Summary: The Old Testament commandment was “Don’t commit adultery” but Jesus goes beyond the command to expose the heart-attitude of lust which leads to adultery.
Divine Guidelines for Marriage – Part II
Chuck Brooks, Pastor-Teacher, GraceWay Church February 21, 2016
Last time we answered the question for the single person who wants to get married, “How can I, as a single person waiting for the right mate, control myself?”:
(1) Channel your energy through physical work and spiritual service.
(2) Don’t seek to be married, seek to love and let marriage come as a response.
(3) Don’t love the world’s system. Its values are like shifting sand.
(4) Program your mind with the Word of God.
(5) Recognize that while you are single, God has chosen for you to abstain from sexual relations.
(6) Avoid potentially dangerous situations. Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness.
(7) Thank and praise God for the state you’re in and be content (Philippians 4:11-13).
That was for singles who want to get into a marriage. But what if you are a married person who wants to get out of the marriage? Is divorce an option? Well, the Bible teaches us in Malachi chapter two that “God hates divorce”. A lot of people like to quote that verse but few are familiar with its context. Here is God’s position on divorce in its context.
In chapter two of Malachi the prophet was communicating God’s anger because His people were constantly breaking His laws and covenants.
Mal 2:11 The people of Judah have broken their promise to God and done a horrible thing in Jerusalem and all over the country. They have defiled the Temple which the LORD loves. Men have married women who worship foreign gods.
Mal 2:12 May the LORD remove from the community of Israel those who did this, and never again let them participate in the offerings our nation brings to the LORD Almighty.
Mal 2:13 This is another thing you do. You drown the LORD's altar with tears, weeping and wailing because He no longer accepts the offerings you bring Him.
Mal 2:14 You ask why He no longer accepts them. It is because He knows you have broken your promise to the wife you married when you were young. She was your partner, and you have broken your promise to her, although you promised before God that you would be faithful to her.
The men of Judah were weeping and wailing because God was no longer accepting their offerings. He was no longer blessing them because they had broken their marital vows to their wives and more importantly, they were unfaithful to God.
In verse 15, the prophet Malachi reminds them of what God purposed when He brought the men and women together in marriage as He did the first couple, Adam and Eve:
Mal 2:15 Didn't God make you one body and spirit with her? What was His purpose in this? It was that you should have children who are truly God's people. So make sure that none of you breaks his promise to his wife.
This goes all the way back to Genesis 2:24 where it says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.”
Malachi goes on to say, “It was that you should have children who are truly God's people. So make sure that none of you breaks his promise to his wife.” What we are being told here is that unfaithfulness in marriage has a devastating impact on the family and the rearing of children. Divorce decimated families in Malachi’s day and it still destroys families today.
Psychology Today says, “having parents break their marriage commitment, adjusting to going back and forth between two different households, and the daily absence of one parent while living with the other, all create a challenging new family circumstance in which to live. In the personal history of the boy or girl, parental divorce is a watershed event. Life that follows is significantly changed from how life was before.” (end quote)
Even if the marriage is saved, it is never the same especially when unfaithfulness and adultery occurs. There is a loss of love; there is a loss of trust; there is a loss of security. And ultimately, all this “loss” affects the children, who have the unique ability to sense something has gone wrong…to feel that something is missing.
Psychology Today goes on to say, “divorce tends to intensify the child's dependence and it tends to accelerate the adolescent's independence; it often elicits a more regressive response in the child and a more aggressive response in the adolescent.”1
As we continue in Malachi 2:16 we find these infamous and cutting and convicting words: "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel. "I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife."