When Alone

Scripture: Genesis 2:18, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Philippians 4:11-13
Date: 04/27/2019 
Lesson: 4
"This week we will look at the question of companionship and loneliness at the various times of life that, perhaps, all of us have at some time faced."

The Bible on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage - Paper or PDF Download

The Bible on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage - Paper or PDF Download
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Good morning, friends. Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome my friends joining us across the country and around the world, as well as our regular online Sabbath School members. We're delighted that you've tuned in to study our lesson with us today. And, of course, I'd also like to welcome our regular Sabbath School members here in person as well as those who are joining us, our visitors that are here, very warm welcome to all of you. As many of you know that's been attending for the last few weeks, we started a new series talking about the family. And the topic today, lesson number four, our lesson is entitled "Family Seasons." And topic number four is "When Alone." And that's going to be our study for today. But before we get to our lesson, we'd like to let you know, if you don't have a copy of today's Sabbath School lesson, you can download for free a copy of the lesson at lesson.aftv.org. Again, that's lesson.aftv.org, lesson number four, and you can study along with us. We also have a free offer we'd like to let you know about. This is a premium gift that we would like to make available to those who are viewing online in North America, a book written by Pastor Doug entitled "Marriage Divorce and Remarriage." If you'd like to get a copy of this book, the number to call is 866-788-3966, and ask for offer number 831, or you can download a digital copy of this book. We'll send you a link as to where you can go to download. Just a fantastic book, dealing with the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage. Well, before we get to our lesson today, I'm delighted that our orchestra is here with us, and we're going to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our song leaders to come forward.

We'll be singing number 310 in the Seventh-day Adventist hymnal, "I Would Draw Nearer to Jesus." We'll be singing the first and third verses. Please sing with us.

I would draw nearer to Jesus

In His sweet presence abide

Constantly trying to serve Him

Safe and secure at His side

I would draw nearer to Jesus

I would draw nearer to Him

Fully surrendered each moment

I would draw nearer to Him

I would draw nearer to Jesus

Seeking His strength to be true

Willing to tell of His goodness

Gladly His blest will to do

I would draw nearer to Jesus

I would draw nearer to Him

Fully surrendered each moment

I would draw nearer to Him

Thank you for singing.

Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in heaven, again we thank you that we have this opportunity to gather in your house to worship You on this special day that You have set apart for us to worship You in a special way. We do ask that You'll bless our time now as we open up the Word in study, for we ask this in Jesus' name, amen. Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug.



Happy Sabbath. Want to welcome everybody who is here at our Granite Bay Church. I'm glad you're studying God's Word with us today, and our friends who are joining us on television, we have some of you who are part of our online Sabbath School class, and some of our online members from around the world. Good to see you as well. We enjoyed being with our friends at the White Memorial Church this last week and the number of people there said that they watch every week, and we just claim you as family. We're continuing in our Sabbath School quarterly dealing with family seasons. And today we've got an interesting lesson and it's on "When Alone." Now in this lesson, we're going to be talking about a lot of aspects of what it means to be alone as a Christian. Some of those deal with just loneliness. We're going to be talking about alone through divorce. Some people are alone through singleness. Some are alone by a command of the Lord and so, a very important study for dealing with loneliness. Now, we have a memory verse, and the memory verse comes from Genesis Chapter 28. I'm sorry, Genesis 2:18. Genesis 2:18, and this is in the New King James Version. If you'd like to say that with me, that'd be great. Are you ready? "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone, I will make a helper comparable to him.'"

