Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
- Malachi 2:13-14
Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
“What did Moses command you?” he replied.
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
- Mark 10:1-12
Why is it so easy to end a marital relationship these days? It seems from these Scripture references above that it wasn’t that hard in Old Testament or New Testament times either. I thought of quoting statistics, but the other day I wrote a post about statistics, and how they lie. So, I thought better of it. Then again, I did not wish to be depressed by the numbers.
A few months ago, I was sitting near people who were in fellowship at church. The church thinks that it is “Christian fellowship,” since it is done at church among members, but the subject matter at each table rarely uplifts each other as believers. I was sitting alone, trying not the eavesdrop while I sipped my lemonade.
But when I heard a woman screech the following statement, I could not help from hearing. She was so loud, no one in the room could avoid hearing. She said, “You’ve been married eight years! Wow! You must really be in love. That’s unheard of these days! That’s a long time!”
Really???? We are applauding 8 years? Yes, it’s one more than the seven year itch, but come! And in a church, among “believers’, at least among church members. Have we come to the point when someone under forty gets married and you know it won’t last, so the betting begins as to how quickly they will split the blanket?
My wife and I have been married 45 years, and some said then that it wouldn’t last. My wife swears that we will not make it to our 50th, but that is due to our illnesses. She didn’t think she’d live this long. We must have done something right in that each of our two sons are married to their first wife.
But, what about the concept of commitment? Most people, according to polls (the dreaded statistics again), marry with the idea that “if it doesn’t work out…” Where is the commitment? My wife and I had our ‘days,’ but we worked it out and stood by our commitment.
That brings me to draw a parallel with another commitment, one that is more important than marriage, our commitment to God.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, it is a lifelong commitment. I have heard “evangelists” say that if you try Jesus out for the weekend, you’ll never go back. What absolute garbage!! If you don’t make a full commitment to Jesus, you will never be able to rent Jesus for the weekend. It doesn’t work that way.
But, I know of so many who had that emotional moment, maybe on a weekend, and since they have no concept of what a commitment is, they assume Jesus entered their hearts at that point. But, their lives have not changed. They never repent of their sin. Oh, maybe one big one. They don’t spend time in prayer or Bible study. Some rarely attend church, if ever. Yet, they are so arrogant that they demand that Jesus stands by His commitment to allow them into Heaven when they never made a commitment to Jesus.
We don’t have a crisis about marriage or a crisis about church attendance or a crisis about serving a risen Savior, we have a crisis about commitment. We leave Jesus as a loose concept in our minds, and we keep our hearts for “me” and “me alone” – not letting Jesus in or our spouse. We are brain dead when it comes to the concept of commitment, and that is just the brain, not considering the heart. Our attention spans, regardless of your ideas about how they got so short, allow us to stay committed for a second or two until our minds wander onto something that glitters a little brighter.
For those who have long marriages with your first spouse and no other, thank God, and love each other. It took effort on both your parts.
But as for my bride of 45 years, “I love you to the moon and back.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.