Audio: Chapter 12 "Seeking God"
Chapter 12 “Seeking God”
I love those who love Me;
and those who diligently seek Me will find Me.
When a woman is seeking to restore her marriage, there are always many questions that come up in the course of her restoration. Let me say that throughout the two years of my restoration and during the many years that I have been ministering, I have found that no one but God knows the answers you need—no one including me, anyone in our fellowship, a counselor, your pastor, nor anyone else. God alone has your answers.
This book, our other resources, and this chapter will not give you all the answers because God wants and yearns for you to seek Him! As you read the different questions and the scriptural answers, you will see that there are so many variables in each situation. Things become extremely complicated the more sin we have allowed in our lives and the more we have strayed from God’s perfect plan for His children.
Getting back on track to achieve His perfect plan is impossible for you, but it is not impossible for God!
Throughout this chapter, many questions will arise in your mind; when they do, simply ask God to show you the answer. God will lead you and reveal the answer you need for every question you ask. Here is your promise:
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Ask of God
What if my husband is unfaithful and commits adultery, then am I allowed to divorce him?
No. As we just learned in chapter 11, “For I Hate Divorce,” God’s Word says that a husband could divorce for the reason of fornication only (which is intercourse prior to marriage) if the woman was defiled, no matter what your Bible translation may seem to say. The one exception refers to the time of betrothal only. Fornication and adultery are not the same sin. If they were, these sins would not be stated twice in the same Scripture verse: “. . . neither fornicators, idolaters, nor adulterers . . .” (1 Cor. 6:9).
Divorce her secretly. Divorce for the cause of fornication was allowed during the betrothal time, as in the case of Mary and Joseph. The terms “fiancé” and “engagement” were not used during this period of history. The term “husband” was used because Joseph had already committed to being Mary’s husband. “And Joseph, her husband . . . desired to divorce her secretly” (Matt. 1:19). This was prior to their marriage because divorce was allowed for the case of fornication only.
Betrothed. The previous verse explains that the “divorce” was to take place before the marriage! “. . . when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child . . .” (Matt. 1:18). The latest a divorce could take place was immediately after the wedding night, if the woman (not the man) was found not to be a virgin.
There are far too many churches and pastors who say that divorce is right in some situations, but God’s Word clearly says, “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). Therefore, we, as teachers of the Word, will not annul any of God’s commandments—in other words, we will not say that the verses about divorce are not valid.
How can you be sure that what this book says is right and what so many of the churches are saying is wrong? The Scriptures warn us to “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:15–23). Aren’t many of the marriages in your church crumbling and the families dissolving? These are the bad fruits.
I have found in talking to pastors about this issue of divorce and remarriage that many of them personally feel “deep down” a conviction about marriage but don’t want to “offend” anyone, especially all those “church members” who are in their second and third marriages. Sadly, one who did finally take a stand in his church was met with a church division from those who were in second and subsequent marriages. They did not appreciate their pastor taking this firm stand on divorce and remarriage! However, when faced with making a decision, we must remember, “Friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
A strong stand is not for the purpose of condemning those who are divorced or remarried, but instead, to prevent others from making the same mistake. In the same way, I would not want to make a woman uncomfortable because she had an abortion, yet I would not fail to share the consequences and God’s will for others who could make the same mistake.
Ears tickled. If a pastor or church takes a stand against divorce and remarriage, they are labeled legalistic or judgmental. Those who want to “do their own thing” will go to another church to hear what they want to hear (to have their ears tickled).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–4).
Since I’m already divorced or single again, couldn’t I remarry or at least date and then ask God to forgive me?
First of all, you are not really single. Only someone who has never been married (or a widow or widower) is single, as you will discover if you read the Scriptures honestly without trying to make them say what you want them to say. “So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man” (Rom. 7:3).
Secondly, you will reap what you have sown. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will reap also” (Gal. 6:7). You are willfully entering into sin. “Therefore to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
A terrifying thing. You’ll set yourself up for God’s vengeance. “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. How much more severe a punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God. Vengeance is mine, I will repay. The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:26–31).
God will not be mocked; you can never benefit from ignoring God’s Word nor by trading obedience for a “better marriage” (or relationship) with someone new; you will reap what you have sown. Yes, God can forgive you, but that will not erase the consequences that will be worse than what you feel you are living through right now.