I don't know how many of you have heard the story of Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe is a book written by Daniel Defoe many years ago, and it actually is based on a true story. It's about a young man by the name of Alexander Selkirk. He was born in Scotland. And he was a son of a tanner. He was very adventurous and he decided that he wanted to run away and go to sea, so he did and he joined up with some ships, and over a short period of time he ended up becoming a sailor on a ship with a famous captain, William Dampier. Now, Dampier was going up and down the Pacific raiding Spanish ships. England was at war with Spain during the time. And along the way, Selkirk, who was a little bit hotheaded, got into a pretty fierce argument with Captain Dampier. And when they got near an island, they stopped at an island called San Fernando, that's 400 miles off the coast of Chile to get some water and provisions. It was a deserted island, but they could get some water there. He said, "I'd rather live by myself on this island than sail anymore with you." And because of his pride and his anger, the captain said, "Good enough, we're leaving you here." And so they put him off on the island and gave him some gunpowder and some basic provisions. He had a knife, and an axe, and a flintlock. I think I've got a little note here that tells us. "When Selkirk was put ashore, he had with him clothes and bedding, a flintlock, some gunpowder, bullets, a hatch and a knife, a kettle, a few books of Bible. He tried to stay busy, but for the first eight months he had to bear up against terrible melancholy, and the terror of being left alone in such a desolate island for the rest of his life." Have you ever thought, what would it be like if you were the only one left on earth? Sometimes I'm actually excited about that thought, but not everyone's that way. He tried to stay busy. But the first eight months he had a real struggle. He built two huts with palmetto trees. He covered them with long grass and aligned them with the skins of goats, which were abundant on the island. When his clothes wore out, he made himself new ones with goat skins. When his gunpowder was spent, he created fire by rubbing sticks together upon his knee. At first, he was plagued with great numbers of cats and rats that bred on the island because when ships came ashore, sometimes rats got off the ships and cats got off the ship. And a few have escaped and multiplied. But he tamed many of the cats so that they would lie about his shack in hundreds, and soon delivered him from the rats. He also tamed some of the goats and he diverted himself now and then, and he'd sing and dance with them and his cats. So he had last came to conquer all the inconveniences of his solitude and to be very happy. So Kirk remained there on the island for four and a half years. Finally, in February 1790, he was discovered by Captain Woodes Rogers, another famous captain in the sailing ship Duke, whose pilot happened to be his old captain Dampier. Now the rest of the story is after Dampier, who was captain dropped him off on the island, they left, their ship sank and most of the crew perished except Dampier and a few officers. And so if Selkirk had stayed on the ship, he likely would have died with the crew. But now captain Woodes Rogers, and by the way something else that was interesting is, when he first got back on board, the ship, he had gone four years without talking to people, talk to the goats and the cats. And he would kind of speak, it took a while for him to get regular speech rhythm going again, because if you don't talk to anybody, you start to lose the art. And, but they had conquered some Spanish ships. And so they made Selkirk captain of one of the Spanish ships, and Dampier was his pilot. So he ended up being the captain of his former adversary. It's very interesting story. They got back to England and eventually when Daniel Defoe heard the story, He's like, this is a great story and he wrote, wrote a book called Robinson Crusoe. So, have you ever felt lonely before? Ecclesiastes 4:9,

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he will have no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? Though one might be overpowered by another, two can withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." So here in Ecclesiastes, it's Proverbs, it's talking about how important it is to have friends and companionship. Now, when Jesus sent out the disciples preaching, how did He send them? Two by two. Let's look at some of these verses here. Mark 6:7, "He called twelve to Himself, and He began to send them out two by two, and He gave them power over unclean spirits." And again, later, after these things, the Lord appointed 70 others also, and He sent them out how? Two by two, to go before his face into every city and place where he himself was about to go. Now, why did the Lord send out the disciples two by two? Well, for one thing, when we train people at AFCOE, we send them out two by two, survival method. When one is making a presentation, another one is praying. If one gets discouraged, ostensibly the other one will encourage them. Two heads are better than one. You ever heard that. And so sometimes you're making a decision about what to do, which way to go and the combined judgment, you can make better decisions. And, you know, while I don't agree with their message, I do admire the method of Jehovah Witnesses and Latter-day Saints because they send people out two by two. We believe in sending people out two by two and we do that as I mentioned in our evangelism training. This was a method that Jesus recommended. Now in a moment someone's going to read to me from Mark 14. You'll have that, Hoftis? Okay. I'm going to read Luke 10:1. I'm sorry, I'm going to read John 16:32. "Indeed the hour is coming, yes, is now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." So how did Jesus deal with loneliness? He said, "Well, I'm never really alone because God is with me. God is my companion." And then Philippians 4:11-13. Paul was often imprisoned by himself. And he said, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." So if you are a believer, are you ever alone? No, right? Go ahead, read for us please, Mark 14:33 and 34.

"And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.'"

Isn't that an astounding thought that here the Creator of all men was lonely, and He wanted people to be with Him, to support Him. You know, the Bible says, Christ was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Was He tempted with loneliness? He was 100% human. Did God create humans to enjoy and thrive in companionship? What happens to a person when they live all their time alone? I'm an expert. I can tell you about it. I've shared with you before, there's probably not too many people here that can tell me, I have spent five or six days by myself where I did not hear another human voice, no radio, no telephone, no TV, there were no cell phones back then, and no human input. So I'd go several stretches where I'm all by myself. Do you know when you live all by yourself, you become eccentric. You start to develop unbalanced ideas. We sometimes by communication, we start to balance our wisdom off each other and it sort of keeps you in the middle. And God does something about social interaction. You know, they discovered that in the animal kingdom, the smartest animals are social animals. They found that some of the most highly intelligent dolphins are social animals. They're always in pods. They swim together, they interact, they communicate, they play games together, and it does something to build their intelligence, and it gives them balance. They work in cooperation with each other. And there's several different groups of monkeys and different animals that when they work in social groups like that, there's combined intelligence. And so God designed that we should not be alone. He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. So when the Bible says, it's not good that man should be alone. It didn't just mean that man needed a woman. It's also a broader principle that people need people and that we are social creatures.

