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Excerpt for Divorce Is Not Adultery by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

DIVORCE

IS NOT ADULTERY



DIVORCE

IS NOT ADULTERY



THULANI EMMANUEL MDLADLA



Copyright © 2018 Thulani Emmanuel Mdladla


Published by Thulani Emmanuel Mdladla Publishing at Smashwords


First edition 2018


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without permission from the copyright holder.


The Author has made every effort to trace and acknowledge sources/resources/individuals. In the event that any images/information have been incorrectly attributed or credited, the Author will be pleased to rectify these omissions at the earliest opportunity.


Published by the Author using Reach Publishers’ services,

P O Box 1384, Wandsbeck, South Africa, 3631


Edited by Sheena Carnie for Reach Publishers

Cover designed by Reach Publishers

Website: www.reachpublishers.co.za

E-mail: reach@webstorm.co.za



To my wife, Elizabeth Busisiwe, the best thing I discovered in Africa, and my two daughters, Pistis and Emmanuel Jr.

Table of Contents



Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Fatherhood

2. God the Husband

3. Don’t Trust a Man

4. The Religion of Failures

5. Friendship and Dating

6. Exemplary Wives

7. Marriage and Ketubah

8. Women and Their Rights

9. Sex and the Sabbath

10. Women With Two Husbands

11. Men and Women Are Equal

12. Polygamy

13. Divorce

14. Holy People and Unholy History

15. Jesus was Not a Greek Prophet

16. Gentilising Jesus’ Movement

17. Prostitution

18. Sources

Index



Acknowledgments



There has never been a time in which the need for self-expression was so greatly emphasised as it is now. Ironically, there has also never a time in which self-expression was so rarely achieved as it is now, a time in which there’s so much pressure on people to conform to the current conventions.

This book is the result of my own experiences through the passage of youth to adulthood, and the transition to being married, divorced and remarried.

I would like to thank my beautiful wife, Busisiwe Elizabeth, for giving me the opportunity to write this book which involved me sharing my life experiences, including discussing our own healthy courtship and relationship. Secondly, I want to thank my beloved daughters, Pistis and Emmanuel Jr, for their support even when the many hours I spent writing, studying and researching kept me from them. Lastly, I want to thank Reverend Dudley Thompson for being a good counsellor when I was in my Jericho after a deeply painful divorce, and the Reverend Dr Scott Couper, the author of Albert Luthuli Bound by Faith, as he encouraged me to write, since I’m one of those who love to read but hate to write. I also write this book as a challenge to Christians.

God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not condemned (John 3:17).

Introduction



I’m not trying to use this book to justify divorce; I do not believe that God is double-minded and I am sure that nobody loves divorce. However, through my own journey I have learnt that God is above all religious groupings and above all philosophy and theology. God is above divorce, polygamy, homosexuality, and all the gender variations and any other status. In other words, your sexual orientation doesn’t make you less human or an animal today and even after resurrection. It is unfortunate that our churches have become like the high courts of the land where sinners are judging sinners. When it comes to homosexuality, who is “gay or straight”, Jesus said that after resurrection we will be like angels – there will be no men or women, (Mat 22:30). Sadly, I believe that there are many sinners and failures who are not divorced who are causing damage to their children and wives on a daily basis. I have learnt that you must try to be as much of a blessing to your family as you can. Since everything begins with seed, you need God before you get married, not only when you encounter problems, because He is an initiator and visionary of the marriage. God is not a wedding planner, but a marriage planner; ask Him to arrange your marriage before you say “I do”. Marriage was not man’s idea, it was God’s idea right from the beginning. You cannot sustain your marriage in your own strength, but only by the grace of God. Tomorrow morning your spouse might wake up and say he/she is leaving you, and what will you do? How can you stop him/her? You don’t have complete control over your marriage. Adam’s wife had a conversation with the serpent and she did not talk to her husband before she ate from the Tree of Knowledge. The woman blamed the serpent, saying he beguiled her and that’s why she ate the fruit. The question is, why didn’t she discuss the matter with her husband first? In today’s situation it might be because of her position at work – maybe she’s a CEO or director of a company, and she thinks, “I don’t have to discuss everything with my husband because I hold a high position and I’m the boss. Who is he?”

In the Hebrew language, when you write the words “man and woman” they contain part of the name of God in between; if you remove the name of God you will be left with “fire and fire” – pure destruction. Your marriage is like your life; you do not live just because you smart, but by the grace of God – like King David said, because God is good and his grace endures forever. (Psalm 136:1) You cannot boast about your strong marriage, as what you need to understand, is that you need God’s grace today, tomorrow and forever. If you are Christian, my advice is this – change your house into a church or a small temple and bring the Ark of the Lord into your house. Biblically, the temple is The House or the house of the Lord (Acts 7: 47, 49). According to my African culture, the house is the house of somebody, for example “the House of….” When 12-year-old Jesus got lost and was finally found in the temple, He said to Mary, His mother, “Don’t you know I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) Where there is a presence of God, the blessings of God can also be found. If you are a friend of God’s (as Christians are called to be) He will direct you to a suitable man or woman to marry, then your home will be a temple, a house of prayer and where the Holy Scripture speaks. You will be a priest, the light in your home will be a burning bush, your dining table will be your family altar and your bedroom will be your holy place, not a court room. Trust me, your sex will be good and blessed too. Scripture says you must reserve this pleasure for you and her alone and not share it with another. Your sex life will be blessed as you take joy and pleasure in the wife of your youth. Let her breasts be your satisfaction, and let her embrace intoxicate you at all times. Delight always in her love! Amen.

