I have enjoyed video games all of my life, just not the kind you pump quarters into every game. I still remember my first TV game…Pong. Do you remember the blips and slow-moving ball? Not long after that I was given an Odyssey gaming system. While most of my friends had and Atari, I had an Odyssey. It was for the discriminating player! I had a few games and the obsession began. Oh what fun I had moving up the levels and gaining points. I had made it up to a grand level in Pick Axe Pete when all of sudden he fell off and the last life was lost. It took me all weekend to get to that level. Game over. Where did I have to start?
At the beginning.
June 4, 1994 will be a day I will never forget. Dulcie and I had been dating for over a year. We had met orientation weekend just before we both started Southwestern Seminary. At the time she was single and I was in a relationship. After Christmas break I returned single and began to date most anyone. God brought us together as friends. Then God took it further. Now we stood in front of God, family, and friends to make a vow. I vowed that in sickness or health, poverty or wealth, joy or sorrow to be a faithful husband to her until death do us part. I also agreed to take all her worldly possessions, which included a car payment. Since that day, we have seen all of those items listed and remain together until death do us part. One of the couples in our Sunday School were married. We all gathered money and gave a nice gift. A few months later we were told they divorced. Same vows. Different ending. Game over. Where did they have to start?
At the beginning.
In the book of Numbers, we find a peculiar passage. In chapter 6 we are introduced to the Nazirite.
1 The Lord instructed Moses: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When a man or woman makes a special vow, a Nazarite vow, to consecrate himself to the Lord, 3 he is to abstain from wine and beer. He must not drink vinegar made from wine or from beer. He must not drink any grape juice or eat fresh grapes or raisins.
If a person wanted to dedicate his life for a specific period of time, he or she would make a Nazirite vow. This meant that during the period of time of the vow he/she could not eat or drink anything from the vine, cut their hair, or touch a dead body. Let’s simply take the rules at face value for now. The point was that they were choosing to abstain from certain items for s certain period of time to honor God. So what happened if they ate a grape, or sipped a little juice?
They went back to the beginning. They started over.
12 He is to rededicate his time of consecration to the Lord and to bring a year-old male lamb as a restitution offering. But do not count the previous period, because his consecrated hair became defiled.
Even if they were one day away from finishing, they would start over if something happened. Whether you are married 2 hours, 2 years, or 60 years, if the vow is broken by death or choice you start over. Fidelity is not something at which to snicker. It saves pain. It saves heartache. It saves trouble. It saves struggles. It saves. In the economy of God, faithfulness is priceless. Because of His faithfulness, our eternity is secure. His faithfulness upholds us. Even in rebellion, our salvation is secure. It does not give us reason to go off the deep end but peace to know that even if I mess up and fall off the ledge. I don’t have to start over.
You don’t have to start over. Stand up and follow. You are still loved. You are still vital. You are still God’s possession.