Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘marriage’

Sorrowful Homecoming

Israeli celebration

Israel 60 Years photo by FaceMePLS on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The book of Ezra chronicles the beginning of the return of the Jewish exiles from captivity in Babylon back to Israel and Judah. King Cyrus of Persia was moved by God to not just allow over 42,000 Jewish captives to return to their homeland, but to finance the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. He even returned much of the gold and silver articles that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple during the original conquest of Jerusalem.

As the Temple was being rebuilt, Ezra 3:11-13 describes the scene of younger people praising God and rejoicing while the older folks who remembered the previous Temple crying out loud in sorrow for what had been lost over the years. The noise was heard from far away, but the voices mingled into a loud roar indiscernible whether it was joyous or sorrowful.

The construction of the Temple was met with resistance from those who were enemies of Israel and they were successful in stopping the progress until several years later. The succession of Persian kings from Cyrus to Ahasuerus (Xerxes, who married Esther), Artaxerxes and then Darius (mentioned in Daniel) is discussed in chapters 4-7, with a gap of over 50 years between chapters 6 and 7. King Darius got the ball rolling again and the Temple was finally completed in the sixth year of Darius’ reign. (Ezra 6:15) In the chapters that follow,

Ezra the prophet leads the people back to Israel/Judah with hearts of repentance and humility before God.

Chapter 9 explains that when the genealogies were reviewed, it was found that many of the Jews had married Babylonians against God’s separation commandment in Deuteronomy 7:3-4:

“Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so that the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” (NKJV)

Despite the claims of some, this prohibition was never a call for racism (they were all Semites) and the reason is explained in verse 4. At the time, the Jews were the only people to whom God had personally revealed Himself. As it turned out, when the Jews intermarried with their pagan neighbors, they did indeed turn away from their faith in God. Ezra and the exiles understood very clearly the reason for the 70 year captivity and begged God’s forgiveness for them and their ancestors.

The events that followed in chapter 10 are indeed sorrowful. Many of the Jews who had married Babylonians sent their spouses and children away (presumably back to Persia) in an extreme act of devotion to God. I really have trouble reading this chapter, knowing how much God hates divorce. In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus laid it out that we need to love God above all else, including family, should it come down to that. This is the reason we taught our children to date only Christians; there is no call in the Bible for “Missionary Dating.” For those who are already married to non-believers, I Corinthians 7:12-16 persuades believers to remain in the marriage if the non-believing spouse is willing to stay in the marriage.

Proverbs 4:23 simplifies the whole matter by encouraging us:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV)

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

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Wasted Wisdom

Sheba & Solomon

Photo of woodcut illustration by kladcat on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

King Solomon’s marriages to 700 wives and his 300 concubines are used by those who would redefine marriage as one example of what they believe to be an inconsistent illustration of Biblical marriage, as opposed to the “Adam and Eve” marriage that God performed in the Garden of Eden. What these groups fail to understand is that God never condoned polygamy, even though it was a common practice in the ancient times and some of the other big names in the Bible like Abraham and King David had more than one wife. None of them were better for their harems.

What is more, despite the great wisdom that God bestowed upon Solomon, He also warned Solomon against the multiple marriages; that the women who did not share his Jewish faith would lead his heart away from God. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened; Solomon defied at least the first, second and seventh Commandments and over time, built altars in Israel to the gods of his wives. The consequences were devastating to the entire nation of Israel. I Kings 11:9-13 records God’s anger with Solomon’s foolish decisions and lays out the resulting judgment that would forever divide Israel. The only reason that even Judah was left under the rule of King David’s descendants was because of God’s promise to King David.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is the old man’s memoir of sorts, a record of his jaded perspective of the folly of his own life’s accomplishments. Sadly, there does not seem to be any indication that Solomon repented of his sins other than his acknowledgement of the best life to be lived and why:

“Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13b-14 NIV)

Whether you are raising children or leading a nation, your decisions and actions will have a ripple effect on all those within your realm of influence and beyond. We all have a choice to either learn from the wisdom of God and errors of others, or we can waste the lessons of history and repeat the same mistakes, only to witness the devastation that will surely come as a result of our poor decisions. The choice and the responsibility is yours today.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

The User Manual for Parenting

Manuals

Photo by lu_lu on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Have you ever read a user manual for any of your electronic gadgets? If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the parents of a troubled teen moan that their little bundle of joy did not come with an instruction manual, I would be retired and living in Hawaii. The fact of the matter is, there IS a user manual for parenting, marriage, life skills, and living a godly life, but so few people actually read this Book. OK, it is actually a collection of books, but in the Bible, there is a wealth of instructions, examples, warnings and commandments for everyone in every generation.

Parents especially need all the help they can get. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tells parents how often to teach their children right from wrong:

”These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)

The book of Proverbs gives great instructions for correcting children as well as the rewards of raising Godly children and the heartache of ignoring the Manual. One of the most famous verses in Proverbs 22:6 instructs parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJV)

What do you think your chances are of passing a class in school if you never read the textbook?  Life is no different. If you want to raise upstanding children, have a peaceful marriage, live a great life, you need to read the instruction manual, God’s Word, the Bible every day and then add what you learn to your lifestyle. Start with reading one chapter of Proverbs each day for the next 31 days. Learn wisdom from Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, (next to Jesus). Your life may never be the same!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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