to fear from the providing husband.
This is why divorce is such a big deal. God NEVER has and NEVER will renege on His promise to provide. Paul writes that by Christ, God will supply all of our need, according to His riches in glory. God is the husband that NEVER abandons His wife. God is the husband that doesn’t render the caliber of His provision upon how He feels or by the circumstance He finds Himself in. His provision and the caliber of His provision is forevermore faithful.
The husband that makes the offer of provision to his wife and his wife, by faith, submits to that offer only later to find out that he is abandoning her is akin to God leaving those of faith simply because He has lost interest. What a thought! It would have been better for that husband to have never married at all than to lead his wife into a position where she is left to fend for herself.
Thankfully, as Jeremiah said, our souls can hope in Him. We can be content in what we have in Christ for the very reason that He will never leave us:
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
What a lesson for us who are husbands. Our provision to our wives is out of our desire to be faithful to her. What’s “in it” for us is the opportunity to provide. Her submission is not the result of a demanding, over-bearing husband who seeks his own provision over hers, but is the result of yielding to the faithful provision he has not only promised to her, but carries out.
The safe, special, and secure wife wakes each morning, ready to enjoy another day of the faithfulness of her husband. This is how Christ loves us and indeed is how the husband is to love his wife.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;