Partners from the beginning

Genesis 2:18-24

A few lessons ago, I noted contrasting opinions between myself, and the apostle Paul, where he mentioned, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that” (1 Corinthians 7:7). Paul’s reasoning behind his desire that all be single, wasn’t based on selfishness, but so that men and women could focus all of their attention on God, as he did, without balancing the challenges and concerns involved with marriage as well. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but can become a distraction when the husband and wife are unable to maintain a godly focus. God instituted marriage, and it should be carried out the way He designed it, and I strongly believe that everyone should desire to experience it, but only for the right reasons.

When God took one of the ribs from Adam, and skillfully formed the woman, He made certain to take her from his side, so that she could be equal with him, from under his arm, to be protected by him, and from near his heart, so that she could be loved by him. Knowing this, the woman should never feel that she’s beneath the man, nor regard herself as inferior, but should carry herself as the “help” God created to “meet” the needs of her husband.

Establishing a solid foundation, and working together, are two key elements required to make a marriage work. One reason I’ve learned why many marriages fail is, the foundations were built on feelings and emotions, rather than planning and logical reasoning. When a man makes up in his mind that he’s prepared to marry a woman, he should first have a job. What woman in her right mind would give up all her single liberties to a man who is unable to support her? In my most humble opinion, that’s borderline insanity! It’s obvious that God should be at the forefront of a woman’s desires in a man, but having consistent income is far more attractive than biceps and a six-pack.

In the beginning of any relationship, the courting process is super important. Adam and Eve were an exception, as they were the only two humans in existence, and I’m convinced Adam was created with unlimited knowledge, based on his reference to a man leaving his father and mother. If Eve and himself were the only humans created, then how could Adam possibly have any understanding of family, except it had already been embedded in his system? That’s information for another lesson. In any case, having knowledge and reverence for God will help in choosing a wife suitable to the man. After God made Adam, He immediately put Him to work, then taught him the Word. The man seeking a wife should follow this example, by studying and meditating on the Word of God, and being in a position to financially support a wife. According to Scripture, the man is responsible for teaching the Word of God to his wife. No, I didn’t stutter. Rarely do men follow this example, as we see more women doing the teaching these days, but God’s order was designed where men are to teach the Word in their homes.

Can you see how out of order this world has become? Roles have been reversed, and families are dysfunctional, but all could be avoided if God’s order is implemented in every marriage. As you prepare your mind, heart, and social position to be a husband or wife, don’t forget to check what God expects from you as well. Marriage indeed is a beautiful institution, and I pray yours gains God’s favor from now, until eternity!

Walk in love,

Ell

A covenant to marry

Ruth 3:1-6, 8-12, 16-18

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another exciting episode of, “Why Did I Get Married”! Starring, three of the most honorable and humble characters in Scripture; Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz! I’m your host, “holyell”, and I’ll be bringing you all the details of tonight’s most fascinating scenes!

Naomi: Ruth, my loyal and faithful daughter, you’ve been with me all this time; showing support, and helping me in more ways than I can imagine. Ever since we lost our husbands and left Moab, not once did you do anything to offend, or disrespect me. Many years have passed, and I’ve grown old, but you’re still young and vibrant! I think it’s about time that I return the favor by helping you find a husband. As a matter of fact, the maidens you were gleaning with the other day, weren’t they working for my cousin Boaz?

Ruth: Umm…I think so mother.

Naomi: Girl that boy is rich! Not only is he rich, but he’s also righteous! Rich and righteous…now you can’t go wrong with that babygirl.

Ruth: Yes mother, but…umm…

Naomi: What is it girl, let it out!

Ruth: Well, if he’s our cousin, is it lawful for us to marry? And I don’t want him just for his wealth. I want to be a wife who pleases God, then in turn, can please my husband.

Naomi: Of course it’s lawful. In fact, your closest of kin is entitled to the opportunity to take you as his wife, and give you children, since your husband died without giving you any. Later on in the future, most countries will forbid the marrying of relatives, but some will still practice it. Don’t ask me how I know 😉.

Ruth: Alright mother. I will trust your words, and follow whatever advice you can offer. But what if he doesn’t like me, or think I’m not attractive enough?

Naomi: Child please! You’re one of the most beautiful, and desirable women God has ever created. If he doesn’t fall for you, then something is wrong in his brain.

