Scripture: (Gen 31:50 NKJV)  “If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us; see, God is witness between you and me!”

Observation: After working for Laban for twenty years, Jacob leaves with his wives and children to go back home.  Laban catches up with him and chastises Jacob for leaving without announcing his departure or giving him a chance to say his farewells to his daughters and grandchildren.  His biggest issue, though, seems to be the fact that his household idols disappeared – Rachel had taken them.  After looking for them and not finding his idols, Laban and Jacob establish a series of covenants and build a stone pillar, or memorial, to remind them, and anyone who would ask, about their covenant.  We know the words of the Mizpah established here: “”May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from another” (vs.49).  It is the second part of their covenant that we don’t seem to pay much attention to as Laban told Jacob two things: 1. Not to mistreat or abuse his daughters, and 2. Not to take any other wives.  And this covenant was to be made not just between them, but it was a covenant before God.

Application: It would be well for spouses to remember and abide by the words of this covenant:
1. There should never be abuse in the marital relationship, in the home, or in the family.  There is no excuse or reason for abuse of any type, and therefore it should never happen in a Christian home.
2. Neglect in any area of our lives – whether it be physical by withholding food, clothing, shelter, affection, intimacy, etc., is seen as a violation of the marital covenant to care for one another.
3. Once the marriage takes place, there should not be any other person – man or woman – to enter into that relationship as it will disrupt it, damage it, and destroy it.
4. Our covenants – particularly marriage – is not just with one another but between us and God.  Therefore adultery and divorce are taken very seriously by God because they are a violation of a covenant we made with Him.  Many take divorce very lightly and excuse themselves behind things like irreconcilable difference; We can rationalize as much as we want to, but God does not accept or condone divorce for no reason.  Through the prophet Malachi God declared, “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. . . “So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith” (Mal 2:16 NIV).
     It is interesting that Laban put these two conditions in his covenant with Jacob as some argue that Abuse, Neglect, and Adultery are the only three reasons given in the Bible for divorce that is acceptable to God. (See Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible by David Instone-Brewer).

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank you for the covenant we established with our spouse and with You because it keeps us close together in the bond of matrimony You established.  Together, we are a strand of three which can never be broken as long as You are at the center of our lives.  Keep that bond and that covenant strong and alive in our daily living, in our home, in our family, and in our marriage, and may You watch between our spouse and us when we are together and specially when we’re absent from one another.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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