Many Christians are holy when they’re at church, but their marriages and their homes are not holy. Make sure your home is not a boxing ring or a court of law. In 2 Samuel 6:11 we read that the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household. When King David was told that the Lord had blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he had, because of the ark of God, David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with rejoicing.

I wish there were a special remedy to prevent divorce, but divorce is not an illness, it is a risk of marriage, a risk taken by everyone who decides to marry. It’s a bit like buying a car – you’ll probably still buy a car even if your father died in a car accident; it’s a risk you’re prepared to take. Some are not in a relationship but are burning in hell. According to Deuteronomy even a slave-wife had the right to divorce her master-husband; not a direct divorce, but technically, with grounds for her right to: clothing, food and sexual needs. Do you believe that a slave-wife has more rights than a free wife? Women had a right to divorce in neighbouring countries like Egypt and Babylon – the scriptures tells us this. In Deuteronomy 21: 10-14; Exodus 21:7-11; Judges 19 – I think they were using the opportunity as a technical divorce. In short, she has a right to go back to her father’s house or where ever, if you don’t fulfil her sexual needs. So one could say by going back to her father’s house, it’s a divorce. Sometimes divorce is like owning/taking responsibility for the stupid decisions you made the day before.

I wrote this book as a divorcee, and I’ve often asked myself, “Why me?” After helping others in my roles as a pastor and marriage officer, I was expected to have the formula to prevent my divorce. If you are a pastor, people sometimes assume that you are an angel or ironman – invincible. However, the fact is that we are just human; that is why some pastors are corrupt. Pastors and politicians were friends in corruption from way back around 150 BC. The Tobiads purchased the office of high priests by offering to pay a higher tribute (2 Maccabees 4:7-10). Jason was deposed after three years when a fellow Tobiads ally, Menelaus, outbid him for the office of high priest by tree hundred talents of silver (2 Maccabees 4:24). Even in the new South Africa after the advent of democracy, many pastors are puppets for politicians, and not just because we don’t have any role models – our Zechariah or righteous priest is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. We must understand that pastors (like me) are just people like you and sinners like you, but who have been saved by grace. Some are not even saved, they are just here to make money. We must also remember that corrupt religious leaders sent Jesus to Pontius Pilate. Jesus’s teaching went against some of the temple practices, so corrupt religious leaders were losing business. Also remember what He said to the Samaritan woman about the temple. (John 4:21) Essentially Jesus said to people, “You don’t need to go to the Temple for forgiveness of your sins, I can forgive you and your sins anywhere, anytime.” Jesus died for failures, with failures and he rose-up with failures.

After a deeply painful experience, today I’m one of those who are happy and blessed in their marriages. I don’t care what man says, I don’t even care what Christians say, I only care what God says. My day starts when I go home, not when I’m leaving home. It is good to go home with praise and worship in your heart, as if you’re entering the house of God. Our houses represent gods – the question is, which one? That is why I still believe in arranged marriages – your Father in heaven can arrange it for you; He is a marriage planner and an initiator. I believe that Abraham prayed for the woman who would be God’s choice as Isaac’s wife to appear, even though Eliezer had mixed feelings about his mission to find a wife for Isaac. (Genesis 24) Don’t ask me the formula for choosing the right wife because I don’t have one. Sometimes your divorce decree is the reward for man’s stupid decisions as the initiator of his own marriage. If you are a pastor remember that, your Church is not your wife.

The New Testament commentary on divorce comes from three gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the first letter of Paul to Corinthians. Jesus taught on the subject of divorce in three of the Gospels. “Let not the wife depart from her husband...let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:10-11). Paul’s position on divorce in a letter of Romans was, “For the woman which have an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he live” (Romans 7:2-3). So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. In Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:1-10 and Mark 10:1-5, Jesus came into debate with the Pharisees over divorce concerning their well-known controversy between well-known scholars and sages, Hillel and Shammai about Deuteronomy 24:1.

