The Apostle Paul demonstrates what it is to give the Lord “undivided devotion” [1 Cor.7 v.35]. We have to acknowledge however that his case was exceptional, although there were others who remained single, e.g. Barnabas, as we will read tomorrow in ch. 9 v.5,6. We note that Peter, the leading Apostle, had a wife (Matt 8 v.140 ). Jeremiah, whose long journey as a prophet in serving the LORD we have nearly finished reading, is never mentioned as having a wife.
Paul is sometimes misquoted as though he counsels believers not to marry; however, it is clear that Corinth is experiencing considerable chaos and Paul writes, after first admitting, “I have no command from the Lord,” that, “I think in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is…. Do not seek a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned …” [v.25-28] The vital thing is to become “firmly established in … heart” [v.37] and the daily feeding of our mind on godly thoughts and advice is a vital ingredient in achieving that.
An example of the opposite, of an unstable character with an unbelieving wife, is seen in the behaviour of Ahab in today’s chapter in 1 Kings 21. Yet even he, after his evil wife Jezebel had orchestrated the death of Naboth, apparently without him being aware, an act that enabled him to gain Naboth’s vineyard; when he is confronted by and denounced by Elijah, “humbled himself before” God [v.29]. As a result God says, “I will not bring the disaster in his days: but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster …” However, as we will read tomorrow, it is soon God’s will that he shall die because he listens to false prophets rather than a prophet of the LORD and, despite disguising himself, is killed in battle.
As life’s battles increase in these days, and, the world’s fears increase, let us try even harder to give to our Lord “undivided devotion” – and, if we have a wife or a husband and can do this together, then let us see, if we haven’t already seen, how much we can still accomplish in the service of our Lord and Saviour.
1 Kings 21:4
“And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased (lit = angry) because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him…”
Naboth had just spoken Godly principles to Ahab, we have to be careful we do not have the same attitude as Ahab, and become agitated to our brethren who may speak Godly principles which we do not like, or infringe on how we want to live our lives.
Ahab sadly, had none to advise him, but instead he listened to Jezebel who offered him what he wanted, at the expense of Gods word and principles.
We have similar but also a great contrast in the example of Naaman (2 Ki 5:11-13), when told to wash in the river Jordan by Elisha’s servant. He was “wroth”, and “went away in a rage”, yet thankfully for Naaman he had those around him who gave wise counsel, and he had the humility to listen and act. Who made him think about what his response was, and how he should listen to and consider the words spoken. These words of counsel and his humility towards them, meant the difference of being made clean.
Pray we have and develop friendships with those of wise spiritual counsel, we never know when we may need them. And let us carefully listen to Godly principles expounded by our brethren, even when they seem hard and tough for us. And be ready to humble ourselves to accept them into our lives for good.
Importance of wise counsel – Proverbs 11:14, 13:10, 19:20, 27:9