15/10/11 Nehemiah 13; Malachi 1-2; Acts 4
S: Nehemiah 13:25-27 So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.
“Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives.
How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women?”
O: At first glance, especially earlier in Nehemiah, it seems as if the prohibition on foreign wives was racism. However, this passage makes it clear that it's actually spiritual concern that is behind the prohibition on foreign wives.
There would not have been any problems with the foreign wives if the non-Jewish women were genuine converts and worshipped the LORD. Nehemiah pointed out that even someone as wise and great as Solomon was led astray from the faith by his unbeliever wives.
Time and time again, I have seen Christians make this mistake, allowing themselves to fall in love with and marry a non-believer. They often excuse this by claiming it to be "missionary dating" -- that the non-believer would come to receive Christ by their influence. However, time and time again, instead of the unbelieving spouse being led to Christ, the believer's faith becomes cold as a result instead.
Even in cases where the believer stays faithful, they cannot share the most important thing in their lives with the person they have become one with. Marriage is hard work as it is, and the different ultimate aim in their lives creates an added tension in the marriage.
Add to that the heartache of knowing that the person you love the most in this world will not be spending eternity with you.
A: It is far easier to not allow yourself to fall in love with a non-believer in the first place, than to have to deal with it after you have fallen in love. For this reason, the two times when I found mutual attraction with a non-believer, I made sure to stop it before things got too far.
If you are already married to an unbeliever, however, scripture says not to seek a divorce -- but if the non-believer wants out, then the believer is not wrong to let them go. However, the best outcome in such a situation is if the unbelieving spouse comes to know Christ and the family can be united in Christ (1 Corinthians 7:12-17).
God isn't making these rules to thwart us from finding marital bliss -- on the contrary, He is wanting to give us the best chance for it!
P: Father, may we follow Your leading. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)