In America, we're a little more independent than some countries. You know, you go to India, you go to the Philippines, you go to China, a lot of countries where I traveled, they've got large families, and family is very important. And they each spent a lot of time in family functions. Even if you go down south of the border, in the Mexican families, they get together, and they have large families and the interactiveness is part of life, that they communicate. You come north and we're an independent country. You know, there's a lot of reasons for that. America, a lot of people came from different places, so they didn't always interconnect. And we had a large land without, wasn't so heavily populated. And, it just seems like we developed a little more independently. But there are a lot of folks that are very lonely. It's not God's plan for that. That's part of why we have church, amen? So that we could have fellowship and spend time together. So, yeah, you never really need to be alone if you're a believer. You read in Matthew 28, one of the last words in the New Testament, teaching them to observe all things that I've commanded you and… There was a Chinese gentleman who converted from Buddhism to Christianity. His name was Lo Wong. And when he finally got to Matthew and he read it. He learned some English, it said, lo, I am with you always. It was very special to him. He said, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." And so God is promising. I am always with you. So are we ever really alone? And then you read in Hebrews 13:5, "Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.'" Now that's Hebrews 13:5. What verse in the Bible is Paul quoting in Hebrews where he says, "I will never leave you or forsake you?" We can't find it in the gospels. Do you realize that Paul is quoting something Jesus obviously said, but the gospel writers did not write down that exact phrase. But we believe Paul, if you have a red letter edition, when you read Hebrews 13:5 it's in red, "I will never leave you or forsake

you." You don't find that in the four gospels, but you do find it in Hebrews. And so Jesus made that promise. But it's kind of like that when He said, I'm with you always, right? To the end of the world. All right, so as a principle, God does not want us to live as islands. Now before I go too deep into the lesson, I think it might be good to mention at this point. Is it always bad to be alone? Now, being alone sometimes is a wonderful thing. Who is it? Isaiah that said, "Woe to them that join house to house and lay field to field till there is no place where a man may be alone in the earth."That Jesus sometimes rise up a great while before it was day and go alone. And even asked the disciples, He said, you know, we've been so busy with the multitudes. He says, we need to come to a desolate, an isolated wilderness place so we can rest. John the Baptist, where did he go for his ministry? To the wilderness and he spent a lot of time out there in the cathedral canyons of God's creation. I think it's good sometimes for people to get out by themselves and spend some time alone with God. I think that when you enter into your closet to pray, matter of fact, there's a quote, Karen showed this to me this morning. If you go to your lesson, I'm going to jump to Friday. Friday usually doesn't have a subject, it sort of got like further thoughts. And then if you go to Friday in your lesson, it talks about Enoch. And it says, "In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He continued to exclude himself at certain periods from all society. After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image." How did he do that? He got away from it all and from everybody. It's sometimes, I think creates a healthy balance in our character, not only to know how to deal with people, but are you comfortable by yourself. It's not a bad thing. I mean, even in a family, in a marriage, for you to say, I need some, what's the word for it? Alone time. And every now and then, Karen will say, "Doug, you just need to go to Covelo." And I'll hop in the truck and I'll drive up there by myself. And I'll spend a couple of days in praying, you know, it's wonderful just to be alone with God, and you read and get out in the woods and, and… You wouldn't believe some of the places I've been by myself out in the wilderness and I just think, oh, man, you see such wonderful things. But then you know what the problem is, you see such wonderful things you think. I wish I could show this to someone or share this with someone. But I said, "Lord, thank you for showing this to me." So it's not always wrong to be alone. The Bible says that actually can be a problem if you can never be alone.

