I. IT HATH BEEN SAID, WHOSOEVER PUTTETH AWAY HIS WIFE, LET HIM GIVE HER A WRITING OF DIVORCEMENT.
A. This is what you have heard, this is what you have been taught by the Scribes and Pharisees.
1. They have told you that this is God's rule on the subject of divorce.
2. This is what God requires if you want to divorce your wife.
3. This is God's law concerning divorce.
When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house.
And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's [wife].
And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife;
Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.
B. This is the law that the Scribes and Pharisees were teaching the people.
1. What is wrong with that?
2. It came in the interpretation of, "she find no favour in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness."
a. They began to liberalize the meaning of uncleanness.
b. If he found someone that he like better.
c. If she burned his dinner.
d. If she spoke disrespectably of his parents.
3. Solomon gave instructions to his son saying:
Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, [and] rivers of waters in the streets.
Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
[Let her be as] the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
4. Later the prophet Malachi spoke of divorce and said:
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet [is] she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for [one] covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
C. The Pharisees main emphasis was giving her the writ of divorcement. The wording was "Let this be from me your writ of divorce and letter of dismissal and deed of liberation, that you may marry whatever man man you will." He then handed it to her in front of two witnesses and she was out.
1. She had no recourse, no appeal.
2. It was the phrase, "That you may marry whatever man you will." That Jesus challenged.
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
a. Jesus defined the term uncleaness as fornication.
b. He declared that for her to marry another man was committing adultery.
The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
A. First note that this was a trick question.
1. Knowing the strict interpretation that Jesus had taken of the term uncleaness, they were trying to trap Him and show to the people that Jesus was teaching something contary to the Law.
a. It was commonly recognized that the Law was given by God to Moses.
b. If Jesus is saying something that is contradictory to the law, then He cannot truly be the Messiah of God.
2. Jesus in His response went back to the beginning. Before the Law was ever given. "Have you not read that He that made them in the beginning, made them male and female, and for this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be come one flesh?"
3. They thought that they had Jesus where they wanted Him, in conflict with the law of Moses. They responded, "How is it then that Moses commanded to give her a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?"
4. Jesus responded, "Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses allowed you to put away your wives..."
a. It was an allowance that God made in the days of Moses because of the hardness of their hearts.
b. It was not God's first wish or desire.
c. God often allows us to do things that are not His direct will for our lives.
d. There is God's best for you, and then there is second best, and third best, and then there is the actual turning you back on God.
5. Again Jesus went back to the beginning. "In the beginning it was not so."
a. God's original intent for marriage was for life.
b. This is still God's desire.
c. Many people have hardened their hearts to God, and do not live up to God's desire.
d. God's desire is for us to have a loving, caring relationship with our marriage partners.
e. The hardness of heart can be manifested in the way we treat each other.
f. The hardness of heart can be manifested by the abuse we heap upon our spouse, physical, emotional, or verbal.
6. I do not believe that it is the will of God for a person to abuse another person, especially the one to whom they have before God pledged to love and to cherish until death do us part.
a. If a couple has gotten to the point where their hearts are so hard to God and each other, that they are destroying each other, then I believe that it is better to depart.
b. To save confusion in a society, it is proper to get a divorce, bring it to an end.
c. God does not want man to just be moving from one bed to another.
d. Jesus is saying that Moses allowed the writing of divorcement, but it is always below God's divine ideal.
III. UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES IS DIVORCE CONDONED BY GOD?
A. In the case of fornication.
B. Under the law if you were married and you had sex with someone other than your spouse, you were to be stoned to death. That means that the innocent party would be a widow or widower, and thus free to marry again.
C. Thus Jesus makes the exception for divorce in the case of fornication.
1. In such cases I believe that the innocent party is free to remarry.
2. It does not mean that you have to get a divorce, but sometimes the breach that is created is too great to heal.
D. There is another possible cause for divorce, and it is brought up by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7
And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband:
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife.
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace.