Audio: Chapter 11 "For I Hate Divorce"
Chapter 11 “For I Hate Divorce”
“For I hate divorce,”
says the Lord, the God of Israel.
Why are so many marriages ending in divorce? We have all heard the statistics . . . 50% of first marriages end in divorce and 80% of second marriages end in divorce. That means that only 20% of second marriages survive! The real shame is that just as many marriages end in divorce in the church!! Christians now accept divorce as an option! Why the onslaught of failed marriages?
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock” (Matt. 7:25). Was your house built on the Rock? “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall” (Matt. 7:27).
The Rock we need to build on is the Word of God! How many of us really knew the principles that you have read in this book thus far concerning marriage? Hosea 4:6 tells us that “we are perishing for a lack of knowledge.” This was certainly true for me, and I am sure it is true for you too!
So when our marriage fails, we seek to be released from the marriage only to repeat the mistakes in a second or subsequent marriage. God hates divorce, but when we are in the midst of trouble that’s what we believe will bring us relief. We even try to convince ourselves (and others) that divorce is what God wants for us since He wouldn’t want us to suffer. (Go back to chapter 4, “Various Trials,” if you still believe that this is true.)
When we entertain a wrong thought or idea, God tells us: “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (The definition of lust is a “longing” for what is forbidden, like longing for a divorce when God says, “I hate divorce.”) Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14–16). It’s sad that so many say that there is nothing wrong with divorce, especially in certain circumstances, even when the destruction it leaves behind is plain to see.
We must obey God rather than man. Everyone has his or her own opinion concerning marriage and divorce (what he or she “thinks” God tells us pertaining to marriage in His Word). “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).
He is our only hope for salvation. Don’t follow what another person says. Instead, follow God; obey Him, for He is our only hope for salvation. Don’t complicate His Word by trying to find “what you think He means.” He means exactly what He says!
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Please stand by God’s teachings regardless of what is popular or how many people in your church have divorced and/or remarried. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).
Please understand that if marriages are to be saved, we must stand on truth! Those second marriages that “seem” happy are in fact living in defeat, not a testimony of God’s faithfulness. They continue to cause many others to suffer or live at less than God’s best, especially the children who suffer the most! They cause many to stumble who are experiencing difficulty in their marriages. It is very tempting to want to find a second husband when many profess that they found happiness in their second marriage after they finally got rid of their first husband!
With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition. Please do not debate the issue of divorce. Each person is only responsible to speak, teach, and live the truth. The Holy Spirit will do the convicting, and the Lord will turn the heart. “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels” (2 Tim. 2:23).
“And the Lord’s bond servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24–26).
The tree is known by its fruit. We can see the “fruits” of many of those in church leadership—those who have allowed the widespread abuse of “exceptions” for divorce. We have seen that it began with the loophole of “unfaithfulness or adultery” and has led to divorce for practically any reason! It parallels what has happened with the abortion issue . . . rape, incest, and the health of the mother now account for less than 1% of all abortions performed! “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16). “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33). We can clearly see the bad fruit that has been produced by compromising God’s Word—broken marriages and broken vows.
Why must we fully understand and follow God’s Law concerning marriage?
Families are being destroyed, and without the family, the foundation on which our country stands will be removed, and great will be our fall! We, as Christians, will be to blame. We cannot point the finger at others because God promises us as believers that if “My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
Yet, Christian marriages are perishing at the same rate of destruction as those in the world. Why? “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Christians have been deceived and are following the world’s ways rather than God’s ways.
How can we know that we are being deceived about marriage and divorce?
Turning aside to myths. Many of those who sit in the church pews don’t want to hear the truth. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–4).
We now seek worldly solutions for troubled or wounded marriages rather than seeking the Lord and His Word. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:9). We are not a “peculiar people” if we just follow the beaten path that leads to the divorce court!
You may not do the things you please. His Word is always consistent; God’s Word is opposed to the world’s philosophies and sometimes are difficult to understand and follow. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14). “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh . . . so you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17).
Bad fruit. Again, we can easily see “the fruits” of all the Christian marriages that have been destroyed because they believed the lies. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:15–17).
Scriptural Facts to Stand On
Let’s search more Scriptures to see how God views marriage.
Marriage is for life. We say the vows until death do we part. “Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). “AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8).
God says that He hates divorce! Yet, some women are actually convinced that God led them to get a divorce! Some have said that God has “released me.” He says, “For I hate divorce says the Lord” (Mal. 2:16). He never changes: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
You are not the exception: “I most certainly understand that God is not One to show partiality” (Acts 10:34).
Remarriage is not an “option”—the Bible says it’s “adultery”! “. . . But I say [Jesus Himself says] to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:32).
“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality (fornication, KJV), and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9).
Commits adultery. “And He [Jesus again] said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her . . .’” (Mark 10:11). “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
If her husband dies. “So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man” (Rom. 7:3).
Lacking sense. “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it” (Prov. 6:32). “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:10).
What about the “exception” clause?
Again, very few divorces in the church are for the reason of adultery, even if that were the correct “exception.” When I was counseled by pastors who told me that I had grounds for divorce because my husband was in adultery, I sought to find out the truth. What I found was that in many Bible translations the words “adultery,” “fornication,” and “moral impurities” were used interchangeably as though they were the same words—but I found they are not the same words! The word “adultery” (Strong’s Concordance in the Greek or original language is 3429 Moichao) means an act of intimacy after marriage. The word “fornication” (Strong’s 4202) means an act of intimacy before marriage. Therefore these are two separate sins and should not be confused.
So when the Bible says in Matthew 19:9, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery,” this exception meant that a man could divorce his wife if, before they were married, she was found to have been immoral or committed fornication—as was the case with Joseph when the Bible said he contemplated divorcing Mary secretly (Matt. 1:19). It is not saying that if you find that your husband has committed adultery, which is intimacy after marriage, that you can divorce your husband.
With this information, we could rewrite the verse in Matthew with the correct translation to say: “. . . But I [Jesus] say that everyone who divorces his wife makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Only when a woman was found on or before her wedding day not to be a virgin—only then could the husband divorce his wife. Again, Moses only allowed men to divorce: “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way” (Matt. 19:8).
In other words, no, you cannot divorce your husband for any reason.
Be careful when you say, “God told you!” “Behold, I am against those who use their tongues and declare ‘The Lord declares.’ Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams, declares the Lord, and related them and led my people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting” (Jer. 23:31–32). “For I hate divorce, says the Lord.” (Mal. 2:16). God never tells us to go against His Word! He never changes! Never!!
You also must be very careful what you say about divorce or remarriage since it could lead another person to stumble and divorce or remarry: “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! . . . It is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:7, 6).
Many have been deceived. If you believe that God wants the divorce, you have been deceived. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).
Flesh reaps corruption. “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8). Check to see how “driven” you are before you go step out in faith. Fleshly desires feel good to the flesh; if you have an “urgency” behind it, you need no grace to carry it out. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17).
God and only God! What knowledge has been gained from seeing so many broken and troubled marriages? God and only God can save and keep a marriage together by your obedience to His Word!! You have to know His Word before you can begin to obey it. “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). That’s why you must read this over and over and over again! That’s why you must meditate on His Word. That’s why you must feed on His Word not just every day, but all day long!
If You Love Me
In closing, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of truth” (1 Tim. 6:3–5).
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). If you say you believe God, then obey Him. “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). If you have decided to ask Jesus for your salvation but are not following His teachings, then He is not your Lord and Master. If He is your Lord, then be sure that you act like it. Obey Him!
We have put together “Restoration Fellowship” to help women find the help and support they need. Find an Encouragement Partner to meet with over the Internet, or face-to-face. We pair women up with other women who are in similar situations. If you are separated, divorced, or if your husband has remarried or is still living in the home, you will find comfort, support, and understanding with your Encouragement Partner.
Let us make a personal commitment to
and encourage all we meet or talk with to do the same.
Personal commitment: to remain married and encourage others to do the same. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I recommit myself to my marriage. I will humble myself when necessary and take all steps as a ‘peacemaker’ in my marriage. I will not cover my transgressions nor cause another to stumble. I will devote my lips to spreading God’s truth on marriage in a gentle and quiet manner.”
If you are ready to make a commitment to GOD to finish the course, by CLICKING HERE, you've agreed to the Personal commitment, and are ready to document the next step of your Restoration Journey in your "My Daily Journal" form. Take your time, sit down, grab your coffee or tea, and pour your heart into your Journal.
Also, if you want to be paired with a LIKE-MINDED ePartner after your Rebuilding, be SURE to pour out your heart in EACH lesson.