And the sun stood still

I've had this post on my heart for quite some time but I've been hesitant to share it.  Not because I don't completely believe every word.  Not at all.  But I fear that some extrapolations of it might cause someone to feel condemnation or defeat.  Where there is none.  So, if you've made a different decision than the one urged in this post, please don't think I am judging you or denouncing you.  This post is meant to encourage those still in the fight.  To give hope and strength.  Please know that.

Sometimes marriage doesn't turn out like the fairytales promise.  (Make that "never" instead of "sometimes"...)  Sometimes things get really bad and feelings of desperation set in.  I've seen it happen hundreds of times.  Then feelings of regretted decisions follow.  As in "I never should have married him"  etc.  There may be times where those regrets are legitimate. But don't let the wrong action make it worse. The consequential decisions have critical repercussions and the fallout is forever.  Good and bad.  Forever.

If you're in a marriage that you think never should have happened, and if you are thinking about calling it quits, I ask that you wait.  And read this passage from Joshua 10 -

But first a little background.....

The Israelites were under the leadership of Joshua.  Moses was gone and Joshua was in charge.  He was doing a great job, except for one mistake.  He made a decision without asking God for input. The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.  Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. (Joshua 9:14,15)

Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal - Joshua making peace with these folks.  In fact, it sounds like a good thing, doesn't it?  Except that God had said not to.  He repeatedly told Joshua to be careful to observe all that He had commanded Moses to do.  And His instructions to Moses included making no covenant with the inhabitants of the land He was giving them (Exodus 23:31-33).
But Joshua was deceived by the group of Gibeonites that came asking for a covenant of peace.  They said they were from far away when in fact, they were inhabitants of the land that God had promised to Israel.  Making a peace treaty with them would be a direct violation of God's command. 

Shouldn't we let Josh off the hook?  I mean, seriously, he was a great leader and this error wasn't his fault.  These Gibeonites lied to him!  Not his fault at all!

Except that it was his fault.  He acted without asking God what to do.  Big mistake.  Costly one.

OK, so we'll go with that.  But then, once he found out the truth and realized his error, he could be released from this covenant, right?

In a word, NO.  We see in this passage (and over and over throughout Scripture) how seriously God takes covenants.  The covenant of marriage is His picture to the world of His commitment to us.  Once God enters into a  covenant, HE DOES NOT LEAVE.  He commits Himself to us forever.
And when God's people made a covenant - even one with the deceitful Gibeonites - He would not allow them to leave.  He required that His people live up to the promises made and not only live in peace with these people but also protect them from harm. 

Wow.  God expected a lot of His people, didn't He?

But look what He did on their behalf!!!! Let me warn you - this is so exciting you might need to sit down.  This is positively awesome.  And true.

 The Gibeonites were being attacked by five other nations.  It looked hopeless.  They sent word to Joshua, informing him of their plight and reminding him that their covenant relationship bound him to fight for them, to protect them, to come to their aid.
I can't help but wonder if Cap'n Josh had a moment where he thought, "They deserve to be defeated after what they did to me".  But Scripture doesn't tell us that.  What it does say is that Joshua went to their aid.

More importantly, God came to Joshua's aid.

7So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”
9After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
12On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself onb its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel
Notice that not only did the Israelites prevail, the Gibeonites were preserved and the true enemy was annihilated. 
If you are in a covenant that's being attacked, even a covenant that you never should have made, I am praying that you will follow Joshua's example and ask God to rain down hailstones on the enemy and even to make the sun stand still while He defeats the one who desires your destruction.  That enemy is not your covenant partner.