REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 17, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Marrying an Unbeliever”
“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendantof the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!”
“Tom” and “Mary,” who met in a Christian college and committed to serving the Lord, were finally married. But Tom’s father, an elder, didn’t show up for the wedding because Mary was of a different race. Perhaps, the father believed that his stance was biblically rooted. Preceding Malachi was Ezra who confessed, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us” (Ezra 10:2). But this was a misguided zeal that only resulted in much heartache.
Those who were inspired to write the books of the Old Testament didn’t always know the fullest extent of what they wrote: interracial marriage was one of them. The Israelites, who saw themselves as a “holy race” (Ezra 9:2), were certainly forbidden to marry surrounding Canaanites, such as Moabites and Ammonites, who worshiped Chemosh and Molech, respectively; these gods demanded human sacrifices (2 Chr. 28:3). Had the Israelites, especially as a small clan, married them, their distinctive identity would’ve been lost, which would compromise God’s plan to send His Son, “who as to his human nature was a descendant of David” (Rom. 1:3). No Israel, then no David; no David, then no Christ.
Would the Israelites who “married the daughter of a foreign god” have acted any differently if they were told of what God really had in mind? Not likely, because those who aren’t faithful with a few things certainly don’t become faithful when bigger things are given. Jesus said to the rich man in hell, “If [your brothers] do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Lk. 16:31).
Marriage is a big thing, but it is preceded by many smaller things. How do feel about dating a non-Christian? Obey this simple teaching: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14). For some, this may be too late, but as Ezra said, “In spite of this, there is still hope for Israel” (Ez. 10:2b). You still have hope, for God’s word says, “If any of [your husbands] do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives” (1 Pet. 3:1). Pray for your spouse and be nice; sometimes, “nice” speaks louder than correct theology.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise you for your great plan for me and for the nations. Ultimately, we are your bride whom Christ loves and gave himself up for us 2,000 years ago. Like in any marriage, Lord, remind me to be faithful to you and honor the covenant. Let me not wander off by chasing other lovers. I love you, God, for who would do for me what you did through your Son Christ. Thank you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 22
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 King 11:1-3: “‘King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 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. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.”
Acts 5:1-5, 7-10: “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’ 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. . . . 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.’ 9 Peter said to her, ‘How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.’ 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. . . .”
Questions to Consider
- Solomon was known as the wisest person in the world but he fell spectacularly. What led him to his downfall and what lesson can you draw from this?
- With respect to marriage, what may be the most important lesson learned from what happened to the marriage of Ananias and Sapphira?
- What are some general lessons about life gleaned from the lives of these three people?
- Wisdom doesn’t make us an automaton that is programmed to always do wise things. The wisdom received from the Lord must guide our free will so we choose that which pleases the Lord. But once you marry someone who has no regard for that wisdom nor its giver, then that person whom you love becomes a formidable competition to wisdom itself. Little by little, free will is going to be influenced more by the competition than the wisdom from God.
- It clearly shows that marrying the wrong person can ruin your life. Sapphira ended up paying dearly for having married a man who didn’t think anything of lying to God. Thus, a meaningful courtship of appropriate length is necessary to discover about the person before deciding to marry him or her.
- One: Avoid greed. Solomon was greedy for more women; Ananias and Sapphira were greedy for money. Two: Learn to be content with what you have. Three: Keep the promise made to God; don’t act like you have obeyed Him when you haven’t.
If you are married, then before turning in, say a prayer on behalf of your spouse. If you would like to be married, then pray to the Lord about your future mate. Wait on the Lord. Enjoy his presence, now.