Caleb’s Challenge, Part II

nabal-david

In our last lesson, we learned through Caleb’s son-in-law and daughter about the things we should consider when contemplating marriage in the end times. Othniel and Achsah possessed everything they needed to move their marriage forward: godly character, industriousness, and faith among other qualities. The marriage of this godly couple reveals a significant threat to God’s people in the end times. Through generations of uniting with many with little to no faith, Christian families that were once strong in their walk are now weak. This is a significant peril to God’s people as the world approaches the time of trouble and the coming of Jesus (Dan. 12:1).

But is this trend of spiritual mismatching as alarming as it sounds? How can the descendants of Caleb teach us about the danger of marrying those weak in or empty of the faith?

Those skeptical of such reasoning on our part can find the evidence of our assertion in the descendants of Caleb’s family. At their peak, the faithful family boldly claimed the land God promised to them. They overcame the sons of Anak the giant, conquered strongholds like Kirjath Sepher, and the newest member of their family was chosen to be Israel’s first judge (Josh. 15:13-17; Jdg. 3:9-11).

But from this high point in their history to the time of David, Caleb’s faithful life example was not properly passed down. Caleb’s challenge taught his family that only men and women of strong faith should be joined to them in marriage. This was the only way to preserve their family’s godly integrity and character.

But the family of Caleb gradually forsook this lesson and sought the sons and daughters of men, like those before them (Gen. 6:1-6). This lapse on the part of Caleb’s descendants gave rise to a generation among them that possessed a weaker faith and a baser character than their fathers. This case is plainly seen in the life of Nabal the Carmelite.

A descendant of Caleb and an affluent businessman, Nabal was known by his house and his neighbors for being “churlish and evil in his doings” (1 Sam. 25:3, 4). Even after learning that David and his men protected his shepherds and sheep, Nabal refused to provide them with provisions. He insulted the future king of Israel and chose to keep his provisions unto himself (1 Sam. 25:4-11). Such an evil course threatened his life and his household, for David purposed in his heart to utterly destroy him and all that appertained to him (1 Sam. 25:12, 13, 20-22).

Do not the actions of this fallen son of Caleb reflect the condition of the Laodicean church, the condition that the church is now in today? (Rev. 3:14-17). Was not the early Christian church once as mighty in word and in deed as the family of Caleb? Have we not seen the same pattern of spiritual degeneration among us because we choose, like the antediluvians, to marry the sons and daughters of men and not the sons and daughters of God? These forbidden unions have produced a generation whose very thoughts continue to grow “evil continually” (Gen. 6:1, 2, 6).

Each of these generations (the antediluvians, the family of Caleb, and the many after them) eventually reached a point when judgment was openly declared against them. Can we expect anything less to befall our church if we knowingly choose to continue in the same gross error? Consider your ways, O Israel!

The question now is, “What must our generation consider and do as they contemplate marriage in the days before the coming of Jesus? How can we avoid the spiritual degeneration of our faith that prevailed in the family of Caleb and, even now, in the family of God?”

  1. Ask God to prepare you for marriage. Many marriages either wade in misery or fail completely because those who entered into it did not prepare themselves for this lifelong union. Some of the ways God gave us to prepare for it are:
    1. Prayer and Bible study
    2. The counsel of godly couples and families
    3. The challenges of life
    4. Our labor in the Lord’s work

These things are designed by God to prepare us for marriage and handle its responsibilities as they prepared Caleb, Achsah, and Othniel. They strengthen faith and commitment to the Lord and bring husband and wife together under the divine standard of His Word.

  1. Seek out like-minded people. Those who seek godly spouses should seek out He who guides them first. When he or she finds Him, they will find He whom the Lord has appointed for them. Nobility of character, modesty of apparel, and simplicity of diet are among the many qualities in those preparing for the return of Jesus Christ. These are qualities we should have and the qualities we should look for in our mates for life.
  1. Do not rely on passion or physical feelings as an indicator of love or readiness for marriage. True love is gradually cultivated. It is founded on biblical principles and trust in God. As the man and the woman vest their time and their care into growing their relationship, love will eventually blossom. When the two come before the Lord, He will approve their union and bless it as they enter into His marriage covenant.

   Marriages founded on passion or feelings alone are the exact kinds of marriages that   compromised the sons of God in the beginning (Gen.6:2).  Just because they look good    to you doesn’t mean they’re good for you. In fact, they will work against you.

As we approach the promised time, we must labor to prevent the spiritual degeneration of our people by preparing for marriage in God’s way. Only by putting His biblical counsel into practice can we build our faith and our houses. Marrying the faithless ultimately destroyed the faithful throughout the ages. Dare we to continue repeating the same error as the coming of Christ approaches? Should we not seek to escape this spiritual conundrum before it is too late?

The history of Caleb’s family highlighted the two paths that our marriages will take us in the end days. They will either lead us to God as we move forward in faith or they will lead us away from Him through the indulgence of our passions and our feelings. The cases of Othniel, Achsah, and Nabal clearly demonstrated this.

 May those who seek eternal life take on Caleb’s challenge to take down the strongholds that keep us from claiming God’s promises. They who conquer these challenges will strengthen their faith and prepare themselves for their future spouses, who will also stand for God in the last days. It is they who will move forward; will you and your spouse be among them?

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