NIV Devotions for Couples Devotionals

Cheating Together

Verse: 1 Kings 14:1-18

At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people.”
— 1 Kings 14:1–2

Jeroboam was in a predicament. He had served the great Israelite ruler Solomon as an official in the department of public works. Encouraged by the words of Ahijah the prophet that he would one day be king, Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, resulting in his exile to Egypt (see 1 Kings 11:26–40). When Solomon died and Rehoboam took over, Jeroboam returned from Egypt and seized the opportunity to lure away most of the kingdom.

Originally, Jeroboam’s main goal was to help the Israelites find a better government than the one offered by Solomon and his self-absorbed son. But, along the way, power corrupted Jeroboam; he did things to ensure his tenacious leadership while minimizing God’s influence.

Now Jeroboam’s son was sick. So the king began weaving a web of deception, enlisting his wife to dress like someone else and feign piety before Ahijah to manipulate him into giving a good report on their son. Rather than seeking God’s guidance, the couple tried to use the prophet like a good-luck charm. Things turned out very badly for them as a result.

Marriage binds husband and wife into a unity that changes both of them. While individual identities shouldn’t be crushed as “two become one,” it is also true that we cannot remain isolated or independent from one another. But in the fusing that takes place, both good and bad things can happen.

When we share our lives well, we can strengthen our mate’s resolve, nurture our spouse’s well-being and encourage each other’s gifts. Unfortunately, we can also have a negative impact on each other. We can entice our partner into supporting our mistakes and sins. We can ask our spouse to cover up for us when the phone rings and we don’t wish to be found. We can lie for our mate in public settings. We can manipulate our spouse into falsifying tax returns or hiding assets.

Marriage makes us complicit in the morality of our mate. That is an important reason to choose wisely before we wed and to build upon a strong moral center in our relationship after we are joined. Great businesses don’t collapse overnight through some minor accounting error; their foundations slowly erode as leaders make each other complicit in deceptive schemes. So it is in marriages. While we can win for a while as we help each other cheat on the truth, in the long run we build a kingdom of facades in which we can neither trust our partner’s face nor clearly see our own.

On the other hand, when we learn from mistakes like those of Jeroboam and his wife, we can build a complicity of goodness that our children and friends will admire someday when they help us celebrate our silver and golden wedding anniversaries.
—Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk

• Are we playing games of deception right now? What might we lose through them?
• How can we keep one another morally committed to what is right? Should we schedule regular opportunities for accountability checks? What would we ask each other?
• In what areas are we most vulnerable to temptation or sin? What do we need most from each other to strengthen these vulnerable places?

This devotion is from the Couples' Devotional Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

About NIV Devotions for Couples

Learn all about Christianity at Christianity.com with rich, theological articles, video, and audio focused on the life of Jesus Christ, Bible Study, the Christian church, and Christian living for families. Grow in your faith and walk with Christ as you read about the history of Christianity, salvation, evangelism and discipleship. Use free daily devotionals from your favorite pastors, authors, and speakers as a way to spend daily quiet time with God. Discover how devotions can help you make postive changes in your life toward living out the promises of God. Christianity.com also offers free online Bible study tools with over 30 translations and a library of commentaries, concordances, lexicons, and more for you to highlight, take notes in, and bookmark for studying the Word!

  • Editors' Picks

    Humanum Conference at The Vatican
    Humanum Conference at The Vatican
  • Why the Church Must Start Talking about Domestic Violence
    Why the Church Must Start Talking about Domestic Violence
  • Don't Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar
    Don't Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar
;