Matthew 19:2-9 || Divorce, a heart issue.

God is constantly reminding us in scripture that he is more concerned with the posture of our heart than our outward actions because our actions are motivated by our heart.

3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”a

This post has huge potential to offend. Be warned.

God couples sexuality and marriage as two sides of one coin. Sex is for marriage, and marriage is for sex. There is no right marriage without sex¹ and their is no right sex without marriage². The two are coupled together in a love covenant³ and we call that covenant matrimony. A covenant is a promise honored by a lifestyle over a lifetime. God loves covenant, and he loves marriage – he made it.

Likewise, sexual immorality is coupled with divorce⁴. The act of committing adultery is an act of divorce. The act of committing divorce is an act of adultery⁵.

If I commit sexual immorality against my wife, I am making a statement of my heart; “My love for you is less important to me than my momentary  gratification.” Such a love is not covenantal, it is not marriage. The person who lives this way has divorced their spouse from their heart. – – –

If I stop loving, (serving, doing life with, and giving my life to) my wife, I am making a statement of my heart; “My love for you has an expiry date, and it’s overdue.” Such a love is not covenantal, it is not marriage. The person who lives this way has divorced their spouse from their heart. – – –

– – – Because they do not honour the promise to love the other with a lifestyle over a lifetime. A covenant is a contract of the heart, if it is broken, it is broken from the heart. Not on legal documents.

In Matthew 19:2 Jesus reminds us how God’s people pushed him to allow divorce. They wanted divorce and to want divorce is to be inwardly divorced while staying outwardly together for social/political reasons. So God, in aggravation, regulates divorce. He does not commission a right and holy way to do divorce. Rather, he brings the posture of the divorced heart to a documentable level by requiring a certificate of divorce for those who will not reconcile their broken covenant of love in marriage.

Interestingly, “marriage” the verb doesn’t show up until Moses marries a gentile woman⁶ – But, God had been referring to a man and his sexual partner as husband and wife from the day they came together as one in flesh–sex⁷. God is less concerned about the marriage ceremony and legal contract⁸, and more concerned about a man and woman entering a covenant of love⁹, consummated and signified by their sexual intimacy with one another. Therefore, a decision to renege the covenant of love between a man and woman is divorce–with or without a certificate.

In Matthew 19:2 God’s people approach him and say “Is there anyway we can get out of this covenant of love?”, what they’re really saying is, “Hey, I’m not interested in loving this person anymore. When can I stop pretending I am?

God is constantly reminding us in scripture that he is more concerned with the posture of our heart than our outward actions because our actions are motivated by our heart. ¹⁰

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2 thoughts on “Matthew 19:2-9 || Divorce, a heart issue.

  1. Bible references for this post.

    1 – 1 Cor 7:3-5 “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

    2 – Gen 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

    3 – Malachi 2:14 “You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” Proverbs 2:17 “who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.”

    4 – Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    5 – Matthew 19:9 “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

    6 – Exodus 2:21 “Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.”

    7 – Genesis 24:67 “Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” Genesis 36:2 “Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite–“.

    8 – 1 Cor 7:3-6 “If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.”

    9 – Ephesians 5:22-33 “22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
    25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansingb her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”c 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

    10 – Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Ezekiel 20:16 “because they rejected my laws and did not follow my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols.”

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