During many years of ministry, the Lord has continually shown me information about those who have rejected our beliefs and the truth of God’s Word. Some of the most horrible, abominable, and heart-wrenching testimonies I have heard came from women who “knew the truth” and yet ignored it to do “as they pleased.”
Can anyone then ever remarry?
“A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39). For those women who are widowed, it is important to know that when the real “Mr. Right” comes along, he will also be widowed or will never have been married. Remember, Satan usually brings his best first, but the Lord makes you wait and then brings His best! “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way” (Ps. 37:34).
But what if I am already in a second (or third) marriage?
Begin by asking God for forgiveness, whether you were married before you were saved or not. You can’t be effective in your Christian walk if you can’t admit past sins. “He who covers his transgressions shall not prosper” (Prov. 28:13). “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–9).
Time to repent. “And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds” (Rev. 2:2). “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Next, seek God to see whether it is His desire to restore your marriage. It is very important that no matter which marriage you are seeking to restore (first, second, or subsequent) that you seek God. We have seen that hearing from God in your heart (that He truly wants to restore your marriage) will help you to “finish the course” and to “endure to the end,” not to mention starting you off in the right direction.
If you cannot discern God’s will for which marriage or which husband to restore (as is the case with many women), then God is telling you that, for right now, He wants you all to Himself. He wants you to feel His perfect love, which you can never earn—but you don’t have to because He gives it freely, even when you feel unworthy. He wants to heal you of all your past wounds. He wants you to be so full of Him that you don’t need any earthly husband. This is where all women need to be. When we are needy, we are vulnerable to hurt and often drive a husband away. Let God be your Husband and see what real love is! (See Isa. 54:4–6.)
Can my adultery of being in a second (or subsequent) marriage be forgiven?
Yes. In John 8:11 Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery if anyone had condemned her, “And she said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.’”
Some have read into the verse that to “go and sin no more” means that if she was in an adulterous marriage that she would need to divorce her husband in order to be made clean. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Ignoring or minimizing the power of Christ’s shed blood. When a person believes that God will not forgive a second or subsequent marriage but sees it only as ongoing adultery, that person is saying that Jesus’ blood is unable to cover the sin of adultery caused by divorce and remarriage.
This verse in 1 Corinthians 6:9 shows us the truth: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” Hallelujah! God can and does forgive adultery—any and all adultery! “And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more’” (John 8:11). Impossible, you say?
When Jesus spoke of it being “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” that is certainly impossible to do, His disciples questioned Him: “Then who can be saved?” “And looking upon them Jesus said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matt. 19:24–26).
But I was told that since my husband was married before (or I was married before) that I am in “continual” adultery.
If we must go beyond His shed blood and His forgiveness by “needing” to “make it right” by no longer being in a second marriage (which, by the way, would constitute a divorce that God says He hates), then a person who stole something would need to “make it right” by returning what he had stolen. That would be fine if the person still had what he took, and if he no longer had the goods or money he certainly could work to pay it back. However, if someone murdered and needed to “make it right,” how could he? The person he murdered is dead. Therefore the “solution” of “making it right” does not work since it is not applicable to all sins.
In addition, it adds “works” to the equation of forgiveness when Titus 3:5 clearly states that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
There are marriage ministries who believe that only those in first marriages are blessed and sanctioned by God (since they themselves were in first marriages). However, they neglect the power of His saving blood that covers all sin. The truth is found in God’s loving-kindness; He is a God of hope for all who will come to Him, no matter how messed up their lives may be.
In addition, God has confirmed His will through the many restored marriages of those who were in second or subsequent marriages. God is not a respecter of persons: He does forgive, and His blood does cover all sins without our having to add works to the equation.
We are no longer under the law, but we live by grace. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) . . . For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God . . .” (Eph. 2:4–5, 8).
A gift is not something you can or should earn; it is freely and lovingly given! Trying to live under the law was a curse, but “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Gal. 3:13). Hallelujah!
Most who want to believe that an adulterous marriage is the “unpardonable sin” are the same individuals who are looking at the speck in someone else’s eye but have failed to notice the plank in their own eye. If you are judging someone in this fashion, just remember it will be how God will judge you. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:2).
Then is remarriage okay if it’s under the right circumstances?
When anyone sees God’s forgiveness displayed to those who were forgiven of adultery in a second or subsequent marriage, it is very tempting to seek to remarry rather than seeking restoration, especially when it is so very painful.
If you continue to seek what you desire rather than God’s will for your life, you will never experience the abundant life that He has waiting for you.
