Hosea 14:5-6 TLB, “I will refresh Israel like the dew from heaven, she will blossom as the lily and root deeply in the soil like cedars in Lebanon. Her branches will spread out, as beautiful as olive trees, fragrant as the forests of Lebanon.”
Today we return to the descriptive picture in Numbers 24:5-7 that God gives us regarding our homes. Remember, He calls them “lovely homes.”
He wants our marriages and families to be…
FAITHFUL AND ENDURING
“Like cedars beside the waters.” Numbers 24:6
The cedars speak of majesty, beauty and faithfulness. They are called “excellent” trees in Song of Solomon 5:15.
Strong and rooted
Cedars are strong and firmly rooted. Because of this they can grow to 120’ high and 30’ to 40’ in girth. In Psalm 80:10 TLB God likens His people to the “mighty” cedar trees.” The word “mighty” is “el” in the Hebrew, meaning “strong”, a word that is also used of God. Psalm 92:12 MLB tells us that the “righteous… shall become mighty like the cedar of Lebanon.”
The Hebrew word for “cedar” is “erez” and the Strong’s Concordance gives the meaning, “from the tenacity of its roots.” God wants our marriages to be strong. He wants them to be strongly rooted in God’s principles and the covenant we made on our wedding day. He wants them to be strongly knitted together in commitment, faithfulness, morality, unity and love.
Durable and lasting
Cedars have remarkable lasting qualities and are noted for their durability. In fact, there are some cedar trees that are estimated to be two thousand years old! This is how God sees marriage - durable and lasting. When we make the covenant of marriage before God and witnesses, we are in for the long haul! It is “until death do us part.”
We are living in an unprecedented hour in history when divorce is as rampart in the church as it is in the world. Oh how God’s heart must be hurting as the beautiful institution of marriage, which God ordained, is being attacked and torn apart by the devil. This is not the vision of “lovely homes” which God designed.
How can our marriages last? Only by doing it God’s way. Our selfish flesh continually puts a spanner in the works! ‘Self’ and ‘selfishness’ are the root of all problems in marriage. We need to lay down our own rights and embrace the same attitude of Jesus who did not cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made himself of no reputation, He became a servant, and He humbled Himself and was obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8) The outworking of this truth in our lives is sufficient to keep a marriage unto the end.
Too many people think that love is a feeling. When the feeling dies, they think love has finished. Love is a commitment. It goes beyond feeling. It goes beyond circumstances. Even when we have no vestige of love left within us, God’s inexhaustible love is still available to us. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes the kind of love we need to survive marriage. It is agape love, which starts with - “Love endures long” and ends with - “love endures without limit.”
King Solomon used cedar timber to build God’s temple and also his own palace because of the durability of the wood. God wants our marriages to be built of cedar too, not poplar or untreated pine that will not stand the tests of time.
Resisting decay and Repelling pests
This is another wonderful feature of the cedar. This quality is an important part of our marriage, too. Perhaps you are having a self-pity trip and dreaming that you deserve someone better than your husband. Resist this evil thought in the name of Jesus! Perhaps you are thinking that you may be better on your own. Repel this deceiving thought in Jesus name! Resist and repel all resentment and all negative thoughts about your union. The devil roams about seeking to devour your marriage. Don’t be deceived by his seducing temptations.
The cedar exudes a gum, which gives off fragrance. Does your marriage exude fragrance like the cedar? Fruitfulness and fragrance are the theme of each description God paints of our homes.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Oh God, sometimes I feel as though I don’t love my husband any more, but Lord, I know that my love is deceptive. Please fill me with your agape love that loves even when it does not feel like loving. Help me to realize that my marriage is a commitment to a covenant that goes beyond my feelings and desires. Save me from being a chopped-off cedar tree, but one that grows to full height. Amen.”
I am growing a marriage like the cedar tree, faithful to the end.