Foundations are important both in the natural and spiritual realms. In the natural world a foundation that is laid incorrectly may cause the whole structure built upon it to crumble and fall. So too, in the spiritual realm, particular attention should be paid to our foundations in order that what we build upon them might stand firm and endure.
As it is written,
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
Luke 6: 47,49
We must hear what our Lord speaks and even more importantly “do what He says” in order for our houses to stand even during life’s most severe storms and shakings. Moreover, true hearing involves more than just being able to physically hear what is spoken.
Jesus also said in the book of Mark,
“And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”
Though His disciples heard His words they did not perceive the intent and true meaning of what Jesus said because their hearts still dwelt in unbelief. To soften our hearts towards God we must open our minds to receive whatever truths He sees fit to reveal to us. In order to truly hear His voice we must allow our own wills and wants to be broken. This often takes place when we are confronted with a profound shift in our scriptural understanding of how God truly views situations. This is a true saying:
“As we become willing to obey we also become able to hear.”
God is concerned about our generations. It is particularly important to God where we come from and what our linage is. This is one reason that genealogies are so meticulously kept in the scriptures. Who your father was and to a lesser extent who your mother was is very important to the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, from the Garden of Eden it has always been God’s intention to be intimately involved in our choice of mates. We see this fact illustrated when God brought and presented Eve to Adam as a helpmate.
In the book of Genesis God states:
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
And again God appointed a certain woman for Isaac to marry and furthermore sent His angel ahead of Abraham’s servant to assist him,
“The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.”
“And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.”
Why is God so interested in who we marry? It is because of our generations that God wants to be intimately involved in our choice of spouse. When we choose a mate we not only affect our own lives but we also potentially affect thousands and sometimes millions of our future decedents. When a child is born to a couple this child and all of his or her decedents are affected greatly by whether or not the parents are godly and raise the child for the Lord. One of the reasons that God called Abraham friend was that he knew Abraham would raise his decedents in His ways. As it is written,
“And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
It is my belief that Christians should not marry until they have sought out and received council from our Lord whom they should choose. So much depends upon our choice of mate that this decision is too important to be left solely to our natural minds and limited understanding. Some erroneously believe that our selection of a spouse is purely our decision, but as servants of the most high, that is simply not so. We need the counsel of God and His foreknowledge in order to marry our appointed mate.
Much is made of romantic love and sexual attraction in western civilization. Most people would never consider marriage unless they were passionately attracted to their mate. However, as good as such passion is, when it causes us to choose mates that our heavenly Father does not approve of we greatly err, and more importantly, we may cause our future decedents to err also.
I remember that one day I was at a convenience store and an old woman started talking with me for no apparent reason. She told me that many years before she had fallen in love with a man whom was a Mormon believer thinking that he would leave his beliefs and convert to mainline Christianity. Unfortunately, he did not and all their children were now firmly entrenched in the Mormon Church to the great vexation of her heart and soul. I still remember the sadness in her eyes as she spoke of how she prayed daily for her children to know Jesus as their personal Lord and savior. Perhaps, if this woman would have heard and trusted the voice of God more she would have spared herself and her generations the introduction of this error.
Here is a truth.
“Many people, including Christians, are married to the wrong people simply because they did not consult God as to their choice of mate before marriage.”
Two of the most misunderstood doctrines in the Christian church are the doctrines of marriage and divorce. In most Christian circles it is believed that whomever you have married under whatever circumstances they must remain your husband or wife for life. However, in the light of eternity, what is best for both you and your generations may not be for you to be married to your present partner. Perhaps, because you did not receive God’s approval you are married against His will to an unbeliever or even to a Christian spouse whose heart is not fully towards God. Perhaps, because of your indiscretion, you have built a life around a spouse that will cause your generations to not know God. In such cases, our Lord feels no obligation to bless such a union because He foreknows that many souls will be harmed in the long run. An example of such a situation is found in the book of Ezra,
“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. “
“And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.”
“And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken strange wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren; Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah. And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.”
Ezra 9:1-3, Ezra 10:2-4,18,19
Their disobedience in marrying the wrong people would lead them into idolatry and threatened to destroy God’s chosen people. God caused them to repent and put away their wives and the children born of such unwise unions in order to set the nation of Israel back upon the path of righteousness. This is a shocking and somewhat unnerving truth, but, nevertheless, it is how God viewed what happened and is how He dealt with their disobedience.
Men and women woman should spend time in prayer asking God to join them together with His “best choice” for their spouse. This takes faith for the one which God may choose for you may not even be on your list of candidates. However, if we have the courage and strength to rely upon our Lord and not upon our own understanding we will find that He is always right and sees the future much clearer than we do.
For women it is particularly important that you choose the man that God has in mind for you because you are naturally predisposed to conform to your husband. If you choose outside of the will of God and your husband does not wish to follow the Lord it will be very difficult for you to reach your full potential in God. In the worst-case scenario you may even lose your very salvation.
The Bible states “what God has joined together let no man put asunder” and people often quote this scripture as proof that they should remain in marriages that are obviously adversely affecting their spiritual lives. However, the “let no man put asunder” is based upon the premise that God “joined” you together in the first place. Therefore, if you did not consult and receive His approval to marry in the beginning why should you assume that God automatically approved of and joined you together simply because you said “I do”? Likewise, if God did lead you to marry your present spouse you should not seek to be loosed from them unless God divinely leads you do so.
What people do not always understand is that, in the eyes of God, marriage is of the heart and not a civil contract. In the New Testament marriage is a level of heart commitment that warrants the type of physical expression, which consummates the union between a man and his wife. Consequently, if that level of commitment and love exists between a man and woman God considers them married in His eyes whether or not they possess a civil license. Likewise, if a man and woman hate each other, but still live together, no marriage exists between them in the eyes of God even though they possess a civil license. When viewed through our Father’s perspective things start to make sense and the fog of inconstancy starts to dissipate. Sometimes, the people that we have judged to be sinners for living together without a civil ceremony are in fact more righteous and approved of by God than those who “did things right”. As it is written in the book of Isaiah,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”
Just as one should always consult and receive the counsel and approval of God to marry a believer one should also consult and receive His counsel and approval to divorce. God does hate divorce and will not lead you to break your marriage lightly. If God does lead you to divorce a mate it will be because of His complete knowledge of present and future circumstances and their eternal effect upon you and your generations. People divorce for all sorts of reasons that are not of God and thus are sin. In my view a person should only divorce if God has plainly given you His approval to do so. It is an individual decision before God and thus another cannot know it if you are divorcing because of God or because of reasons that are not of God. All we can know for sure is that every man and woman will give an account of their actions before Christ at the great white throne judgment when the books are opened. Nothing will be hid in that day and you will receive gain or loss according to the real reasons you took the actions you did during your lifetime.
The bottom line of all this is that one must know, trust, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. As far as the law of the Spirit of life is concerned there are no hard and fast rules on marriage or divorce because each circumstance is unique and requires the counsel of God for that particular situation. You cannot automatically say that because a marriage looks bad it should be dissolved. God may not give you permission to do so because He foreknows that in a year your spouse will have a great change of heart and fully give their life over to Him. Likewise, God may not approve of an apparently good marriage and you might be lead to dissolve it because God foreknows the future of that relationship too.
We must all come into alignment with God’s will in every area of our lives, not just the ones that are convenient and do not cost us much. If you have built your life upon a faulty foundation of a marriage that was not ordained by God you must at some point “do the hard stuff” and set it right in order for His kingdom to be built in your life. Failure to do so will adversely affect your life, the lives of people you could have touched during your lifetime, and, most importantly, the countless lives of your generations to come.