Friday, July 25, 2008

Matthew 5:31-32 "The Marriage Covenant, Part 2"

"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery." NIV

Again Jesus takes a stricter stance on the law than the actual law states. He sets the bar higher and unfortunately, the numbers reaching that marriage bar, even among Christians and pastors, is falling dangerously low. I am a child of divorce, and I have divorce all around me with family and friends. I wrote on June 10th about marriages, but must focus more this time on the covenant of marriage.

In the Old Testament, a covenant between any two people really meant something. It was absolutely binding and many of the rituals the two people went through are some of the same rituals we use today in a wedding ceremony. The agreement was so binding that even their very identity was exchanged so they were forever inseparable from one another between themselves and to everyone around them. That is how the marriage covenant is supposed to be - forever binding. A promise that is to never be broken, in any way, for any reason. Now I understand that Jesus allows marital unfaithfulness, but what pains me is when the Christian spouse is the one being maritally unfaithful. I want to scream, "Zip up your pants and start focusing on the person you chose to spend a lifetime with! It's not that difficult, just a matter of a little selflessness is all."

The moral foundation of our society goes as the marriages go. God designed a format of one man and one woman forever for a very important reason -- it's the only one that works. I don't always agree with my husband on everything; I don't always like his little habits. I don't wake up every single morning saying, "I am so excited to be married to this man!!!!" (Well, most mornings, but not every morning.;-) But I am committed to remaining with him and only him for my entire life, and I want to know what's wrong with that? Why are we so alone in that decision? Has everyone found a better pattern than God's to follow? I've sure not seen repercussions that make those other options appear more successful or desirable. I chose to be in covenant with my husband and that is where I'll remain.

Lord God, heal our marriages. Turn our eyes away from other options and away from our selfish desires and direct them toward the person we have committed our life to. Bind us together, Lord, with cords that cannot be broken.

Further Thoughts:
  1. For more on the Old Testament blood covenant, read Jim Garlow's book, The Covenant.
  2. Look up other Scriptures on divorce. Compare and contrast them with Scriptures on marriage.
  3. Is your marriage struggling? Look at two fronts -- your personal walk with God and your level of selfishness or self-focus. You can't control your spouse's commitment, but you can control yours. If needed, try to get your spouse to go to counseling with you. It's never too late.
  4. If you are preparing to get married, pray and consider long and hard. A covenant is forever. Are you ready to make that binding commitment?

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