Monday, October 15, 2012
Welcome to Day 288 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Nehemiah 13:23, “Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25 I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves.”
31 “Remember me with favor, my God.”
Malachi 1:7, “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ ‘By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Malachi 2:16, “‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
16 “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel…”
Acts 4:14, “But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.”
So many options today… So many things standing out…
* Offering substandard sacrifices
* The topic of divorce
* Healing speaks for itself
I think I’ll dive into the difficult topic of divorce…
“I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel…”
First, let me ask this… Who doesn’t hate divorce?
This particular verse has been used to “persuade” people into staying together for centuries. Does God hate divorce? Obviously, it says so very clearly.
But again, I ask, who doesn’t?
I am the product of a divorce when I was 12. It was a very difficult time. So much pain…
But did you notice Malachi 2 states that the man who divorces his wife, “does violence to the one he should protect.”
I know relationships are a two-way street. Marriage takes two. Both have to be fully committed every day.
I know many women whose husbands just decided to leave. (Not that women never walk out…)
That’s just… well… wrong.
For sure, God doesn’t want men abusing their wives or walking out on them. That certainly isn’t “loving our wives as Christ loved the church.”
But I also notice a diminishing value of men in our society. You hear women say, “Who needs a man to have a baby?”
4 out of 10 babies are now born to single moms. 4 out of 10…
We are becoming a fatherless generation… And that breaks my heart.
There is one particular reader of this blog that, when I see him with his wife, I am inspired. I watched them walk out of church yesterday holding hands. I noted it and said to myself, “I love how he treats her…” With gentleness and respect…
More men should treat their wives that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing on men…
(There’s plenty in the Bible about the “wayward” and “unfaithful” wife in the Bible… It goes both ways…)
Everyone knows that the divorce rate is about the same in the church as it is outside the church. People hear the message of grace and make a case for their divorce saying, “God will forgive me.”
And it’s true, he will…
But the collateral damage of a divorce is huge, and people underestimate it. It’s longterm and widespread.
Who can blame people for leaving when their spouse has cheated on them? Or has repeatedly abused them? Who wants to live in an atmosphere of intimidation or fear? What woman would want to live with a man who belittles her day in and day out?
Then, when people who have both been previously married and divorced get together and marry, they bring into a new marriage a lot of baggage and pain… and relational difficulties. And if there are kids and shared parenting, etc, etc, then it gets even more complicated. I know many people who are into their third marriages… with kids from multiple partners.
It’s exhausting just thinking about it, let alone living it day in and day out, year after year…
God says, “I hate divorce.”
I say, “Who doesn’t?”
Lord I pray for those who are struggling in a marriage right at this moment. May your grace, love, forgiveness, peace, protection, repentance and restoration be present in their lives…