Unless we have received the gift of celibacy, we all have times when singleness weighs a little more on our heart. Then we tend to complain or try to “fix” this situation quickly. But at what cost?
We know the story: after being miraculously led out of Egypt, the Israelites did not wait long before turning away from God by making themselves a golden calf. What led to this sin and its consequences is a good lesson for us Christians today.
The Israelites had just been saved from a horrible and deadly life. Pharaoh did everything to resist and keep his rule over them, but God had the last word. The Israelites rejoiced for some time, but then started to complain that they were hungry, thirsty or lacking direction. It sometimes looks like our Christian life. The enemy would not let us go, but God had the last word. We became a child of God, and we lived a few weeks in grace and joy. Then, the flesh came back, and we began to complain. “It was much easier to find a partner when I was in the world!” Forgetting the pain that these relationships caused; especially forgetting that these impure relations separated us from God!
While Moses was receiving instructions for life directly from God, the Israelites began to grow impatient. “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him”” (Exodus 32:1 NKJV). This is the same impatience that many Singles experience at one time. “Where is this special person that God has for me? Has He forgotten me?”
And we, like the Israelites, start making an idol of marriage. “If I were married, I would not have these problems, my desires would be answered, I would be happy …” We take things in hand, and we try to build a marriage according to our own will. “I will finally have a woman who will take care of me; who will give me children; with whom I will be able to have sex all the time!” Suddenly, we begin to believe that it is getting married that will answer all our needs and desires. We make marriage an idol, forgetting that it is God who has saved us and wants to meet our needs and desires.
When we are in this state, we no longer receive from the Word of God. “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22 NKJV). We go to church, but we would rather look at the surrounding Singles than at the pastor who teaches in front. We spend more time watching romantic TV shows than reading the Word of God. It is as if the writings of God no longer have any influence on our heart. “Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets. (…) So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 32:16,19 NKJV).
If you feel like you are in this position, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus, you can be forgiven if you repent. If you change your heart, overthrow that idol, and put God back on the throne of your heart, you will be forgiven and you can resume your relationship with your Father. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 NKJV).
But better yet, how to prevent this situation? Joshua is a very good example to follow. While Aaron was at the bottom of the mountain with the people, Joshua had gone up with Moses. Joshua was always as close as he could be to the heart of God. In fact, he was so close to the Presence of the Lord that he did not even understand what was going on in the world below. “And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” But he said: “It is not the noise of the shout of victory, nor the noise of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing I hear”” (Exodus 32:17-18 NKJV). Be so close to the presence of God, be so busy serving the Lord that you will not be influenced by the noise that the flesh can make.