Ruth: (LOL)

Naomi: Alright, listen up. Here’s what I want you to do. Take a good, long shower, freshen yourself with your best perfume, then dress up in something modest, yet appealing. Then, I want you to go to a certain place where he usually rests, hide out for a few, then wait for him to fall asleep. After he’s snoozing good, go to him, uncover his feet, then lay down. When he gets up, he’ll tell you what you should do from there.

Ruth: Uhhh….umm… you’re joking, right?

Naomi: No time for games honey.

Ruth: So, you want me to hide in a man’s house, wait until he falls asleep, then lay near him until he wakes up?

Naomi: Precisely!

Naomi: Alright mother. I trust you. At your word, I will do it.

(Tradition says that women of the East, when going to be with their lawful husbands would, through modesty, and in token of subjection to them, go to the foot of the bed, gently raise the covers, and creep under them up to their place. In the case of Ruth, she was instructed to only uncover the feet of Boaz and lie down there until he should discover her presence, then tell her what to do. Naomi evidently knew that Boaz was a man with good moral character, which is why she could safely advise this.)

*Ruth follows Naomi’s plan to the letter, and now rests at the feet of the snoozing Boaz.

Boaz: Zzz…zzz…zzz…zzz…mmm..whaa… wha… what’s going on? (Rolls over) Is someone there? (Feels something at his feet, then looks up with sleepy eyes) Ohhh sugga snaps! Who whaa what..what are you doing….who the…what are you doing here?

Ruth: Please don’t be alarmed, forgive me if I’ve violated your personal space. I am Ruth, your handmaid. If you would be so kind, spread your skirt over me, for we are near relatives.

(Spreading the skirt over a woman was a symbol of taking her under one’s protection, and entering into marriage with her. (Sounds like my kind of wedding; private, simple, cheap, and already at the honeymoon).

Boaz: Ohhhh, it’s you! Hey beautiful! How are you? Did Naomi put you up to this?

Ruth: Yes, she wants a better life for me, and suggested that you and I would be a good match.

Boaz: Sigh… you are a beautiful and blessed woman, whom God favors, because you have shown more kindness to me since we met. I know I’m at fault for not following through with the kinsman redemption duty, and I’m grateful that you, and my cousin have reminded me to act on it. I give you my word, that I’ll take care of this today. As a matter of fact, take these six measures of barely, and give it to Naomi. I’ll get back with you when things are settled.

Ruth: God bless you for your kindness, and extreme generosity. I promise to be the wife you need, to help meet all your needs, and fulfill God’s will for your life.

Boaz: See, now you’re trying to make me blush. You better get your beautiful self outta here before I have to repent…

Ruth: (Smiles) You’re so crazy boy…

Boaz: Crazy about you boo…

*Ruth returns to Naomi to tell her the good news.

Ruth: Hello mother!

Naomi: Is that you, Ruth?

Ruth: Yes ma’am, it’s me.

Naomi: Well… I’m listening. How’d it go?

Ruth: It went well mother.

Naomi: Well, geesh! Where’s all the excitement?

Ruth: Mother, I’m overjoyed! I just don’t know…I mean… well, this is like a dream come true. It feels like I’m floating in the clouds. Boaz is sooooo fine, and sooooo sweet…. and I saw his feet. His toes weren’t ugly. That’s a major plus!

Naomi: Girl, I know what you mean.

Ruth: Here, he told me to give you this, as a gift.

Naomi: (Receives the measures of barley) That boy is a true God-send. They don’t make them like him anymore. Hang out here with me for a while. From the way you explained things, I’m certain Boaz won’t rest until he takes care of this matter today.

Ruth: (Smiles, and blushes)

This concludes another episode of, “Why Did I Get Married”! Thanks for tuning in.

Walk in love,

Ell

Ruth and Boaz marry; Obed born

Ruth 4:13-17

In my daily communications, I often hear the most unusual, yet heartfelt stories of how couples met. While some were graced to experience the high school sweetheart to marriage story, others either met in college, the grocery store, airport, military, work, or online. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and yields amazing results, especially when both partners contribute with their whole hearts, and keep God at the helm. One of the greatest benefits that come from marriage is children. While those little rascals can be a challenge to keep in line during the early years, they can bring smiles and laughter to parents that is unlike anything else. Every little child that’s born, has the potential to do great things in the earth, and should be valued as such by both parents, and those around them. It’s sad when children are mistreated, abused, and unappreciated, because many who experience this usually grow up hurt and confused, and are unable to fully develop into who God created them to be. It’s important that we cover, protect, and encourage our children as they adjust daily to life, and are molded into their role in this world.

