Divorce and Remarriage-Part 1
Mark 10:2 “And Pharisees came up and in order to test Him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Extra Reading: Mark 10:1-12
I once sat down with my late grandfather and asked him, “have you ever thought of divorcing my grandmother one day? He answered, “My boy, it never crossed my mind to do something so horrible.” I realised how deeply my grandfather loved his wife. And since then I personally resolved never to divorce my beloved wife. The truth is at the heart of divorce is deterioration of that special something that honours a person’s spouse as someone of great worth. We all know that today Christians have divided opinions on the issue of divorce, ranging from a strong feeling that a divorced person cannot remarry without committing adultery to an equally strong feeling that redemption through Christ embraces the woundedness of divorce and thus allows a new start in life. I also thought about how we should define divorce. Divorce could be defined as the legal dissolution of a marriage. Though not part of God’s original intention for marriage, divorce is permitted under certain circumstances, especially marital unfaithfulness. In general, properly divorced people are free to remarry. What about the nature of divorce? Divorce dissolves a marriage. Mark 10:4 states, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” The certificate of divorce was a legal document ending the marriage. In primitive Israel dissolution of marriage might take place at the husband’s will. The divorced wife retained the right to be fed and clothed by the husband (Exodus 21:7-11), unless she was redeemed by her own relatives, and thus set free to marry another man. In Deuteronomy 24: 1-4 it is enacted that the husband must give the dismissed wife a “bill of divorcement,” a document releasing her from all claims on his part and setting her free to marry again.
Our Lord teaches that marriage rests on the original creative ordinance of God, making the bond between man and wife indissoluble, and that the Mosaic legislation with regard to divorce was a concession to natural hardness of heart, and did not correspond to its divine idea (Matthew 19:4-9; 5:31 ff). Divorce was permissible only in the case of unfaithfulness (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Divorce was not God’s original intention to end a marriage. In Malachi 2:10-16 God expresses His displeasure at those of His people who divorced their Jewish wives to marry foreigners, thus breaking faith with their partners and with God. Reading from Matthew 19: 4-8 and Mark 10: 5-9 the Law of Moses did not command divorce, but regulated an existing practice, particularly to protect the wife. See also Genesis 1:27 and Gen. 2:24. This emphasises the fact that God intended marriage between a husband and wife to last forever, and for them never to contemplate separation or divorce. The pressure of modern life has a bearing of married life. The dispensation of democracy in our country has also brought with it confusion of roles within a marriage. Some women want to play the role of husband whilst some men want to play the role of wife. May God help us to understand our biblical roles.
Prayer: Father God, help us to appreciate marriage as ordained by You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.