All right, so then we go to the next section, the unmarried life. And someone's going to read for me in a moment, Luke 23:29. Okay. I'm going to read Jeremiah 16:1-2. Now, this is talking about, there is a time to choose to be unmarried. A little later in the lesson we'll talk about those who are unmarried just by circumstances. And this is some people who are been told by the Lord. Jeremiah 16:1-2, "The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.'" Now why did God tell Jeremiah not to marry? You don't ever hear about Mrs. Jeremiah. Why? He didn't tell everybody that. What's the general order for humans? It is a good thing, he that finds a wife finds a good thing. And if you're married, he that finds, she that finds a husband finds hopefully a good thing. And so that's the normal order of things, but it's not the absolute. Now, why did he tell Jeremiah that? What time did Jeremiah live in? What happened during Jeremiah's life? Nebuchadnezzar came and it was foretold many times to Jeremiah that I am going to destroy in a big way. The city, that the city is going to be besieged, there's going to be starvation, there's going to be cannibalism. There's going to be bloodshed, there's going to be plague. The people are going to be carried off, the houses will be burned, the temple will be burned. He said, you better not marry. Are there other times in the Bible where God has that? Jesus said in Matthew 24, speaking of the tribulation in the last days, "Woe to them who are pregnant and those who are nursing babies in those days." Now we're not in those days. Sometimes I'll have young couples come to me and they'll say, "Pastor Doug, we read these verses in the Bible. We think we're near the end, should we have children?" You know what I tell them? I say, "I don't know." You got to be very careful about telling people how to run their lives that way. If you know Adventist history, you know, the Adventist Church was born out of the belief in the eminence of Jesus coming, and I do believe Jesus is coming soon, but there were several times where James White counseled couples, we're so close to the end, we shouldn't even have children. And he later repented of that, he said, I shouldn't have said that. Of course, he and Ellen had four. So how many of you have gray hair thought Jesus would have come before now? Or any of you remember like World War II? Couple of you alive back then. When nuclear bomb, they said, this is it. We don't have any children now, you know the world's ending. Of course, kids born back then now are grandparents. So you got to be careful about saying, you know when that time is. Every individual needs to pray about when they think that time comes. Go ahead, read your verse for us.

Luke 23:29, "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'"

