Marriage, Divorce, and Worship – Part 4
Last week, we took a look at God’s attitude towards divorce. The children of Israel were divorcing their wives so that they could marry pagan women. Exchanging wives of the covenant for women of the curse. The nation of Israel was being led by the priests who were doing the same things as well as profaning the altar of the Lord by accepting unacceptable sacrifices in worship. The state of Israel was one of decline. They have forgotten the law of God and had cut corners, compromising his word and living in contradiction to it.
As we’ve been saying throughout this series, the Israelite nation and priesthood is a parallel of the church. And what we see in the church today is a repeat of what was going on during the time of Malachi. The altar of the Lord is being profaned by those who are in the office of leadership in the church, teaching things that ought not to be so. We see a wide proliferation of this in the power of the church has suffered in the name of the Lord has been profaned in much the same way.
One of the most egregious offenses that were being perpetrated during this time was the fact that they were divorcing their wives as a matter of course. It was done freely and openly with no regard for the marriage covenant that God had put in place.
As we said last week, there were two schools of thought when it came to divorce. It all hinged on the interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1.
“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house,”
The school of Hillel believed that the word “uncleanness”, or translated in this version, “indecency”, meant any sort of blemish or dislike that the husband found in her. Anything was fair game. Much like today, it fell into gross abuse. It was a free-for-all where the reason for a divorce could be over the slightest thing. Divorce happened for frivolous, ungodly reasons to where the wife was an object living under the threat of the gun on the whim of her husband. This was the attitude that had been adopted during the time of Malachi and persisted until the time of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The other school of thought was the school of Shammai which held to the belief that the same word referred to some form of sexual impurity (adultery, fornication, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc.).
God let it be known about his attitude concerning divorce in the very first portion of verse 16. The rendering of the verse which we were working from has the Lord stating outright. “I hate divorce.” The one thing that we as the people of God should emulate is whatever attitude God has towards something. We should have the same attitude. Therefore, if God hates divorce, we should hate divorce as well. Our minds should be in line with the mind of Christ.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Co_2:16)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom_12:2).
Entering marriage is the second most important decision in your life, the first being the decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the problem today. The seriousness of marriage, the weight of this profound, lifelong, divine commitment is by and large not considered. Pre-marital counseling should drop all the uncomfortableness and unease of marriage in the lap of the couple. There should be an attempt to scare them from being married. If someone can be scared out of being married to someone, they aren’t ready for marriage. This is why one should think long and hard before coming to that place. Much prayer and fasting should precede a marriage.
Today, we’re going to look at why divorce was so offensive to God and why it is still so offensive to God as we conclude our series on Marriage, Divorce, and Worship.
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