marriage is a covenant

Truly His People

Psalms 29:10-11 (NKJV) 10 The LORD sat [enthroned] at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever. 11 The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.

This tells me that whatever circumstances are going on, God is still God and He sits on His throne. We must make no mistake, God always has been and will always be sovereign. Even when it seems our world is falling apart. BUT He PROMISES that He will give peace and strength to His people.

However, this is what gets most people. They expect the promises when they’re not God’s people. On the day of Pentecost people asked “What must we do (to be saved)?”The answer is simple, yet so profound:

1) Repent (literally to change ur mind from sin to God)

2) Be baptized (this is the dying of the old man and coming to new life in Christ) &

3) Being filled with the Holy Spirit (the empowerment of Christ’s authority)

After these actions the most amazing thing happens: our sinful corrupted DNA gets replaced by God’s holy spiritual DNA! We are made sons and daughters of this Sovereign God!!! That’s when we get the inheritance of Jesus, heaven, and the fulfillment of the wonderful promises we read about!

This beautiful plan is free for all people and brings with it all the freedom from the pain of this fallen world.

His promises are for all…that are His.

We give Him all glory due His name.

Broken

Are you broken? More than that, have you been broken by the very one you love the most, by the one you trusted the most, by the one who was never supposed to hurt you? Yes, I understand that pain. I’ve been crumpled to the floor with no strength to stand. I have screamed in agony and raged with my fists that I could not bear anymore. For most, they cannot see past the excruciating injuries inflicted upon them at the hand of another, but can I offer another perspective?

In all of your writhing, have you considered your part played in your circumstances? Was it your coldness that had your love seek another? What about bitterness or anger? Did those drive your spouse away? What about all the little things you said or did that showed disrespect, disgust, or disinterest through the years? Could you have left wounds just as deep?

So many Christian counselors, friends, and family seek an “innocent party” with whom to side. But, how innocent are you? Have you asked God that? What would He say? I could have easily justified my negative responses to my husband’s infidelity, but God wouldn’t let me focus on his sins without plopping ALL of mine in front of my face like a 2-ton boulder. 

Did that stop the pain? Nope. However, it changed my perspective enough to catch just a glimpse of my husband’s pain, the deception he was under, and, ultimately, to bring forgiveness. It was only by God’s mercy that He let me see through His eyes. It was God’s grace that brought healing: first to pick me up off the floor, then to bring JW home, and finally to restore our marriage better than it has ever been before. 

And what is left of that brokenness? We both wear scars from that time and from the 10 years of marriage prior, but there’s no more pain. Even now, there will be things that remind us of what once was. We discuss where we were, and are so grateful for where God has put us now. It seems like a different lifetime for both of us, almost like it wasn’t real…that’s how much the pain has faded. 

I know how much you hurt now, but please trust me to know how much joy is to come. Stand strong!

Psalm 30:5 (NLT) For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Five Smooth Stones

1 Samuel 17:40 (KJV) And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

When Ian was 5-6 months old his eyes began to cross. The crossing was so bad, doctors said it would require surgery to try to correct them. Oh how we dreaded that day. We had to wait until he was over a year old to undergo anesthesia. We’d already been through eye patches, numerous doctor visits, and second opinions. We had prayed fervently against eye surgery, but through a series of events, God even brought confirmation that we were doing the right thing by surgery. 

In the wee hours of the night before Ian’s surgery, I wondered why we were going through this when I knew God could just heal his eyes. That’s when I heard the Holy Spirit say it was a smooth stone. So I thought about it. Prior to David facing Goliath, David went and picked up 5 smooth stones to put in his bag. David previously slew a lion and a bear, which gave him the confidence to face the giant. From his previous experiences, he gathered what he knew he’d need for battle: a satchel of stones. I believe those stones represent the very things we need before battle: faith, trust in God, prayer, and confirmation from His word. 

