Sunday, November 21, 2010

Godly Marriage - Part 4 : God Hates Divorce

Part 4 - God Hates Divorce
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |



Malachi 2:13-16
 13 ...You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.

14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.  So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

 16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”  says the LORD Almighty.  So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.


Some bibles have translated this scripture to say God “hates” divorce.  However, the literal translation states that the MAN who hates and divorces his wife is acting in unrighteousness and unfaithfulness against her.

Although Jesus tells us that divorce was not part of God’s plan in the beginning, there are times in which He allows it because of man’s sin to protect the others involved.

We will look at biblical examples of divorce from the scriptures, as well as look at the literal translation of the Greek words to gain a more educated look at the true meaning of the scriptures surrounding divorce.

God does not want divorce to be a part of our lives.  He does not want sin to be part of our lives, or disobedience, or husbands to mistreat their wives.

A few Hebrew and Greek words are very important here. We must understand them if we are to understand the scriptures.

The Commandment (Exodus 20:14) Thou shalt not commit adultery
            Hebrew Word (H5003) Naw-af
            To break wedlock, literally sexually commit adultery

The Greek equivalent is moicheuo
            (G3432) Moy-khoo’-o (figuratively or literally commit)
Example: Matthew 5:27-28 “ 27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. “

Another Greek word we need to know is Porneia
            (G4202) Por-ni’-ah
Example: Matthew 5:32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

So we have the Hebrew and Greek words meaning literal sexual adultery, Naw-af & Moy-khoo’-o, and the Greek word for immorality, porneia.

Understanding the difference between these will clarify the scriptures, which have been translated from the original languages into the less descript English language, which sometimes causes confusion when trying to understand the scriptures.

How can we know from scripture that there was a difference between these two meanings?

Simply by looking at scripture!  Scripture will always clarify scripture!

a.      The difference between the Greek words Moy-khoo’-o and porneia is more than pronunciation.  They have different definitions and meanings.  We can see evidence of this in scripture.

                                                             i.      Jesus tells us Himself in scripture, using both Greek words in the same verses.

                                                          ii.      Matthew 5:27-32 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery (Moy-khoo’-o).28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery (Moy-khoo’-o) with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality (porneia), makes her the victim of adultery (Moy-khoo’-o), and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Moy-khoo’-o).

1.      We see Jesus use both words, giving us better understanding of their meanings.  In some translations, the word adultery has replaced porneia, which is an incorrect translation of the word.

b.      There are other scriptures showing the difference between the two words all through the New Testament. 

                                                             i.      Matthew 15:19 shows both usages
                                                          ii.      Mark 7:21 shows both Greek words as well
                                                       iii.      John 8:41 examples porneia
                                                         iv.      Acts 15:20 & 29 explain porneia
                                                            v.      Romans 1:28-32 “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness (porneia), evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

1.      This chapter in Romans is not dealing with husbands and wives alone, but with immorality in people’s hearts, and their unwillingness to stop living immoral lives.

                                                         vi.      I Corinthians 5:1
                                                      vii.      I Corinthians 6:18
                                                   viii.      2 Corinthians 12:21
                                                         ix.      Revelation uses porneia many times in reference to the immorality brought about by the whore of babylon.

c.      Therefore, we can clearly see the two words and their proper uses in the scripture.

II.               SO WHAT IS IMMORALITY?

a.      Defined: the quality of not being in accord with standards of right or good conduct, Contrary to established moral principles

b.     G4202 - Porneia: harlotry (prostitution, sleeping with someone while not married, sleeping with someone who is married), adultery (cheating on spouse), and idolatry.

c.      Idolatry - Colossians 3:1-6 “ 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”

                                                             i.      Ephesians 5:5 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

                                                          ii.      Someone who is a follower of Christ, will not behave in this manner!

a.      Genesis 21:8-14 - works of flesh and God’s Spirit
                                                             i.      Abraham took a bondservant for a wife (not by God’s word)
                                                          ii.      Abraham had a child with her (not a work of God’s Spirit)
                                                       iii.      Abraham was later blessed as God promised by His Spirit.
                                                         iv.      Abraham divorced the works of his flesh, leaving her and the offspring and told in verse 12 by God NOT to grieve!
                                                            v.      AFTER Abraham divorced the work of the flesh, from that point on nothing but strength and victory was found for Abraham.

b.     Deuteronomy 24:1-4 Divorce for uncleanness
                                                             i.      uncleanness (er-vah) literally means nakedness, figuratively means shame or disgrace.
                                                          ii.      Once you divorce, you are NOT to take them back!

c.      Judges 14:20 Betrayal
                                                             i.      Samson was betrayed by his wife, and divorced her

d.     Ezra 10:2 Marriage to a non-believer annulled
                                                             i.      We see God tells Ezra that the tribes of Judah and Benjamin sinned against God by marrying non-believers
                                                          ii.      God tells them to divorce them all!
                                                       iii.      It took 3 months for all the men to divorce the non-believing wives.
                                                         iv.      After that, God blessed them.

e.      Jeremiah 5:27-30 God divorced Israelites
                                                             i.      Because of Immorality (spiritual adultery)


a.      Jesus says it was not part of God’s plan in the beginning
                                                             i.      Neither is sin, adultery, fornication, pornography, immorality, abandonment, mistreatment of wives.

                                                          ii.      Because of a sinners unwillingness to repent (hardening of their hearts) divorce was permitted.

1.      Matthew 19:7-8 “ 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

                                                       iii.      But not for any reason one chooses!

b.     Jesus tells us the conditions under which it’s allowed

                                                             i.      Matthew 5:31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

                                                          ii.      Jesus targets morality when the Pharisees tried to trick him

c.      Acts of Immorality are works of the flesh
                                                             i.      People who live in sin, or works of the flesh, and refuse to REPENT, have hardened their heats, and are considered non-believers.

d.     What if I am already married, and they are (or have become) a non-believer?

                                                             i.      I Corinthians 7:12-15 “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

1.      If there is no immorality taking place, you may stay married if you choose in hopes they will become a believer, but you are not bound to a non-believer!

2.      If you are NOT married yet, you SHOULD NOT marry a non-believer.  As we saw in scripture, this is a sin against God.

3.      If you are married and your spouse is acting immorally, or has abandoned you, you may divorce.

                                                             i.      I Timothy 5:8 “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

                                                          ii.      Luke 9:62 “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”


·        Divorce is not God’s plan for anyone
o   God must choose our mate
o   our mate MUST be a believer
o   We must do all we can to avoid divorce

·        There are certain times when divorce is allowed
o   If your spouse hardened their heart and refuses to stop sinning (living in sin)
o   If our spouse is committing Adultery
o   If our spouse is living Immorally
o   If our spouse abandons us

If we find the Lord after our marriage, and our spouse is a non-believer, scripture shows that if we stay, we make our children holy.  We may even win our spouse to the Lord.

If they wish to leave us, they may because the Word of God says you are not bound to them!  And you are FREE to marry a BELIEVER!

Jesus says, if you divorce for any reason other than your spouse’s immorality, you are causing them to commit adultery with the next person they are with, as well as causing the other person to commit adultery.

If your spouse claims to be a follower of Christ, but is caught in sin, they MUST STOP SINNING and REPENT of that sin if they plan to stay married!

You cannot live in sin, and have a marriage covenant that will be honored by God.