How 1 Plus 1 Is 1

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife.  And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”  They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”  But Jesus said to them, Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.  But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again.  And He said to them, Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”  – Mark 10:2-12 NASB


In this passage, we find doctrinal truth about marriage in The Lord’s response to Pharisees who thought they could prove that He was a false teacher.  Though He often spoke in parables, this was one of those circumstances in which Jesus was clear and direct.  Not only did His antagonists fail to trick Him into contradicting the Law, but He reiterated the significance of the phrase “the two shall become one flesh”.


When we, as Believers, think about the term “one flesh” it’s not unusual for us to view it as a symbolic or figurative expression.  We tend to equate it with “oneness“, but the terms are not completely interchangeable.  Now certainly a marriage is most likely to thrive when a wife and husband are unified in their interests and objectives, but there’s more to what’s meant by “one flesh” than the pursuit of marital harmony.  When a man and woman unite in physical, sexual intimacy, the one-flesh relationship is established, in God’s eyes.  As our Creator, He even declares that the joining-together is His accomplishment, and that we do not have the prerogative to tear apart what He has formed.  Furthermore, once a couple has been joined together, the one-flesh relationship exists/endures, even if “oneness” is not evident in their feelings, actions, or degree of commitment.


Christ made it known to His critics and followers alike: when God’s will and purpose concerning marriage is violated, He calls it adultery, whether by infidelity during marriage or when an unfounded divorce from one spouse (Matthew 19:9) is followed by remarriage to another.


What will it take for us to practice the boldness of Christ?  When we see a brother or sister in a marriage that appears to be hopelessly dysfunctional, do we let our empathy for their plight prevent us from steering that friend toward the remedy of God’s word?  If you have — or are — a spouse that “wants out” of your marriage, are you willing to seek out Biblical wisdom, rather than withdrawing from Christ-honoring influences?


With this knowledge of God’s expectations, let us strive to be husbands and wives who are — first and foremost — whole-heartedly committed to Christ, in order that our marriages might be examples of the power of His grace!




To Trust or Complain

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat?  We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” — Numbers 11:4-6 


These three verses recount one of the many instances in which the children of Israel  during their exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land  found themselves complaining about the trying nature of their circumstances.  Despite the numerous and amazing miracles that they saw The Lord perform on their behalf when He liberated them from bondage, they seemed quick to complain, rather than trusting God, when the challenges of their journey became overwhelming. 


Hate to say it, but the tendency to become unappreciative, and even critical of that which The Lord has provided, is not exclusive to Old Testament Israel.  It’s a habit that is common today.  For exampleconflict and adversity can cause us (husbands and wives) to become a bit short-sighted.  Just as the children of Israel forgot how desperately they wanted freedom from slavery, once their food and water options became limited, we can also forget how excited we were to get married, once the joy of romance gives way to friction in our marital interactions. 


Read further in Numbers 11 or, for that matter, read all of Exodus though Numbersyou’ll find that rather than shielding His people from hardships, The Lord sought to refine their ability to trust Him by deliberately bringing them face to face with those between-the-enemy-and-the-Red-Sea predicaments.  He develops our spiritual maturity in the same way; by leading us through the very difficulties that test, reveal, and strengthen our faith. 


This week’s challenge: Do you see your spouse as God’s divine provision for you?  Today, is your spouse someone you desire or despise?  If you have legitimate concerns about a lack of harmony in your marriage, instead of letting those concerns turn into complaints (or longings for the life you left) we encourage you to trust The Lord!  Consider looking to Him for wisdom and direction, with Philippians 4:6-7 in mind: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 



“Magnify The Lord!”

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

–          Psalm 34:1-3

We may easily identify with these words of the psalmist during a spirited Sunday worship service, but could “all times” and “continually” include those times when our married lives are not quite blissful?  Sometimes you and your spouse may have conflicting expectations.  Sometimes issues with family members, co-workers, and even fellow-believers, can seem incompatible with the idea of having praise on our lips.  Yet notice: The Lord is the object and focus of praise!  He is The One about whom we can boast and experience gladness because we have the assurance of His timeless, unfailing love and His ever-present grace.

An assignment for husbands: if you and your wife are not already sharing time in God’s Word, daily, we encourage you to read Psalm 34 with her (in its entirety) today.  Then take a moment to appreciate the fact that you can exalt His name together!