The marriage between Boaz and Ruth initiated the fulfilling of the law of kinsman redemption, while conceiving and raising up seed for the dead, and keeping his name alive carried it out to its full extent. Grandma Naomi was overjoyed to see her little grandson Obed enter the earth, and she assisted in nursing the child, and helping to care for it. I grew up under the impression that grandparents got a double dose of work, because after raising their own children, they would eventually be responsible for raising their children’s children as well. As I grew older, I realized that grandparents were a lot more lenient than parents (at least in my case). Nonetheless, it’s a blessing to be born into a family that loves God, keeps His commandments, suffers no lack, and strives to do good in all things.

Little Obed was favored to be the product of a faithful and loving mother, and mighty and wealthy father. His existence was counted to take the place of Ruth’s first husband, and to carry on in his place. He was the ancestor of Jesse, and David, the king. Although he was just a baby at the time, his life was set up to be great, and remembered forever in history.

We were all once babes, born into a world of hope and opportunity. While some were favored to be born into wealthy families, others grew up with different struggles. However you got here matters, but only a little, because God takes notice of what you do with what you’re given. Times are different now, and the struggle indeed is real, but with God’s help, it matters not if you were born wealthy or poor, because little is much, when God is in it. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loves the church. Wives, submit to your husbands, and love them as you desire to be loved. Parents, love your children wholeheartedly, training them in the ways of godliness. Make sure your words hold more weight to them than what they glean from television or friends. You don’t have to be their best friend to gain their trust, only teach them the Word of God, and live a life that exemplifies holiness. By doing this, they’ll learn to respect the God in you, and consider that their own lives are nothing without Him as well.

Walk in love,

Ell

Boaz buys Naomi’s property

Ruth 4:13-17

Naomi’s life began with wealth, health, and prosperity, but things quickly changed after experiencing a famine, and the loss of her husband and two sons. Although she blamed God for her pain and misery, His love never left her, as she experienced a joyful ending to a seemingly tragic beginning.

After leaving Moab, and returning to her homeland where God had allowed the famine to pass, and the grounds to bring forth herbs again, Naomi’s main concern had shifted from grieving from her losses, to making life better for her daughter-in-law, Ruth. After being informally introduced to her distant relative, Boaz, Ruth had become the talk of the town, as the daughter-in-law of Naomi who gained the favor of the wealthy Boaz. I’m not well-versed in ancient duties and traditions, but I read that it was lawful for the kinsman of the deceased to perform “kinsmen redemption”. This took place when a Hebrew was forced to sell his inheritance, because of poverty, and the nearest relative was to redeem it for him. In Ruth’s case, someone was to act as a kinsman redeemer of her deceased husband, who failed to bring forth a son. He was also obligated to marry the widow as well. If he refused to take possession of the property, he was under no obligation to marry the widow. Naomi’s relatives must have forgotten that they were to perform such duties, so she devised a plan that would get their attention. To make a long story short, her plan worked, and triggered the good-hearted Boaz into seeking a way to redeem the land, and honor of Naomi.

Although Boaz had his hopes set on redeeming the land of the late Elimelech, and his sons Chilion and Mahlon, he was required to follow protocol, and give the initial opportunity to the relative who was closest in relation to Naomi. After realizing that the kinsman redemption duties required that the man marry, and bring forth children from the widow, the first redeemer pleaded that he could not redeem under those circumstances. Boaz then assumed the role of taking Ruth as his wife, and buying back the land that was once owned by Naomi’s husband.

What makes this story more interesting is, Boaz and Ruth brought forth a son, who was appropriately named, Obed, which means, serving, and suggested that his life would render service and devotion to his grandmother. Can you imagine how elated Naomi must have been, to finally see her first grand child? What a fitting ending to a troubled beginning. She may have suffered for a season, but God blessed Naomi with a respected, and royal heritage.

Walk in love,

Ell

Husbands and wives, joint heirs

1 Peter 3:1-9

Christians are commanded by God to submit themselves to every ordinance of man, as well as to every person who has any authority in government, who cooperate in efforts to promote righteousness, over lawlessness. This is important, because there are some who are under the impression that they are not to abide by laws and rules set by men who are ungodly. On the contrary, God supports justice, because human government is of His own doing, and if any man or woman seeks to do that which is right, we are to support them, just as His people did in ancient times. In addition, our cooperation also puts to silence those who shun Christianity, and proves that believers aren’t as haughty as they are falsely accused to be.

