God says, “I hate divorce!”
Welcome to Week Eleven: “I Hate Divorce”
This is week eleven of sixteen. Yeah! We’re on the homestretch! Whew! We are working through the workbook, A Wise Woman Builds Her House by Erin Thiele. If you missed the former weeks, you can start over with week one, A Wise Woman Builds Her House…On a Rock by clicking here. I hold a copyright release to reprint the book for you here, but you don’t. Therefore, the copying of this material in any form is illegal. I encourage you to buy the workbook. I have worked through it several times over the years. Every time that I do I find that there are new things that we need to work through. I also tend to write prayers in my book. I encourage you to do the same. Journal your thoughts, write prayers, even write confessions. The next time you work through it, you’ll be encouraged at how far you’ve come and how God answers prayers.
Remember that each week’s post is a week’s worth of study. I give it to you all at once for those who choose to work on it all over a weekend and ruminate over the information throughout the week.
As a reminder, this study is for WOMEN ONLY. Just as I encourage women to NOT study what a man should be doing once they marry so they don’t start judging their husband, I am asking the men to give us the same leeway. I am following the dictates of the Bible in Titus 2 for “the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children.” Thank you for understanding.
|Chapter 11 |
“I Hate Divorce”
‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel. —Malachi 2:16
Why are so many marriages ending in divorce? We have all heard the statistics . . . 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce and 80 percent of second marriages end in divorce!
But why? “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock” (Matt. 7:25). Most of our houses were not built on the Rock of God’s Word.
Was your house built on the Rock? If not, then you, like me, were foolish. “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall” (Matt. 7:27).
The Rock that we need to build on is His Word. “Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). “. . . and the two shall become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8). “. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:32). “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality [fornication], and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9). “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her’” (Mark 10:11). “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
“So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man” (Rom. 7:3).
The Scriptures on marriage are very clear.
Another reason for the high divorce rate is the lack of commitment. We are not committed to staying married. It’s out with the old; let’s look for someone new. The real shame is how many broken marriages are in the church, because the church accepts divorce as an option!
Accepting divorce as an option is another reason for the high divorce rate within the church. When we entertain a wrong thought or idea, God tells us, “. . . each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (The definition of lust is a “longing” for what is forbidden.) Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16).
Many will say that there is nothing wrong with divorce, especially in some circumstances; that’s where the deception comes in.
Obey God rather than man
Everyone has his or her own opinion on marriage and what he or she “thinks” God tells us pertaining to marriage in His Word. The “gray area” that most people or Christians stand on is just not grounded in Scripture. Divorce is very clearly a black and white issue. A firm stand is difficult and unpopular; that is why so many pastors don’t want to take a strong stand against divorce. But “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).
I am not ashamed
Never follow what any person says; follow God, obey Him for He is our only hope for salvation. Don’t try and complicate His Word by trying to find “what you think He means.” He means exactly what He says! Some of the more liberal or progressive churches have changed the miracles of Jesus into something different. A woman pastor said in her sermon that the miracle of the loaves and fishes was nothing more than a lesson on “sharing.” She said that the little boy was the first to share his food; then others began to share what they had been hiding! Please stand by God’s teaching regardless of what is popular or how many people in the church are divorced and have remarried. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Please know that if marriages are to be saved or restored, we must stand on the Truth!
They produce quarrels
Please do not debate the issue of divorce. Each person is only responsible to speak, teach, and live the Truth. The Holy Spirit will do the convicting and the Lord will turn the heart. “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the Truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:23-26).
By their fruits
We can see the “fruits” of those in the church who have allowed the loopholes and the widespread abuse of exceptions for divorce. We have seen that it began with the loophole of “unfaithfulness or adultery” and led to divorce for practically any reason! It parallels what has happened with the abortion issue . . . rape, incest and the health of the mother now account for less than one percent of all abortions performed—99 percent are for convenience sake! Divorce for the reason of adultery is now also for convenience sake. “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16). “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33). We can clearly see the bad fruit in so many broken marriages and broken vows.
Turn from their wicked ways
Why does it matter if we understand and follow God’s Law concerning marriage? It matters because families are being destroyed, and, without the family, our nation hasn’t got a prayer. And we as Christians will be to blame for the destruction of our nation. We cannot point the finger at others because of God’s promise to the Christian. If “My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). Let’s face it, Christian marriages are perishing at the same rate of destruction as those in the world. Why? For “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Christians have been deceived and are following the world’s way, rather than God’s way.
