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Summary: If marriages are the highest of all human relationships, why do so many fall apart? What can we do to prevent this kind of disaster from happening to us? (Based on a book by Bob Russell)

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David & Bathsheba: Preserving the Marriage

1 Kings 15:5

(Sixth in the series Marriage by the Book)

Introduction: David was a great man, distinguishing himself as a man of God, a composer of psalms, and a leader of men. Yet his record was not without blemish. David had problems with marriage. David was so involved with his work that he did not know who lived next store. Note 2 Sam. 11. One night while strolling on his balcony, he noticed a beautiful woman next door preparing for a bath. He did not look away. When David asked who she was, his servant informed her she was married (i.e., off limits) to Uriah, one of David’s soldiers. Many times when tempted, God provides a warning of some kind. We too often can forget the consequences of our sin and how many will be affected by it. But David had his way. Although David was a married man, Bathsheba was brought to him, and they committed adultery. She became pregnant. David tried to cover it up. Finally, he arranged for the murder of Uriah to cover his sin and married Bathsheba. The baby born to her eventually died.

Proposition: If marriages are the highest of all human relationships, why do so many fall apart? What can we do to prevent this kind of disaster from happening to us?

1. Why some marriages break down

Why do many people not take marriage vows seriously?

David had been spiritually drifting away for some time.

1 Sam. 18:20- 21: Saul arranged marriage to daughter Michal to trap & kill David

1 Sam. 19:11-12: Michal helped David escape

1 Sam. 19:13: Idols were in David’s home

2 Sam. 6:16-22: Resentment boiled over to sarcasm & unkindness.

God’s reaction to David’s reaction:

God did not say, “David, you have committed adultery with Bathsheba, but since you & Michal have had a rough time, I understand.”

Instead, he sent Nathan the prophet who boldly declared, “You’ve stolen your neighbor’s wife; you’ve despised the Word of the Lord; you’ve committed that which is evil in God’s eyes.”

Adultery is the ultimate offence to marriage.

Hebrews 13:4. the union between husband & wife is sacred & exclusive in God’s sight. Although there are a number of sins that are destructive to marriage, sexual sin severs sacred union.

2. Why some marriages thrive

We need to exercise prevention: Jude 24. Here are 5 suggestions:

1. Be fearful of the consequences

Fear can be a healthy deterrent to sin.

Rom. 6:23: “The wages of sin is _______, but the gift of God is eternal ______ in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

People who have unrealistic views of marriage most often have unrealistic views of divorce.

2. Be aware of vulnerability

Nobody is exempt. David, a man after God’s own heart, succumbed to temptation after reveling in his success.

Build the right hedges of protection around you. (Refer to excerpt from "Hedges" by Jerry Jenkins)

"One of the major causes of marital breakups in the Christian community is the lack of protective hedges that the spouse should plant around their marriage. Because of the new openness in society to interaction between the sexes, I have placed the following hedges aound my marriage:

Number one, whenever I need to meet or dine or travel with an unrelated woman I make it a threesome. Should an unavoidable last minute complication make this impossible, my wife hears from me first.

Number two, I am careful about touching. While I might shake hands or squeeze an arm or shoulder in greeting, I embrace only dear friends or relatives, and only in front of others.

Number three, if I pay a compliment it is on clothing or hair style, not on the person herself. Commenting on a pretty outfit is much different in my opinion than telling her that she herself looks really pretty.

Number four, I avoid flirtation or suggestive conversation even in jest.

Number five, I remind my wife often in writing and orally that I remember my wedding vows."

3. Watch for warning signs

Someone once said, “Marriages don’t blow up; they fizzle out.”

Be alert to the fact that the light may be flickering. Watch out for:

A) An increased desire for individual activity;

B) A decreased desire for sexual activity;

C) A decreased interest in the things of God and his church

D) An increased interest in worldly values and sin

4. Be creative in marriage

Refer to the letter Sullivan Ballou wrote to his wife on july 14, 1861, one week before he died in the first battle of Bull Run:

"It is my prayer that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battle field it will whisper your name.

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