The Tainting of Torah, Part 2
Q: Kevin, I so want to obey our Adonai and be faithful to Torah and the rest of His Word, but I feel singly married because my husband, who loves God so much, still wants to go to our church on Sunday (he works on Saturday – Aargh!). Thank you.
A: It’s clear that you feel conflicted between your desire to be faithful to the Torah and your husband’s desire to continue in traditional Christianity. Obviously, it has reached a critical level if you are having feelings of being “singly married.” I empathize with your inner struggle—it is not easy to feel like you are being led by the Master in a way that is contrary to your spouse. That said, may I please make a suggestion that could not only help heal this growing rift in your marriage, but might draw you both closer to the ways of the Master? Trust your husband—who, in your own words, “loves God so much”—to lead you and care for you in this regard.
Believe me when I say that I understand your desire to be faithful to God’s Word. All the more reason why Paul’s exhortation to wives should be taken to heart: “…to your own husbands submit yourselves, as to the Master, because the husband is head of the wife, as also the Messiah is head of the Called-Forth [community], and He is savior of the body…” (Ephesians 5:22-23). It would be a deeply unfortunate irony to so vigorously pursue the Torah while forgetting that the Torah itself also asserts a husband’s authority over his wife (Genesis 3:16, Numbers 30:6-8). Moreover, I have no doubt that if you will honor and follow your husband in this—and do so wholeheartedly—then your husband will not be hindered in his covenantal obligation and responsibility to “love [you], as also the Messiah loved the Called-Forth [community], and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) I have seen women repeatedly bring new life to their marriages through genuine love for and submission to their husbands, causing the men to care for and protect their wives like never before.
Regrettably, your situation is not unique. This is often the fruit that some so-called “Torah teachers” bear, bringing destruction upon “whole households” (Titus 1:11)—ripping them apart by convincing one spouse that Torah-keeping (or a version of it) is more important than the integrity of marriage. This should not be! When the Master said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Mt. 10:34), I am pretty sure that aborting marriages is not what He meant.
Let’s say, for sake of argument, that a husband was being rebellious against God by not going along with his wife in her Torah observance. Even if that were so (and it does not seem to be the case here), it would still not release the woman from her wifely obligation to her husband. As Keifa says, “Likewise, the wives, be submitted to your own husbands, that even if certain [ones] are disobedient to the word, through the behavior of the wives, without the word, they may be won, having seen your pure behavior in fear” (1Keifa 3:1-2). Keifa’s instructions are plain: even if a husband is “disobedient to the word,” the wife is to submit to him and win him over through the way she treats him—not by trying to make him obedient to the word.
Please hear my heart—I am not judging you, or your marriage. On the contrary, it is entirely possible you may have fallen victim to some very bad teaching, and the distance you feel from your husband is the result of it. Please prayerfully consider that the desire in you for Torah has been tainted, and may be leading you in an unhealthy direction, especially as far as your husband is concerned. Please consider tempering your zeal with submission to and respect for the man you love (and who loves you)! Paul says that “the Torah is good, provided one uses it lawfully” (1Timothy 1:8). Ask yourself if you really think Yeshua wants you to be the cause of tension in (or worse, ruin of) your marriage just for the sake of “Torah.”
The Master tells us not to “neglect the weightier things of the Torah—the judgment, and the kindness, and the faithfulness” while obsessing about the lesser things (Matthew 23:23). He teaches us that all the Torah and the Prophets hang on our attitude of love (Matthew 22:36-40)—that we cannot rightly keep a single command without it. Please let me encourage you: as first order of business, be a blessing and a helper to your husband—submitting to him as your loving and self-sacrificial leader (even if he doesn’t act like it!). Then, watch how the Master will grow you together—as you follow His lead and His Word… as one.
What do you think? Weigh in with your comments below.
This “Gentile Chronicles” article was originally published in condensed form in Messianic Jewish Issues. The Gentile Chronicles is a recurring feature in Messianic Jewish Issues, and is part of Perfect Word’s developing “Gentile Initiative” designed to explicitly build up Gentile believers in Yeshua.