…be subject, then, to God; stand up against the devil, and he will flee from you; draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you… James 4:7-8a (YLT)
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a (NKJV)
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you! This is the message we all need to hear as our marriages face troubling times. Nigh is an interesting word which means ‘near.’ I thought that this passage as it reads in Young’s Literal Translation added a certain under-meaning. It is a nearness that comes from a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
God through Jesus Christ is our Creator. You and I were created in His image. As such, we are different than His other creations…animals, trees, mountains, etc. (You get the idea).
Then God said, “Now let’s make humans who will be like us. They will rule over all the fish in the sea and the birds in the air. They will rule over all the large animals and all the little things that crawl on the earth.” So God created humans in his own image. He created them to be like himself. He created them male and female. God blessed them and said to them, “Have many children. Fill the earth and take control of it.”…. God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good. There was evening, and then there was morning. This was the sixth day. Genesis 1:26-28a,31 (ERV)
In six days, God through Jesus Christ, created everything in the universe. On the sixth day, He saved the pinnacle of His creation until last…man. But unlike the first five days when God saw that His work was good, He saw His work on the sixth day was very good, His creation of man in His own image. Thus in all that He created, God felt closest to man and his mate, woman. He placed them in the perfect paradise, the Garden of Eden (a mirror image of heaven, I suspect). Here, His creation, man and woman, were in perfect and continual fellowship with their Creator. All was perfect until Satan came on the scene in the guise of a serpent and tempted mankind to disobey one of God’s stipulations about what to eat or not eat in the Garden of Eden.
Listening to Satan’s lies, mankind sinned and fell out of perfect fellowship with God, their creator. No longer were there walks with God in the cool of the evening in the Garden. God’s creation, the pinnacle of His creative work, was now flawed, stained with sin. The fellowship between the Creator and His children was broken. Thus mankind was driven from the Garden to toil and work the ground to grow the food they were to eat and they were prevented from returning to Eden where they might eat from the Tree of Life. Thus mankind fell, sinned and thus suffered the consequences.
Mankind being created in God’s own image, He desired to continue the fellowship that existed in the beginning in the Garden. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God makes Himself known to His children, His creation. So when we hurt (failed relationships, loss of the love of our earthly family, etc.), God also feels our hurt. After all, He is our Heavenly Father, and like any good parent, He has empathy for His children, you and I.
So, from the verses that I opened with, God encourages each of us (as we have troubles in our marriages) to resist the devil, to draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to us. While we don’t have the cool of the evening as existed in the Garden, God still seeks each of us out, to walk with us through our troubled lives, counseling us and comforting us.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright. Leviticus 26:13 (NKJV)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
The above verses talk about each of us being burdened (yoked) by sin, by poor decisions, by troubled relationships with our spouse, our family, our neighbors, by our jobs, by anything that impedes or comes in the way of our relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). God wants a close intimate relationship with each of us, like the one He had with Adam and Eve, lost with mankind’s fall. As God pursues each of us, come close to Him (nigh to Him, near to Him) and He will do likewise with you. God desires all His children to spend Eternity with Him in perfect harmony.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared. Now there was no sea. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. Revelation 21:1-3 (ERV)
…draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you… James 4:8a (YLT)
Standing firm on the covenant marriage vows exchanged with my wife, vows witnessed by God, until we are parted by death.
Ben in Texas