Now, when did Jesus make this statement? He's on the way to the cross. It's a short little sermon, Jesus preaches to the women who are weeping as they see Him bearing His cross, to the place of crucifixion and He says, "Don't weep for me." Now, why did He tell them that? Because Jerusalem was going to be destroyed in the generation, so the days are coming. And the same thing that happened in the days of Nebuchadnezzar happened again in the days of Titus when the city was burned, the people were besieged, the temple was destroyed, it all happened again. So He said, "There's a time when it may not be a good idea to start families." So let me give you some examples of that here. If you read 1 Corinthians, as Paul writes to the church in Corinth, persecution had arose. See, it was later in the ministry of Peter and Paul, Rome began to crack down on the Jews. And as they crack down on the Jews, you can read in Acts where it says, "All the Jews had been expelled from Rome." It started slowly because the Roman, the Jews were beginning to rebel against the Roman Empire, and they could see it was fomenting and it was going to turn into rebellion, that a great persecution happened from the Romans against the Jews, because Christians shared so much with the Jewish religion. Christianity really was, the Jews sought as a sect or a branch of Judaism. They were monotheistic, they worshiped the same God, Jesus was a Jew, they read a Jewish book, they kept the Jewish Sabbath. And so, they really put Christians in the same group. And Paul said, look, persecution is beginning, 1 Corinthians 7:8, "I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It's good for them to remain even as I am." All right, let me just pause right there. Was Paul married? Maybe once, we don't know. Now, some wonder if Paul isn't married at some point because what seems Paul may have been part, he was a Pharisee and he was part of the Sanhedrin and somewhere in the Jewish Talmud, it said to be part of the Sanhedrin, you have to be married. It's kind of like where Paul says that a pastor should be the husband of one wife. He kind of drew that from what they had is you're going to be spiritual leader, you need to understand family. And… We just hired a new youth pastor. But I can't tell you who it is yet. But one of the criteria was, the board said, "We want someone who is married, that has a little bit of experience because they're going to be helping lead the young families and the children." So, Paul may have been married, his wife could have died. He may have been married, but when he converted to Christianity, the things fell apart. But he never did remarry. And some may argue that he was never married, but evidently when he writes these words here, he's not married at this point, because he says, to the unmarried, "I asked that they remain even as I am, single. But if they cannot exercise self control, let them marry." Now one reason that some people think Paul at least had been married at some point is because he sure seemed to give a lot of counsel on marriage, and you think he must have known something about it. "It's good for them to remain even as I am, but if they cannot exercise self control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." So God kind of designed everybody that, you know, once you reach the teenage years, the hormones begin to surge and God naturally programmed people to start craving that opposite sex. And if that didn't happen, none of us would be here. Right? And so there's that natural desire. Now, if you don't eat… Sex is a physical desire, but it's different because if you don't eat, that's a physical desire to you, you will die. But even though sex is a desire, if you don't fulfill it, you will not die. You may think so, but you won't. And so, it's something that should be controlled until it is fulfilled in the marriage relationship. And if not there, the Bible's pretty clear that you're supposed to live a pure life and Paul talks about that. 1 Corinthians 7:25, "Now concerning the virgins…" This is during that same time period when the persecution was beginning. Paul is beginning to advise families of Christians, you better think about the rough world you're going to bring your spouse and children into if you marry. "Concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord, yet I give my judgment," Paul is speaking by permission here, "As one whom the Lord, in His mercy has made trustworthy. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress" that he's talking about, the persecution that it started to happen and against Jews and Christians, "That it is good for a man to remain as he is. If you're bound to wife, if you're engaged, don't seek to be loosed. You've made a covenant of engagement. If you loose from a wife…" Sometimes the wives would leave through either divorce or separation. "Do not seek a wife. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you." He said, "I'm trying to save you the problems that if you marry now during these difficult times of persecution, it may be harder." "But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, for those who weep even as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess," and because they had to maybe flee and leave their possessions. "And those who use this world is not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away. But I want you to be without care." Don't be encumbered with the cares of this life. "He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord. You are free to go out and do mission work. How he might please the Lord. He who is married cares about the things of the world, how he might please his wife. And there is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried man cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit." There it's talking about that purity. "But she who is married cares about the things of the world, how she might please her husband. " I've seen this happen many times where you got some AFCOE graduate, he's on fire and he's out winning souls and then some woman lands him. And unless she's mission minded, she says, oh, man, you got to get a better job. You can't be a missionary. How you are ever going to build a house or buy a car on