If Ian’s eyes had remained straight, or if God had miraculously healed them, we would never have had to face this battle. Our faith wouldn’t have grown. We wouldn’t have had to trust God to protect our son. We wouldn’t have been fervently praying, and we wouldn’t have needed God’s confirmation. 

I also loved how this reference to David aligned to something else I believe the Holy Spirit spoke to me soon after JW came back home. He told me there would be other battles in the future. I thought standing for my marriage was the equivalent of facing a giant. At first I was distraught to discover it to only be the first of a series in my life. But again, the Comforter spoke and gently explained that it was the lion or bear that was the toughest battle, because it was first. By the time David faced Goliath, he knew what God could do through him, because he’d experienced it multiple times before!

No battle will ever be easy, for then it wouldn’t be a battle, but we are promised that God goes with us; He fights for us; & they are His battles. We, meanwhile, pick up what we need to face these battles: God’s armor (Ephesians 6), God’s Word, & smooth stones…

We still have a long road to travel to straighten Ian’s eyes. He made it through surgery well, but has needed glasses since he was 18 months old. The doctor has mentioned more patches and the possibility of more surgery, but I believe God goes before us and will lead us in the way in which we should go. 

Isaiah 30:21 (KJV) And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

The “Escape Clause”

We’ve had people ask us about Matthew 5:32 & 19:9:

Matthew 5:32 (NKJV) “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Matthew 19:9 (NKJV) “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

First, do these verses allow for divorce in the case of adultery? And can the “innocent spouse” then remarry?

Ok. There’s a lot to discuss here. These two verses, at first, appear to mean that if my spouse commits adultery, I have the freedom to divorce him. I thought this at first too, until the Lord forced me to delve deeper.

First, look at verse 5:28. Jesus literally just got done saying any man that looked at a woman lustfully has committed adultery. Um, if we applied adultery as the exception clause in verse 32, then every woman has the freedom to divorce her husband! So, that’s a no.

Second, look at the Greek word Jesus uses here for sexual immorality. It’s porneia, as in fornication, not the word for adultery. The Jews would understand this because Jesus is referencing the Jewish custom of the bretrothal period. This period recognizes a brethrothed couple as husband and wife prior to consummation and ceremony because a ketubah covenant has been established. It was during this time, if a “spouse” was found unfaithful, you had the right to “divorce” them. This explains why Joseph had the right to “divorce” Mary when he discovered she was pregnant prior to their marriage (Matthew 1:19).

Third, there is no escape clause except death because of what marriage represents: the covenant between God and Israel and Christ and the church. The Jews were highly unfaithful, yet God would not leave her. Look at Hosea. He was used as this very example. His wife prostituted herself, yet was told to go get her back! That’s God’s way…that’s covenant. This is why I also believe Jesus continues on right after in verse 5:33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ It seems as if Jesus is moving on to another topic, but He’s not. He’s confirming that when we marry, it is a covenant, an oath to God for life.

Finally, there’s the issue of forgiveness. You cannot say I forgive your infidelity, but I’m going to divorce you anyway. Divorce is unforgiveness. And how can we expect God to forgive us of our sins when we cannot forgive the one person we are to love most? Matthew 6:15 (NKJV) “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

No one should pull one verse of scripture out of context from what’s being said before and after it. Nor, can anyone interpret scripture without incorporating the totality of scripture and the nature of God. Satan used scripture, but pulled it away from God’s design by twisting it’s truth. Let us not be found guilty of this very same thing. There are many scriptures that make this very clear, and I encourage all to delve deeper into these as well:

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NKJV) Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.

Mark 10:9 (NKJV) “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Romans 7:2-3 (NKJV) For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Because of all these reasons and passages from God’s Word, we believe divorce is not allowed in any case, and if you find yourself divorced against your will, then you MUST NOT remarry.

I also recommend John Piper’s sermons on divorce and remarriage:
http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/by-topic/divorce-remarriage