Turn aside to myths
How can we know that we are being deceived about marriage and divorce? We know because we don’t want to hear the Truth. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the Truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4). We are seeking worldly solutions when it comes to broken marriages, divorce and remarriage. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:9). When you stand for your marriage, especially in the case of adultery or abuse, people call you peculiar!
You may not do the things that you please
His Word is always consistent; God’s Word is the opposite of the world’s philosophies and it is difficult to understand and follow. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14). And it says “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh . . . so you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17). Again, we can easily see “the fruits” of all the Christian marriages that have been destroyed for believing a lie. But “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:15-17). Let’s search more Scripture to see where God stands on marriage.
Scriptural Facts to Stand On
Wife by covenant
Marriage was to be a blood covenant. On the wedding night, a blood covenant is made as the couple consummate their marriage. “This is the new covenant in My blood” (1 Cor. 1:25). “And this is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Mal. 2:13-14). “My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips” (Ps. 89:34). “All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and Truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Ps. 25:10).
No longer two, but one flesh
Marriage is for life. We say the vows until death do us part but do we mean it? “Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). “. . . and the two shall become one flesh; consequently, they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8).
For I hate divorce, says the Lord
God says that He hates divorce! Yet, some women are convinced that God led them to get a divorce! First, He says, “For I hate divorce” (Mal. 2:16). And, He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Not even for you, your friend or your sister . . . “I most certainly understand that now God is not One to show partiality” (Acts 10:34).
Betrothed you to one husband
We are to be the living example of Christ and His Church, the one wife of one husband. “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ . . .” (2 Cor. 11:2-3). “. . . the husband of one wife . . .” (1 Tim. 3:2). “. . . if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife . . .” (Titus 1:6).
Remarriage is not an “option”; it’s “adultery”! “. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:32). “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality [fornication, KJV], and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9). “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her . . .’” (Mark 10:11). “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
She shall be called an adulteress
“So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man” (Rom. 7:3). “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it” (Prov. 6:32). “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:10). “And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds” (Rev. 2:21).
You’ll be proved a liar
What about the exception clause? First of all, very few marriages in the church end because of adultery, even if that were the correct “exception.” The verse says, “. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of . . . [adultery, fornication, moral impurity or unchastity], makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:32). In different Bible versions, the words adultery, fornication, moral impurity and unchastity are used interchangeably as though they were the same word. They are not.
The “exception” Jesus is talking about is the word fornication, moral impurity, and unchastity. This is porneia (4202) before the marriage takes place. The word adultery, which refers to after marriage, is (3429) Moichao in Strong’s Concordance in the Greek or original language. The words adultery or moichao (3429 after) and porneia (4202 before) are two separate and distinct sins. Therefore, you cannot divorce your spouse for the reason of adultery, moral impurity or unchastity. Divorce was and is only allowed for the case of fornication when a woman was found not to be a virgin on her wedding night.
Another interesting notation is found in the definition of 4202. The author admits that he has added his own words. He states, “These words have been added to include ‘adultery’ and ‘incest’ for better understanding of fornication (Porneia).” He is saying that adultery was added to the definition of the word porneia. But God’s Word says, “Do not add to His Words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar” (Prov. 30:6).
Let me also quote Strong’s note under Signs Employed and Plan of the Book: “Parenthesis . . . denotes a word given with the principal word to which it is annexed and a few words of explanation are added to identify it.” Again, we should never “. . . add to His Words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar” (Prov. 30:6).
Falsehoods and reckless boasting
Be careful what you say God told you. “Behold I am against those who use their tongues and declare ‘The Lord declares.’ Behold I am against those who have prophesied false dreams, declares the Lord, and related them and led my people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting” (Jer. 23:31-32). “For I hate divorce, says the Lord” (Mal. 2:16). God never tells us to go against His Word! He never changes.
Also, be careful what you say about divorce or remarriage; it could lead another to divorce or to remarry. “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! . . . it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:7, 6).
Great was its fall
If you believe that divorce is okay in some circumstances, you have been deceived. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). Whenever you feel led to say or do something, first make sure that it is consistent with Scripture. “Therefore everyone who hears these Words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these Words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and burst against that house; and it fell and great was its fall” (Matt. 7:2627).
Spirit against the flesh
After you check Scripture, then check to see how driven you are about it. Fleshly desires feel good to the flesh. When you have an urgency behind what you do, you need no grace to carry it out. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17).
