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Monday: Nehemiah’s Reproof — 8 Comments

  1. "It's Complicated!" That is what I see listed as the marital status by some of my friends on Facebook. And it is quite true. Some of them have very complicated relationships. Here is a brief summary of one of them. (Names have been changed of course.)

    Marcia was happily married with a caring husband and a bright and happy son, but she decided that married life was boring and that she wanted to have a more interesting sex life. She left her husband and lived in a series of hedonistic relationships having "fun". But now, some ten years later Marcia admits that booting her husband out was the biggest mistake of her life. She lives as a single parent, having to share her son with her ex-husband who lives some distance away. There are always legal situations to be sorted out, financial arrangements to be worked through and parenting decisions that have to be done through lawyers. Its complicated and Marcia says that she traded a warm loving relationship for a bit of "fun sex". The sad part about it is that the problems do not go away. During this time Marcia left the church and returned, but she now has to deal with singleness, a broken family, and friends who are wary of her because of her situation.

    Marcia's story is not an isolated one in Seventh-day Adventist Churches. There are far too many folk who have traded loving relationships for "fun sex" only to discover that they have added several layers of complication not only on themselves but on their family and friends as well.

    The situation in Nehemiah's time was complicated too. And some probably regard his resolution rather draconian when considered in todays terms. It is however illustrative of the fact that we have to live with the consequences of our actions.

    I am sure that there will be the usual calls for us to consider the sacredness of our marriage relationships, but I would like to add that in this modern world we also need to think about how we react to those who through their own decisions have reached the "It's complicated!" status. It is time we put compassion before condemnation.

    And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:11

  2. I have found it confusing sometimes to understand the will of the LORD. Take the question of marriage like we are studying about Nehemiah's reaction to believers and non believers marrying. It seems so harsh, while Paul seems more understanding, why such different reactions? Which should we follow?
    Why in the LORDs instructions via Moses to adultery it was death and Jesus' treatment of the women caught in adultery was I don't condemn you, go and sin no more?
    I have discovered that the answer is that the LORD is just and the justifier, that He is the law giver and the forgiver. He has Principles of Life which when followed will result in peace and harmony but when rejected create chaos and separation from the life giver, this consequence is sometimes immediate like being struck down by lightning or only experienced after the 1000 years.
    In Nehemiah's reaction it was an object lesson for the nation - the consequence of the choice of marrying an unbeliever was either separation from the partner now or the eventual result would be separation from the LORD.
    The LORD knows the heart - will extra time result in the person returning to Him or that person sinking deeper into rebellion? Will a person receiving the immediate consequences of their choice be an example to others which will lead them to return to the LORD?
    The character of the LORD is multifaceted and we can trust that He has our best interests in all His ways.

    • The issue that Shirley raises regarding seeming - and therefore potentially confusing - discrepancies between 'God's will' across different points in scripture is a direct result of the progressive/'developmental' nature of humanity across scripture and the corresponding journey from considerably immature to somewhat more mature capacity to understand and comprehend specific aspects of 'God's will'.

      On the one hand, we have humanity's profound and dramatic loss of a true knowledge of God from Genesis 3 onwards - amid a context where pagan religions instead portrayed a very different view of how 'the gods' operated. On the other hand, we also have God's foundational commitment to freedom whereby He cannot, does not and will not 'force' humans to 'grow-up' faster than they choose to or are developmentally able to cope with and not instead 'recoil' from. Thus, God is consequently 'self-bound' (by the intersection of His own choice and the nature of the reality that God is part of, the only reality that can viably promote, support and sustain true/abundant life: John 14:6,7) to only being able to progress in the revelation of His will at a rate that the humans at that particular time and within that particular context can handle. This principle has variously been termed by some Adventist theologians/pastors the "accommodation" or "adaptation" principle.

      This is why we have Jesus, at the time of the commencement of his public ministry, needing to clarify many of the misconceptions that had accumulated and not yet been rectified regarding God's will (eg; see Matthew 5 re "you have heard it said ... but I tell you ...").

