But you shall cling to the LORD your God …
“For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen” (Jer. 13:11, emphasis mine throughout).
“And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you” (Dt. 28:60).
“Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God. For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the LORD your God has given you” (Josh. 23:11-13).
“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (Ps. 63:8).
“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me” (Ps. 101:3).
“But you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day” (Josh. 23:8-9).
Fourteen of the fifteen times that this word is used in the Old Testament it means, “cling, stick, cleave, hold.” And in the New Testament it is translated “join; unite,” but also translated as “easily ensnaring” depending on the context. But my purpose for this post is for us to notice the way the Lord uses this word in both a positive and negative way regarding His children.
It seems that this word is used to express a way of being “bound” to something. And it is clear based on the passages above that there is both a “blessing and a curse” tied to this word depending upon what we choose to bind ourselves to. Or what we allow ourselves to be bound by. Addicts and all who have been “ensnared” by a cycle of addiction one way, or another know what it feels like to have something “cling” to them. Holding them hostage, it seems. But in truth, whether we notice it or not we all are bound or “enslaved” to something or someone. For we are either slaves of sin, or we are slaves of Christ. But we cannot in any way be both at the same time. If one is a “slave” of Christ, meaning, bound to, clung to, stuck to Christ, they are free from the bondage of sin. I think “cling” is a perfect description of the relationship between the Christian and the Christ. It is one which consists of the idea of two hands grasping ahold of each other with fingers intertwined. They are “fixed” together, one hand by grace and one hand by faith. I am aware that some would disagree with this image or idea but there are plenty of passages representing this picture in the New Testament. Both hands must be clung together. Or to put it another way, each hand must cling to the other. Is this not how “two walk together”?
So, why are there warnings in the Bible about “staying awake, or keeping the faith, or enduring to the end, or to not be deceived, or … Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart”? It is because of free will. At the end of the day, we either have “chosen” to love Christ and walk hand in hand. Or we have “chosen” not to. Because love requires free will. Christ’s nature is love. He cannot not love us. But we must “grasp, hold, cling, stick” to Him if we hope to “keep the faith.” Salvation is and always has been a “covenant relationship” just like marriage. There are two parties, and it takes both to make it successful. Jesus is in it for the long haul! But you have choices every single day. But the individual who clings to the Lord will endure to the end. And they will reap the blessing of fellowship with God along the journey. And these benefits or blessings of clinging to the Lord look like this: Like a deep sense of security, of assurance and comfort, of hope, joy, peace, and a calm inner stillness like an anchor which holds firm even in the wildest of storms. It looks and feels like a good, kind father wrapping his arms tightly around their small dear child. It looks and feels like a warm blanket and a cup of cocoa on a frigid winter day. It simply is the security of a promise kept. To never leave you or forsake you. To keep you in the palm of His hand. To care for and provide for you, as long as you “cling” to Him. And so, why in the world would a small child desire to climb out of the security of their Father’s hand! The only reason a child would do that is if they did not know their Father. So, if you know the Father, you will cling to the Son, and you will be led by the Spirit. And you will have assurance and the promise of His presence filled with His peace every single moment.