From my 2009 Journal. Forty to 50 years ago, the topic of divorce in the church caused a lot of angst. The stigma of sin was plastered all over the couple, and the “guilty” parties were shunned. I listened to preachers quote Malachi 2:16 “I hate divorce,” to justify keeping a woman under bondage even to an abusive husband. Unfortunately, those same preachers neglected to preach on the rest of the verse.
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. “I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife” (Malachi 2:16 Good News Translation).
One day I was stunned to read in the book of Jeremiah that God Himself chose to divorce!
I, the Lord, put faithless Israel away and have given her a bill of divorcement, because in her adultery His bride polluted and defiled the land (Jeremiah 3:8-9).
Yes, God hates divorce because He knows its heartaches firsthand. He longs for relationship and connection. He gave Israel repeated opportunities to repent and return to Him before He cut off relationship with Her. He gave them the best and thought they’d not turn away from following Him (v. 19), but they did.
The topic of divorce has many subtopics with a lot of emotional attachments. My main point here is to rail against Scriptural abuse that keeps people in bondage to legalism.
Having lived in a home where divorce occurred, I can tell you that in 1956, it was a common occurrence. I think I was the only kid in all of my school that was not living in an “intact” home. There were not many single parents due to a death of a spouse come to think of it. It was a stigma…more so for my mom that for me, although I can remember some town gossips who would make very hurtful remarks. It was a “shaming” that was not of my making, but a time where people would judge something they did not know anything about. I barely knew the story myself for my protection, it was not discussed in my home till it was just my mother and me left once her parents died.
Since I did not know anything about salvation till 1965, I didn’t consider what the Bible had to say about it, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t favorable. The few “Christians” that I knew never talked of their faith nor did they reach out to me to encourage me. I was always referred to as a “loner” but it was not by choice. It just seemed to fit me. I was an only child and most all my classmates had at least one sibling. We had a meager existence; but never went hungry or had lack of clothing or shelter. But I think all in my little town shared the same situation. We were a happy bunch and created our own entertainment. We were more relational back then but we didn’t have all the social media challenges at that time either.
I still don’t know fully what God thinks about divorce. It is something He probably deals with on a case by case basis; however, I don’t think He would insist on any family remaining together when abuse is involved. Down through the years I have learned in my journey what does please Him is to know Him and delight in Him.
Neil Queen, a very wise man I was privileged to get to know once said, “To know Him is to love Him, To love Him is to serve Him, To serve Him to be obey Him, To obey Him is to be blessed by Him.” I can tell you this is true by experience. And what others think doesn’t really matter.
Wow! Helps to have the whole issue in context.
You said something interesting: God THOUGHT Israel would stay faithful but she didn’t. We are taught that God knows everything beforehand … sort of like God made Adam and Eve as perfect … and they chose to sin. God gives us choices. Does He not know we humans will pick the wrong way so often? How do we square this? Maybe He is eternally optimistic. Or maybe, He just loves us beyond our wildest imaginations. Do we go wrong because we cannot imagine that much love?
Totally not on the subject of divorce, the those were my thoughts.