Mat 19:1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, He left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. Mat 19:2 Large crowds followed Him there, and He healed their sick. Mat 19:3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap Him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” Mat 19:4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ Mat 19:5 And He said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Mat 19:6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Mat 19:7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Mat 19:8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. Mat 19:9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful. [And anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.]”
Mat 19:10 Jesus’ disciples then said to Him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” Mat 19:11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. Mat 19:12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” [NLT]
Divorce – Because of your hard hearts
It was a common argument in Jesus time that a man could divorce his wife for doing something as simple as burning the toast. There is even a recorded argument from one rabbi that you could divorce if you found someone more attractive. The arguments were mostly over the interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 , with one group taking the “conservative” side and the other group taking the “liberal” side.
Marriages were still arranged in this time and because of it men had a sense of fear toward marriage. In this way, divorce had become a common place occurrence and marriage as an institution had eroded into something that lost all meaning and all of God’s blessing.
Though we don’t necessarily practice arranged marriages we can clearly see that marriage, as an institution, is losing it’s grip on sacredness and becoming the convenience store of selfish fulfillment with a dash of conscience soothing tradition mixed in. Today, we throw extravagant weddings with much merry making, alcohol, dancing, and large amounts of money being wasted, only to turn around and divorce a few years later because our spouse “just doesn’t make us happy anymore”.
Having a wedding in a church does not make it a God centered marriage. Having a wedding in front of a preacher does not make it a God centered marriage. Calling yourself Christians does not make your marriage God centered; what does make it God centered is submission to God’s Will and taking Him at His word. (Also known as belief)
So what does Jesus have to say about Divorce?
Let’s now look to Jesus as our source of wisdom.
“Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended.
Jesus brings the whole argument back to where it should have always been, a matter of the heart and of the Will of God. Jesus reminds them that divorce was never God’s true intention and that it was only given by Moses as a concession to the hard hearts of the Israelite’s. He takes the argument all the way back to Creation and the joining together of Adam and Eve…the very first arranged marriage. Adam had no choice in the wife he would be given, but I’ll bet Eve was exactly everything that Adam needed in a wife. What a privilege to have your marriage arranged by God, the One that knows us so well.
I submit to you today that we too can have that perfect marriage arranged by God. In verse 19:9-11 Jesus says about his teaching on divorce,
Mat 19:9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful. [And anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.]”
Mat 19:10 Jesus’ disciples then said to Him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” Mat 19:11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. [emphasis supplied]
If we were more willing to seek God’s counsel on who we should marry and ask Him for guidance in “arranging” the person we should marry, we would find marriage to be the blessing it was intended to be. If we asked Him to bring into our lives that special person that He intends for us to connect with and become one with; taking our fleshly desires out of the equation and allowing Him to lead, we would find ourselves in marriages that could weather any storm.
Sometimes, the starting line has everything to do with how you finish. Think of a race track. Often, the finish line is exactly the same place as the starting line. The point is this…if we start with God we can end with God. We can take our marital troubles to Him and He can guide us to that place where we are reminded that he “made us one”. We can go back to the starting line and remember that God chose this person for me and we can see them through God’s eye’s once again.
This is a big subject and one that I could continue to write on, but, I think I will stop here at the most important point. Make God the center of your marriage. Let Him be the guide and let Him be the one that joins you together. Make Him your starting line and your finish line.
I submit to you today, that even if you didn’t start out with God as the guide to begin your marriage you can create a new starting line right now, today, and He will bless your marriage and become the glue that binds you together.
Praise God that He can make ALL things new! Hallelujah!
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you so much for what you accomplished through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection. I deserve none of it and yet you freely offer it to me today. Lord, I ask a special blessing for marriages today. Please help those who are married to make you the center of their lives. Please help those who are seeking a partner to make you the guide in their lives. Please help us all to no have hard hearts and to let You into our lives.
I praise You Lord today! I praise You for Your promises and Your assurances. I ask you for forgiveness of my sin. I praise You for seeing Jesus when you look at me. I ask for the Holy Spirit to guide me today and I ask to be used by You in any way that You see fit.
Thank You for all that You provide and I ask for the wisdom to use it for Your glory. Amen