Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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The baby in the family! Now the baby in our family happens to be a boy. Today he is far from that baby, in fact he's a father himself. But we have this one photo that we all associate with his childhood which we love to bring up to him over and over again. It's our favorite; it's his un-favorite. He's about two years old. He's in our back yard, and he's standing next to our camping tent that has collapsed on the ground. In one hand he's holding a tent pole about twice his size. And he's holding his other hand against the side of the tent, looking totally bewildered. He's got this pitiful expression that says, "What have I done?" He was only playing with the pole and the whole thing came crashing down. And I hope he's listening today.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Tampering with the Pole that Holds You Up."

Well our word for today from the Word of God comes from Malachi 2, beginning at verse 13. It says, "You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because He no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. And you ask, ‘Why?'" Okay see, these people are at the altar. They're dedicating their lives. They're re-dedicating their lives. They're wondering why God isn't responding to them.

He says, "It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself and your spirits, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ‘I hate divorce,' says the Lord God."

Well the Lord is saying here that it's the lifetime commitment between a man and woman that is the pole that holds up the whole tent. You remove that pole and it breaks down the relationship with God. It risks the spiritual welfare of a vulnerable child. See, God takes divorce, obviously, very seriously. Society used to, but of course that changed. The church used to but that's pretty much changing. And within the church at large, it seems the acceptable reasons for divorce have gotten broader and broader. And the more acceptable it becomes, the more likely it becomes that more people will choose that option.

The problem is that when you're left with the pole of lifetime marriage, the whole tent comes down. Keeping those vows is what supports the raising of children who love Jesus. They want to know that the love they came from is still going strong. I remember when that same little child, the baby I described to you, would get between my wife and me, come between us suddenly when we were hugging each other, and he'd look up at us and go, "mommy, daddy, can I be in the middle of your love?" that's where our kids are supposed to grow up, in the middle of our love. When they don't see the love they came from still going strong they get lost sometimes. See those marriage vows also support the church, they support our culture.

Married or not, let's take divorce as seriously as God does and not find ourselves encouraging a decision that goes against what God has said. If you are married, make it your choice there is no back door on this marriage. Divorce is not one of our choices. You will not allow an ounce of your energy to go into a possible exit scenario. Not an option.

Maybe you need a new start. But in this marriage, not in another marriage. If you are divorced, yeah, know that God hates divorce but He doesn't hate divorced people. And God is the God of new beginnings. He said "if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation...A new life has begun." Use your experience to help people heal their marriages and not to end them.

A bewildered two-year-old boy in our back yard didn't know what he was tampering with when he removed that tent pole. Well, don't ever get into a position where you're standing there with a collapsed marriage at your feet saying, "What have I done?"

God has made it clear that lifetime marriage holds up a lot of things that matter. So your marriage vows and your marriage...they're really worth fighting for.