This past week I have been cruising through the Book of Ezekiel. God used Ezekiel to deliver some not-so-nice messages to his people back in the day. Ezekiel liked to start off each of these messages from God with these words: "The word of the Lord came to me. Son of man . . ." and then he would proceed with a message about how God's people had disappointed their Creator. Ezekiel had a very unappreciated job. Nobody listened to him. But Ezekiel did what God commanded him to do. He was obedient.
Chapter 23 in the Book of Ezekiel is entitled Two Adulterous Sisters. Now there's a title worthy of a Movie of the Week. Sadly, it sounds like a top ratings getter. The two sisters in the story from Ezekiel, Oholah (which means "her tent") and Oholibah (which means "my tent is in her"). The story of these two naughty girls was really a parable of sorts, Oholah and Oholibah really represented Samaria and Jerusalem respectively. And oh, how those two ladies liked their men. You can read the whole story here. It's kind of R-rated, depending on your imagination. Parental Guidance suggested.
When I think of "sisters" I often think of my wonderful sister, or I think about my wife and her two sisters, but somewhere along the line, any thoughts of "sisters" usually ends up these two ladies - Rose Mary Clooney and Vera Ellen - who sang this line in a song during the 1954 movie White Christmas.
"Lord help the mister that comes between me and my sister, and Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man."
Although these two girls flirted around with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye during the story of White Christmas, they never approached the transgressions of the two O's from the book of Ezekiel.
Question . . . If we look at our relationship with God as a marriage, how adulterous are we? Hmm.
How often do we men go off on fishing trips and leave our wives at home? How often do we work nights and weekends to satisfy our bosses but leave our wives waiting for us at home? And you ladies . . . how many romance novels do you read and how many chick flicks or soap operas do you watch? Let's face it. Most of us don't give our spouses the kind of attention they expect from us. Or, quite frankly . . . and biblically, the attention and devotion they deserve.
If we look at our relationships with our spouses or our friends like God tells us we should, I wonder what the divorce rate in this world would be. How many of our earthly friendships could be healed? Honestly, if we all loved our spouses like Jesus loved the church, our divorce rate would be zero. The biblical model of a marriage is found in the book of Ephesians.
"22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." - Ephesians 5:22-33
Honestly, most of us guys probably wish the chapter ended with verse 24 but it doesn't. Relationships are NOT one-sided. They're not even two-sided. Ideally, any relationship should really be THREE sided.
I'd like you to open your Bibles to Ecclesiastes, the fourth chapter. You are about to read my favorite verses (v9-12). I want you to pay attention to the numbers mentioned in the text.
"9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Every time the number one is mentioned, the surrounding words are all about "falling down" or trying to "keep warm alone" or about being "overpowered." But when there are two committed people in a relationship, as opposed to a one-sided relationship, it is "better", they "help the other up", "they will keep warm" . . . two "can defend themselves."
Is that how our earthly relationships are? Are they TWO-sided? Or do we shut everyone else out, keeping our relationships superficial, trying to stay warm all by ourselves? Do we sacrifice everything for those in our relationships? Or do we just suck the life out of them and move on to the next source of self-focused love? Is that how our relationship with God is? One-sided? Do we give GOD the kind of attention HE deserves?
Go back and read the last sentence of verse 12 in Ecclesiastes again.
"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
The first few verses were all about one's and two's. Then, at the very end, the numer switches to three. Why is that? You can probably figure that one out. All relationships will turn out for the best if there are THREE involved, the third being God. Or should I say, the FIRST.
If you have never seen the movie Fireproof, I recommend you watch it. Although the movie was about marriages, it deals specifically with "a cord of three strands" that should be present in ALL of our earthly relationships. Why do you think stools with three legs are the most stable. It's because they have THREE legs. They are VERY stable.
ANY relationship without Jesus as one of its legs is doomed to die. But with Christ in our relationships, we will stay warm, there will always be someone there to pick us up. Our relationships will live . . . forever.
From the movie Fireproof.