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February 23 Today’s Reading — Numbers 36-Deuteronomy 1
Marry in the Tribe
2 Corinthians 6:14-17
God’s commandment concerning the marriage of the daughters of Zelophehad, requiring them to marry within the tribe of their father, thereby preserving “their inheritance in the tribe” (Numbers 36), was obviously given in the prospect of gospel mercies. Our Lord Jesus is the head of the tribe of his people. With him and his people, our alliances must be made. Let each child of God marry whom he or she will, but only in the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39). — “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”
How graciously our dear Savior watches over his people in all their affairs! How dear we must be to him who has numbered the very hairs of our heads and tenderly watches over us for good, to guide us in all our ways, and to keep us from harming ourselves, or being injured by others! It was for the good of those five sisters, each individually and all five collectively, good for all Israel, and best for the glory of God that they be required by law to marry only in the tribe of their father. So it is with all that God our Savior requires of us in his Word. Let us seek grace to follow its precepts as well as its doctrine in all things, carefully governing our lives by God’s Holy Word.
Let all the sons and daughters of Israel to be united only to their own tribe. In every near and tender relationship of life we will be wise to choose for friends and companions only those who worship and serve our God.
There is a self-righteous separation, which we should avoid. Our Lord never taught his disciples to isolate themselves from sinful men. We cannot preach the gospel to people to whom we will not speak. Nor did our Lord teach his disciples to refrain from the enjoyment of entertainment, amusement or recreation, so long as we do not overly indulge in them. Many denounce all sports, music, recreation, television, and movies as sinful and evil things; but those things are not necessarily evil. Neither did our Lord forbid his disciples the use of anything he had created. — “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink.” Use all things. But abuse none.
Yet, the Bible does require separation in the people of God. Believers and unbelievers really have nothing in common. Light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness, Christ and Satan have no agreement. Children of God, seek your companions among God’s children. — “How can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Those who love Christ, love the gospel, seek God’s will, and seek God’s glory strengthen one another’s hands. Nothing can be more detrimental to a believer’s life on this earth than to be married to an unbeliever. Your desires, motives, ambitions, and principles will be exact opposites. An unbelieving husband or wife would be like a millstone around your neck. I urge you for Christ’s sake, for the gospel’s sake, and for the sake of your own happiness to avoid such an intolerable burden. If Christ cements the union between souls, blessed is that union, for they that are in the Lord, being joined to the Lord, are one spirit.
As God’s children, we are to live by a principle of separation. The principle by which the people of this world live is self-interest. They are seeking wealth, security, fame, property, and power. The children of God live by another principle — The glory of Christ. Live in this world for Christ’s glory. Make the glory of Christ paramount in all your decisions: — Who will I marry? Where will I live? Where will I work? If we will seek Christ’s glory in our everyday lives we will not go far astray.