What if my husband is unfaithful and commits adultery?
then am I allowed to divorce him? No. His Word says that you can divorce for the reason of fornication only, which, as we saw previously, is intercourse prior to marriage. This was during the betrothal time. Fornication and adultery are not the same sin. If they were they would not both be listed in the same verse, as in this Scripture: “. . . neither fornicators, idolaters, nor adulterers . . .” (1 Cor. 6:9).
Divorce for the cause of fornication was allowed during the betrothal time, as with Mary and Joseph. “And Joseph, her husband . . . desired to divorce her secretly” (Matt. 1:19). The terms fiancé and engaged were not used during this period of history. Joseph was considered her husband because he had already committed to marrying Mary. He was allowed to divorce her because it was prior to their marriage since divorce was allowed for the case of fornication. In the verse preceding this, it explains that the divorce was to take place before the marriage! “When Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child . . .” (Matt. 1:18). The latest a divorce could take place was the day after the wedding night, when the woman was found not to be a virgin.
Can anyone then ever remarry?
“A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39). For those women who are widowed, it is important to know that when the real “Mr. Right” comes along he too will be widowed or will never have been married. Do not marry a divorced man. Remember, Satan usually brings his best first. The Lord makes you wait and then brings His best! “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way” (Ps. 37:34).
If either of you know any obstruction, why you may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, you will now confess it. For be assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God’s Word does allow, their marriage is not lawful. (“The Marriage Service,” C.R. Gibson Co.)
What if I am already in a second (or third) marriage?
First, you must ask God’s forgiveness, whether it was before you were saved or not. You can’t be effective in your Christian walk if you can’t admit past sins. “He who covers his transgressions shall not prosper” (Prov. 28:13). “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
She does not know it
“And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds” (Rev. 2:21).
If you say you have done nothing wrong, you may just have proven your guilt. “This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Prov. 30:20). If you don’t repent, you will have the characteristics of an adulterous woman. “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword . . . She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it” (Prov. 5:3).
Have no fear of confessing; we are not under the law—praise the Lord! “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:10). “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Not My will, but Thine be done
After you confess, you must lay your will aside and ask your Heavenly Father for His will concerning what He would have you do. Many others who are in a second (or subsequent) marriage have faced this difficult task. Some had assurance that God intended them to stay in their present marriage and use their lives as a testimony against divorce. Others saw that their marriage was crumbling because they had been used by Satan when they destroyed their spouse’s previous marriage. “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). You must trust Him. He wants to give you an abundant life, not a counterfeit. Please, just pray,“Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42).
Did no one condemn you?
But can adultery ever be forgiven? Yes. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Did no one condemn you? . . . Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11). But you must confess your sins and not encourage others to sin as you did. Actually, not only is adultery not grounds for divorce, it is grounds for forgiveness as shown by Christ in John 8:10 above. We also have an example in the book of Hosea of a husband forgiving his wife who was in adultery. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress’” (Hos. 3:1). Then in First Corinthians 6:9-11, when God refers to adulterers and fornicators He says, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” We are washed in His blood of forgiveness.
But what about the pastors who say that adultery is grounds for divorce? “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). If it is true that adultery is grounds for divorce, then most women could divorce their husbands since most of them have lusted over pictures of women that they have seen on television or in magazines!!
Shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven
But so many churches and pastors say that divorce is right in some situations and that remarriage is okay if it’s under the right circumstances. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19).
I never knew you
How can I be sure that this teaching is right and what many of the churches are teaching is wrong? “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:15, 22-23). Aren’t many of the families in your church crumbling and the marriages dissolving? These are the bad fruits of false prophets.
Hostility toward God
Many pastors feel a “deep down” conviction about marriage, but they don’t want to “offend” anyone, especially all those “church members” who are in their second and third marriages. “Friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
If a pastor or church takes a stand against divorce and remarriage they are labeled “legalistic” or “judgmental.” Then those who want to do their own thing will go to another church to hear what they want to hear (to have their ears tickled). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away from the Truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Depart from Me
Divorce is going against God’s law. Just because someone is a preacher, or in some other type of church ministry, that does not mean he is following God. Jesus said that you must do the will of His Father in heaven! Let’s again read the verse: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:21-23).
A wife is bound
You may ask, “Since I’m ‘single again,’ couldn’t I remarry or date and then ask God to forgive me?” First of all you are not single. Only someone who has never been married is single. “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives” (1 Cor. 7:39). “So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man” (Rom. 7:3). Secondly, you will reap what you have sown. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will reap also” (Gal. 6:7).