Should I restore this marriage or go back to my first husband?
His will. After you confess your sin of getting ahead of God by remarrying or marrying someone who was already married, you must lay your will aside and ask your heavenly Father for His will concerning your present marriage. Does the Lord want you to continue to seek restoration for this marriage that is falling apart? Many women have faced this difficult task, but God is always faithful and will guide you if you seek Him. Pray for God’s direction. “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
An adulterous foundation. Is your present marriage the result of an adulterous relationship? Were you or was your husband married to someone else? Is that former spouse presently unmarried? If you answered “yes” to all three of these questions, it is possible that the Lord may want to restore your previous marriage.
Again, it is in seeking the Lord for His will that will bring you the peace that passes all understanding. Surrendering yourself totally to Him, repenting of your sins and being forgiven, being willing to forgive, and then putting your trust in the God who has a wonderful future, a hope, and an abundant life waiting for those whose hearts are completely His—this is what He is asking you to do.
Don’t allow the enemy to put you under condemnation. You will know it is the enemy if you feel “hopelessness” in your spirit. God doesn’t condemn, but instead, convicts us and “gently” equips us to fulfill His desire with the help of His Holy Spirit and by His wonderful grace.
What if my husband has remarried?
When women who were divorced began experiencing their husbands’ marrying the OW, I “thought” I knew the answer based on the plan I had when my husband told me that he was going to marry the OW. God reminded me in Isaiah 55:8–9: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
I had made up my mind (back when my husband was gone) that if he married the other woman, then I believed that God was telling me to devote myself to Him, to my children, and to ministering to younger women—that I was no longer to seek restoration. The first part was true: I was to devote myself the Lord, to my children, and to ministering to women, but the second part to “no longer seek restoration” would have caused me to fall short of His perfect plan.
God is good all the time! It is His desire to give hope to everyone who seeks Him!! God has faithfully revealed His plan for the women whose husbands have remarried through two testimonies of restored marriages that He brought to me when I had been pleading with Him to help me to minister more effectively to this group of women in our fellowship. In the first testimony, God gave a woman (whose husband had remarried) the faith to believe and endure to the end, and she received her husband and family back!
This woman continued to pray and believe even after her husband remarried the OW but soon felt that she may have been crazy to continue to believe since no one agreed with her (which is exactly the way I felt about halfway through my restoration). At her lowest point, she cried out to God, who brought her to Ezra 9 and 10. It was there that she found the hope to continue to believe and endure the final trial when the Lord led her to give her former husband her home and two daughters. Only two weeks later, her husband “broke.” He gave His life to the Lord, divorced his wife, and remarried this believing wife. In addition, he became a minister of God’s Word even though he had been a professional criminal!
At first I was skeptical, but as I began to study the Scriptures in Ezra (that God gave the woman whose husband had remarried), I gained the faith and the scriptural truths to believe that if God restored her marriage, this was available to every woman whose husband had remarried! Here is what I found:
Ezra 10:10–11 says, “Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, ‘You have been unfaithful and have married foreign wives adding to the guilt of Israel. Now, therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”
Then in Ezra 10:14 we read “Let our leaders represent the whole assembly and let all those in our cities who have married foreign wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of each city, until the fierce anger of our God on account of this matter is turned away from us.”
I searched Ezra and looked up the term “foreign” or “strange” wives, which the men were to “put away” or “separate” from in the original translation of Greek. What I saw was that the words “foreign” and “strange” in the King James Version translated to “adulterous.” When I looked up the words “separate” and “put away” from the KJV, they translated to “asunder.” This means that God is saying that if a man is married in an adulterous marriage, and God leads him to, that God tells him to put asunder (or separate) from that marriage. “That means that if a man is married in an adulterous marriage, by God’s leading he may in fact be told to put asunder (or separate from) that marriage.” Chapter 10 of Ezra concludes with this verse: “All these had married foreign wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children” (Ezra 10:44). If this verse concerns you, remember that when Sarah told Abraham to send Hagar and Abraham’s son away, God told him to listen to her! “But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her . . .’” (Gen. 21:12).
God was the one who cared for Hagar and her son Ishmael after Abraham sent her away. “So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba” (Gen. 21:14). Later, when they were about to perish, God said to Hagar, “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him” (Gen. 21:18).