that? And pretty soon he gets pulled out of the Lord service because he must please his wife. And I've seen it the other way. You get some young lady, she's a Bible worker, she's a soul winner, but meets a guy and next thing you know, she has 62 children, and she's not giving Bible studies anymore. Now, that's an exaggeration, but, you know what I'm saying. So Paul is saying, you know, you're a little more free. They were saying, look, let's take the gospel to the world. But once they got married, and with the persecution it became a little more difficult. Now, I'm going to read something that Jesus says about this. The disciples said, you know, they're asking Him a question about marriage and divorce and Jesus threw something in Matthew 19:12, He doesn't mention it anywhere else. "For there are eunuchs…" Now, we all know what a eunuch is. Now, there are eunuchs, Daniel was a eunuch in the palace of Babylon. That was foretold by Isaiah that the children of Hezekiah would be captured by the king of Babylon and made eunuchs in his palace. And the eunuchs were often the wise men. And they made him eunuch so because coming and going in the palace, King has his harem there. He wanted to know all the king's children were the king's children. And so Jesus says, "There are eunuchs who are born from their mother's womb." There are some people who… They just have no desire in that respect. "And there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men." Some are captured and they're forced into that. "Then there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs." That could mean either by practice or by procedure. And then Jesus said, and He says, "For the kingdom of heaven sake, and then he is able to accept it, let him accept it." And so Jesus said, you know, there are some. Now, was Christ married? It's a trick question. No, technically, to the church who is the bride of Christ, so. Now there's, you know, I don't believe that goes around in the world today that Jesus really was married to Mary Magdalene. There's not a shred of historical, or a scientific, or biblical evidence for that. It just made for good movie telling. And they found some cryptic gospel where Jesus something about kissing Mary. I'm going to talk today about Mary kissing Jesus' feet. That doesn't mean they were married. And so they've tried to build this whole crazy scenario out of some apocryphal piece of papyr, and that's all it says. So no, Jesus was not married. So all right, let's go to a difficult part. It says when a marriage ends. Genesis 24:14. First of all, how does God feel about divorce? Maybe I ought to read Malachi before I read Genesis. I'm going to read Malachi 2:15. And in a moment, someone's going to read John 4:17. All right, Malachi 2:15. "And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears with weeping and crying, so He does not regard the offering anymore nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. You say, 'For what reason?' Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously, yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.'" God wants families to stick together, He wants godly offspring. So we all know as it's more difficult on children that have been through divorce. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with a wife of his youth. 'For the Lord God of Israel says he hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence,' says the Lord of hosts. 'Therefore take heed your spirit that you do not deal treacherously.'" Now Moses made in his law a provision that if there was some uncleanness found in a woman or technically the woman with a husband, there could be a certificate of divorce. This was not God's plan, but Jesus said because of the hardness of your hearts, He permitted this. It was not His ideal, obviously. But by the time of Christ, they had actually written laws that if a wife burned her husband's food, he could write a certificate of divorce. I mean, the reasons for divorce had become really bad. And they had no social services. Once a woman had been married for several years and she was divorced. Sometimes they were divorced because they couldn't have children. Why did Elkanah take a second wife? Because Hannah at first was barren and he felt like, I've got to have children, who's going to run the farm when I'm old. I mean, that was the only thing, you had to have children. And so, and look at all the hardship it brought into that family. Sometimes they would just divorce their wife and get another one that they thought would be more prolific. And so, God says you are breaking the covenant dealing treacherously. That's like the word treason with the wife of your youth. But having said that, are there times when even God commanded divorce? Yeah. Let's look at Genesis 21:14. "So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and he put it on the shoulder of Hagar. And he gave it the boy to Hagar and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba." God told Abraham after there was internal strife between Sarah, and Isaac, and Hagar, and Ishmael. He said, "You need to put away Hagar." That word put away is the word divorce. He obviously, he was in a marriage relationship with her, but this was never God's plan. You know, when we're in Africa, and when the Adventist church is doing evangelism over there, they still practice polygamy. And so the church has been faced with a conundrum. What do you do when you have somebody who comes from some of these paganistic religions, and they accept the truth, but they've got two or three wives, typically it was the chiefs that had multiple wives and a lot of children. And the church grappled with that because you think, you know, what do you do? And they said, finally they came up and they said, you need to keep the first wife, but you need to continue supporting the other wives and children. But you can only have one wife. We ran into this when I was pastoring on the Navajo Reservation. I met this gentleman, and they said, "Yeah, this is his wife a little while later," they said, "Yeah, this is his wife ago." Oh, which one is it? They said, "Yeah, he married sisters." And that creates some difficult situations. All right, go ahead and read for us, John 4:17 and 18.

