Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 192/260: Shechaniah

Read Ezra 10

The Sanctity of Marriage

How serious is your word? Typically, when a person gets married, he recites “vows” to his wife. A vow is a promise. These promises often involve faithfulness and fidelity, come what may. “For better, for worse, in sickness and health.” A quick Google search, however, shows that 41% of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce.

God issued strict guidelines for marriage in the laws that He gave Israel through Moses. One of those guidelines was a restriction against marrying pagan wives. Yet, when we get to the last chapter of Ezra, we see that many in Israel had ignored God’s command. Shechaniah, along with many others, came to Ezra and said, “We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land” (Ezra 10:2). They recognized that they had fallen short and wanted to make it right. They decided they would “put away all these wives and those who have been born to them…according to the law” (Ezra 10:3).

How difficult this decision must have been! These men had families but realized their standing with the God of heaven was more important. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but He also expects obedience from man! One cannot continue in sin and expect the Almighty to be pleased.

There is little debate that the divorce rate in this country is too high. Couples can cite a host of reasons for their divorces: lack of commitment, irreconcilable differences, married too young, unrealistic expectations. Our Lord allows divorce and subsequent remarriage only when adultery has been committed (Matthew 19:9).

Marriage is often called a sacred institution, but it is rarely treated as such. If you are reading this as a married person, focus on all the positive reasons you married your spouse and look for ways to make him or her happy. Making your spouse happy will help you be happy.

If you are a single person reading this, consider all that God has to say about marriage before you make that commitment. Go into that relationship with the Biblical motto: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

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