In Bible Class (Matt Dowling teaching) the topic was the spirituality and invisibility of God. We went to the 10 commandments (#2) to explore how making an image to picture God is an insult to his nature. It struck me again as we read about those who would demonstrate hatred for God by making these images, that God is so merciful. Read what he says about the blessings and the curses:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)
God blesses much longer for loving him than he curses for hating him. Right in the middle of this Big 10 warning, God cannot hide his mercy. He can’t keep from revealing his grace! “I punish short. I love long,” he declares.
I fail enough as a husband that I’m glad that the consequences for my failures are not nearly as extensive as the blessings for my obedience. I’m quite certain that some of the effects of my sin are the tools of God to discipline me. Fathers do that, you know. God even warns me that my prayers are hindered when my consideration for my wife is slacking (1 Peter 3:7). I’m convinced, too, that the blessings he sends my way for loving my wife like Christ loved church are many and long-term.
We emphasize in our teaching that “when our marriages mirror our covenant relationship with God, we have hope for the future and experience heaven on earth today.” I’ve got to ask consider, then, “Shouldn’t I do all I can to ensure that the ‘curses’ that come to our marriage relationship should be short-lived? A mature relationship is one in when the inevitable difficulties and conflicts come, we don’t get knocked down as far and we don’t stay down long. The primary characteristic in a couple who rebounds from difficulties in this way is not good communication skills. The primary characteristic is mercy. Mature husbands and wives embrace, forgive, and reconcile quickly.
What’s the motivation for the Christian husband and wife to do that? It’s the way God treats us. His punishment is short. His blessings are long.
God help me be that way in my home – with my wife.