Her ways are unstable
If you ignore these verses, you will have the same consequences as any adulteress: bitterness, sharp speech, being unstable, boisterous, rebellious, and you won’t even be aware of it! “But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it” (Prov. 5:4-6). “She (the harlot) is boisterous and rebellious; Her feet do not remain at home” (Prov. 7:11).
I have done no wrong
When you knowingly enter into sin, your conscience will be seared. “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Prov. 30:20). Again, you are willfully entering into sin. “Therefore to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). You set yourself up for God’s vengeance. “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the Truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God? Vengeance is mine, I will repay. The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:26-31).
In closing a difficult topic, because of the magnitude of church sin, let us look at the firm statement Paul wrote to Timothy: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of Truth” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
Let us make a personal commitment to remain married
and encourage all others to do the same.
To remain married and encourage others to do the same
“Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I recommit myself to my marriage. I will humble myself whenever necessary and take all the steps as a ‘peacemaker’ in my marriage. I will not cover my transgressions nor cause another to stumble. I will devote my lips to spreading God’s Truth on marriage in a gentle and quiet manner.”
Let your mind dwell on these things
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
- 3×5 cards. Are you faithful to write down the verses from each lesson that have touched your heart? Continue to keep these cards in your purse, and bring them out regularly as the Holy Spirit prompts you.
- Are you just a hearer? “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).
- Share the Truth from this lesson with one other woman who is planning, or speaking of, divorce. Write her name on this line.
The Net Which She Hid
A desperate call came to a woman from Restore Ministries; the caller’s close friend was planning to divorce her husband. The caller said someone needed to talk some sense into Cathy* before she made the biggest mistake of her life. Cathy had no idea that the decision she was making would affect an entire church; her thoughts were only on her own happiness.
Cathy was a Christian. She and her husband were leaders in their church. As a matter of fact, they taught the young married Sunday school class. So what went wrong? After talking for several minutes it was clear that nothing was really wrong; Cathy just felt that God had released her from the marriage. She no longer felt that she wanted to be married and, since there were no children, she felt that God said she could leave. (Once divorce was allowed in the church for the reason of adultery, it became rampant. It is just like the case of abortion. “Rape, incest or the health of the mother” account for less than one percent of the abortions performed; 99 percent are for convenience sake. Divorce for the reason of adultery is now also for convenience sake.)
The woman from Restore Ministries explained that Cathy had been deceived into thinking that God had released her from her marriage. His Word clearly says that “He hates divorce” and that “He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” She also explained that many times Satan comes as an “Angel of Light” to deceive and even uses Scripture as he did with Jesus in the desert.
The woman from Restore Ministries talked several times to Cathy over the next few days but nothing would convince her that she was not doing the right thing to divorce her husband. The last thing that was shared with Cathy was a “what if” scenario. “What if” later down the road she found she had made a mistake and that she wanted her husband back, but he had found someone else? Little did the woman from Restore Ministries know that this was not merely a scenario but an actual prophecy. (We have seen many women who have separated from their husbands either to “force them to change” or because some counselor has suggested it as a good method to turn things around. We at Restore Ministries have seen the adultery that has resulted from these devastating and destructive methods. Satan divides in order to conquer!)
About a year later, Cathy did find that she had made a mistake in leaving her husband and wanted him to come home to try to restore their marriage. But during the previous year of separation, her husband had met a woman in the “Singles Group” at their church. (We at Restore Ministries are strongly opposed to singles groups since most of those who are in these groups are not single or widowed but rather divorced or separated. We believe that marriages should be restored “to glorify God” or the person should remain single as Paul suggested in First Corinthians.)
Desperate, Cathy went to her pastor to ask him to persuade her husband to give their marriage another chance. Their pastor did not persuade her husband and the confrontation actually encouraged him to want to marry his new girlfriend who was also divorced. The church became divided because of the stand, which the pastor had taken. (He would not marry the couple, nor would he let them continue teaching in the church.) Little did Cathy know that her decision would divide a church; little did Eve know that her decision would bring sin into the world. “In the net which they hid their own foot had been caught” (Ps. 9:15).
Note: Since this situation with Cathy* our ministry has enacted a policy to not contact a woman in marital troubles but instead allow them to contact us. If a man or woman is not interested in hearing the truth then they will harden their heart the more they are bombarded with those who want to “help” them.
Her Mother’s Example
Dinah* said she is willing to stand for her husband, to wait no matter how long it may take. She has learned this determination from the example of her mother, whom this testimony is about.
