Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Marriage and Taking the Lord's Name


The Lord’s Name

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” 
–Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)

When I married, I took my husband’s last name for my own. It was a time when it was becoming common for women to either keep their maiden names or to hyphenate the two names. Personally, I was happy to take on the new name feeling like it was a new beginning to my life. I had no idea.

My life as a “Musgrove” has not been anything like what I expected while at the same time has contained most of the things I had hoped for. I’d planned to take on duties like cooking, the finances, housekeeping and eventually parenting. I looked forward to all the things I’d do. The unanticipated challenge was changing from being an individual to a partner. The growth curve was in putting someone else first.

There were other significant changes to becoming Musgrove. My husband’s family was firmly rooted in business in our community and had an established reputation. To behave rashly could tarnish not only my reputation, but would affect both family and business. No one sat me down to explain what I was getting into. No one told me that marriage required improvement to my character. My love for my husband and his family, it turned out, was motivation enough to rise to higher standards. And it’s been a blessing.

We have a God who desires to call us by His name. He loves us with a deep love that is incomprehensible. His love is such that He is willing to redeem…pay a ransom…to become unified with His bride. He offers a relationship of blessing.

Reading of the restoration of God’s beloved Israel in Zephaniah 3 is beautiful. The Hebrew word for “renowned” is “Shem,” meaning “a name” or “fame.” All of these terms infer that we receive a designation as being His and that designation is recognizable by others. The taking of His name elevates us to a status far above human ability.

God explains to us exactly what we’re getting into when we partner with Him. Deuteronomy chapter 28 goes to great lengths to spell out the benefits to taking the Lord’s name. It tells of His blessings in the city and the field, in finances and family, in coming and going, and (my favorite) in basket and kneading bowl! He even defeats our enemies. Now that’s some list of pros!

In return, God asks for a pure heart. He creates a list in Exodus 20 that includes His requirement to be first. He stipulates that we desist in creating other objects of devotion. He demands that we not take His name irreverently. He requests that we rest in His provision. It’s marital vows we don’t fully understand the meaning of as long as we’re in a singleness mindset.

When I took the Musgrove name, I no longer sought out other men to fulfill my wants. I only looked to my husband. I did not keep photos of my old boyfriends around. I committed to one man and one man only. To continue to behave as single while bearing the name Musgrove would be to dishonor my marriage and my spouse. Gratefully, marriage has taught me a greater understanding of what God is both insisting of me and what He is offering.

To take the Lord’s name, to be His, frees us from the search for identity. We no longer need to strive for purpose and meaning because we take on God’s family business. He provides, we accept. He elevates our character. We give up being sole-proprietor for partnership. Lone becomes family. It’s a really sweet offer.

Won’t you accept His proposal? And take His marriage vows? It’s a decision that will change your life for the better, forever!

~*~
Author Bio:
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

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