Selected Sunday Scriptures- #53

The selected passages and verses from today owe themselves to a comment left at this post by Scott over at the Courtship Pledge. The full comment, left by someone going by “Dave,”  can be found here. This will be a more pointed post than is normal, because I take some exception to the comment. If you read the comment, you will have seen that the gist of Dave’s comment is twofold: 1) men should have faith that they will marry, and 2) there are plenty of marriageable women there.  I’m going to address both points, and in that order.

Dave cites the Book of Proverbs to make the point that a good wife is a gift from the Lord. I don’t dispute this. However, I do disagree with his assertion that men cannot be cynical and have faith at the same time. Speaking only for myself here, I am highly cynical when it comes to human beings but still have a strong faith in God. I don’t believe this view is is in any way contrary to Christian teaching and doctrine. I mean, how can it be when you have Scripture like this:

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
    there is none that does good.

God looks down from heaven
    upon the sons of men
to see if there are any that are wise,
    that seek after God.

They have all fallen away;
    they are all alike depraved;
there is none that does good,
    no, not one.

Have those who work evil no understanding,
    who eat up my people as they eat bread,
    and do not call upon God?

(Psalm 53:1-4)

That is a pretty dark and dismal view of mankind. Yet David (that great and flawed man that he was) also said this:

There they are, in great terror,
    in terror such as has not been!
For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;
    they will be put to shame, for God has rejected them.

O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
    When God restores the fortunes of his people,
    Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad.

(Psalm 53:5-6)

It seems pretty clear to me that David still had faith in the Lord. He still believed that God could and would fulfill his promises. But that didn’t prevent him from having a healthy dose of cynicism.

This brings me to this part of his comment:

You see, when we walk with God, our faith/expectations/beliefs dictate our experiences. If we believe that nothing good is in store for us, nothing good will be in store for us. If we believe that there are no more good women that we can marry, there will be no good women available for us, though that does not mean there are no good women left, but only that none of them will be for us.

 He cites a Psalm in support, and let me offer another one:

Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
His descendants will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house;
    and his righteousness endures for ever.

(Psalm 112:1-3)

There is just one problem with all of this: as Christians we understand that the good we receive for God might not come in this world.

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.

(Matthew 19:28-30)

The danger with Dave’s approach is he is leading men towards an expectation that good will come to them in this life. This can easily morph into a sense of entitlement, with all the danger that goes with it. But even with that aside, that expectation may not be fulfilled. There is no guarantee of it. As others have pointed out, God always answers our prayers, and sometimes the answer is “NO.” Unfortunately, a man who goes through life expecting to find a worthy woman, and who doesn’t will find his faith severely tested. More than a few men in the ‘sphere can attest to this, and a fair few have lost their faith as a result.

A better approach for a man, in my opinion, is to go through life expecting  not to marry. Expect to suffer and go without, and not simply when it comes to marriage. We are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross. That may well entail suffering, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. “For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.” (1 Peter 3:17) If something good does happen, don’t treat it like you expected it all along. Treat it as the gift that it rightfully is. Something undeserved that merits appreciation and thanks directed to God.

Finally, there is his blanket claim here (which he states in different ways elsewhere):

I wish the men remembered this, that even as we speak, there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of women in the US who are chaste, who are beautiful, and who long to establish God-honoring families with God-fearing men. To find them, you have to look for them. If you believe that there is none left, then you won’t find any, because you do not seek it “in faith” (Romans 9:32 ).

Of course, there is no evidence provided to back up this assertion. Furthermore, his argument that you won’t find any if you don’t believe they exist because you lack (or don’t seek in) faith is based on a twist interpretation of Romans that would impress a Pretzel maker. Let me offer a competing, and far more on point, bit of Scripture:

25 I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness which is madness. 26 And I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters; he who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, 28 which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.

(Ecclesiastes 7:25-29)

Now, does that mean there are no righteous women out there? Of course not. But it surely does a better job of refuting Dave’s point than any of the Scripture he has cited has done to support it.

Here is the thing- I don’t think there are hundreds of thousands of women out there who fit the bill that Dave provides. Nor do I think they are necessarily hundreds of thousands of men who possess the opposite set of valuable traits. The truth is that things are really, really bad right now. And it isn’t an act of Hope to pretend that they aren’t as bad as they are- it is a delusion. Our faith doesn’t require that we set aside reason or realism. 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) Being wise as a serpent is enough to warn us that these are dark times, and that suitable mates are few and far between.

So, my counter-advice to men that Dave was addressing is this:

Be as wise as a serpent, and don’t expect to find a worthy woman to be your wife. Yet at the same time don’t give up; keep on knocking and searching. God will give us what is good, only He does it on His timeline.

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14 Comments

Filed under Selected Sunday Scriptures

14 responses to “Selected Sunday Scriptures- #53

  1. I’m more on your end, and want to add two points.

    The first you started to get at, but I’ll take it further. We should be glad to have this cross as men. We should find joy in the trial of finding a wife, as it is the cross given to us. We are able to come closer to understanding Christ’s trials. And not just his passion, but the entire fact that he was coming to a chosen people that God had loved since the dawn of time, who constantly turned away from him. Yet still he came, offering patience and love to all that would follow him.

    Yet, of the great multitudes he found a mere 12 apostles. And of the twelve, only one that came back after running in the garden to stand beneath the cross.

