Matthew 19:1-12 What God has joined together

Today’s topic although tough needs to be discussed and what the Bible says.  It may be a challenge to get through but I want you to hear from God today and not my or your own opinion.

I have talked with many people about the subject of divorce and remarriage and one comment that always bothers me is when someone says, “I believe in my heart that it is right.” We can justify our actions many ways and if it is getting a divorce for improper reasons or getting married again, we have to realize our job as Christians is to follow God and not what our heart may be saying to us.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Divorce can be a subject that brings anger to some because what we all have a tendency to do is to excuse away our sin. We fell out of love, We were not a match made in Heaven, or they were not the one.

Plato wrote that Zeus cut people in half leaving them to long for their perfect match. What happens is people get mythology, folklore, traditions and superstitions mixed in with Biblical teaching and it creates confusion. The problem is that it is easier to give in to lies when you already believe a partial lie.

This blog is about divorce and what God says. There is in no way a full Biblical analysis of divorce but it is focused on the gospel of Matthew. Although other verses will be cited this should give you a good base in which to study the topic in an more in-depth level.

I would ask that you listen to the voice of God and that you accept, pray and seek to do His will. I do find it interesting that Divorce comes right after forgiveness and right before children in the gospel of Matthew.

Read Matthew 19:1-12

The Pharisees hated that Jesus had so many followers and as we can see Jesus was continuing to heal many people.

Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any reason?

The question they ask stems from a verse in the Old Testament that was debated what its full meaning was. The Pharisees came with a question not looking for an answer but looking to trap Jesus.

Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house,

The word Indecency for one group meant sexual while another group it meant almost anything. There were two school of Jewish thought at the time similar to what we deal with in the church today. One school of thought said that for no reason could you ever divorce and the other school of thought was that you could divorce for any reason.

They wanted to pit Jesus against one part of the crowd or the other so that at least they could turn some of the people away from Him. It was a hot button topic and they were going to trap Jesus one way or another. Maybe they were hoping that they could get Jesus to say something about Herod’s unlawful marriage and have the same fate as John the Baptist.

The Pharisees divorced their wives because they did not like their hair, they burned the bread for putting too much salt in the food or even speaking ill of their mother in law.

Haven’t you read? (Your argument is with God)

Jesus response is sarcastic in nature because the Pharisees prided themselves on being the knowledgeable ones of scripture. They read it but did not understand it so therefore made up their own interpretation of it. Jesus quickly turns them and puts them in opposition with God because of what was written.

This is true today as so many people want to rewrite what the Bible really says to fit their sinful lifestyle instead of conforming their lives to the will of God. So their argument is with God not you.

He who created them made them male and female (One Man for One Woman)

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image,  in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Jesus is pointing back to the book of Genesis and is making a point that man and woman were created.  Jesus is legitimizing the book of Genesis which some in our day are trying to make into mythology. This also points that God created man and women to be together as they were designed but in the context of the question it means that they are also made to not be divorced.

The Two will become one Flesh (Put together with glue or cement)

The Pharisees missed the point of marriage by focusing on one passage of scripture instead of seeing God’s original design.

Married couples are to come together in oneness in all areas of life. This is physical , spiritual and emotional. You are building something together that was not already there.  You leave your family and become a family of your own.

Marriage is a total commitment to each other through a covenant made to each other (Malachi 2:14-16)

1 Corinthians 7:4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

In God’s eyes you are one possession not two separate individuals. God gave you to each other for support, encouragement, companionship, procreation and to enjoy each other. Children are the prime example of how the two become one flesh because they have traits of both parents.

What God has joined together let no one separate (Marriage is a Spiritual commitment for life)

Malachi 2:14-16 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?[a] And what was the one God[b] seeking?[c] Godly offspring. So guard yourselves[d] in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,[e] says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers[f] his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

No matter if the marriage is entered into foolishly or for the wrong reasons it is a spiritual act that God has witnessed. Because it is a joining together, like breaking down a wall or pulling something apart, it tears or damages what was there.It is literally an amputation from one another.

