Let’s begin in the Book of Proverbs. Chapter 18, verse 22 says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the Lord.”
The Hebrew actually says, “Whoso finds a good wife, finds a good thing and not only obtains the favor of the Lord, but he also obtains the grace of God.”
This verse is actually saying a good wife is the grace of God. I like what the Septuagint adds to this verse. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It adds, “He that divorces a good wife divorces a blessing, and takes an unchaste and stupid woman to his bosom.” This verse is telling us that if you have found a good wife, you have found the grace of God. When my wife and I met, we were attending a church here in Tulsa. We were born and raised here and met in church. We dated for a year before we got married, but we really didn’t know much about marriage. We had the crazy idea that when a man and woman get married, everything automatically flows, that the husband automatically knows how to be the head of the home and the w ife automatically knows how to submit.You have kids and you autom atically know how to raise them and your love just grows and gets better because you are walking in the things of God. Boy, were we in for a surprise! I used to think submission had to be commanded. I thought my wife should automatically know how to submit, but she didn’t. I kept telling her, “Submit! Submit!” I found out subm ission is a response. A wife can’t respond if the husband doesn’t give her something to respond to – love, care and affection. I also had the idea a wife was someone who was there when you needed her. I am a good delegator and so I just delegated everything to my wife – checkbook, kids, house, etc., and I expected her to take care of everything. When I had needs I would come home, say a few little words, and expect her to automatically respond to me like she was a slot machine – put a coin in, pull the handle and get anything out of her you wanted. I couldn’t understand why she w ouldn’t be aggressive. After I was gratified through sex, I was willing to put her back in the kitchen – ignore her – forget she existed – except when I needed gratification again.
Our marriage got worse and worse. I knew I was called to the ministry, but I failed to see that my wife was as much a grace gift to me, as my ministry. We all have a ministry God has given to us, and yet we often take that ministry and put it in the number one position in our lives. Everything else in our lives becomes second, third, fourth in position. I didn’t care to listen to a thing Loretta had to say. She would give me advice and I wouldn’t listen to her. There were times I would tune her out. She would talk to m e and I wouldn’t hear a thing she was saying. I was off in my own world, watching television or reading the Bible. I would do all the things I wanted, but when I needed her, I expected her to respond. Consequently, our marriage went downhill. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t aggressive. When I wanted satisfaction and she wasn’t aggressive I would pout like a little child. After awhile, I got to the point that I would just ignore her.
Things got worse in our marriage. My ministry become number one. My wife would share things with me and I wouldn’t listen to her. Somebody else would share with me the same things she had shared weeks before, but I hadn’t listened to her. After awhile she began to feel like all I needed was a cook, a bottle washer and a m stress – any woman would have done for the moment. Our marriage continued to worsen until we were ready to divorce. I was in a meeting in Memphis, Tennessee and Loretta was with me. The kids were at home but she had already made up her mind she was going to leave the meeting early, get on the plane, and fly home. She was going to take our son and I was going to keep our daughter, but the more we talked about divorce, we couldn’t do it.
Throughout the past, God had spoken to both of us about things in our lives, and we knew on the inside, way down in our spirit, that God had put us together. We had been two people living in the same house but in two separate worlds and going in two separate directions. Later, as we talked, there was something on the inside of us – a knowing that we were not going to leave each other, even though it seemed like there was no answer. Dr. Ken Stewart was the pastor of Grace Church at the time, and was flying to Memphis that next day to speak at the same meeting. I told Loretta, “I just don’t know what else to do. I am going to call Ken.” We had never confided in him – never talked to him as our pastor. I went over to the phone and dialed and Loretta said, “No, I don’t want to talk to him. He will know all our secrets. The minute we come to church they will look at us like ‘Ah! We know what you have been up to!’ I won’t be able to face him anymore because people will know about our problems.” It is amazing what tools Satan will use to make you think all people really want to know is the dirt in your life – that they really don’t care to help you.
I called Dr. Stewart anyway and said, “Loretta is ready to walk out the door and I’m ready to give up. We have absolutely no will left. There is nothing left to do and you are the only one I can think of to talk with.” He convinced us to hang on one more day until he finally arrived in Memphis. We stayed up until three o’clock that morning talking. One thing dawned on me that night I will never forget. I realized you cannot change each other, you can only change yourself.
We finally had to make up our minds that I wasn’t going to change her and she wasn’t going to change me. I made a decision I was going to change even if she never changed. We decided that night we were going to compete to out-love each other. At that moment our marriage started turning around. It wasn’t easy. Words and shoes still flew, but we began to change.
