Dream word – GODLY
“So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. ‘For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one's garment with violence,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.’” NKJV
God the Grandfather and N.O.M.A.N.
In the Coen brothers’ 2003 film Intolerable Cruelty George Clooney stars as Miles Massey, the cynical attorney who is highly specialised in breaking marriages apart and making the divorce as profitably as possible for his client, regardless of their own personal culpability in the divorce! The leading lady in the film is Catherine Zeta Jones who plays Marilyn Rexroth, a woman choosing to marry men who are exceptionally rich and astonishingly silly and therefore very likely to commit adultery, thus giving her the excuse to divorce them, so she can in turn then win a massive financial settlement, that will make her independent of all men! The dialogue, the acting, the timing, the humour of the movie are in my opinion, all quite brilliant and very Coen-esque.
The main speech of the Intolerable Cruelty concerning all the possibilities and vulnerabilities of true and selfless, sacrificial love is made by the character Miles Massey at his keynote address which is given at the annual convention of his professional association. The association is cleverly called: The National Organisation of Matrimonial Attorneys Nationwide I remember watching the movie and seeing their organizational logo and motto in the background of the main dialogue and emblazoned underneath it was the fictional association's most hilarious tag line, here it is… “What God hath joined, let N.O.M.A.N. put asunder.” It was a most clever and hilarious contrivance and I laughed considerably!
In the real world however, divorce is not funny and it remains exceptionally painful for many, many years, often times even a lifetime. There is very little laughter in it, I can tell you that. Divorce remains financially painful, it remains emotionally painful, it remains relationally painful, and in my Pastoral observance of it over the years, it remains painful for the rest of a person’s life. Friend, there is no condemnation in my writing this tonight because the saying “there but for the grace of God go I”most certainly applies to me and my wife. God has been very gracious to us. Indeed, I say to all people who are still married to their first spouse, “God has been very gracious to you!”Be careful then in your often unwarranted and sometimes very ignorant judgment of others, for none of us really knows what goes on behind closed doors.
Nevertheless in our text for this evening God says several important things to us and hangs them all on one massive nail! “I hate divorce!” Listen to how “The Message” brings this climactic statement to our attention: “And here's a second offence: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don't get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you've broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that's what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don't cheat on your spouse. “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the 'one flesh' of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat.
Divorce is indeed, the violent dismembering of the 'one flesh' of marriage. So watch yourselves tonight. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat on your mate. To help you and heal you, I have three things for your consideration this evening:
First, if you are divorced, there is no need to keep adding to your existing pains. Self-condemnation, anger at your former spouse and a multitude of other leather tails of self-flagellation, will only fan the flames of hurt and keep the blood flowing and the wounds from healing. It’s time to heal. Get with God and get it sorted. Forgive yourself.
Secondly, I want to tell you, especially those of you struggling in your marriage, that God is interested in marriage. Indeed, God is interested, immersed and inhabiting all aspects of your marriage. Be aware of that. Prayerfully seek Him then in every part of your marriage. Every part of it I say, for He will indeed help you in every part of your marriage.
Thirdly, don’t mess up the covenant and if you’ve messed up, then please don’t keep messing up. The Bible here I think is particularly speaking to men and I wonder if it is speaking to older more well off men especially. I mean older men who compared to their wives are more well-off financially, more well-off opportunistically, more well-off physically, more well-off health wise maybe? I wonder? In any event, to men in particular the Scriptures clearly speak tonight, don’t be a traitor. Don’t cheat on your wife!
Listen: “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” - Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV
Pray: Mercy Lord, please forgive us our many sins and our traitorous hearts. Mercy Lord, and despite our many sins, we ask that you wash us and make us clean, that You change us from traitors into people of honour and integrity and courage. Make us new Lord and make us stronger too. Yes, make us a testimony to Your grace and to Your love and to Your redemption and do it in such a renewing, regenerate and revitalising way, that our offspring would rise up amazed! Indeed, they would rise up refreshed and call us Godly parents! Mercy Lord, mercy, for we wish to be Godly and to give You the Godly offspring of Your heart’s desire. In Jesus name we ask it, amen.
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