John 4:17 and 18, "The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband, in that you spoke truly."

All right. Now, back when I first joined the church, I was led to believe no one actually said it, but just the feeling was that when a person had been through a divorce, that was sort of the unpardonable sin. That doesn't say that in the Bible. Do we have examples like Abraham? How about David? Did David had more than one wife? When David sinned with Bathsheba, that was adultery, that was a sin, it must not have been the unpardonable sin. And what do you do if… Let's suppose you divorce without biblical grounds. We'll get to that in just a moment, and then you remarry. Is there any forgiveness in those categories? Oh, there can be but it forever creates a taint on your credibility. Here, Jesus reveals Himself to the woman at the well. And He says, "You've had five husbands and the one you're living with, you're not even married to." But does He show her that He's the Messiah? And then does He use her in ministry in reaching other people? So He forgives her. God meets you where you're at. And I meet people, they say, "Pastor Doug, I've been married six times. Can God forgive me, and I was a pagan, I didn't know." And I heard a pastor say once, you cannot unscramble scrambled eggs. Everybody comes to the Lord a little bit scrambled. Now, if you grow up in the church, you're a little more responsible. A lot of people came to Christ and they didn't know. David when he sinned with Bathsheba. Nathan the Prophet came, he confronted him with a sin. There was terrible punishment for the sin. Not only did the baby die, but there were three other sons of David that died and he lost a lot of respect from his people. But you know what it says after the baby died? First it says, you've taken the wife of Uriah. But then after that, and after David spent seven days on his face praying, it says, David comforted his wife. And he and Bathsheba ultimately had Solomon who became the next king. So was David and… Were David and Bathsheba forgiven? Yes. Was it a sin? A terrible sin, but he was forgiven. And so we need to just keep perspective on this. And then you read in Matthew 19. You can also read about this in the Sermon on the Mount. He says, "Have you not read that He that made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and he said, 'For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and has joined his wife. The two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.' And they said to him, 'Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce and put her away?' Said Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.'" So if a person is in a state of singleness, because their spouse is either abandoned them, and you can't force another person to do anything, everybody's free, but they've been abandoned. Or if once spouse, sometimes if they have their mind made up, I'm leaving, and I'm going to divorce. Maybe they found someone else and they get married, and you find yourself alone. You're not alone if you're with the Lord. And in a church, we often talk about the context of family, but we need to be sensitive to people who are alone because of divorce, or because of singleness, or because of death. And we need to remember to integrate everybody as part of the family, all of those. Amen? All these people need to be treated as part of the family. We see that Jesus dealt with it this way. Death and loneliness, like there's so much more I could say about the other, you need to get the free offer that we're mentioning because it talks about it, death and loneliness. Isaiah 57:1-2, "The righteous perishes, and no one takes it to heart. Merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil, and he will enter into peace and they will rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness." And so the Bible talks about a situation where even good people die. And ultimately someone may be alone because their spouse has died. Not always but typically, women live a little longer than men. I think that the average lifespan of women in North America is about two or three years. I see some doctors here that might correct me, longer than men. The gap used to be much bigger because more men died in working accidents, but there's more safety precautions now so we're closing the gap. But women do physiologically live longer than men, but not always that way. You know, I know a lot of men that just outlive their wives, but we have people who are lonely, that maybe they're single and you know, it's really tough sometimes when if somebody loses their spouse and they're 35, and they're widowed. There's a good chance they're going to have a lot of life together. They may say, "Well, I'll remarry." It's not as likely after they've been married to somebody for 50 years or something that, you know, you're set in your ways, your whole, all your memories are filled with this one individual. And it's especially hard when you've been married to someone that long and then they're gone. I remember talking to one dear saint, she was married for 50-60 years to the same person and they die. And she said, "Oh Brother, Doug," She said, "I forget that he's not alive. And I'll walk down the hall and I'll just shout out his name Jack, because I need his help with something, and then I'm hit with the truth that he's gone." And it's a terrible wave of sadness, so it's very difficult. And we need to show love for our widows and widowers that are in the church and help bring them and involve them in the things that are happening. But, you know, you can still get married even after 130, Abraham did. So Sarah died, and Abraham took Keturah. Not only did he get married again, he then had a whole litter of kids with Keturah. So the miracle was not so much Abraham's age or Sarah's age. Revelation 21:4, "And God will wipe away every tear from the eyes, there will be no more death, sorrow or crying, neither will there be any more pain." You know, one of the beautiful things that we read about loneliness and the lack of loneliness is how does the Bible end, we're separated from God from our sins. But the Bible says in heaven, God Himself will be with us and we'll never be alone again. We'll not see that… That's just to me is a wonderful truth, we'll see Him face to face. You ever thought about that? Also, we find comfort if a person is widowed in the resurrection, 1 Thessalonians 17. Now, you know, when I go to work, I kiss Karen, goodbye. I say, I see you later. Sometimes I say, I'll see you at lunch or sometimes I say, I'll see you later in the afternoon. Sometimes I get on a plane, I say, I'll see you in a month. That's the worst case scenario, that's happened twice. And it's really tough. But she gets through it. Okay, I get through it, okay, because you know, you get back together and you count down the days. If you believe the Bible, and your loved one is saved, are we going to get back together? So you look at it as a temporary separation. People always ask me, "Pastor Doug, will we be married in heaven?" I said, "Well, the Bible says, there'll be no new marriages in heaven. It says they neither marry, that's a verb, act of marrying, or are they given in marriage. But when Adam and Eve get to heaven, does God give them divorce papers? So if you have the standard person where you've got one marriage, there's no baggage, no interruptions, they're married 60 years, they die. Karen's grandparents, Ed's parents were married, how long, Bonnie, 72 years? About 72 years. They died in the same room on the same day, within two hours of each other, and they were always afraid that one would die without the other. And what's their next conscious thought? Ten minutes apart, and next thing they know they're back together again, right? Resurrected. Do you think they're going to get to heaven and say, "Well, I'm glad to be through with you now. I don't have to be married to you anymore. That's what the Lord said. I know one lady, she'll say it right in front of her husband. She said, Jesus said, "Man, I married you 30 years, when I get to heaven, I'm on my own. They're teasing each other but… So I think that that command doesn't mean you can't be with the one you love. Now, there're probably no new births in heaven. Because the Bible tells us God is going to populate the world with a redeemed, He told Adam and Eve be fruitful and fill the earth. At some point they would have been full. And, you know, God doesn't need us to forever, like bunnies procreate, you know, through the universe. But that doesn't mean that the married people who have not had interruptions won't still be free to choose to be together. Then we've got those who are single, either by choice or just circumstances. They find year by year goes by, they haven't found that person, and they wonder if they ever will. I'd say, first of all choose to be content until God's timing to be happy. I know several people got married first time like 50. Moses didn't get married until he was 40. Isaac was 40, Jacob was 60. And then he got four wives. So be careful what you pray for. So, I also always thought it was interesting that Jacob found Rachel at a well, Moses found his wife at a well, Isaac's wife was found at a well, and so for those who are single, I would say, hang out by the water fountain. You never know you might get lucky. But sometimes that you just feel so loneliness, you want somebody, and you say, "Why isn't it happening? Is that am I not attractive? Is it my character? You wonder, "Is there something wrong with me?" I'll tell you what? You 're better being alone than being in the wrong marriage. So don't rush to get married if you're single. I've met people, it's just their main burden in life is they got to get married. Anybody they saw out, please marry me. And it ends up being a disaster. So you're much better off being alone with the Lord than married to the wrong person. Isaiah 45, I'm sorry, Isaiah 54:5, "For your Maker is your husband." That would be if you're a man or woman, God is technically your husband. Amen? The Lord of hosts. Hosea 2:19 and 20, "I will betroth you to me forever." So you're not alone. The Lord is your spouse. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice, in love and kindness and mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness." But it's like, there's a little boy who is going to bed and he was nervous and it was raining outside and he said, "Dad can you lay in bed with me, I'm scared." And he says, "You're not alone, Jesus is with you. He said, "Yeah, but I want someone with skin." So the single people out there I say, you know, the Lord is with you in this. Yeah, I want someone, people, somebody with skin on, you know. I want a real person. Psalm 72:12, "For he will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also with no helper. You're never really alone with God. I've got more I can say but I'm out of time. We do have a good book that talks more about some of the things that said about singleness, marriage, divorce, remarriage. This is really a premium offer. If you don't have this, we encourage you to go and ask for it, we'll send it to you for free. And ask for… When you call the number, it's 866-788-3966. That's 866-Study-More. If you want to be able to download a PDF of this, you can text "SH125." That's SH125 texted to 40544. And if you call in, it's offer 831. God bless you, friends. We're out of time for today's study, Lord willing, we will do it again next Sabbath.