Today, there are many who are divorced. God loves the divorcee, but He hates divorce. Divorce, according to the Word of God, is a sin, but for years the church has treated it as the unpardonable sin. God may not like divorce, but He loves the person who is divorced. If you are divorced, you may say, “If divorce is a sin what am I supposed to do?” First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Many are divorced because it was forced upon them by the other party – they were deserted or abused or their spouse was involved in adultery.
There are three scriptural reasons for divorce found in the Word of God. The first reason is abuse. I am speaking specifically of physical abuse. First Corinthians 7:12-13 talks about a partner being pleased to dwell with you. I do not believe God wants one marriage partner living in a home where they are constantly beaten up day after day. It seems obvious to me this spouse is not pleased to dwell with the other. If they were, there would be no abuse of their mate.
The second reason for divorce is desertion. First Corinthians 7:15 states if a marriage partner departs permanently, we are not in bondage. God has called us to peace.
The third reason for divorce found in the Word of God is adultery. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 5, beginning in verse 31. Jesus said, “It has been said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.’” Verse 32 continues, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery, and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
Verse 31 is from Deuteronomy 24:1, “When a man hath taken a wife and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.”
This verse is talking about a man who finds his wife in “uncleanness” or in fornication. By the time Jesus came around, the scribes and Pharisees had taken that word “uncleanness” and applied it to everything considered unclean in the Old Testament. In their day, a man could divorce a woman for many reasons. In the Word of God there is no such thing as incompatibility. When two people are born again, they are not incompatible. They are compatible in marriage because the Word of God has made them one.
There was a time when my wife and I believed we didn’t have any love for each other, but our marriage was never too far gone for the Word to work. If the Word will heal a sick body and sick finances, it will heal a sick marriage. Faith starts by saying, “I am going to love you. I have made a decision to love you whether I feel like I love you or not. The Word of God says agape love is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost. Therefore I am going to shed forth love for you. I am going to walk in faith that I love you and the feelings will come in time.
Again, Deuteronomy 24:1 says, "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some unclenness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house." Verse 2 continues, "And when she is departed out of his house, seh may go and be another man's wife."
Notice, remarriage is condoned in the Word of God. Denominations and men throughout the years have said you cannot be remarried. The Word of God says, "...when she is departed she may go and be another man’s wife.” It says in verse 3 and 4, “And if the latter husband hate her, and w rite her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife, her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his w ife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” This verse is saying, if an individual has left and remarried, don’t believe he or she will return. They would have to sin to come back and marry you.
Back again to 1 Corinthians, Chapter 7, verses 1 and 2, “Now concerning the things wherof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
These verses of scripture seem so sim ple to us, but to the Corinthians this was totally foreign. Corinth was the Las Vegas of that day. It was one of the major cities in Greece and Grecian culture was aimed more toward the mind and intellectualism. Whatever was pleasurable to men was legal in Corinth. Prostitution was legal. In fact, prostitution was the form of worship. The Corinthians worshipped the goddess of sex,
Venus. The men w ould go to the temple and have sex with the priestesses and the women would have sex with the priests. Sex for pleasure was done outside marriage. The only time you had sexual relations with your wife was to have children. A husband and a wife had very little contact with each other. Hom osexuality was rampant. Anything that gave you pleasure was legal in Corinth.
In chapter 7, Paul defined marriage. He taught them, "You have one wife, the wife has one husband. Marriage is for sexual pleasure as well as for having children. You do not have sex before marriage and you have sex only with your mate after you are married. Those are the confines of sex.” Singles began to question, “You mean I have to wait until I get married to have sex?” The married people suddenly had to change their whole way of life. They had to come home and take a good hard honest look at w ho they m arried. The husband and w ife didn’t know each other. The husband had to understand that sex for pleasure was to be through his wife and that she was to bear his children as well. God’s intention was that the husband remain with his wife the rest of his life – no more affairs outside marriage.
The Corinthians didn’t marry for love. Marriages were prearranged from childhood. In many cases, one of the spouses would get born again and come home to a spouse who was running around at night. The mate also might have been into homosexuality. Every reason for divorce existed in Corinth – every reason. But, Paul said, “You can work it out with the Word.”
The Word of God will turn any situation around. I don’t care what your situation is. God’s Word can take the most impossible situations and turn them around. Nothing is too difficult for God! Nothing!
Look again at 1 Corinthians 7, verse 10, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, let not the wife depart from her husband.” If you have been thinking about divorce – if divorce seems like the only answer, this thinking is Satan’s way out, not God’s. Only God can make things so good you will look at each other and say, “You are a grace gift from God. If I would have gotten rid of you, I would have gotten rid of a blessing from God.”
God has placed that blessing in your life. You can turn your marriage around through the Word of God! Your marriage can become the biggest blessing you have ever experienced!
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Copyright 2009 by Bob Yandian Ministries.
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