(Gittin 9: 10) The School of Shammai says: A man may not divorce his wife unless he has found unchastity in her, for it is written, because he has found in her indecency in anything. And the School of Hillel says: He may divorce her even if she spoiled a dish for him, for it is written, because he has found in her indecency in anything. Akiba says: Even if he found another fairer than she, for it is written, and it shall be if she finds no favour in his eyes. They are all interpreting the same scripture, Deuteronomy 24. Divorce is a human right from the book Genesis (Genesis 21:10). Sarah said: ‘Divorce that woman’. God said to Abraham, ‘Listen to what Sarah tells you’. It seems as if Sarah knew Abraham’s right, power and authority to divorce his wife according to the tradition of the Patriarch. She knew the power of the father over his family, wife, children and slaves and the father as a lawgiver and a redeemer. Woman came from God as the father to Adam and as the husband. Marriage is a good example of the process of a father handing over his daughter to her husband. Before marriage a woman is bound by the law to her father, but after a marriage she is bound by the law to her husband. Christians must consider the fact that it is not God’s original plan that we must die, but we die. It is not God’s original plan that we must divorce, but we divorce. All those things are not new before God; He knew them before He created Adam and Eve. Jesus said: “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (Rev. 22:15). Divorced people are not outside the gates. Paul tells us that “There is no condemnation for those who are in Messiah” because they have the right to the tree of life.

This book can be an eye opener, if you believe in learning, like me “the more you learn, you gain more wisdom.”

Chapter One
Fatherhood



Abba, Father is the leader, the strength of the family, the first citizen (Alef) or strong shepherd. The father is the one who holds a stick or the shepherd’s staff. In Hebrew the father is described as the leader and the instructor or teacher of the family (Lamed). Josh 24:15 says that if you are a real father your family will follow your voice, but only if you lead them toward God. The first commandment “Honour your father and mother” – this commandment is the commandment with the promise of the future (the Land), and the parents’ responsibility is to instruct their children in the instruction of the Lord. Paul talked about presenting the church members to Messiah as a pure virgin (2 Cor. 11:2). Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command… if anyone loves me, he will keep my word or my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Joh.14:15, 23). “The fathers is the strength or leader of the house or the family, but I do as the Father has commanded me, father is the master of the house and the lord of the house” (Jud 19:23). Paul also said, “We must bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). In John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

The book of Genesis is known as the book of the beginnings and is also the book of the fathers. God the father and the father of the world, Adam, the first man that was ever formed. The book of Genesis details the works of the fathers, their spouses and their children. In the book of Genesis we see fathers leading their families. Adam, as the father, teaches his children to worship God, and we see Cain and Abel making offerings to God.

According to the book of Genesis, Noah was a righteous man and he walked with God. No one else in the bible is called a righteous man by God (Genesis 7:1). The Bible doesn’t tell us that Abraham or Moses was called a righteous man by God. Our father Noah did everything just as God had commanded him; Noah walked with God, he was a family man and he saved his family. According to Genesis our father Abraham was a friend of God’s and a responsible father. Abraham redeemed his nephew, Lot; he defended Lot in Sodom or acted on behalf of the accused as his attorney or a redeemer. In Genesis 18:2 we read that the Lord appeared to Abraham. “He looked up, and saw three men standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the opening of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. ‘Sirs,’ he said, ‘if I have deserved your favour, do not pass by my humble self without a visit.’

• Father Adam (King)

• Father Noah (Head of the Family)

• Father Abraham (Priest)

• Father Moses (Politician, Leader and a Prophet)

• Father David (The Father of the Nation Politically and a king with Priesthood like king Jesus)

Those great fathers were family leaders, but in Exodus we see a different leadership. In the book of Exodus we see God raising a politician to lead the community of more than 6 000 people from green pastures to the desert, even though it did not make sense to Pharaoh. God raised Moses, a politician, prophet and priest. What is amazing about Moses is that we see the huge contribution made by the women in his life – there is Yocheved, Moses’ mother; Miriam, Moses’ sister; Shifrah and Puah, the two midwives; Zipporah, Moses’ Midianite wife; and Pharaoh’s daughter. Just like Jesus, Mary is the first to be told that Jesus will be the messiah and we find women play a more active role than men in His life till the resurrection.

Our father Abraham, the father of Jews and Gentiles, was a friend of God’s, just like Adam who is the father of the world. The Bible tells us that God and two angels visited Abraham and Sarah and the couple treated them like they would any strangers – Sarah prepared a very expensive meal for them. Nowadays when we see strangers we want to call 911; we certainly don’t prepare special meals for them. Abraham was a patriarch, born in Ur of the Chaldeans (Acts 7:2-4.) The book of Genesis covers a big portion of Abraham’s life in five verses – Genesis 11:27-31. Within these verses Abraham was born, grew to adulthood, took a wife, found himself in a childless marriage, and accompanied his father on a journey of hundreds of miles. These verses show us the patriarch in the context of his political, social and material world.

Abraham was still subject to his father. In the same way, in John 8, Jesus said, “If you know me, you should have known my father also; we are one. I do nothing of myself, but as my father has taught me, I speak these things.” Those he spoke to answered and said unto him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said unto them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.”

