Matthew 19:3-9 (READ)
In Matthew 19 the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by asking Him what they thought was a tough question about divorce. ¡§Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?¡¨ (vs. 3). To put it in modern-day language, ¡§Can you get a no-fault divorce for any reason you want?¡¨ In Jesus¡¦ day there were two schools of thought among the Jews regarding divorce. (1) The conservative Jews and their rabbis held that a person could not get divorced for any reason. (2) The liberal rabbis taught that a person could get divorced for almost any reason. So the Pharisees thought they could trap Jesus by making Him choose sides between these two schools of thought.
Of course, Jesus knew what the Pharisees were up to, and He wasn¡¦t about to fall into their trap. Instead, He asked, ¡§Have you not read?¡¨ (vs. 4). In other words, ¡§Don¡¦t you read your Bible?¡¨ What Jesus was saying is that the issue of marriage and divorce should not be left up to debate, discussion and personal viewpoints. See, when it comes to divorce everybody has an opinion. If you are having marital difficulties, you can always find someone who will make you feel comfortable about your position. But Jesus was not interested in popular opinion. In verses 4-5, He took the Pharisees back to God¡¦s original plan for man and woman in marriage. (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). The great tragedy about marriage and divorce is that we listen to what everybody else has to say about it, but we don¡¦t know what God has said about it. God, through His Word has spoken very clearly to us about the subject of divorce.
Simply put: God¡¦s plan for marriage always has been one man and one woman together for a lifetime.
Our goal this morning is to find Biblical answers rather than human opinions for this issue that has become so damaging in our culture today and in so doing, to answer the question:
What Does God Really Think About Divorce?
HERE ARE THREE THINGS WE KNOW FOR SURE CONCERNING GOD¡¦S VIEW OF DIVORCE.
I. GOD BELIEVES IN MARRIAGE! ¡V He should; He started it!
Matthew 19:4-5 (READ) When God performed the marriage of Adam and Eve, divorce was not part of the formula. That¡¦s why Jesus chided the Pharisees for not going back to the Scriptures to see what God said about marriage and particularly, divorce. Jesus rehearsed the biblical marriage formula and added the statement that is repeated at almost every marriage, ¡§What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.¡¨ (vs. 6).
Jesus is saying that before we can talk about divorce, we need to understand God¡¦s original will and plan for marriage. He intended it to be a one-flesh commitment for life. Now the reason this is so is that it takes a lifetime to get marriage right! So many people say, ¡§Well, I didn¡¦t know what I was getting into.¡¨ Think about it. Of course you didn¡¦t know what you were getting into! You weren¡¦t married yet! And when you did get married, you didn¡¦t just marry your mate. You married your mate¡¦s history and upbringing and family. See why it takes a lifetime to get marriage right? So before we talk about biblical reasons for divorce, we need to affirm God¡¦s original intention. Marriage is His idea, so He gets to set the rules.
What¡¦s THE RULE again? One man, one woman, for life. Keep working at it until you get it right! ¡§Every wedding creates the possibility of a marriage.¡¨
II. GOD NEVER WANTS DIVORCE! ¡V Even in the worst cases (adultery and abuse) God¡¦s heart is to see healing come to those involved so that the marriage can be restored.
NOTE: The United States leads the world in divorce. 50% failure rate.
A. TROUBLES IN MARRIAGE COME AS THE RESULT OF SIN IN THE HEART OF ONE OR BOTH INDIVIDUALS.
Jesus said the reason Moses first drew up a certificate of divorce was (vs. 8 ) ¡§¡Kbecause your hearts were hard.¡¨ (Related Scriptures: Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:1-12 Luke 16:18) The Pharisees tried to say the divorce provision in the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) was a command, as if God was making them do it. Jesus said, ¡§No, you¡¦ve got it wrong. Moses only reluctantly allowed divorce because of sin.¡¨ God never commands divorce. But because of sin, God sometimes allows divorce to protect the innocent party from the ravages of sin. That¡¦s a fundamental distinction. People who go looking for an excuse to dump their mates are way off target when it comes to God¡¦s will.
Divorce comes from hardness of hearts. Sin will make your heart hard to things it used to love or be sensitive to. Pride (unwillingness to admit wrong), neglect (The #1 reason sited among women for wanting a divorce! The breakdown in time & communication), anger (abuse), lust (wandering eye/pornography) ¡V all these things are sins and are impacted by sinful influences that can make our heart¡¦s hard towards God and those we love. It is not normal or natural for two people who loved one another enough to pledge their lives to each other to develop such a dislike between themselves that they split up and walk away. Something happened to their hearts. Marriage problems are the result of heart problems. One, or both individuals has let sin harden their hearts to the place where they won¡¦t let love work.