    Which leads me to the next point. As men, as we search for a helpmeet, we will have to deal with the world. There will be a great many around us, a mere fraction of which are those that will listen or show any concern. And we only get one woman to stand beneath the cross with us. To her we give the title wife, give our love, and lead her up Calvary. So we must love the world, and women, in the same manner. We must realize that it will be a trial, and remember that as Christ finds us men imperfect, yet still leads us should we take his hand in love; so we will find women imperfect when we meet them. We must look for the woman ready and willing to take our hands as we lead her to God through Christ.

    Long points, but I hope they make sense and add to everyones life. His view, as you said, is false. Yet to be ‘cynical’ is also damaging, unless you merely are meaning you are realistic. If so, though, I would encourage you to avoid use or thoughts of the word, as it does have a very different meaning from real truth, and one that leads us away from joyfully enduring our pilgrimage here on earth.

  2. Chad,

    He said cynicism, but I think realism is a better descriptor of what Dave was getting at. Although I think that the Merriam-Webster dictionary works too: ” beliefs that people are generally selfish and dishonest.” That seems pretty realistic to me. I don’t see that realistic understanding of human nature as something that would lead us astray.

  3. No, it is a good thing to know and acknowledge. yet still we love, despite such inclination of most we encounter.

  4. Exactly. We should realize and acknowledge the imperfect of our fellow human beings, and then love them all the more ardently for it. After all, that is what God did, and does, for us everyday.

  5. Yes.

    My most recent pursuit is one that I would have never expected. I think she’s 26 (older by 5 years than any other I’ve pursued since red pill/converting), comes from a divorced family, is a convert, and is possibly going to be a long distance courtship. Yet… she’s the most spiritually mature woman I’ve met, and all conversation centers around God. She spent years discerning a vocation, and has never dated or courted or even had interest shown before myself.

    Yet, for all that, every conversation with her draws me closer to God, and I believe she’s interested in following.

    I offer such not as a rule, but as an example. Even if nothing happens, God has chosen to humble me by showing how mere expectations, checklists, concerns, and red flags… can be overcome by a soul desiring to do so. You can use them for a guide, but the gift God gives you may break all expectations and plans we have. A very humbling lesson after all the time I’ve spent in this corner of the Internet, qnd one I offer only because it may help others here to remember the same.

  6. Thanks for sharing that Chad. Whatever happens, I wish the best for both of you.

    As far as red flags and checklists, I’m trying to keep myself to as few fixed requirements as possible.

  7. Good to hear. I have had to change that, myself. I think a great deal of that was do to myself. The more growth I have, the less I need those, and yet… the more I expect in her relationship with God. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe what seeing some of the results of very traditional circles have wrought as the seek to find the old ways. Much of beauty, but also some useless constructs that get in the way.

  8. Maybe I need to experience it myself Chad to fully understand. I think it is important to differentiate between “red flags” and “affirmative” requirements.

  9. mdavid

    DG, A better approach for a man, in my opinion, is to go through life expecting not to marry.

    I agree with this. Good marriage is a gift, not a right. It’s a taste of the fruits of God, not heaven itself.

    Children are a “type” of our future bodily immorality. A gift here and now of God’s future promise of baptism.

    Marriage is a “type” of heaven. Where one can have full unity with another person and start to eliminate mutual sins to create heaven on earth.

  10. mdavid

    DG, Expect to suffer and go without, and not simply when it comes to marriage. We are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross.

    I have been thinking about this for some time. Whilst I agree with the basic sentiment that life is hard and suffering is finding Christ himself, I strongly disagree with this view as a practical approach to courtship or as a general approach to life. Joy should be our watchword.

    What I mean: not getting married should not be “suffering” or “going without”. I was single for 10 years of independent life and married for nearly 20. I didn’t view those 10 years a suffering…nor the 20 as non-suffering. Both were hard work. Both had advantages. Each was a vocation in itself.

    My biggest regret of those 10 years was not being outstanding enough as a bachelor. Not living life to it’s fullest. Not going to enough parties. Not dating enough. Not making dinner for friends. Not being the life of the party. Not dancing enough. Not filling the black book with enough contacts. Not smiling enough. Not NEXTing enough. Not reading enough. Not working harder. An unmarried man should be active, working like crazy. He should assume he will remain unmarried because where would he find the time for a wedding? Men like this have something to offer a woman, and they tend not to stay loose for long unless their standards are incredibly high.

  11. @ Chad

    Exactly. The more I care about God, the more I want a woman to care about God over me. That will put her in the right place to accept all of what the Scriptures say, which orders everything in this life correctly.

  12. DJ

    In all honest viable marriage candidates of both sexes are mighty thin on the ground. There just aren’t that many reasonably attractive, not stupid, true christians, with a middling level of maturity.
    Tldr: Not enough men or women worth marrying, so what the point of dwelling on it.

  13. NZT

    Great OP. I see this attitude a lot among women, that “I just know in my heart that God wants me to find a husband”, and I don’t doubt there are guys who have a similar attitude. It fails to understand the essential truth you lay out, that Christianity doesn’t promise us that we’ll get what we want in this world. Our desires may be frustrated for any of a million reasons. We might get hit by a bus tomorrow. We should have strong hope of eternal life against which all our worldly troubles will seem insignificant, but that doesn’t mean we’ll get that promotion or get hitched or win the lottery, even if we really, really, really want it. We definitely shouldn’t hang our faith on the realization of some worldly ambition, rather we should be willing to sacrifice all our ambitions for the sake of faith (to the extent our fallen natures will allow).

    As for the bit about “if you don’t look for a wife, you won’t find one”, well no shit. But he thinks that proves that anyone who does look will be successful, which sounds like a case of felony logic abuse.

  14. DJ, I would agree its not worth dwelling on. Still, that does raise the question of when it is appropriate to bring it up….

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