What God thinks of covenants made under false pretences.
I have from time to time pointed out that marriage is a covenant, not a contract. I have some idea what this means, and some idea how seriously God takes covenants, but I recently came face to face with scriptures that show God is far more serious about covenants than I realised. Allow me to share a couple of scriptures to make this point:
“But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.”‘ Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them. This we will do to them: let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.” And the leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became cutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.” [Joshua 9:1-21 ESV]
“Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, ‘There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.‘” [2 Samuel 21:1 ESV]
In the first passage, the Gibeonites lie and deceive in order to have a covenant made. When those they lied to discover the truth they are upset, but they are unwilling to go back on their covenant. A few hundred years later king Saul kills a group of Gibeonites, and years after that God says a famine has come on David’s kingdom because Saul broke the covenant. In short, even though the covenant was made as a result of deception, God expected it to be honoured.
What does that say about our marriages? Certainly “she’s not who I thought she was” or even “she lied to me before we were married” are not acceptable reasons (in God’s eyes) for breaking a covenant! Even when the one who breaks it does so because of premeditated sin in arranging the covenant, God judges the one who breaks the covenant!
Think about that if divorce ever crossed your mind.
By the way, credit where credit is due – this post was inspired by the sermon I heard last Sunday. It’s great to have a pastor who hears from God and shares what he hears. Bless you Jeromy!
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
New Blog this week: Marriage Matters is the blog of Jason W. Touchatt who leads marriage ministry at his church. Good articles, and some awesome pictures!
A Grown Up Marriage
It’s Just Sex…: A well reasoned post on why “It’s just sex” is a dangerous idea.
The Subtle Difference Between Orders and Listening: Don’t micro-manage your bride!
Intimacy in Marriage
“Oh God” and Other Things We Say During Sex: This is an excellent post on the sounds of sex.
MT Project: My Spouse Deserves More Than My Leftovers: This post is right on. Do you see yourself in this post?
It’s Time to Clean!: What junk is hiding in your relationship?
The Biggest Marriage Myth of All and How it Could Ruin Your Relationship: Getting out is NOT the best solution!
What Do You Expect from Your Marriage and Mate?: All about choices and growing up – good stuff!
7 Practical Points for Communicating with Your Spouse : Good points here, check it out.
One Flesh Marriage
Kate and Brad take on the always fun topic of masturbation in marriage with four posts: Take Matters into Your Own Hands, Masturbation: What’s a Wife to Do?, Masturbation: A Little More Detail! and, Masturbation: One Husband’s Story
The Stupendous Marriage Show 003: Dumped on Twitter and Studying Your Spouse: I’m still enjoying The Stupendous Marriage Show podcast (doesn’t hurt that this episode mentions my bride and me. ;-) ]