A Father and His Family

Your house is your temple and your bedroom is your holy place where you can live in intimate relationship with your wife. Your family is your congregation and you are the priest of your house. A house is not more important than the people inside the house. A father is the priest of the house; your job is to direct your family to God or God’s will. A man’s responsibility is to represent God in the family and to create an environment to draw God’s presence into his house. Your house must represent God. The father of the house can be a blessing or a curse to his children. Fathers’ unclean actions, including corruption and sleeping around, can be seen in your children in a different form; you can pass on your evil actions to your children, so be careful how you live and how you treat other people. Joshua said, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua speaks on behalf of his family. Israelis have a choice, but not Joshua’s family, if you are a child you are called “the son of Joshua” and you call your home “my father’s house.” Your children and your wives are called by your name. The father is a priest of the house and he has decided that they will serve the Lord, no confusion about it. Not like King Solomon who was confused by many wives and he chose to follow their gods (Josh. 24:15). Paul said: “If someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s community?” The active presence of the father in a family gives encouragement, protection and hope. God gave strength to protect women and not to abuse them. King David said: “I will fear no evil because you are with me.” As earthly fathers, we are not perfect, we are not present, not loving and sometimes we fail to care for our families. I wonder how a polygamist with multiple wives can be present in different places at the sometime. “If you are a real father, your house will be a house of prayer”. Jesus called the Temple, “My Father’s House”. Fatherhood comes with responsibility, because any dumb dog can make babies. Where there is no father, there is a tough woman who is trying to be a mother and a father at the same time. The father is supposed be like God who cares. God bless good, tough women.

The Leader as the Shepherd

King David said the father is a comforter, and when He is around I will fear no evil. Because He is my leader He goes before me; He is my redeemer and my teacher. The father must not abuse his position of authority and must respect the woman who took his name. Since he is the teacher and director, he must practice what he teaches. If you are a good father your children will say “Our father was a friend of God”. Don’t mislead your family – women are sick and tired of leaderless men and failures; if you fail to represent God to your family, you are a failure. Remember, if you are not a blessing to family, you are a curse with your dirty money.

To sin is to hit a miss and shows that your father failed to direct you. If you have a father who represents God, you will walk in his ways will avoid all iniquity. The father must be loving and kind to his family. Joseph knew how much his father loved him (Genesis 37: 3). When the father fails to reveal love, we see anger and hatred emerge as the opposite of love. Even if your children don’t know much about your God, they must see and feel His love through you. Jesus said “My father loves me.” If you lift up God, he will redeem your children, unless your children are Marah (Deuteronomy 21:18). Remember, your family will reveal your character. Your family carries your name as the head of the household, and whatever they do, they do it in your name. You only can protect your name by being a good father to your children and a good husband to your wife. The father is mentioned more than 1500 times in the Bible, but the mother is mentioned about 300 times. “Your father’s deed can save you or kill you.”

The Father is the Man Who Blesses His Family

• And God blessed them, saying, be fruitful, and multiply (Genesis 1:22).

• And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, be fruitful (Genesis 9:1).

• God blessed Sarah, she shall be a mother of nations and kings of people shall be of her (Genesis 17:16).

• God blessed Ishmael“I will make him fruitful” (Genesis 17:20).

• God blessed Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 25:11).

• Isaac blessed his son Jacob (Genesis 28:1).

• Israel blessed his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:20).

• Jacob blessed all the twelve tribes (Genesis 49:28).

• Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death (Deuteronomy 39:43).

The Father’s Calling

God called Abraham out of the land of his fathers (Mesopotamia) and out of the religious systems of his fathers. Abraham lived in an extended family structure, and even though he was an adult and married, he was still subject to his father. It was Abraham’s father who decided to relocate his family, perhaps because of the unstable political climate, but whatever Terah’s motivation, Abraham followed. Terah would have led his family from Ur to Larsa, where the main road to the north began. There were two main road systems in Mesopotamia. According to Genesis, Terah’s family’s destination was Canaan, but they had to choose whether to continue along the Euphrates River or cross to the Tigris. They went only as far as Haran, and it seems that they crossed to the Tigris. This road to Emar led north through Assyrian territory and then west toward the Mediterranean. If they had continued along the Euphrates they would have had to divert from their stated destination to reach Haran.

Terah stopped at Haran, but no reasons are given for why he did not continue on to Canaan. Haran was an important caravan city and, politically, a more peaceful part of the Mesopotamian world. Moreover, the principal deity at Haran was the same moon god Terah worshiped at Ur, and therefore he may have felt at home in Haran. Haran was located where Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia met, and had Terah continued on, he would have begun to edge out of the society he knew. Abraham only departed from Haran in answer to God’s call. When Terah died, much of his wealth was transferred to Abraham, so Abraham travelled with livestock as well as his extended family, herders and others. When Abraham entered Palestine, he stopped at Shechem where he built an altar and God clarified the promise a bit more.

Father is a Redeemer

Our father is a redeemer. When Abraham heard that Lot and his possessions had been taken captive, Abraham called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Genesis 14:14) Abraham and his men recovered all the goods and brought back Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. When Melchizedek, king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, heard what Abraham had done, he brought out bread and wine and he blessed Abraham. Our father Abraham was a responsible man. Redemption of the family member is a responsibility of the father. Redemption of our souls is a responsibility of our Father in heaven, because He is the only one who is able to redeem our soul.

