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Cling to the Lord

April 17, 2006

You know that Letterman bit “Is this anything?” Well, Manhattan is really something. But I’ll write about that another time.

Last week I read about a technique for meditating on Scripture that I hadn’t heard of before. It’s called “MAP” Memorize. Analyze. Personalize. I’ve decided to do that to a verse I read the other day, 1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”

The context is fleeing sexual immorality. This is what you are supposed to do instead of joining yourself to a prostitute. It’s a rather indelicate comparison.

Paul uses this word “is joined” (or “joins himself” is a better translation) because he is referencing Genesis 2:24. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast [cleave, be joined] to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Paul is not the first one to take this language of marital intimacy and apply it to our relationship with the Lord. Rather, Paul is picking up on something found even in Moses. Check out these verses:

Deuteronomy 10:20 You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him,

Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life,

And, on the other hand, we must not cling to idols or to things devoted to destruction…

Deuteronomy 13:17 Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you

Joshua 23:11-13 Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God. For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes,

2 Kings 3:2-3 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless, he clung to the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.

So when we find ourselves clinging to our sins, when the idols are sticking to our hands, let us do like Hezekiah and David…

2 Kings 18:5-6 He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the LORD;

Psalm 63:7-8 you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.

So there’s some analyzing, now for some personalizing. What is this going to look like for us? How shall we cling to the Lord when fleeing sexual immorality? Post a comment.

1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 21, 2006 5:07 pm

    still processing… useful thoughts are few and far between… not sure I want to discuss sexual immorality or practical applications of the verses online, in a blog, where there is a sense of annonymity, but also exposure on a massive scale… hmmm… I think I will bow out of this round….

    well, maybe I can attack the subject with emotional distance and hypothetical situations in a way that would allow me to be comfortable AND useful at the same time….

    1. I have been using that MAP thing for some verses in James about wisdom. I have benefitted tremendously! Thanks for the suggestion from the pulpit! See, we ARE listening to you when you preach! What you say up there makes a difference. (ooooooo be afraid…. be very afraid….)

    2. So your particular verse tells us to reject the immoral yet somewhat pleasurable physical, mental, and emotional “joining” that is avaible from a variety of sources, from actual people to chat rooms to romance novels (even some that lurk on the Christian books shelves dusguised as edifying fiction… be ware, ladies, be ware!) And instead we are to seek this kind of “joining” with the Lord.

    This first thing is to acknowledge that there is a sort of “pleasure” to be had from those things. If they were completely devoid of pay-off, they wouldn’t be worth the work, the hiding, the planning, the time spent lusting, shaming, repenting, fighting, it would all just be a waste if there wasn’t some rudimentary satisfaction to be found.

    That said, God says don’t go to the prostitute (or the internet, or the romance novel, or whatever) but go to Him. And let me tell you, in the cool light of day, when I am rational and walking in step with Him, of COURSE I want to become “one spirit” with God, and not those other things. Who in their right mind would choose a piece of dirty rotten liverworst sandwich scraped out of the corner of an abandomed whorehouse, when the Lord offers real food and real drink that satisfies every desire that we thought we had, and hundreds more we didn’t know about, at his own banquet table every day, every hour, every minute, and it is ours for the asking?!

    The answer is, we would, ’cause we are busted.

    I think my discomfort with this topic exposes some underlying social issues we have as a culture with sensuality and “joining” (see the emotional distance there? I’m talking about “social issues” and “culture.” pretty good, huh? maybe I can actually comment to your “Cling to the Lord” ) Seriously, though, we have big problems with this. How can something that the world sees as violence, marketing ploys, and titilating be an image of how we are to cling to the Lord?

    I think our minds and our sensual desires are just busted. If the Lord uses this as an image, and the starving human keeps scrabbling for the liverworst sandwich, it is the human whose vision, understanding, comprehension, and even their hungry desire for food itself, that is broken.

    Ahhhh…. (sweet safety) I just segwayed (ohhh, not the right spelling for that) back to James in the nick of time! Yippie! James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously without reproach, and it will be given him.” My personal application all week has been just that. Prayer. Asking. Hoping. Asking. Seeking. Asking. Looking. Asking. Meditating. Asking. Praising. And asking some more.

    So I think that will be my official personal application here, continued asking for the wisdom from above that is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. The joy that I experience as I sit with Him and ask Him for the things he has promised to give me, that is probably pretty close to the joy he offers to us if we will cling to him instead of the yucky things that “please” us.

    p.s. my apologies to any liverworst fans.

    p.p.s. seek help. liverworst. yuck.

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