Don't forget to request today's life changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen. And be sure to select a digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with Amazing Facts wherever and whenever you want and most important, to share it with others.

Amazing Facts changed lives.

Early 1980s, all the baby boomers were turning 21. The nightclub scenes were exploding, and I started entertainment lighting company.

I was the president, and there were six divisions doing the raves in the '80s and '90s, you know, in some warehouse, where you're setting up lighting, and fog, and, you know, who knows what's going on in there, and nightclub, nightclub installations, I loved it, and it was who I was.

Bought a new house out of town, and we moved about two, three times, but we were always going to different churches. We're in a Lutheran church, and then we are in the Methodist church, I think we went to three different Baptist churches. My wife was raised Catholic, I was raised Methodist. Currently, I've been out reading all the Helen Zille books, and watching all the Left Behind movies. So I really wanted to understand what the Book of Revelation was all about, but nothing really ever made sense to me.

One day Pastor Lloyd Logan came knocking, and he had that Net 99 flyer.

We were preparing for an evangelistic series. And different people were going different directions with those handbills to invite people to the meetings.

I saw that coming at me, you know, all the colors, and I thought, "Oh, no, this is some kind of cult thing."

And she said, "Thank you very much, I'm not much interested myself, but my husband like that kind of thing."

Then Lloyd said, "Would you give it to him please?" And I said, "Okay, I will." So I took the pamphlet and I put in on the counter. Gary came home and he walked by it.

Ran to the kitchen to quickly eat, and take a shower, and go back out, and work a show.

Two, three days went by like this, and I moved that brochure from the counter, put it on the dining table, put it back on the counter, in fact I actually threw in the garbage. As I threw it in that garbage can, I could hear him, and see his face saying, "Would you give it to him, please?" And I actually took the garbage out, and that night lying in bed, I kept seeing his face and hearing his voice and thinking, "Oh, boy, I got to get that brochure out of the garbage." And I took that, and I put it right underneath remote control, bright colors, he'll see it.

I finally sat down in my living room, and I picked up the remote, I saw that angel holding up that scroll.

Wow, cool, what is this? And I was in the kitchen cooking, I thought, "Oh, no."

And I looked at it, and I turned it over, and then I saw a little building, little church building, and it wasn't too far away, it was about six houses down. And it said, "Friday night."

And I certainly wasn't going. I mean, it wasn't my intention to go.

I didn't have any shows going on that night. And so I thought it was a one night deal, and I went, and as I heard about the Millennium Man, I was just blown away. I didn't want it to end, I knew what I was hearing was all from the Scripture, and it wasn't based on Hollywood movies or other books that were written. They said, "Come again tomorrow night." And I thought, "Wow, great! Two nights. So I tried to tell my wife about it, and she still wasn't interested, and then she decided to come.

I started to hear the truth, you know, I started to get fed.

Every night after the seminar, he would hand us an Amazing Facts study guide. I couldn't do those fast enough.

The business kept us going seven days a week, and it was night and day.

Crew working all around the clock, and so when we finally heard the Sabbath message, you know, so far everything has been true right from the Bible.

Church on Saturday, no work, anyway it all clicked.

Both our heads turned at each other, our jaws dropped open.

I said, "We can't do that."

And the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "We have to."

I knew that it would be a sacrifice, and I was in fear about it.

We didn't know how we're going to do it, but we talked to the pastor about it, and the pastor said, "We'll just pray about it, and God will open door."

I didn't want to give up all the connections I made, all the networking, all the money, all the investment.

We went to the board and asked them if they would consider closing on Saturday, and they agreed to. So we closed the store front on Saturday, but we were still doing productions, and that kind of bothered us. So a couple of months later, God opened a door for my wife, she exited the company, I prayed about it, and God opened a door for me too.

Gary, shortly after, was offered a job being paid more money than he made as an owner of the company.

He said, "I will give you a $1,000 raise, and you will never work another weekend."

And we were able to keep the Sabbath and enjoy the wonderful blessings that God had for us on the Sabbath day.

And my kids never again had to say, "Quit talking about work." After the seminar, we'd go over, my wife and I, and my children were all baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Even if I gave up everything, I knew that God would have something better.

I have much more understanding, and there's much more depth in my Christian walk with the Lord.

We started an Amazing Facts Bible school at a church that allows anybody to understand the Scripture, to understand the end times. Church changed my life dramatically, and I'm very happy and excited to be a part of it.

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