A Compassionate Father Like Abraham

Let’s take a close look at Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Looking at it through the lens of my culture, I would say this title “prodigal son”, was written by a Westerner because it seems as if the prodigal son is more important than his father and I don’t think Jesus’ purpose was to glorify the prodigal son more than his good father. In my culture the most important person in this family is the father. The younger son asked for his share of his inheritance and left to live in a distant country. To me it seems as if this parable is westernised even though that’s not Jesus’ heritage; to me it seems as if Christian theology was written by people from a distant country. The story says the younger son left his father’s house, wasted all he had and ended up broke. Eventually he was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pigs’ food and he had no place to sleep, so he decided to return home to his father’s house. Upon his return the father demonstrated his love and grace by running out and hugging and kissing him as a sign of reconciliation. The lost son had a father who was seeking him and would do anything to restore him to the family. Remember only Abraham ran to welcome three strangers (Gen.18:2-11). In the Old Testament we see a young man, servant and messengers running not an old man like Abraham; biblically only Abraham and Laban, but Laban ran to meet his nephew not a stranger (Gen. 29: 13). The Kingdom of God is like our father Abraham running out to welcome the strangers and the father running out to welcome home his prodigal son. If you continue reading this passage of scripture you’ll see that there was a sort of baptism here and a sacrifice of an animal in the name of reconciliation and forgiveness of sins. The prodigal son was saved by the grace of the Father.

The lesson is that often our problems begin when we leave our father’s house or his presence without his blessing.

Our Father’s Love

Our father Abraham showed great love to his wife Sarah even though he was part of a patriarchal society in which it would have been easy for him to divorce Sarah because she was barren. One could say he knew very well that it was his responsibility to redeem his marriage in a patriarchal way. In those days it was common and respectable for a man whose wife was barren to use her maidservant for childbearing, as Abraham and Jacob both did. Sarah was obviously supportive of her husband since she was the one who suggested that Abraham take Hagar and possess her sexually (Genesis 16:2). Sarah was the one who arranged that marriage, but after a while Sarah demanded that her husband divorce Hagar. Abraham was upset about Sarah’s demand, but God told Abraham to do as Sarah had asked (Genesis 21). Although there are three women mentioned in Abraham’s life (Sarah, Hagar and Keturah) it seems as if Sarah knew her rights and her position as Abraham’s first wife.

If Your Son is Marah!

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who doesn’t obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, this son of ours is stubborn and marah! He will not obey us. He is a glutton and drunkard. Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Jesus said to the Pharisees that He speaks what He has learned from His Father. “If you are Abraham’s children, do deeds of Abraham,” and they said to Him, “We have one Father, God Himself!” and Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for from God I came and now I am here. For I have not come on my own, but He sent Me” (John 6v41, 42).

Like Father Like Son

Abraham: Abraham moved on to Gerar where Abimelech was a king. (Genesis 20)

Isaac: Isaac moved to Gerar where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. (Genesis 26)

Abraham: Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister”.

Isaac: They asked him about his wife, Rebekah, Isaac said, “She is my sister”.

Abraham: Abimelech called for Abraham, saying, “What have you done to us?”

Isaac: “How could you do this to us?” Abimelech exclaimed.

Abraham: “I thought they will want my wife and will kill me to get her,” Abraham said.

Isaac: “I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied.

Abraham: Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had taken from Abraham’s servants by force.

Isaac: Isaac’s servant also dug a well in the Gerar Valley and shepherds from Gerar claimed the spring.

What a man should avoid, according to Babylonian Talmud: A man should walk behind a lion rather than behind a woman, behind a woman rather than behind an idolater.

Chapter Two
God the Husband



Exodus 6:6-8

Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from the yoke of the Egyptians. I will set you free from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.

Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham.

Jeremiah 2: 2-4

“I accounted to your favour the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride when you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the first fruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilt, and disaster overtook them,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 3: 1

If a man divorce his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be completely polluted? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers- would you now return to me?

Isaiah 54:5-6

“For your maker is your husband the LORD Almighty is his name the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

“The LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

John 14:1-4

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you (marry you) to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Hosea 2:16-17

“In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’.

“I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.”

Jeremiah 3:14, 15

“Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you – one from every town and two from a clan – and I will bring you back to Mount Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”

Revelation 21:9

And he spoke with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

Conclusion

• In the New Testament Jesus said: I’m going to prepare a place so that you can be with me.

• In the Old Testament God said: Build me a house so I can live among you.

• God is the husband for Israelites and Gentiles alike, which tells me that He is not a monogamist.

• Paul wrote: For I am jealous over you with a godly jealous. For I betrothed you to one husband, to present you to Messiah as a pure virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2). He speaks as the groomsman.

Moses was spoken of as the friend of the bridegroom who led out the bride (Exodus 19:17) Moses brought Israeli out to meet God. “God is not a Bachelor” For your maker is your husband the LORD Almighty.