Following the previous example, servants are commanded to be subject to their masters; showing respect to those who are good, and to those who are hard to please. It’s difficult, at times, to submit to bosses who are stubborn, pig-headed, arrogant, disgusting, displeasing, high-minded, haughty, disrespectful, discourteous, rude, impolite, uncivil, ill-mannered, ungracious, irreverent, inconsiderate, insolent, impudent, impertinent, cheeky, flippant, insubordinate, churlish, contemptuous, disdainful, derisive, scornful, disparaging, insulting, and abusive (did I miss anything lol). We earn God’s acceptance as heirs to His kingdom, and joint-heirs with Christ, when we uphold His righteous standard in the midst of our suffering and injustice, because persecution and hard times come as a package deal when we submit our lives to God.

Submission is not limited to governments, authorities, and bosses, but it extends even into our homes. According to Scripture (and contrary to societal belief), wives are to submit themselves to their own husbands. I can hear all the wives murmuring, “I ain’t nobody’s slave”, lol. Well, the Bible’s definition of submission does not involve one being used, abused, nor taken advantage of. Instead, submitting as God commands is the greatest sign of true commitment. Women have to first separate the idea of slavery, from the word submit, in order to understand how in-depth their role is, as a wife. Wives are to be “discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). Wives are to understand, and reverence their husbands as the head, just as Christ is the head of the church. The problem some women face in marriage is, they get hooked on the “new age” equality teachings, that alter their understanding of what God expects from them. Yes, the husband and wife are one in body, soul, mind, and spirit, but there’s an order in the family that has been ignored for ages, that has caused all kinds of issues between married couples.

Another issue plaguing women submitting is, the need to focus more on their outward appearance, hoping that their looks will keep their husband’s interest high. While looks play a part in any relationship, it shouldn’t be the focal point. Women of old adorned themselves with the Word of God; making sure that their inward man was right in the eyes of God, so that they would be properly positioned to assist their husbands as God saw fit. The Bible mentions that obtaining a meek and quiet spirit holds more value than anything a woman could do to enhance her physical appearance, so rather than spend unnecessary funds on expensive clothes, makeup, and jewelry, the wife should spend more time keeping her heart pure, and right with God.

To the wife who’s joined to an unbelieving husband, her obedience in all things is based upon him loving his wife, as Christ loves the church. In other words, if she’s ordered to do something outside of the will of God, then she’s not obligated to follow that order. Is this grounds for a divorce? According to the text, no, because even though the unsaved husband refuses to hear preaching of the gospel, he will be exposed to the chaste behavior of his born-again wife. For this reason, it’s vital that the believing wife strive to conduct herself in charity and chastity, showing reverence to the husband, in hopes that he would be won over by her godly example.

Submissive wives are beautiful in the eyes of God, and essential to the success and wellbeing of their husbands. Never feel that you are of lesser value based on your role as a wife, because when God made you from the man’s rib, He constructed the perfect creature, capable of doing amazing things!

Walk in love,

Ell

Sustain marital love and fidelity

1 Corinthians 7:1-11

People all over the world are stressed and depressed, because they feel that in their singleness, there’s no hope, or true happiness in life. Many feel that good living is a by-product of being joined in union with a spouse, but I’ve learned that being single is actually a blessing from the Lord. One reason I believe this way is, those who are unmarried can focus all their time on caring for the things of God, without being distracted by the things required by a husband or wife. Marriage is work, and demands extensive time, effort, patience, and a list of necessary things to keep it in good standing. Fortunately for single people, the weight of marriage is nonexistent, and all their attention can be directed toward God’s business, unhindered.

Although my feelings toward singleness attribute to a more focused approach to godliness, being married can present a couple that has the potential to wreak havoc to the forces of darkness. Marriage is the single-most beautiful institution ever established by God. When a man and woman become one, their union amplifies everything embodied into their very being. A perfect example of how powerful a married couple becomes when compared to being single is illustrated in the Dragon Ball anime series. Goku is the main character who has an undying passion for training, to become one of the greatest fighters ever. His unending desire to test his strength against the world’s strongest opponents is unmatched by anyone, and even though he may lose at times, his loses only strengthen his passion to work harder to prepare himself to win the next fight. On his own, Goku has become a force to be reckoned with, but when Goku merges with his counterpart Vegeta, their powers are elevated exponentially! The fused powers of each fighter far outweighs the strength of each fighter when standing alone, and this proves that when the two are united as one, their abilities supercede what they could produce from their own efforts. The longer Goku and Vegeta remain in fusion, the stronger they will be, but when the fusion reaches its time limit, they revert back to their original powers.

