Better To Dwell In The Wilderness

Numerous are the passages which exalt marriage.  Proverbs 18:22a, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing.”  Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that a man should be alone…”  Proverbs 3:10, “Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above the rubies.”  Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all.”  Proverbs 5:18b, “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.”

A good marriage can be a wonderful blessing.  In a good marriage the husband and wife help and complement one another.  In a good marriage the husband and wife help one another walk the Christian life and encourage and edify one another toward Heaven.

But not all marriages are like this.  The Bible so warns.  Proverbs 21:9, “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”  Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and an angry woman.”  Proverbs 25:24, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”  Proverbs 19:13b, “The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”  Proverbs 27:15: “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”

Consider the marriage between Walter Scott and Eliza Sandidge.  This was Walter’s third marriage.  He was married first to Sarah Whitsette from 1823 to 1849, when she died.  He then married Nannie Allen.  This marriage lasted from 1850 to 1854 when she too passed on.  In 1855 he married a widow, Eliza Sandidge.  He would be married to her until his death in 1861.  This was a most unhappy marriage by all accounts.

Before we look at the marriage, understand that Walter Scott was a great preacher, and an important preacher during restoration days.  One man, Darby Phillips, wrote, “Alexander Campbell provided the intellectual direction of the Restoration, but it was Walter Scott who provided the evangelistic fervor.”  Robert Richardson, Campbell’s own biographer wrote, “Among the helpers and fellow laborers of Alexander Campbell the first place must be awarded to Walter Scott.”  William Baxter, Scott’s biographer, wrote comparing Walter Scott and Alexander Campbell, “Campbell never fell below the expectations of the hearers, Scott frequently did; but there were times when he rose to a height of eloquence which the former never equaled.”  Walter Scott probably baptized more souls into Christ than any one of the Restoration pioneers.  In the year 1827 he baptized over 1000 people – in one year alone!  Alexander Campbell wrote following Walter’s death, “Next to my father, he was my most indefatigable fellow laborer… I knew him well… I knew him long… I loved him much.”

In 1855 at the age of 59, Walter married Eliza.  Walter’s new wife was wealthy, but tight with money.  Walter was tender-hearted and often gave away nearly everything he made.  On one occasion, he went to the store for groceries and ended up giving all away before he got back home.  Once, he gave a neighbor one of his cows since he had two and his neighbor had none.  Once, Alexander Campbell gave him a $5 gold coin following a sermon.  That same day, Walter and Alexander met a beggar, and Walter reached into his pocket and gave the man a gold coin.

Needless to say, the way Walter handled money and his wife’s view of money soon brought about much conflict.  Walter and Eliza fought.  “Scott’s third wife… would storm at him and run him out of the house.  Often he spent the night sitting on the doorstep of a neighbor.  Once she ran him off from home.  Several days later he was found walking the streets of Cincinnati in a daze”  (The Search for Ancient Order, vol. 1, page 86).  Walter was very often sad and melancholy.

Maybe the fault was not all her’s.  Maybe he should have been more careful in handling the family’s money.  But how miserable he was.  How miserable the marriage.

Be very choosy in selecting a mate.  Marry someone who will help you to be more spiritually minded, more Christ like, more productive.  Marry someone who will help you get to heaven.

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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