DIVORCE was NEVER intended for MARRIED COUPLES
October 14 Bible Reading: Matthew Chapters 19-21
They (Pharisees) said to Him (Jesus), "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He (Jesus) said to them (Pharisees), "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." (Matt 19:7-9)
It is clear from the above passage that God’s original intent for the human family was that a man has only one living wife. The biblical teaching on divorce can only be understood against the background of Jesus’ view of marriage. Marriage was a sacred concept to Jesus. The permanence of the contract of marital union is stressed by the fact that two people have become one flesh. No one would contemplate severing even a limb, much less half of the torso through a surgical process. Yet, this is precisely the emotional and spiritual result of the fracturing of marriage!
Why does God reject divorce? Marriage is a divine institution initiated by express command where two people become one flesh. The first couple (Adam & Eve) show unbroken unity of lives. Furthermore, there are evil consequences in separation through divorce. Jesus has made no provision for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty, incompatibility, drunkenness, insanity or neglect.
In fact, Jesus gave three reasons for why married people should remain married: (1) God made one male and one female. If God had intended more than one wife for Adam, He would have created more. (2) God ordained marriage as the strongest bond in all human relationships. A man leaves his parents and is joined to his wife. The most permanent relationship in society is between husband and wife. (3) The husband and wife become one flesh through marriage. The basic element in marriage is a covenant, and part of that covenant is physical intimacy.
However, Jesus agreed that Moses had permitted divorce (Deut. 24:1–4), not as God’s best for mankind, but because of Israel’s backslidden condition. Bible scholars think that Israelites became familiar of divorce in Egypt. Divorce became so rooted in their culture that Moses could not overrule it. This will happen if God’s people will look to imitate the trends and fads of the world rather than stick to God’s standards through His Word.
Some practices are lawful but not biblical, so we should follow the principles given in Scripture. God’s original plan was one man for one woman for all of life (Gen. 2:18–25), but He made a concession for Israel and permitted divorce because of the hardness of human heart and the stubbornness of human will. Divorce is never the solution to the problems that arise within a marriage, and it is clear that divorce was never intended for married couples by God!