What does the Bible say about marriage and divorce? What about remarriage, singleness, and sex, both inside and outside of marriage? Does the Bible really address those subjects and, if so, does it have any relevance for today?
Also read about some of the amazing animals God has created: the horse with all his strength and fearlessness, the hawk, the eagle and a huge sea creature called leviathan.
Finally, our Proverbs passage talks about the drunkard and how, even after the a hangover, he runs to look for his next drink. The world wants us to believe they can’t help it, that it’s a disease called alcoholism, but what does the Bible say?
Job 41 & 42
1 Corinthians 7.1-19
The Bible on Marriage & Divorce
1 Corinthians 7.1-19:
Sex, Singleness, Marriage and Divorce
Paul has a great deal to say about marriage, divorce, and singleness in this chapter. In verses 1-9 he explains that sex within marriage is God’s only provision for sexual fulfillment. That has not changed in spite of what our culture tells us.
I know this is a huge challenge for some of you who are single and want to be married. I want to encourage you that God has not forgotten you, that He is good, and that He will give you the grace to respond biblically to this challenge.
And to the married, verse 5 says:
5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
For those who are married, sex is to be continual. It is never to be withheld from one’s partner except by agreement and then only for the purpose of prayer and fasting and only temporarily. In the past, this passage was most often applied to women, but as my husband and I counsel, more and more I hear of women whose husbands are not interested in sex.
It’s ironic that in a culture where sex is everywhere—on billboards, on TV, on movie screens, and on the street—this has not freed people to enjoy God’s gift of sexuality. Instead, it has done serious harm. The reasons are many, and if you’re struggling with this situation, I would urge you to seek counseling for both you and your spouse if he or she is willing, or for yourself, if not.
Verses 10-16 talk about divorce:
10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord. A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 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.
Believers are not to seek a divorce except in the case of sexual immorality and, even then, it is not commanded. If a believer has already divorced his or her spouse for unbiblical reasons, he or she is not free to remarry under most circumstances.
Verses 12-13, But to the rest I, not the Lord, say. If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.
If a believer is married to an unbeliever, the believer is to do his or her best to represent Christ in that home and not to seek a divorce.
Verse 14, For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
This does not mean that the unbelieving spouse is saved, but somehow the unsaved spouse enjoys a special relationship with God. I imagine it’s a little like our immigration laws. When a citizen marries someone who is not, it does not automatically make him a citizen, but he is given special consideration. God will work in some distinct way in the life of that unbelieving spouse, often through the testimony of the believing one.
Verse 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
If however, an unbelieving spouse seeks a divorce, the believer is not commanded to stay married. In fact, the verse says, “… let him depart …” At some point if the unbeliever shows no change of heart we must “let them depart.”
Verse 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Again this does not mean that we save someone else, but our lives can be used by God in a great way.
Then verse 17 from tomorrow’s reading says:
17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
God has called us to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, whether married or single.
Lord, give us the grace to find contentment in whatever state we are in—whether married or single. And help us to live our lives as faithful ambassadors of your grace and love, reflecting that love to others, especially our spouses, in Christ’s name and for His glory. Amen.
Today’s Other Readings:
Job 41 & 42:
Behemoth, Leviathan & Their Creator
In chapter 41 God continues to challenge Job’s assumptions about who he is in relation to God. He uses creation and His sovereign control of every aspect of the universe to illustrate this truth.
I was struck with the incredible variations in all the species that God created. A few chapters ago we read about the ostrich and what a magnificent bird she is, but it says, “God deprived her of wisdom, and did not endow her with understanding …”
Then we read about the horse and his power, how he is not afraid in battle, and of his pure strength. The passage goes on to talk about the uniqueness of the hawk and the eagle and the behemoth. Now in chapter 41, God describes a huge sea creature called leviathan. It’s a long passage, but worth reading and thinking about:
1 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?
2 Can you put a reed through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?
7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?
8 Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle—
Never do it again!
9 Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false;
Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?
10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.
Who then is able to stand against Me?
11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him?
Everything under heaven is Mine.
God goes on:
12 “I will not conceal his limbs,
His mighty power, or his graceful proportions.
13 Who can remove his outer coat?
Who can approach him with a double bridle?
14 Who can open the doors of his face,
With his terrible teeth all around?
15 His rows of scales are his pride,
Shut up tightly as with a seal;
16 One is so near another
That no air can come between them;
17 They are joined one to another,
They stick together and cannot be parted.
18 His sneezings flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19 Out of his mouth go burning lights;
Sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils,
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21 His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes out of his mouth.
22 Strength dwells in his neck,
And sorrow dances before him.
23 The folds of his flesh are joined together;
They are firm on him and cannot be moved.
24 His heart is as hard as stone,
Even as hard as the lower millstone.
25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;
Because of his crashings they are beside themselves.
26 Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail;
Nor does spear, dart, or javelin.
27 He regards iron as straw,
And bronze as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones become like stubble to him.
29 Darts are regarded as straw;
He laughs at the threat of javelins.
30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads pointed marks in the mire.
31 He makes the deep boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 He leaves a shining wake behind him;
One would think the deep had white hair.
33 On earth there is nothing like him,
Which is made without fear.
34 He beholds every high thing;
He is king over all the children of pride.”
John MacArthur says this about leviathan:
This term appears in 4 other Old Testament texts (Job 3:8; Pss. 74:14; 104:26; Is. 27:1). In each case Leviathan refers to some mighty creature who can overwhelm man but who is no match for God. Since this creature lives in the sea among ships (Ps. 104:26), some form of sea monster, possibly an ancient dinosaur, is in view. Some feel it was a crocodile, which had scaly hide (v. 15), terrible teeth (v. 14), and speed in the water (v. 32). But crocodiles are not sea creatures, and clearly this one was (v. 31). Some have thought it was a killer whale or a great white shark, because he is the ultimate killer beast over all other proud beasts (v. 34).
Verses 9-10 say, “Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.”
But verse 10 goes on, “Who then is able to stand against Me?” If the creatures God created are incredible, what should that tell us about the One who created them?
Job, too, finally gets it! He responds with humility and repentance and God later restores to him all that he had and more.
Sinful Heart Attitudes
Gossip is never a secret to God and attitudes of the heart like pride are just as sinful to God as those things we consider “serious” sins.
Disease or Drunkenness?
These verses continue the subject of drunkenness from yesterday’s reading and how, even after the miserable effects of a hangover, he (or she) runs to look for his next drink. The world wants us to believe they can’t help it, that it’s a disease called alcoholism. But God says, “Do not get drunk with wine …” (Eph. 5.18) – a command. God does not command us to do anything that is not in our power to obey with His help. This is not a medical issue. It’s a sin issue!
A well-meaning gentleman told my husband once, “But the AMA says it’s a disease.” My husband replied, “But God says it’s a sin. Who are you going to believe?”
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit they saw their own nakedness in a shameful, vulnerable way. Their response was to try to hide themselves.
When God confronted them He said, “Who told you, you were naked?” (Gen. 3.11). Remember Genesis 2.25 said, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” God’s question didn’t refer to their lack of clothing, but to their source of truth. Who are you going to believe?
He’s asking the same question today to all of us in various areas of our lives. Will we take His commands and warnings to heart or believe we’re free to live any way we choose? And will we trust in His promises no matter what the devil and the world throw our way?
In the next few days, we’ll talk about heroes and the culture, weighing stumbling blocks against freedom, money, contentment and wise counsel. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
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