and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:
and they shall be one flesh.
~ Genesis 2:24, KJV
Have you ever noticed that little word, “cleave” tucked into this verse? And have you ever stopped to consider the significance of that word? It means to keep, and to stick with, and to hold close to, but there’s also a deeper meaning that we should consider.
A cleft is a split, a crack, or a division. Therefore we can look at cleaving this way: to divide along the natural grain forming a cleft that is necessary when grafting two plants together.
In order for those plants to survive this new union they must be completely sealed. We’ll get into that in just a bit.
When I considered this grafting of two plants, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the fact that God created Eve from Adam. When two are joined together in marriage, in a sense they return to that original state of union. He opens himself to envelope his bride and the two grow together as one.
These words from John Piper are so true to my life today:
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. ~ John 8:9-10, KJV
It was my husband’s birthday. We had big plans for the evening and I was hoping to make his day the best that I could. The presents were bought and we had plans to go to our favorite restaurant.
He got home from work a little early that day and asked me to join him in the living room. I wasn’t sure what was up, but I understood from the look on his face that something was wrong. Something terrible.
Sitting across from him, I’ll never forget the sound of his words that rang in my ears and ripped through my heart, “Are you having an affair?” He asked.
Looking up at him I quickly answered, “No. Why would you even ask that?”
“Please don’t lie to me,” he said. And as he continued to question me the heat rose in my face. My cheeks were numb, my mouth was dry and weak. “Did you have an affair?”
I hung my head, unable to look in his eyes. Barely able to speak I lifted my chin in a nod and then in another. My house of cards collapsed, my shame crashing to the ground along with it.
My sin, the glorious fruit of lust had enticed me into the pit of death where all I could think of was death. For death itself had enveloped me and with it came shame and reproach. I had sinned against God, my husband and my family. Everything I had once held so dear to me loomed above the pit of sin and shame I had dug for myself.
A few hours later I was up in my bedroom packing the few things I had left. Michael and I had talked, but at the end of the day there was nothing I had left to offer him, nothing but soiled rags–words of remorse that he couldn’t rely on and promises where all trust was gone. My eyes were swollen from crying, my heart was heavy with shame.
“Do you want to stay?” he asked.
I didn’t know how to answer that. All I wanted to do was stay with my family–to turn back the clock a year–but I was unworthy to be a wife, a mother and a child of God. How could I stay in a place where I didn’t belong? How could I ever live on the surface again? How could I ever be trusted to love?
“I can’t.” I said. “I just can’t…”
And again he said, “That’s not what I’m asking you. Do you WANT to stay?” he asked.
Loving his wife as Christ loves the church, his hand of grace reached down to me when I needed it most.
There is incredible power in the words of Jesus Christ who said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
I didn’t deserve Michael’s love and forgiveness. I didn’t deserve a second chance. I didn’t deserve my family and I didn’t deserve to be loved by those that I hurt. But in that moment of darkness where one person in this world cared enough to display the covenant keeping love of Jesus Christ to His church I turned from my sin and clung to the grace of God that is strong enough to break the bands of sin and death. It’s strong enough to graft one man to a woman when everything in this world threatens to pull them apart.
In order for two souls to survive this union they must be completely sealed by the covenant-keeping love of our Lord Jesus Christ and the faithfulness of His bride. It’s the compound that holds marriage together and the reason itself that marriage exists.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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