Psalm 78:35-37 (NLT) Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.
Psalms 78 provides a summary of the relationship and interactions recorded in the Bible between God and the Israelites. From the very beginning God has desired a personal and intimate relationship with mankind starting in the Garden of Eden. It was there that God expressed His love for man by creating the institution we call marriage, authorizing and blessing the male-female union.
The verses above describe how the Israelites acknowledged God with their mouths but not with their hearts. Yes, they remembered how God had gotten them out of some tight situations but this did not result in devotion or loyalty. Scripture says that they gave God lip service and lied to Him, and maybe, themselves. The defining statement for the condition of the Israelites was that their hearts were not loyal to God – loyal being defined as characterized by showing faithfulness to commitments, vows, allegiances, obligations, etc. In other words they did not keep their covenant or reverence. I believe they had become familiar with God and his covenant but had failed to experience true devotion to their covenant God.
Familiarity can be a great intimacy-building experience that can also become dangerous to any relationship when callousness is allowed to breed. God desires us to know His character, will, and commitment to us as defined in His Word. It is through the awe and expressed love in God’s Word and our personal life experience with God that opens our eyes, heart, and mind to His ever-present love for us. This recognition allows us to enjoy the comfort, peace, security, and hope promised by God to those who love and know Him. When we allow our familiarity to cause us to take Him for granted, and not appreciate the loving sacrifice and provision made through Christ Jesus daily, it can become dangerous to a healthy relationship. In the same way, our relationship with our spouse that started out full of wonder, excitement, intrigue, and love can become callously unhealthy without continued acts and attitudes of respect.
To protect our relationships with God and our mate requires us to always value, honor, and respect them. We must remember the life experiences that have been shared and crafted together over time. Remember and be grateful for the love received and the opportunity afforded to love and develop eternal and life long bonds. Familiarity that intentionally breeds devotion through mutual appreciation is God’s plan, purpose, and will for humanity.
Devotion to God and your spouse will allow the benefits of God’s promises to manifest in your life. Our challenge is to be truly loyal and committed to developing an ever stronger and intimate relationship by valuing, honoring, and appreciating our loved ones. The trap is to mistake familiarity for devotion. The Israelites knew what God wanted and would conform periodically, just as we do in our marriages. The acts of love must some day be transformed into relational heart-anchored, love-spawned acts and deeds of affectionate commitments that are stronger than our love of life itself. Keeping our covenant with God first and then our spouse must become the true meaning of life itself to us.