After I got the first testimony and studied the verses of Ezra and Genesis with the testimony of Abraham, I again diligently sought God in prayer to make sure that what I believed was correct. A week or two later, God faithfully confirmed His leading when a man submitted to us the testimony of his marriage that was restored after he had been remarried and was led to divorce or “put away” his wife from an adulterous marriage. He came to a place of brokenness when he found himself in prison due to the OW he had married. (You can read both of these testimonies in By the Word of Their Testimony.)
Once again, this shows us that no matter what your situation—married, separated, divorced, husband remarried, first, second, or third marriage—you must seek the Lord about restoration and allow Him to lead you! If your husband has remarried, you have hope! Based on divorce statistics alone, there is only a 15% chance that his marriage will survive. When you add your prayers and faith to that equation, you can easily “hope against hope” and believe! (See Rom. 4:18.)
While you continue to seek the face of God and follow His principles for restoration, God will be busy allowing your husband’s marriage to end in divorce.
Grace, Grace, and More Grace
In closing the second chapter dealing with divorce and the issues of remarriage, it may seem that this chapter contradicts the previous chapter “I Hate Divorce”—but this is not the case any more than the Old Testament contradicts the New Testament. The Old Testament is the Law that God’s people were unable to keep; then, in the New Testament, Jesus enters, His shed blood covers all sin, and grace abounds!
Why teach this way and not stay with “the letter of the Law”? “[It is He] who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive” (2 Cor. 3:6 AMP).
This chapter reminds us of God’s abundant grace! He is a God of second, third, and many chances! Jesus told us to forgive seventy times seven—how much more is God willing to forgive us and all who sin and come short of the glory of God?
The secret to understanding these chapters is in seeking Him. I do not have all the answers, nor does anyone else, except God! Even Jesus, when the Sadducees asked which husband got the wife who had been passed down through seven brothers (as was their custom when a man died leaving a widow and no children), He did not give them a direct answer but instead corrected them in regard to their understanding of the Scriptures and the power of God! (See Matt. 22:23–33.)
That means that it is up to you to seek God for your restoration for any and all questions that you have and the power of God! Don’t let anyone rob you of an intimate relationship with the Lord or of hearing directly from Him. God has allowed this trial in your life to draw you closer to Him so that you can experience joy in the midst of this trial and every future trial you will experience in your life!
Let us make a commitment to
SEEK THE LORD
and encourage all others to do the same!
Personal commitment: to seek the Lord as to whether I am to restore my present (or previous) marriage now or in the future. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to ask God whether or not I am to restore this marriage. I will lay aside my will, wanting only His will, since He is my Lord. I promise to wait for Him to lead me, and in the meantime I will seek a greater intimacy with Him. In addition, I will never judge anyone who is in a second or subsequent marriage but instead acknowledge that the blood of Jesus is able to cover the sin of all adultery.”
Testimony: Restored After Husband Remarried
A woman from California wrote to me about restoring her marriage. Things were progressing very nicely and both she and I were hopeful that her marriage would soon be restored. However, one day she heard through a friend that her husband had married the other woman. Despondent, she wrote to me, “What now?”
I shared with her much of what you have just read in this chapter on remarriage. She wrote back and thanked me. She said that once she became content with God’s will for her life and gave up her will in exchange for His, she was at peace.
Within the year, she wrote back that her former husband recently contacted her. He said that he realized that he had made the biggest mistake of his life! He had already separated from the new wife and was filing for divorce. He wanted to know if she would consider dating him again or if she would only consider it after he was legally divorced. He told her that it was his intent to marry her again if she would have him!
I have shared the principle of completely letting go of a husband who has remarried with a strong and bold statement to several other women. All of them rejected this counsel, except this one woman who now has a restored marriage! When your husband has taken the step of remarrying the OW, you must do more to let go and let God do a work.
Once left alone, her former husband was able to feel the full impact of his wrong decision to marry the other woman. He had not seen or heard from his former wife during this time but had to track her down to find her (they had no children). I say this to those who are afraid to let go for fear that God is unable to bring a person back.
When a husband is still in the home, a marriage is more easily restored than one in which they are separated. A separated married couple is more easily restored than one who has gone through a divorce. The same is true for a marriage that has not only gone through divorce but where the husband has remarried. It takes more faith, prayer, intimacy with the Lord, more letting go, and greater tests.
With God nothing is impossible, but apart from Him we can do nothing.
Prayerfully consider becoming a member of our Restoration Fellowship to help you see your marriage through to restoration. You can find out about the many benefits of becoming a member on our website: www.RMIEW.com
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