      An awareness of the (a) progressive 'developmental' growth of humanity across scripture - in terms of its capacity to somewhat better understand more accurately the nature and character of God (and therefore God's will), and
      (b) God's corresponding need to adapt to/accommodate that capacity in the degree and manner of His revelation of Himself and His will are two vitally important concepts that need to be understood and appreciated if a more accurate understanding of Biblical interpretation is to be the outcome via "accurate handling of the Word" (2 Tim 2:15). These concepts are by no means the only two concepts needed, but they are two that rarely get acknowledged and discussed.

      • Thank you Sherley.
        1.The rebuke in Nehemiah focuses on the nation of Israel as a chosen nation (the precious and special people) that was to emulate God in character so that they may be a light to the world. That is why in 1 Peter 1:15, there is a caution to be holy as God is holy. If the nation went against Gods will the punishment was harsh and severe. The Israel nation had been set apart.

        2. Paul's calling by God was to the Gentiles. To build the faith of the non believer needs patience and tolerance. That is Why Paul is saying, yes, you can marry a non believer and you keep on praying for him/her. Paul was trying to win them.

        The target in these two groups are is different.

  3. While God is love and his mercy is limitless is also is a God who requires strict obedience. He knows our heart, and He knows the beginning from the end. There are so many complications that God is saying us from when he said don't intermarry with unbelievers. Most of my friends after baptism chose wives outside of the faith beautiful women, but today most of them are separated and are now living outside of Christ. They are no longer devoted to Christ and fine it difficult to find their way back because the faith has been destroyed. And that is only one of the things that God wants to save us from. Another is the hurt that separation and devoice causes to both party and to their children if they have any. God care about the unbeliever as well, Hence Paul said if you are marry to an unbeliever don't put him/her away because your faithfulness might save them by causing them to come to know Christ and accept Him as their person friend and saviour. We must listen and obey God He knows what is best for us.

  4. Aren't we supposed to love the sinner but hate the sin? Too often we seem to consider someone as being "one with their sin." Loving a sinner doesn't condone their sin. We have only to look at how Jesus interacted with and LOVED sinners as an example of how we ought to treat others. After all, aren't we ALL sinners?

  5. I can speak from personal experience on this issue of being unequally yoked. I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist faith and married a man that grew up in the faith also. However he may have been SDA but he was not a Christian. We stayed married 16 years and had two children, but those for the most part were the worst years of my life. He constantly was unfaithful with other women almost all of our marriage. I kept staying trying to make it work because I loved him but it would get better for awhile then right back to the same old stuff and soon he developed a drug problem also. We divorced, and my children still have emotional problems to this day and they are now grown. Of the four of us I am the only one who is a firm SDA, but that was after years of being in both the world and the church at the same time. I figured after my divorce that since I had been a devote SDA during our marriage and prayed for the Lord to change him all those years to no avail and that being a good Christian wife had not done me any good, I would try some of the world too. Thank God He had mercy and grace on me and allowed me to return fully to Him before my life was taken from me. So to say complicated is a under statement, but to follow God's direction/command to not be unequally yoke is the best advice but be sure they are both SDA and Christian because unless you both have a personal relationship with God, it still will not work. Praying for our youth who are embarking on this situation in life.

  6. The greatest king of Israel is David.
    In the time of Solomon the kingdom was at peace with no war.
    Silver was not counted as a thing in the kingdom of Solomon.
    With all that prosperity of the kingdom, he should have been considered the greatest king;
    however his name is not even mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11.
    Sampson who died with the heathen is mentioned in the book of Hebrews chapter 11.
    1 Kings Chapter 11 God appeared twice to warn Solomon not to disobey God.
    The bible says, he disobeyed and did it deliberately.
    The love for Eve was much greater for Adam, he chose to disobey God and was willing to die with Eve.
    In his sinless state Adam deliberately choose to disobey God; how much more, sinful human being tainted by the love of flesh could
    escape the power of sin.
    Therefore, God in his great mercy warned against the intermarriage that would be destructive to the people.
    Esau's wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.
    Marrying a unbeliever brought the temptation home and the temptation never left the family.
    In the temptation in the wilderness, satan left Jesus for a season but those married to an unbeliever do not have that luxury.
    Moreover, they will have to content the rising of the children.
    Intermarriage always threatens the survival of the nation.


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