|Volume 18 Number 12 December 2016||
If we were to stop and think for a moment, we would all probably come to the same conclusion that even though there are many terrible things in the world, there are still so many things in this world that we love and cherish. While there is nothing wrong with having things that mean a lot to us and that are special in our lives, it is still possible for these things that we love to be the things that separate us from God.
One of the more difficult conversations I have ever experienced in my life took place in a different country many years ago. A young woman was living with a man that had separated from his wife. This young woman had been living with this man for years. They had a child together. She loved him, but she could not marry him. Legally, he was still married, and in addition, he could not have a scriptural divorce. This woman was on the verge of being converted. There and then, she was faced with a decision that would change her life forever, either to stay with the man or put him away, repent and be baptized.
We as humans have made the issue of marriage, divorce and remarriage a major issue in the body of Christ today. According to Matthew 19:8, it is because of the hardness of the hearts of men that divorce was ever permitted by Moses. The Word also tells us plainly that divorce was never part of God’s plan. “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
In Matthew 19:9, Jesus continued the discussion of divorce, teaching that sexual immorality is the only reason one can divorce one’s spouse and marry again. A divorced person that has been put away for sexual immorality cannot remarry, and neither can a person that has been divorced for a reason other than sexual immorality remarry.
The law that Jesus states in Matthew 19 is a law for all of mankind. Things do not just become sinful after a person becomes a Christian. We as human beings are going to be faced with choices in our lives. It is up to us to decide whether we are going to follow the world or follow the commandments of God.
Stand in the Gap:
What does that really mean?
Harold David Conley
Ancient Babylon is in present-day Iraq! Many Jews were enslaved by the Babylonian government. Ezekiel was among them.
The Jews were God’s chosen people. Why would He allow them to be carried away into captivity? That question is answered in Ezekiel 22:23-29. The Jewish priests, princes, prophets and people had completely turned their backs on God. They had sinned! In God’s Justice, He had to punish their sin. It was the “just” thing to do. However, God is also a merciful God. In His mercy, He wanted to forgive them. Now, this begs the following questions: “Which does God exercise? Does He apply justice or mercy, and why?”
In Ezekiel 22:30 the answers are clear. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” The phrase “that I should not destroy it” tells us that God wanted to exercise His mercy! The component necessary was “a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap for the land.” God was looking for someone praying for the folks! The saddest statement is, “I found none”!
The next verse (vs. 31) tells us that God exercised His justice and punished the people. Why? He punished the nation because no one was praying! It is an awesome thing to understand that our prayers make a difference in the actions of Almighty God!