Monday, July 27, 2009

Marriage Monday: Does marrying an unbeliever lead you astray?

Hey gang!

Welcome to another week and a different type of Marriage Monday. This can be for people thinking about marriage and then the second half will be more for those already in their marriage. I hope this blesses you.

King Solomon will go down as one of the wisest men in history, but he had an Achilles’ Heel. They were the women that he married. Let’s look at chapter 11 of the book of 1 Kings to explain this.

“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharoah’s daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” (1 Kings 11:1-3)

The Lord first gave this command to the Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were heading to the Promised Land in Deuteronomy chapter 7. He told the Israelites to go in and destroy the countries totally and do not intermarry with them because they will lead the Israelites astray from the rules that God had given them. He reiterated this point in Joshua chapter 23. The Lord even told the Israelites here that he would remove his hand and stop keeping the opponents out of the land.

The reason God takes this stand is that he wanted to make sure that the Israelites had less drawing them away from him. If you read the exodus, you realize that the Israelites really didn’t need any help to disobey. But intermarrying with women that did not believe in God’s way tended to tell the Israelites to believe in their god, a god that did not hold the high standard that our God did at the time and still does today. You may believe that God just held this standard for the Israelites, but he cautions us later in the New Testament to avoid the same downfall.

Paul talks to the Corinthians in his second book to them in chapter six, beginning in verse 14. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.”

This is a hard word, I understand that. God is telling us that we run the risk of not being able to agree and also that the person may lead us away. Catholics are one denomination that I know of that requires a person to be a follower of their faith to be married in the church to another of their believers. Sure, there are Catholics that get married outside the church to non-believers just like in other denominations, but life is harder if there is not agreement on faith.

The next part is for those of you that have already married and have a non-believing spouse. So what do I do now? I’m married, I’ve become a believer and my spouse is not interested in God. It’s OK, but there are things that you have to understand to continue to make your marriage work.

First, realize that browbeating your spouse to become a Christian is probably about the worst thing you do. Constantly rubbing the message in their face probably is not the way to go. Yes, you still have to make them aware of the word and what God says in the decision making process, but don’t be overbearing.

Ephesians gives some great words for how to treat your spouse in marriage and they apply even with a non-believing spouse. Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands in everything. I would make one proviso on this. If the husband is a non-believer, I would say submit in all things that do not tear down your faith or make you less of a Christian. If your husband asks you to do something that is against the Word of God, don’t submit. Be kind in your answer, but make it a firm no. Paul tells husbands to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Men, if your spouse is a non-believer, my advice for you is continue in that love, but do not let her push you to change your beliefs. Stand strong and stand up when it comes to your faith in Christ.

Finally, my best advice is to pray. Pray for that man or woman. You love them. Pray that their eyes are opened to the truth of God. I even suggest this for people claiming to be in love with a person before marriage. I know the last thing you want to do is break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, but pray that God show you the right direction. For you that have already married, pray that they see the truth and your walk with God as a good example.

But I’m in love and I want this person in my life. OK, God doesn’t say you can’t marry an unbeliever. Neither will I. However, I have presented you with the Word of God telling you that you really might not want to take the chance. I want you to enter marriages that will be blessed, not just by people, but by the all-powerful, wise God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I love you guys!
Frank

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You made a lot of great points, good piece. Throw in a couple little tid bits for ya. The best way to win over a nonbelieving spouse, is basically keep your mouth shut. Live the life in front of, to the side of, and even behind them, dont let there be a double standard or chink in your armour. Pray for them and have your church pray for their soul, then step out of the way and let God do his job. Not only with this but in a lot of things we give it to God, then think we can handle it ourselves, and pick it back up. We take the power out of his hand to deal with it.
John K.

LCM said...

That was very well written but I am a little confused with your last paragraph. You mentioned that Paul said, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers." But in your last paragraph you wrote that God doesn't say you can't marry an unbeliever. Please explain.

Frank Jenkins said...

LCM,

Basically what I am saying is that there is no direct commandment that you can't marry unbelievers. Just doing so puts a strike against you to begin with.

Frank Jenkins said...

Gang,

Wanted to add a thought here for those of you that have been talking with me the last few days.

Me and a few of you have been throwing around that last paragraph of the original post. I didn't intend and don't want anyone to think that God is giving people a pass to marry even though it's not a commandment.

One of my readers sent me this analogy. I'll let their words speak to us.

"The Bible clearly states that we should not yoke ourselves with unbelievers. We don’t need a direct commandment on this topic to correctly apply it to our lives. Just as we are to store our treasures up in Heaven and not on earth we apply this to our lives without a direct commandment because the teachings of the word instruct us to do so."

That's really the crux of it. We are given God's Word to be our guide. That means all of it. After thinking about it, I'm glad that those of you that are reading discuss ideas with me. It helps me overcome as well. It doesn't just make my words clearer, it helps me to be as bold as I need to be as a believer and teacher.

Thanks gang!
Frank