Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 288

Monday, October 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 288 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Nehemiah 13; Malachi 1; Malachi 2; Acts 4 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

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

S cripture

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.”

O bservation

So many options today… So many things standing out…

* Offering substandard sacrifices

* The topic of divorce

* Healing speaks for itself

A pplication

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?”

P rayer

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…

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2 thoughts on “Day 288

  1. Nicole Marvin on said:

    Scott, the same verses stood out to me.

    Especially Malachi 2:13-14 “This is another thing you do. You drown the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and wailing because he no longer accepts the offerings you bring him. You ask why he no longer accepts them. It is because he knows you have broken your promise to the wife you married when you were young. She was your partner, and you have broken your promise to her, although you promised before God that you would be faithful to her.”

    May I be faithful in my marriage.

    Help me, Lord, to be a help to my husband. Help me to be the support that he needs. Remind me of the promises that I made before you. I want to honor you in all that I do.

  2. Marriage is tough. It needs to be fought for. We need to fight for our wives and husbands. I know I don’t always agree with my wife, but I stand behind her. I know she has my back too. It took quite a few years to realize that I gave myself up when I got married. It is now an us, not a me.

    I’m not the most romantic of men showering her with gifts or putting her on a pedestal. I have a friend who ritually says “I love you.” to his wife in a smushy-wooshy tone after every phone call. …then complains constantly about her. I do like to surprise her occasionally with a romantic text or Facebook post, but overall, I value faithfulness and affection over romance. I just like to spend time with her.

    I think this is a good parallel to my relationship with God. I love to spend time with Him. Sometimes like Mary sitting at His feet and sometimes like Martha working at what needs to be done, but taking a moment every now and then to send him a “text” letting Him know how grateful I am to love and serve Him. I’m not perfect and have to ask forgiveness, just like with my wife, but I have His back and I know that He has mine.

    Jesus, thank you for never letting me down. I’ve don’t regret pushing myself aside to make room for You. Thank you for fighting for my marriage. I know it’s what you want.

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