God & Divorce
Criteria for divorce is very strict
The issue of divorce is never an easy topic to discuss. So many people have their own opinions on the subject and use scriptures very loosely to justify their decisions to divorce.
Some people use the wording of Deut. 24:1 to make a feminist case since they do not find anywhere in scripture the words ‘sending away the husband.’ these people claim that women are subordinate to men but that is just grasping at straws.
The people who hold to that position try hard to usurp the man’s role in the family and try hard to elevate women to a position of authority God did not grant her. As one reads the 24th chapter Divorce was very difficult to obtain in the Old Testament.
Permission came from Moses
It may be assumed that God gave those restrictions to Moses when he gave the latter the Mosaic law. But when we read Matthew 19:8 we find that Jesus states that it was Moses who granted the permission.
The reason given exposes the condition of the heart of the old testament Hebrews. Jesus said Moses caved because of the hardness of the hearts of the people. That is why he said the men could divorce their wives with relative ease.
Jesus also said that before Moses gave God’s law divorce was even harder to get. Those words from Jesus give us a clue as to the condition of people today. For many decades the laws and criteria granting divorce have become more and more relaxed.
It is not hard to connect the dots here and see that as modern man became more sinful and strayed further from God their hearts grew harder. It is because of that hardness of heart that the laws and criteria for divorce were changed.
The Church follows suit
In one discussion I had with a woman about divorce, she told me her pastor had shown her that abandonment was also a reason that a couple could get divorced. Where that pastor got that information was not revealed but most likely it was 1 Cor. 7 where Paul talks about the unbelieving spouse leaving the home.
Unfortunately for [people who think that chapter is releasing believers from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount restriction they will be disappointed. Paul does not over rule Jesus with his words
All Paul says is to let the unbeliever leave. He does not invalidate Jesus’ words no add to them. Paul does not give permission for believers to divorce when they are abandoned by their mates.
In cases of abuse, the Church seems to be in favor of divorce or it may just be individual Christian friends who tell their abused friends to divorce the abusive spouse. Those people are misguided as well.
I Peter 3:1 gives clear instructions that if men are being disobedient to God’s instructions, the wives are not to divorce their husbands. They are also told by the apostle to be submissive to their husbands. Even abuse does not free women from the command to submit to their husbands.
Finally, a lot of men and women are convicted of crimes and sent to prison. The subsequent action in many cases has the free spouse divorcing their convicted mates. There is actually a website offering women help to divorce their imprisoned husbands.
The first paragraph of that website, in fact the first sentence, states that women can divorce their husbands if they so choose. The bad news is that website author is wrong.
Twice , in Matthew 5 & 19, Jesus states that divorce is restricted to immorality and any other reason has the two possibly committing sin. One can argue that Jesus did not ban all reasons for adultery but that is a weak argument.
So even being locked up in prison does not mean that the free spouse has permission to divorce their mates. Both the husband and wife should be standing by their imprisoned mates showing them the love of God, hoping to bring the convict to repentance.
Everyone has read the statistics and everyone knows that about half of all marriages end up in divorce. But again, that is due to the hardness of people’s hearts and the sin nature of those same hearts. Lust also plays a powerful role as men and women lust after the opposite on a daily basis.
That lust, if left unattended ends up with men and women committing adultery. Divorce does not stop that sin from taking place. Even though the laws and criteria instituted by human governments make divorce easy to get, the biblical rules are ot changed by the creation of those laws.
God does not go by man’s thinking.
God’s view on Divorce
And it is God’s view that we should be considering only here. Just because a man has a lousy wife and vice versa does it mean that we can ignore God’s feelings and go get a divorce.
Malachi 2:16 has God telling everyone very clearly about how he feels about divorce. He plainly states that he ‘hates divorce’. There is no room for any other interpretation and those words are consistent with Jesus’ words, in both Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9 when he said ‘what God has joined together, let no man separate.’
The key words are ‘let no man separate’. In other words husbands should not be separating themselves from their wives if God has joined them together. The same goes for women as well. Women are not given permission to divorce their husbands unless immorality has taken place.
Some final words
The church would probably save itself a lot of problems if it abided by God’s word and stopped letting the secular world influence it. New believers are to learn how God wants things done and not try to change those ways by saying, ‘well we did it this way in the secular world.’
Abiding by God’s word is key and that is a good thing because even if people do get divorced, there is still grace to be forgiven for their actions. But grace is not permission or justification to divorce outside of the rules that both God and Jesus laid down.
Read what Paul says on the subject in Romans 6:1 & 2. Grace is not permission to do what we want. That includes cutting divorce off just because we like a younger version of one’s current spouse.
© 2020 David Thiessen