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Hope Booster: Encouragement 

God: Husband of the Widow

S. A. Oyeleke

A widow is a woman whose husband had died and she has not remarried. Widowhood automatically causes the widow to lose all benefits enjoyed as a result of her husband not being alive; such benefits include companionship, protection/defence, strength and assistance accruing from shared responsibility by a team of husband and wife. The widow now has to bear all her burden (financial, emotional & social) alone. She now has to make her own decisions alone including those decisions that used to be made by her late husband. She now has to appear at functions alone or in the company of another couple as the odd person or in company of other friends or kind hearted people. The widow now finds herself either shuffling between both venues attending only one of such functions.

The Omni-present God is always present at such functions of course, but most people feel more satisfied with pulling the crowd than having few people and God presence because His presence in this capacity is not usually recognised.

She may have to singlehandedly raise her children if they are still young or the children may have to separate from her and one another to be distributed to willing extended family members if the widow is financially handicapped because financial handicap is sometime one of the burden of widowhood. A widow may have additional burden from hostile members of her late husband's extended family. She may have to face unpleasant advances from suitors (suitable/not suitable) who are either genuinely ready to offer their hands in marriage to the widow or foolish men who think the widow is a free woman suitable for some moment of pleasure. All these experiences may bring confusion, sorrow, shame and fear to the heart of the widow. In the midst of all these, the LORD is telling the widow to fear not reassuring her of His love and position as a husband to the widow.

Isa 54:4-5 says Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.

From the above text, we can appreciate the husband-wife relationship between God and the widow to be automatic after the loss of a spouse. It started with a reassurance from the LORD to the widow of why she should not fear (because with Him on the scene the moment of shame and embarrassment is over, past experiences of shame shall not be remembered).

In verse 5, God gives the reasons why the widow needs not fear: For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Those reasons are listed and expanciated below

i) He is now the husband, {better than all the best human husbands put together}

ii) His credentials to support His competence are awesome. These are:

a) The maker (designer, creator) of the widow (Isa 54:5) therefore, there is nothing in the widow that can surprise Him. Ability to repair and reconstruct the widow is with God.

b) The LORD of hosts (He is self-existent, supervising companies of armies). God, unlike all human husbands, has no circumstances that are beyond His power. He cannot be intimidated or defeated by anybody. He has never lost a battle and cannot lose any battle. He can not die; this implies that the woman cannot be widowed a second time as long as she remains married to God.

c) He is God of the whole earth and of heaven also. ''Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also with all that therein is (including all of us).” (Deut 10:14)

Psalm 24:1 says The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

d) He created the whole earth and all there are within it. God is wealthy and His wife is reassured of unending supply of the numerous resources that make living meaningful here on planet earth and the hope of a home in heaven.

Our sufficiency is of him. Jehovah El Shaddai is one of God's names. This name can be translated as Our All sufficient, Our Almighty. It could also mean mothers’ breasts. Small as the breasts may appear, the pair is sufficient in raising one child after another over and over again without the breasts drying up; rather, it is the child who will stop sucking because she is full. In the same manner, God is able to supply all we will ever need, from something as bizarre as getting a cricket for an eight year old fatherless child to resources worth trillions of dollars or more.

In 2 Cor. 3:5 we read Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

God's sufficiency is not limited to material needs alone, it includes emotional, social and spiritual.

God takes care of the widow's sexual need too. Of a truth God does not have sex with the widow to satisfy her sexual needs.

There are two ways to meet any need: (i) Supply the needs (ii) Remove the needs (make the needs to cease from being needed).

I believe the second option is how the Lord takes care of the widow's sexuality. God will deal with the widow according to knowledge. He sees the heart of the widow and knows whether or not she is a faithful wife. If the widow lusts within her and tries to cut corners while pretending to be God's wife God may be forced to step aside and let the widow satisfy her lust. God has standards. Widows are expected to remarry instead of trying to cover up burning sexual desire by their own strength.

e) God is also a great lover, and He is full of compassion. His very nature is love. Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, 1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;

f) He is a great giver: God's capacity to give can never be matched by ours. He is very generous, giving us over and over again despite our inadequacies. He gave us life. He gave His only Son to die for us while we were yet neck deep in sin. His giving is as a result of His unconditional love for us and not because we deserve such love.

Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

To be married to one whose resources are unlimited, whose love is deep, pure and unconditional, whose generosity is beyond human imagination and whose actions are unquestionable puts the widow's resources and position beyond the ordinary human experience.

Unfortunately, most widows don't know this and this lack of knowledge creates so much lack and suffering in the midst of plenty for the widow.

Eph 5:22-25, 28-29 declares Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

In this passage, the responsibilities of husband to the wife and those of the wife to the husband are well spelt out.

The main duty of the wife to her husband is submission in everything in a way that is comparable to submission unto God. Through submission, it becomes easy for her to carry out her other marital responsibilities. Yet, failure to submit to one's husband is the underlying cause of many matrimonial problems of this generation.

A widow must submit to God in all things. First as His child and secondly as His wife.

The main duty of a man to his wife is to love her in such a way as to be willing to die for her if the need arises (even as Christ loved the church). Christ's love for the church is unconditional love that no church deserves. It is Agape type of love. Jesus Christ loves the church not because of what He can get from it but so that He can give some things to it. God can never fail even in marital vows. We can see this from His credentials as listed above.

A good husband likes to give the best he has to his wife with the expectation that the wife will do the same for him; but God gives unconditionally and generously all that are the best for His wife too.

No man likes to share his wife with another man. God is a jealous God and does not want to share His wife with another. No responsible man or woman will tolerate infidelity from a spouse;

He won't joke with His Holiness. If the unholy earthly human husband can not accept ordinary suspicion of infidelity from a wife he did not create, how can a Holy God be happy with a whoring wife conducting her sinful act in the presence of her maker who has chosen to redeem her and be her husband? Though God is merciful He is also a consuming fire. He will fight to defend what is His.

Many men have risked/lost their health, wealth or lives by taking advantage of widows in many aspects of life. Many relations of the departed have truncated their own destinies by scheming against widows and fatherless thinking these are defenceless. A number of widows have brought themselves into disrepute and truncated the destinies of their children by getting involved with activities they ought not to get involved in, thinking they are free and that God either does not mind or see.

May we all learn to take God at His words and give Him the honour that is due Him that He may give us the highest He so desires to give us in Jesus name. Amen

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