Just because God gave the way to divorce does not mean it is His ideal way or to be looked at as a way out from your covenant to Him and to each other.  

Why did Moses command the husband to give a certificate of divorce?

They feel now they have Jesus trapped but now Jesus is going to show them the error of their thinking. Wrong interpretation of scripture will always lead us down paths God never meant for us to go down.

Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your heart

The Pharisees said that Moses commanded and Jesus said Moses permitted. Divorce is caused by a series of sins that have been done to each other  leading to a hardness of heart. Adultery was punishable by death, yet God had mercy by not destroying everyone who commited adultery. (This includes King David)

Hardness of heart is a heart that is unrepentant

Marriages are usually destroyed by one compromise after another. Justifying of ones actions and the twisting or ignoring of scripture to justify those actions, leading people to do things they never thought they would do.

Now I am telling you

Just like all of Jesus teaching He is telling you exactly what you need to know. He came to fix the false theology that had been taught.  If you are going to be a Christ follower then you need to listen to His words. If you are not a Christ follower then it does not matter what HE says.

Whoever divorces his wife except for immorality and marries commits adultery.

Jesus answers the Pharisees by acknowledging that marriages should not be broken for just any reason as some taught, but then He also gave the exception to the rule.

Jesus frees the spouse who is innocent to go and marry another and enjoy the blessings of marriage.

Matthew 5: 31-32 It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

The Pharisees would have known at this point that Jesus was calling them adulterers because they divorced their wives for reasons that would not have been because of adultery.

Is it better not to marry?

The disciples now away from others understand what Jesus was teaching and are concerned that now they cannot get rid of a bad wife whenever they wanted like they were taught.

Marriage is a commitment even if the feelings, the looks and the joy goes away

You can do something about your marriage and there are things you can do even if your spouse chooses not to. In our selfishness we say “If they are not going to try then I’m not either” We are like Adam and Eve in the garden blaming someone or something else for the failure.

We are called to lay down our lives for each other (Philippians 2:3-8) and we are called to love each other as Christ loved the Church. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Jesus said not everyone can accept this (Some people are called to a life of singleness)

Jesus not being married at this time would have looked bad to others especially in a culture that marriage was looked at so highly. Marriage and children were so vital at that time that Jesus would have been looked at as if He had a problem. Jesus is saying that some are called to singleness not for any other reason than to serve the Kingdom of God unhindered or distracted by family life.

Closing:

We are to take marriage seriously and do all we can to guard it and that includes those who are not married yet. Our society teaches that anything goes before you  are married but that is not what God tells us in His word.

Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

What you do before you are married is just as important to God.

You can honor God and your future spouse by what you do before you are married.

If you married someone and it started out as adultery there is no reason to think that God continues to look on it that way if you repent.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Confess means you are in a agreement with God. We have all done things we would like to take back but we can’t and we are not to live in guilt but in grace.  We were all sinners stained by our sin and as a Christian you have been cleansed of it no matter what the sin is. The grace of God should lead us to holier lives and it should motivate us to take the commands of God seriously and reverently.

Extra Material

Malachi 2:14-16 God hates divorce

1 Corinthians 7:10-11: A divorce person should not remarry if the divorce was not for adultery (Matthew 19:1-12) or abandonment by non-Christian spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)

1 Corinthians 7:27-28: If you are divorced because of the above verses then you are free to marry and not be in sin

Matthew 18:15-17: Reconciliation should be sought after first before a divorce takes place. This might include the Church leadership being involved.

1 Peter 3:1-2: Do your part in the marriage relationship

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 If you have been divorced and remarried you cannot go back to first spouse.

Book to help your marriage:  “The DNA of Relationships” by Dr. Gary Smalley,

Books for further Study on Divorce: “Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong” John Macarthur

“Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible” by Jay E. Adams

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