By Ken Blue
“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.” Matthew 19:8.
In the time of man’s innocence, God created a perfect mate for man and the original plan was that the husband and wife remain together forever. This is what is meant by the latter part of verse 8, “…from the beginning it was not so.” However, because of the fall and wickedness of man, God in His mercy granted divorce and remarriage. To force women to remain with a husband who hated her would have been a fate greater than death. Many countries today do not grant the woman freedom from wicked and abusive husbands. Those women are tortured, burned, scarred by having acid thrown in their face and sometimes murdered. God was setting women free from these barbaric beasts.
Under the giving of the laws to Israel, divorce was granted. The following should clarify that. “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. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 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; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife…” Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
The text is clear. A woman may be given a bill of divorcement and she may go out and remarry. Her first husband is no longer her husband. He is her “former” husband. Her second husband is her latter husband and he too may divorce her if necessary. Nothing in the text suggests that she has two husbands at the same time; it is quite the opposite. She only has one husband at a time. However, if a man put away his wife without giving her a bill of divorcement and either of them became “joined” (What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 1 Corinthians 6:16) “to another,” they were committing an act of adultery.
Revelation is progressive. The truth about any subject is not all revealed at once. That is true in the matter of divorce and remarriage. In the beginning God’s original plan was one man and one woman forever. But sin entered and the cruelty of man moved God to grant divorce and remarriage.
Not only is a bill of divorcement sufficient grounds for remarriage, so is death of a spouse or desertion. Paul makes it clear that a person is not under bondage to the marriage vow if he or she is abandoned by the other. “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.” 1 Corinthians 7:15.
It is true, God hates divorce; so do I. Yet God gave Israel a bill of divorcement, and has put her away for a time, and called her Loammi. See Hosea 1:8. See also, Isaiah 62:4 “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.
Lois M. says
Thank you for the clarification. It is very helpful. I hope all is well with you and Mrs. Blue. See you guys when you finally get home again.
John Stuart Mill says
You know, I believe there’s a part that’s missing from the divorce part that I feel you should of included.
If you remember in the Sermon of the Mount Jesus talks about divorce. The Old Testament are the laws of the Jews, we don’t sacrifice animals anymore or do most of the things found in Leviticus, right?
“It hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32But 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”. Matthew 5:31-32
So what’s to follow, the Old Testament Mose or Jesus himself who was the only one to fulfill the law?
I hope you can give some clarification, Ken regarding this. Consider it constructive criticism (much needed to provide the best commentary). An e-mail to my response would be much appreciated as I’m a starting Pastor.
My husband and I have wronged eachother in the past. We are in seperate countries for the betterment of the childrens education and awaiting his return to the states. The thing is when he wrongs me he comes right out and says so but there are no reprocusions towards him from me. When I have done something wrong I am cursed at, I’m told that I haven’t changed and I try to explain to him that I have changed and I’m sorry… I didn’t realize that I was wrong. He just continues to warn me and put me down. Now I feel he is very controlling and the things that he askes of me are not anything God would not want me to do. And I believe I should be submissive to him. I am just seeking guidence. I keep seeking to find something in Gods word that can help me get through this. Everything I read in the Bible I feel like my husband is right about me although I may not agree with the way he is treating me. All I believe I can do is to continue searching Gods word.
You just preached on Gods Grace @ ODBC and it was awsome.