The Heart of God (episode VI)December 13, 2007
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Once again, I find myself having to discuss a topic that I would prefer to avoid, however, since this is a verse-by-verse series covering the sermon on the mount and everything that Jesus says is important, it must be addressed. A casual observation of those in my neck of the woods who are steaming toward middle age will reveal a plethura of divorices, multiple marriages, desperate housewives, husbands experiencing a mid-life crisis, and many who are wearied from all of the obligatory commitments and just live together. Children bounced from household to household as to comply with court rulings and feelings of bitterness on behalf of many adults for whom things just didn’t go as planned. The landscape is littered with fragmented families and fragmented lives, however, I know that despite the circumstances that a person finds themselves in or the past that they come from, Jesus can forgive sin, heal the broken-hearted and make all things new.
Matthew 5:31-33 “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commiteth adultery.
Ours is a culture that appears to be coming unglued at the most fundamental level. Infidelity is rampant, children born out of wedlock; often times to parents who are themselves still children, and a cultural backdrop that’s increasingly void of godly principals. A phenomenon known as “unreconcilable differences” wrecks havoc on the institution of marriage as it increasingly becomes normal; almost “admirable” in the eyes of the world to throw in the towel at the slightest hint of trouble. Several years ago, I overheard a country song entitled “Broken Promised Land” (or something like that,) which tells how one partner cheats on the other and then the other does the same in return. In the midst of the “sad and depressing melody” is a reflection on a very major problem. We have a divorce rate of 50% and heartache of epidemic proportions.
Praise God that he can fix even the most complicated of situations. (Mine is a self-induced complicated situation.) I’m compelled to restate this truth because so many families today; even christian families, have undergone twists and turns that weren’t planned. These really are perilous times.
The breakdown of the family is actually a symptom of a much bigger picture. We’re in a time when a spiritual hardening is taking place in the hearts of those who consistantly refuse to come to Jesus. Kids can take an unexpected turn; even in well grounded christian homes. (This too is on the rise at an alarming rate.) We’re in an age of unprecidented spiritual warfare and it takes place within the heart of every individual. Without a doubt, the devil is walking about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. His time is running out and we can expect a full court press from here on. Such is the times in which we live.
These next set of verses are even harder to address for some reason, so this isn’t going to be very in-depth, despite having many thoughts concerning them.
Matthew 5:33-36 “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is Gods throne: Nor by earth; for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.”
A few days ago, I saw a book entitled “Landmines” or something of the sort. It covered situations that come upon saints without warning and then “KABOOM!” I’m certain that it has something to say concerning making promises or saying things that haven’t been thought through. (It’s written by Charles Stanley) Making statements, making promises, or commiting ourselves to things without considering what we’re doing can get us into a heap of trouble. All of us have, at some time or another, promised things or agreed to things without thinking first. I’ve done it on more occasions than I care to think about. This passage is much deeper than my elaboration, but I’m not certain as to how to proceed further.
One thing that I have to be mindful of is to pray for people when I tell them that I will. I have to write it down because it’s very serious and my memory isn’t the best. Jesus admonished us with the parable of the unjust judge to pray always and not faint. With so many needs out there and tortured souls on every corner, we should be praying at every opportunity. I fall short of this and it’s something that I must continuously work on. Nonetheless, when I make a commitment to pray for someone, I strive to do so. Not just a halfhearted mentioning, but a serious “coming before the throne of grace” and lifting up one who’se in need of divine intervention.
I’m certain that I’m not addressing this effectively, but what I have always taken from these verses is “be careful of what you promise and to whom.” In fact the next verse sums it up perfectly:
Matthew 5:37 “But let your communication be, Yea, yea: Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
To speak only right things and refrain from speaking things which can only get us into trouble. One well known example that comes to mind is Herod. He was purposely set up on his birthday and while the daughter of Herodias danced before him, he made a very unadvisable statement by promising her anything that she asked. As we all know, she requested the head of John the Baptist and Herod complied.
Without a doubt, the tongue no man can tame. The warnings in the book of James are to be remembered as we can find ourselves unwittingly uttering things without having considered what chain reaction will be initiated by that which we utter. By the grace of God, there are scores of moments in my own household where I thought to say something in a moment of drama that would have intensified things tenfold, but kept it to myself. (This household is occasionally subjected to drama) I’m going to conclude here because the last ten verses in chapter five are so awesome that they need their own post. (Or two posts; however it turns out.) Until the next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.