Dinah’s mother and father had been divorced for many years. Her father had been unfaithful and eventually left her mother for the other woman. Dinah’s father had been quite successful, which was one thing the “alien woman” (another name for adulteress from KJV) was hunting for. However, due to a harlot, a man is reduced to a loaf of bread. Slowly, but surely, his wealth began to diminish, along with his health. The two of them found themselves living in a small trailer. Not too soon afterwards, the alien woman left for greener pastures. Now here he was, poor and alone. Dinah’s mother, however, never remarried and never gave much thought to reconciliation, but had committed to remaining in a “singleness state” because of the verse “A wife is bound” (1 Cor. 7:39).
One day Dinah received a phone call from the fire department. Her father’s trailer had burnt to the ground and he barely got out to save his life because of his recent stroke. Dinah and her four sisters found their dad at the police station in his pajamas, reduced to a “crumb of bread”!
The sisters talked with him and were firm but kind. None of them, because of their own family commitments, could care for him. They told him it was time to humble himself and ask forgiveness from “Mom.” They prayed for Mom’s heart to be softened and all met at Dinah’s house. Their father did ask for forgiveness the best he could, because he had difficulty being understood since the stroke. Nevertheless, his tears told what his heart felt and his words could not express. (Dinah confided that they would have cared for their father, had their mother not agreed.)
Dinah’s mother knew that God may have been working, so she asked God for a sign, not unlike Gideon. She was a very small frail woman and her former husband was quite a large man. He had difficulty walking, as well as feeding and dressing himself. How could she possibly manage? She agreed to take him back if God gave her the strength to do so.
Dinah said that God did give her mother incredible strength and vitality. Dinah said her mother could now run circles around her, and she is the youngest daughter! God healed Dinah’s family five years ago. They had a family picture taken on their “new anniversary.” The five married daughters stood surrounding their mom and dad. On the end is Dinah with a glowing smile. Dinah has said that she is determined to follow her mother’s example.
*These are not their real names. “An excellent wife is a crown of her husband, but she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones.” Prov. 12:4.
I expect this study raises the most ire. We might feel uncomfortable and even convicted about the way we talk to our husbands, the way we talk about them, being disrespectful, not being obedient, and many of the other topics we’ve already covered. But when it comes to divorce, people get angry. I hear it all the time: How dare ANYONE tell me if I can or can’t divorce my husband. You don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t know what it was like. Then there’s the argument, it’s the best for the kids, we were always arguing, fighting… our environment was toxic to them. On and on it goes. Then there are the “innocent” responses, such as, “But my pastor said it was okay.” Or, “but it’s legal” (to which I always respond, so is abortion and prostitution in some areas, are you saying you agree with that? More importantly, does it line up with God’s Word?
That’s the crux of it, Does it line up with God’s Word? In this age of “enlightenment” and “freedom” so many people believe we’re in charge of our own lives. Many people feel that the Bible is talking about customs of Biblical times and don’t really have a bearing on today. But God said He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God said His Word stands forever. If God doesn’t change and His Word stands forever, He STILL hates divorce. He STILL says that a man and woman become one flesh when they get married. He STILL says that remarriage is adultery.
For those who way their marriage environment is toxic, I say, stop being toxic. You don’t hear this saying much anymore, but it still is true: it takes two to tango. If your environment is toxic, go back through these previous studies: A Gentle and Quiet Spirit, Kindness is On Her Tongue, Won Without A Word, A Contentious Woman, Chaste and Respectful, Wives, be Subject. We must remember that men weren’t created to please us, we were created to be a Helper Suitable for our Husband.
God is the potter and I am the clay. That means He decides what is right and wrong. My job is to yield to His molding. Are you willing? It’s not easy. I’m still being pressed and molded. We all have hard spots that need to be worked until they are softened enough to mold. Are we willing to allow God to work those areas, pick out the impurities and throw them away? If He decides to dunk that hardened clay in water and smash it with a hammer, if it won’t yield, are we willing to allow it? Oh, dear God, mold me and MAKE me into the beautiful vessel You have in mind for me. You said that Your plans for me are good and not bad. Help me be ALL that you desire for me to be. I don’t want to be a bowl, if You want me to be a ming vase. I don’t want to be a ming vase, if You want me to be a cup. Everything You make is beautiful. Let me see the beauty of Your creation and submit willingly to Your skillful, artful hands. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
A Few Songs to help us reflect:
Additional Resource (This has REALLY practical advice on how to speak to your husband so his God-instilled desire to please you and protect you comes out):
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