I confess that I’ve procrastinated in writing this post. Paul addresses marriage, singleness and divorce in this chapter, and frankly, I don’t want to write about those topics. Especially since Paul’s teaching isn’t crystal clear, and there is a myriad of views of exactly what Paul means – especially concerning divorce. He is also misunderstood regarding his dealings with marriage and singleness, and I don’t even want to go near the section about servitude in the middle of the chapter!
Now I’m exaggerating a bit. But there is quite a theological stir created by Paul’s teachings in this chapter.
I’ll say this… Divorce is painful – both before and after. I understand why God hates it so much. It’s a ripping of flesh, a tearing apart, and it hurts. But sometimes I think the church can judge too harshly when someone has been through this painful experience. The church should be there to offer God’s truths in a supportive and comforting way – not to condemn.
And regarding Paul’s comments on marriage and singleness. Some can misinterpret him and conclude that marriage is bad. ABSOLUTELY NOT! Marriage reflects the unity and diversity of the trinity itself! It was ordained by God in the very beginning as the foundation for all of civilization. Marriage is one of God’s primary tools for sanctification in the believer! Some are better equipped to spread the gospel because of their spouse’s support and influence. But others are not, and Paul falls into the single camp. God uses both singleness and marriage to purify His people and glorify His name. They are both good.
Now what about Isaiah? :)
Today’s reading in Isaiah is the beginning of a 15-chapter section that addresses the future exiles in Babylon. It is a period in Israel’s history where God’s wrath has (partially) been satisfied and God is working to rebuild and restore his people.There are many familiar verses in these chapters of Isaiah, for they speak of God’s comfort and grace.
It is easy to translate these chapters to the church, today – because we, too, live in a time where God’s wrath has been satisfied and He is working to build and strengthen his people. We can look to these chapters for comfort and strength as we, citizens of God’s spiritual Kingdom, live as exiles on this earth.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1).