Marriage is work, and requires a lot to keep it going, but as long as the two partners remain joined together as one, the things God can do through them far outweigh what they could do if they were separated. While it’s true, those who are married care for the things of God, and things that are of the world, how they may please each other, mastering both elements can prove to yield some amazing results! God can use us whether we’re married or single, but the Bible clearly helps us understand, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Getting married, and staying married is crucial in today’s society. We live in a world where marriage is shunned for single living and fornication. Paul teaches that it’s good for a man not to touch a woman, and avoid premarital sexual relations, but if perhaps a man lacks the self-control over his sexual passions and appetites, then it’s better for him to marry. The reason for marriage is more than sex, and should be centered on fulfilling the will of God with your partner, and best friend, but to maintain a healthy and lasting marriage, husbands and wives must respect each other, in reference to sexual needs. Husbands have no power over their own bodies, nor do wives have power over theirs, but they both belong to each other, and neither has the authority to refuse what the other needs or demands in their relationship (within reason, of course). The best way to avoid threats of separation or divorce in marriage is for each partner to love and treat each other they same way they desire to be treated. Times are different now than they were back in the day, and people are being raised and taught different definitions of love. For this reason, it’s essential for the man and woman to study a person’s thoughts and beliefs on what love is, then assess whether or not it’s aligned with what the Bible teaches. Unhealthy marriages can be avoided, if only people would be patient, and ask the right questions before committing to each other.

To all the single people, my advice is opposite of the apostle Paul, as I wish that all were married, and living in the love of God, and of a spouse. To those who desire to be married, be sure and gain a strong understanding of what marriage is, according to Scripture, and measure your life with what the Word requires, before making a commitment to someone else. To those who are married, stay strong, and keep God first in your relationship. There will be seasons when it’ll be tough to balance caring for your spouse, as well as caring for the things of God, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you’ll be led and strengthened to make the right choices in all your tough situations. “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4-6).

Walk in love,

Ell

Status of divorced women in Israel

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Ancient laws and rules were implemented for the children of Israel to follow, in order to keep a sense of peace and uniformity amongst the people as a whole, and that they remain pure in the eyes of a holy God. Although those laws were tied specifically to the people during olden times, some may still be applicable to society today. I expounded a bit on the laws concerning divorce and remarriage the people of God were to abide by in the past, and in this lesson, I’ll add a few more details in reference to this topic, as food for thought.

A man who took a woman to be his wife had the option to write a bill of divorce, put it in her hand, and send her out of his house, if he found some uncleanness in her. This was typically in reference to him finding out she was impure before they got married. Some women apparently claimed to be virgins, but were proven to be false claims after they married. It was God’s intention that when a man and woman marry, they remain together forever. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case in a number of situations. The woman who was put out of the man’s home, was then free to be another man’s wife. Even if the second husband loses favor in the woman, he too can issue the same bill of divorce. If perhaps the second husband dies, the woman would not be allowed to go back to her first husband, as she would be considered defiled.

Marriage was never intended to be a simple walk in the park, rather an opportunity for a man and woman to unite, becoming one flesh, while fulfilling the will of God as one heart, one mind, one soul, and one spirit. God hates divorce, because it proves that what He instituted, wasn’t worth fighting for. The pain of a failing marriage cuts deep in human lives, and the hearts of men, women, and children are broken when divorce occurs. The impact of a divorce can even go on for many years, especially when children are involved. When promises and covenants are broken, entire communities feel the effects. This is part of what God hates about divorce.

I strongly believe that every marriage can work, and withstand the times, but only if pursued with godly intentions, and between people who have a desire to live according to God’s Word. Couples break up for many reasons, including lack of commitment, infidelity, conflict/arguing, money, unrealistic expectations, and many more, but all can be overcome with patience, love, and effective communication. God instituted marriage, so why don’t more people turn to Him for advice, rather than waste time and money on men and women who typically give their own biased opinions, without Scripture background? When problems occur in marriage, I don’t recommend we write bills of divorce, but that we come together in prayer, bringing the issue before God, while remaining calm as He guides us in His Word where to find strength and advice for the problems we face. Many problems between couples can be avoided simply by listening to one another, and being nice. It’s amazing what a simple smile and hug can do to appease a hot situation. The devil wants relationships to fail, and he tries extremely hard to make this happen, but God can give us what we need to make marriage worth experiencing.

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband”
(Ephesians 5:25-33).

Walk in love,

Ell