Divorce: Not Commanded by God but Allowed (from continuing series on Marriage and Family)

Today’s message of November 6, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Divorce is never commanded by God but it is allowed.

God hates divorce.  He knows the pain and damage that it brings, and only He can heal it.

Malachi 2:16

If he hates and divorces his wife, says the Lord God of Israel, he covers his garment with injustice, says the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.

Divorce scars everyone in the entire family.  It hurts children the most, because what was once stable and secure at one time is no longer the case.

In the beginning, marriage was the union of a male and female (Adam and Eve), and there was no divorce.

When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, they tried to see if they could trap Him into something that would put Him in a negative light.  Not long before this dialogue, John the Baptist was beheaded for his comments of disapproval over Herod and his marriage to his sister.

Matthew 14:3-4

For Herod had arrested John, chained him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, since John had been telling him, “It’s not lawful for you to have her!”

Matthew 19:4-12

Havent you read, He replied, that He who created[a] them in the beginning made them male and female, and He also said:

For this reason a man will leave

his father and mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two will become one flesh?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.

Why then, they asked Him, did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?

He told them, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning. And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

His disciples said to Him, If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, its better not to marry!

But He told them, Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those it has been given to. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mothers womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.

Exodus 20:14

Do not commit adultery.

 

God deals with adultery as He is forming a people for Himself.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (dealing with Jewish women)

Deuteronomy 24:10-14 (dealing with a foreigner)

Nehemiah 10:30

We will not give our daughters in marriage to the surrounding peoples and will not take their daughters as wives for our sons.

Ezra 9:1 (detestable practices)

Ezra 9:2 (mingling of the holy race)

Ezra 9:14 (intermarrying with people who commit detestable practices)

Ezra 10:3 (sending away)

Ezra 10:11 (separate)

God calls us to separate ourselves to Him

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what dies a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.

1 Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

With all of this, a Christian should never marry an unbeliever under the premise that he or she can “change” the other person.

All the schools of thought were in agreement that divorce was lawful.  The only question was as to the grounds for the divorce.  Why should it take place? (Note that God did not originally put into place any provisions for divorce.  He did not want to lower the standard of marriage.)

Jesus holds to the original plan…divorce was not the option to take.

What divorce does reveals is that what we often don’t want to face…it shows that God understands that, in a fallen world, the ideal of marriage can not always be realized.  God’s best for us is not always acceptable to us.

At a given time, God’s ideal for us is not always achievable.  His ideal doesn’t change to accommodate the failures of people.

God has given man the truth from the very beginning, but man has not always accepted it, and has made truth whatever he or she wants to accomplish.

John 18:37-38

“You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” “What is truth?” said Pilate.

1 Samuel 8:6-9, 19-20

When they said, Give us a king to judge us, Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord told him, Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.

The people refused to listen to Samuel. No! they said. We must have a king over us. Then well be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.

 

Just as God never commanded remarriage of divorced couples, this doesn’t mean that He never permits it.  Note that the idea of divorcing someone for the sole purpose of marrying someone else is indeed adultery.  Adultery takes place in the mind and the heart of a person well before the bill of divorce was given.

If you wind up marrying three or four times, then it is time to try marriage according to God’s way rather than your own way.

There is a difference between what God commands and what He allows.

The subject of divorce is spoken of in greater detail in the book of Mark (written originally to the Romans–in Roman culture both men and women could write certificates of divorce).

Mark 10:1-12

He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on Him again and, as He usually did, He began teaching them once more. Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?

He replied to them, What did Moses command you?

They said, Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.

But Jesus told them, He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.

For this reason a man will leave

his father and mother

[and be joined to his wife],

and the two will become one flesh.

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.

Now in the house the disciples questioned Him again about this matter. And He said to them, Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

 

When you send someone away you lose the right to have authority over the other person.

God does allow divorced couples to remarry as He recognizes the fallen state of man.  He offers forgiveness and mercy throughout the process.

If you make up your mind to marry according to God’s way, there is a better chance that the marriage will last.  God’s expectations are for the husband to be a godly man and for the wife to be a godly woman.  That standard has never changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About melvingaines

I am a communications professional, author and speaker with years of experience as a business owner and corporate supervisor. My philosophy is “excellence in leadership-by-example with integrity and without compromise.” I am a member of the National Association of Black Accountants and served as President of the National Association of Credit Management, Greater Akron (OH). I have also held memberships with the American Collectors Association International, Inc. and the Commercial Law League of America. I am Church Administrator and Sunday school instructor at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church in Akron, Ohio. I have taught adult Sunday school for over 25 years and facilitated numerous bible studies and church cell group sessions. Every now and then, I fill in for the pastor with a sermon. I am a longtime advocate of Christian-based elementary and high school education. I am a graduate of The University of Akron with a degree in Business and Organizational Communication, and recently earned a Master’s degree in Christian Studies at Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minnesota. I am also a member of the Chaplains Association of Ohio, and involved in Clinical Pastoral studies for possible full or part-time chaplaincy. I am a native of Cleveland, Ohio and I am married to my lovely childhood sweetheart, Lynn. View all posts by melvingaines

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