Read Hebrews 13:4-6
Keep in mind that our reading today comes from the Preacher’s closing remarks. As such, we encounter those important “last-minute details” we mustn’t overlook. These few verses handle three hot-button items: Marriage, Sex, and Money.
Times haven’t changed that much because we could agree those are highly relevant topics still today. What wisdom can we glean for ourselves?
Honor Marriage: Next to God, our spouses should be top priority. We need to bring a reverence to that relationship that is special from all other relationships. Unfortunately, marriage relationships take a blow from the busyness of life. Once the courtship is over, children come on the scene, and bills start piling up. What happens to the romance? What happens when couples let their marriage love drift apart? The Bible warns us to keep marriage a priority by honoring it.
There are so many creative ways these days, for little or no money, to keep some “spice” in a marriage. However, both husband and wife must be equally devoted to maintaining a successful marriage. I’ve always believed that a couple that prays together stays together. If married, do you ever pray with your spouse?
Don’t be Immoral. What exactly does that mean? To be “immoral” assumes one has total disregard for any code of ethics or moral compass. The Preacher seems to casually link immoral behavior with adultery, so my brain immediately goes to other sexual practices that are seen as immoral in the words of Scripture. Certainly, immoral behavior could include anything that dishonors or displeases God.
The penalty for such behavior is to be judged by God. While we will all come face to face with God, I don’t want his thoughts of me to be negative from all the “immoral” things I’ve done. To be a believer and still act in ways known to displease God seems foolish. We will be judged for those times we are willfully disobeying God. That makes total sense really.
Don’t love money. This is a hard one for people. We all know people who strive for the recognition and success only wealth accumulation can bring. It’s like an uncontrollable urge. The focus on financial position can often be consuming, crowding God out of his rightful place as Lord of our lives. Yet we know God wants to be part of our lives.
When we get too keen on money and forget about God, imagine how God feels. You can see why the Preacher is warning us to be “satisfied with what you have.” The Bible speaks of money in many different places. Money isn’t bad in itself. However, when our attitude and ambition to have more and more money chokes out all other relationships, especially our relationship with God, that’s bad.
Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or drawing on a trust fund left by your favorite uncle, money is a necessary “tool.” We need it as a means of exchange for goods and services to satisfy our daily needs. Can you say that you are “content” with your bank accounts, income, or financial resources?
The promise of God that closes out today’s reading can sustain us in all circumstances. In case the Preacher had just rocked their world with these parting thoughts, he reminds us that God never leaves us. “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” What a peace-provoking promise! Those words follow immediately after the warning about loving money. Cling to this promise no matter what.
The Preacher then puts words in our mouth. “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Repeat those words as often as you need to today to remind yourself who is helping you and what your response is.
Let’s pray. Lord God, thank you for how you help me each day. May I be better at relying on your strength and provision. I am more than content knowing that you are by my side. I will trust that you will never leave me or abandon me. May my focus be on serving you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.