Numbers 5:14-15 If her husband becomes jealous and is suspicious of his wife and needs to know whether or not she has defiled herself, the husband must bring his wife to the priest. He must also bring an offering of two quarts of barley flour to be presented on her behalf. Do not mix it with olive oil or frankincense, for it is a jealousy offering—an offering to prove whether or not she is guilty.
Jealousy in a marriage can be a terrible thing, but it can also result in a securing of that relationship when it is dealt with in the right way. Unrighteous jealousy is what we are dealing with in Numbers 5 and that is pictured in the sacrifice the husband is to bring. It’s a meal offering and the meal offering as prescribed in Leviticus was to have oil and frankincense in it, but in this case oil and frankincense are prohibited from the sacrifice.
In the meal offering God prescribed in Leviticus, the oil of the meal offering was a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the frankincense a symbol of the sweet aroma of the life of Christ. But when jealousy gets into a marriage and is allowed to grow, it pushes out the Holy Spirit and instead of having the fragrance of Christ, it stinks to high heaven. That’s why there has to be intentional action taken, and that is what God is calling for here. The right way is not to argue back and forth about it, the right way to handle it is to go to the Lord.
I’ve done a lot of marriage counseling and I can tell you that strife within a marriage can often be traced back to a stifling of the Holy Spirit and a lack of focus on Jesus. In every case where both parties in the marriage desired to preserve the relationship, healing was just a matter of focusing the marriage on Jesus, and when that happened, the Holy Spirit healed that marriage and took it to levels it had never been before. It was not unusual to see husbands and wives start serving together in the church and participating together in outreach. Many went on to counsel other couples. It is a wonderful thing to experience and I thank the Lord that He has allowed me to witness this first hand many times.
One interesting thing about the meal offering as given to us in Leviticus 2 is that honey and leaven were strictly forbidden from the offering. Leaven is a picture of sin and honey a picture of fake sweetness. Happiness in marriage cannot be faked well nor for long. If happiness is faked, it is eventually made evident and if it is false, it is usually an attempt to hide the presence of sin. God heals broken marriages but the couple has to be real with one another, confess sin and focus their marriage on God. Leaven covered up with honey is not long hidden because the “puffing up” effect of the leaven will reveal it’s presence. In like manner, sin will always reveal itself. Marriages in which sin is confessed and forgiven and the relationship refocused on God survive and flourish.
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