Counterfeit Gods (2009) by Timothy Keller

From Tim’s latest book, Counterfeit Gods (2009) . . .

“The text says that when the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he loved her.  God was saying, “I am the real bridegroom.  I am the husband of the husbandless.  I am the father of the fatherless.”  This is the God who saves by grace.  The gods of moralistic religions favor the successful and the overachievers.  They are the ones who climb the moral ladder up to heaven.  But the God of the Bible is the one who comes down into this world to accomplish a salvation and give us a grace we could never attain ourselves.  He loves the unwanted, the weak and unloved.  He is not just a king and we are the subjects; he is not just a shepherd and we are the sheep.  He is a husband and we are his spouse.  He is ravished with us–even those of us whom no one else notices.

“And here is the power to overcome our idolatries.  There are many people in the world who have not found a romantic partner, and they need to hear the Lord say, “I am the true Bridegroom.  There is only one set of arms that will give you all your heart’s desire, and await you at the end of time, if only you turn to me.  And know that I love you now.”  However, it is not just those without spouses who need to see that God is our ultimate spouse, but those with spouses as well.  They need this in order to save their marriage from the crushing weight of their divine expectations.  If you marry someone expecting them to be like a god, it is only inevitable that they will disappoint you.  It’s not that you should try to love your spouse less, but rather that you should know and love God more.  How can we know God’s love so deeply that we release our lovers and spouses from your stifling expectations?  By looking at the one to whom Leah’s life points” (43-45).


  1. Todd,

    This post touched me deeply in light of my own personal challenges in my marriage, due to the fact that my husband is a Mormon and I a believer. ( I’ll let you put 2 and 2 together on that one)

    One day when I was crying out to the Lord about the challenges of being unequally yoked, the Lord led me to this passage:

    ” For your maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name…. For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife, when you were refused.” Isaiah 54: 5 & 6


    When I read that, I realized the Lord is my Boaz… my kinsmen redeemer……. my husband… that even though my husband of my youth may forsake me, my God will never do so! Oh what comfort those words give me!

    As a mormon I had my husband on a pedestal — he was the one that was going to call me on the morning of the first resurrection.. he was going to be my “priest” …. and he would lead me on to exaltation…….

    Oh how mistaken I was! I had made my marriage, and my husband an idol. When God showed me that… ouch…….

    Oh how wonderful it is to know that our Lord is everything to us!

    Praise His holy name!


  2. Gloria, Tim ends the chapter in this way:

    “As the poet George Herbert wrote, looking at Jesus on the Cross: ‘Thou art my loveliness, my life, my light, Beauty alone to me’.”

    Praise His holy name.

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