Chapter Three
Don’t Trust a Man



In the beginning God created man in his own image and destined him for in-corruption, but we find God saying these words through Jeremiah: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from God. For he shall be like a Sodom apple in the desert, and shall not see when good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust the Lord is. He is like an acacia tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8). We must learn to trust the Lord daily as our provider each and every day. According to Babylonian Talmud Zakkai on his death bed, he said, “If I was being led into the presence of a human king who today is here and tomorrow in the grave, the Lord blessed be He, Whom I cannot appease with words nor bribe with money.”

Adam failed to keep the only law he’d been instructed to follow; for him one was too many.

Cain became the first murderer; he killed his own brother while they were fighting over offerings. Today pastors are still fighting for it.

Noah became the first drunkard; he got drunk and wanted to go back to the Garden of Eden where underwear was not allowed and he was raped by his own son.

Our father Abraham failed to protect his wife from another man; he said “She’s not my wife, she’s my sister,” which effectively means “You can take her for tonight”.

Our law giver and religious leader, Moses, who led the Egyptian Hebrews to a better life, ended up acting like an Egyptian by beating the mountain of God. His career begins with him beating an Egyptian and ends with him beating the mountain of God. Moses died in the desert with his followers, and ironically Pharaoh had warned them that’s what would happen (Num. 20:9-11). He also called Israelis “Marah!” (Rebels) “Because you believed not in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Num. 20:12).

Samson failed to obey the three main laws that pertained to him: Don’t eat grapes or drink wine, don’t go near anything dead and don’t cut your hair. He broke all of them. The first thing he did wrong was that he wanted to marry a Philistine woman. His parents said “Do you have to marry a woman from among the Philistines who are not circumcised?” Samson convinced his parents to let him marry her anyway. He made many mistakes – he married the wrong person and was divorced within a week, he destroyed Philistine farms by setting them alight and he had a girlfriend who was a prostitute in Gaza. Even before he got involved with Delilah Samson was a bad example; he did not pray like Jesus “Father forgive them”, but rather prayed like a terrorist “Let me die with them”. Indeed he died like a terrorist. He killed many Philistine leaders in his life.

King David saw his neighbour’s wife taking a bath on top of the roof; he saw her nakedness even where the sun doesn’t shine. This man of God ended up having a sex with another man’s wife, and according to Leviticus 20:10 if that occurs both the man and woman should be put to death. The father of the nation was guilty of adultery. In fact, Bathsheba was not just taking a normal bath but rather a ritual cleansing after menstruation – she was fertile and that is why she got pregnant. King David told the husband to come back home to his wife because the king was trying to cover-up his crime. However, the good husband slept just outside the palace door with security guards. Uriah was a good husband even when he was drunk – certainly more honest a man than King David. King David had yet another bad idea – he had Uriah deliver his own death sentence in the form of a message for the commanding general: “Let him be killed in the battle.” The good husband was killed because another man wanted his beautiful wife; perhaps Uriah should have learnt from Abraham and said, “She’s not my wife, she’s my sister.”

Then we have Amnon who raped his half-sister. King David had a beautiful daughter named Tamar, and Amnon, one of David’s sons, loved her. Amnon lusted to the point of illness over his half-sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, but it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her. Amnon had a cunning friend named Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah. When Jonadab heard why Amnon was unhappy, he advised him to pretend to be sick. When his father came to visit Amnon said to him “Please, let my sister Tamar come and serve me some food. Let her prepare a light meal in my sight so that I may see and eat from her hand.” Kind David sent Tamar to Amnon’s house as he’d asked. She prepared food for him and took it to him, but at first he refused to eat. He sent everyone else away and told her to take the meal to him in his bedroom where he overpowered her and raped her. Afterward having sex with his half-sister Amnon despised her greatly and told her to get up and go away. The poor girl said to her brother “Don’t do this great evil (sending her away) which is worse than that which you have already done to me”, but Amnon did not listen and told his servant to throw her out.

The question is, why did King David say nothing about this evil thing that happened in his house? I assume that he was aware that his sins of murder and rape were spreading further into his family.

King Solomon, David’s son, began his career in leadership with two prostitutes and ended up following one thousand women – 700 wives and 300 concubines. He was a political leader and a philosopher who failed to lead his own family, instead becoming a follower. Even if Solomon had no real contact with most of the women, it seems as if he married some of these women for security, business and politics reasons. He married royal princesses from all of his neighbouring nations and trading partners. King Solomon abused women and Israel in general with forced hard labour, high taxation and special levies. In short, he was a high profile capitalist who used women to achieve his goals and executed people like Adonijah and removed priests like Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26). “When Joad heard of Adonijah’s execution and Abiathar’s exile, he knew his life was in danger, so he fled to the altar in Jerusalem.” King Solomon and his one thousand wives and concubines of various nationalities comprised an enormous household that included the entourage that accompanied each princess. The food bill per day was thirty measures of fine flour and sixty measures of meal, ten fat oxen, 20 pasture-fed oxen, 100 sheep plus deer, gazelles, roebucks and fattened fowls.

Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver was a money lover. He failed to heed the advice Jesus gave to the rich young ruler to be selfless: “Go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21) Jesus told the people to store their treasure in heaven where it cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal it. Your heart will be where your treasure is. (Matthew 6:20-21) After they turned Jesus over to Pilate early in the morning, Judas took his blood money back to the religious leaders at the temple. Poor Judas said, “I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man”, and they replied “That is not our business, that is your business”. Judas threw the money at them and left. Jesus died with Judas that day – Jesus was crucified by people according to Roman law, and Judas hanged himself. “Most freedom fighters like Judas Iscariot they end up selling out the good struggle.”

Conclusion

Many Christians believe that people like Judas Iscariot, Herod the Great and Pharaoh are sinners above all, but the fact is that sinners are sinners, just like Christians. Since there are two ways: (Deut. 11:26) Blessing and curse, Life and death; there are two sins: forgivable and unforgivable (Luke 12:10). If your sin will cause you to go to hell, you will, if not, you will not. There are two deeds: Good and Evil (Eccl. 12:14). Jesus said that a beggar died and Lazarus died; one went to Abraham’s side and the other to Hades (Luke 16:22-23). He will separate the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32). Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. According to my experience as a South African, I know three men with more than 138 children and one of them was a single man who died as a single man. In South Africa, many men impregnate women but don’t support those children, but the South African government decided to support them. Further to this many men also rape and kill women. The question is, what kind of a nation are we building as men or fathers.


Chapter Four
The Religion of Failures



For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are set right as a gift of His grace, through the redemption that is in Messiah Jesus (Romans 3:23, 24). Paul said, “So then, just as sin came into the world through one man and death spread to all men because all sinned.” There are many examples of human failure to become like God. No man can run this race called life from the start to the end without stumbling and falling down. “We need the grace of God.” Religion came after the fall of Adam. On the first call God said, “Where are you?” Jesus said, “I came to seek the lost sheep.” Our main struggle is to become like God.

• A religion for failures like our father Adam;

• A religion for murderers like Cain;

• A religion for drunkards like our father Noah;

• A religion for divorced people like our father Abraham;

• A religion for leaders like Moses who did not make it to their promised land;

• A religion for prostitutes like Rahab;

• A religion for terrorists like Samson;

• A religion for imperfect people like the father of the nation – King David;

• A religion for rapists like Amnon;

• A religion for polygamists like Solomon;

• A religion for adulterers like the woman who was brought before Jesus;

• A religion for corrupt government officials like Zacchaeus;

• A religion for traitors like Judas Iscariot;

• A religion for upside-down families like Lot and his daughters, who had sex with their father and both became pregnant by their father;

• A religion for sinners like you and me;

• A religion for hypocrites and judges like Christians who are only holy on Sundays;

• A religion for forgiveness: Jesus said “Father, forgive them.”

• Adam failed the test in the Garden, but Jesus passed the test in the Garden

• We must remember that our rabbi was a friend of publicans and sinners. If you check Jesus’s genealogy according to Matthew, Gentiles are represented. For example: Ruth and Rahab and all sinners are represented, even in His family tree, they needed Him to redeem them.

Chapter Five
Friendship and Dating



Dating is the process whereby a man and woman meet, get acquainted with one other and decide whether they are suitable for each other. It’s a serious matter and is not simply for entertainment purposes, like going to the movies and having pre-marital sex. Dating is for mature men and women who have reached a marriageable age.

When dating we’re often faced with a huge decision. Who is your soulmate? How do you find one and how can you be sure that the one you find is the right one?

Friendship and dating can help us to ensure we do not marry the wrong person. Find yourself before you find a friend and remember that true friendship is the basis for the strongest relationships. Don’t ever become completely preoccupied by who you want. Remember, friends are fellows on the same ship; don’t sleep with your friend.

Here are a few things you can check before you say I love you:

• Love is a spiritual journey involving spiritual growth, so check you’re on the right path.

• Decide whether you’re chasing a beautiful face or beautiful character.

• Ask him/her about their family (open question) and how many siblings they have.

• Find out what they do for living.

• Ask if they’re married, single or divorced and whether they have children.

• Find out where they grew up and whether they like sport or going to movies.

• Ask what makes them angry and what they do when they get angry.

• Make sure you check his/her HIV status.

• Ask whether they like to watch TV for entertainment or read books and what their ideal fun day would be.

• Ask if they have a hobby that’s important to them.

• Find out how much money they spend on leisure.

Ask them under which circumstances they would not answer their cell phone.

• Ask about his /her religion and their educational goals.

• Find out if they’re old enough to marry.

• Ask about their greatest strength and their greatest limitation.

• Check your mutual life goals and visions.

• Decide if you share a common destiny.

• Check your oneness in spirit.

• Don’t compromise too much.

Remember, you can choose your in-laws.

• Figure out if you’re mature enough to get married.

• Do you wish to spend the rest of your life with this person?

• The right qualities and character mean you’ve found the right mate.

Make sure you don’t meet your date in a dark corner; meet with him/her in public areas like restaurants or public parks. Remember that good boundaries matter. Ladies, don’t spread your legs anywhere for any man who wants you; restrictions on dating are important.

