Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Hosea 9-11; Matthew 19
In Matthew 19, we find Jesus addressing the issue of divorce as the Pharisees try to tempt Him into their trap. It is no secret that divorce has affected the world in general and the church specifically. One author puts it this way, “Many marriages, including a tragic number of Christian marriages, seem to be little more than a socially recognized battleground where warfare between the spouses is the rule and harmony the exception.” Jesus makes it very clear to these Pharisees that from the beginning this was not the design of God. Verse six says, “…what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” The ultimate culprit in divorce is selfishness. When God was addressing the Corinthian church He describes the results of carnality or selfishness. Envy, strife, or division is the results of people being self centered and stubborn. Pick one, two, or all three but any relationship that is damaged or severed is always grounded, to some degree, in selfishness. The contrary is the Spirit controlled life where there is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Ephesians 4:3 tells us that the bond of peace is sown by humility, meekness, longsuffering and forbearance. Being Spirit controlled is to live a life of submission to God and His word. It is to trust the sovereignty and decisions of God. It is to trust Him in the midst of trial and difficulty. The songwriter put it this way, “…when you cannot trace His hand, trust His heart.” We do not always know why God allows certain things into our lives, but we do know that He is working all things together for our good. We do not always see the fire as a good thing, but Peter reminds us that it is through the fire that we come forth as pure gold. Jesus answers the question of “Why He allowed divorce” with an answer. “…because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives but from the beginning it was not so.” (vs. 8) So many people walk through life angry, bitter, and frustrated because they refuse to submit to what God is doing and wants to accomplish in their lives. They are making decisions in life according to what they see and know and forfeit the joy of living life from the perspective of what God sees and knows. Humanism is destroying our world and infiltrating our churches. It started in the garden and continues until today. Jesus ends this chapter addressing another obvious picture of humanism. He addresses the selfishness associated with a quest for riches. He addresses the rich young man who wanted salvation on his terms. He was willing to sacrifice everything except his possessions for salvation. He was willing to submit to God’s plan in many areas, but not in the area of his money. This is such a picture of our world today. It is amazing how this world sees themselves as rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, but yet they are blind, miserable, and naked and do not even know it. When it comes to our Christian lives, may we learn to submit ourselves to God and His word. May we bring every thought we have back to the obedience to the knowledge of God, the word of God. May we allow the Spirit of God to tell us how to think, how to act, and what to say in every situation. “As for God, His way is perfect.”
• Lord, please help me to trust you in every situation of life. May I exalt you in every relationship. May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight.
• Lord, please help me to submit to the Holy Spirit in my marriage. May others see Christ in my marriage and in the way Michelle and I conduct ourselves. Thank you for the wonderful gift she is to me.
• Lord, thank you for trials that you see as necessary to conform me to the image of Christ. I know they are not pleasant and many times I do not understand them, but please help me to submit my will to yours and grow in grace.
• Lord, thank you for the bountiful material blessings you have given. Please help me to always have the right perspective of stuff, and live in light of eternity.