Jesus explains marriage and divorce

Scripture reading for July 23rd: Matthew 19

Key Scriptures: Matthew 19:3-9 “And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.””

Marriage issues have been around for a long time, even in and amongst God’s chosen people! The Law of Moses contained instructions about marriage and divorce. Jesus pointed the questioners to God’s written Word for help and then explained to them God’s plan for marriage. God made humans in two sexes–male and female. Marriage was to be between a man and a woman. They must leave their father and mother and cleave to each other, forming a new family entity of ‘one flesh’. God, Himself joins them together and man is commanded not to separate. God would use the union to bring godly offspring into the earth to fill and care for it. Jesus went on to explain that Moses was given instructions about divorce because of man’s harness of heart, not because it was God’s plan. Jesus emphasized that sexual immorality was the only ground for divorce. Getting married to another after a divorce for any other reason resulted in committing adultery. Broken marriages sow violence into our lives. God’s plan is simple for marriage. Man’s hard hearts make it complicated. Godly marriage is a reflection of Christ and His Bride the Church.

Ephesians 5:31-32 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your plan for godly marriages and the raising of godly children. Thank You for grace when marriage is broken by hardened hearts. Have mercy on our land and Your people as many have not believed Your plan for marriage–one man and one woman till death parts. Heal us from the violence sown from broken covenant marriages. Protect those living according to Your plan.

Malachi 2:15-16 “Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife or your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of Hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless.”

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