Before you say I do …

Dating gives you an opportunity to focus on a person and determine whether they have the qualities and values that will allow the two of you to live together happily for the rest of your lives. Here are a few situations you should consider before getting married. No one should be married until they are mature enough to make an intelligent decision with regards to their proposed spouse.

• God is not a wedding planner, but a marriage planner.

• Build on the foundation of truth.

• Love must not make you blind.

• Do not get married just to please your parents.

• Don’t love him/her more than life itself.

• Remember that you are complete in yourself – you don’t need somebody to complete you.

• Clarify if she/he has plans for further education.

• What are her/his values?

• What if she/he drinks too much?

• What if he/she’s not nice enough?

• What if you cannot get your needs met?

• What if you think your former husband is a better guy than this guy?

• What if she/ he doesn’t meet your sexual needs?

• What if he calls you by his/her first spouse’s name?

• What if he/she snores like an animal?

• What if he/she is close to their ex?

• What if he was gay?

• What if her/his kids hate you?

• What if she/he’s obsessed with his friends?

• What if he/she’s controlled by her family?

• What do you know about his/her old wounds?

• What if they have enormous debts?

• What if she/he is just a gold digger?

• What if the sex is good but she’s a bad girl?

• What if he has trouble performing sexually?

• What if their sexual satisfaction matters more than yours?

• What if he/she needs sex every night?

• What if he wants to know you sexually before marriage?

• What if he/she is a workaholic?

• Make sure there is no conflict between your mind and your heart.

Here are a few more questions you can ask before you decide to say ‘I do’ under the canopy:

• Why did you divorce your ex?

• Do you take prescription medication or have an addiction?

• Do you watch pornography?

• Do you have sex with people of the same gender?

• Do you like to initiate sex?

• How much alcohol do you drink every week?

• Do you take drugs?

• Do you love children?

• Are your friends as important to you as your family?

• Do you love animals?

• Do you have a criminal record? (Open question)

• Do you consider yourself to be a law abiding person?

• How much time do you spend on social media?

• Do you go to church, mosque, temple or synagogue?

• Do you believe in Satanism?

• Do you believe in God?

• Do you believe in resurrection of the dead?

Conclusion

If marriage is a contract, it’s a contract that was not supposed to be signed without reading it properly, but most people decide to sign now and read later. This life commitment is not supposed to be taken lightly. It’s not God’s original plan that we must divorce, but we divorce, as it’s not God’s original plan that we must die, but we die.

If you are a Christian, confess to your priest or pastor if you have had sexual relations with your spouse before marriage; in this way your girlfriend/boyfriend will know that you are an honest and transparent person. “Build on the foundation of truth.” In most religions and cultures I know, sex before marriage is not allowed. A good girl will say like Tamar, “If you love me, I pray thee, speak to my father, He will not withhold me from you.” Christian marriage must not disrespect the real fathers. According to the scriptures the father is the one who has control over his daughters before marriage, and after marriage the husband takes control over his wife, but not church ministers. Church ministers must not play God over families, but the fathers have that authority given by God. Among black communities you find church ministers arranging marriages for those who want to take wives. In these churches you cannot take a woman without the church minister’s approval otherwise you are not allowed to take that woman. It seems as if church members are owned by pastors almost a hundred percent, whereby they must tell their pastors the ins and outs of their lives in every way.

Make sure that you go under the canopy with as clean a slate as you can. Try to make sure that the foundation of your marriage is not based on lies; sitting on the past and hiding things of the past is not healthy for the future of your marriage. “Clean your feet first before you enter.”

You cannot choose your parents but you can choose your in-laws. Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh, King of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into Jerusalem. Solomon loved many foreign women, even after the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them. They will turn away your heart after their gods” (1 Kings 11:6). King Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not follow the Lord and his father King David.

• Don’t look for looks, look for character.

• Marry your friend.

• Don’t compromise all your standards and your values.

• Don’t marry a person who worries you all the time.

• The choices you make, make you.

• Ensure you develop good boundaries, limits and self-control.

• The money will go away and the monkey will stay the same; don’t marry for money.

• Remember some people won’t love you enough for marriage but only for sex.

• Love and care can be used as bait to hook you.

• Some people disappear after having sex with you.

• Remember you have the power to say NO, and the power to say YES.

• Be careful of moral impurity and sin.

• Sex is good after marriage because God said so.

• Your parenting philosophy must be discussed before marriage.

• Be careful of emotional attachments before marriage.

• Discuss the balance between relational and individual growth.

• Discuss the number of children you desire as a couple.

• Discuss sexual satisfaction.

• Improve communication and negotiation skills.

• Promote disclosure of feelings.

• Improve understanding of yourself.

• Improve listening and speaking skills.

• Learn to manage conflict and resolve conflict.

• You must divorce your mother first before you marry a woman.

• If you submit to your mother, your wife will never submit to you.

What I’ve Learned as a: Married Man, Divorced and Remarried


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