THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

June 13

Text: Deuteronomy 24:1-4

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man's wife,  and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (NASB)

The Phariseesí question is based on this statement.  Note Jesusí emphasis in his reply.

Observations # 1: In the Deuteronomy Israelite world, there were situations in which a woman could not know if she was married or abandoned.  A significant problem was the abandonment of married women.  Note the practice of divorce was not addressed, but a responsible husband must inform his wife that she was divorced.  He was not just to walk away from her.  A woman should know if she was free to marry.  It was anticipated that a divorced woman would remarry (one of her few options), but under no circumstance could she return to a previous husband.

Observations # 2: Obtaining a divorce in Jesusí Israelite world was simple.  No court process was involved.  A husband, with witnesses, placed a written statement (a get) in his wifeís hand.   It basically said she was free to remarry.   Upon knowledgably receiving that statement, she was divorced.

Observations # 3: The Phariseesí question: was it lawful to divorce for any cause?  The popular position: divorce lawfully could occur if the husband was dissatisfied for any trivial reason.  Jesusí response addressed Godís intent for marriage.  It seemed to be Godís intent before the human condition of evil and human failure after the condition of evil.  Jesus went to creation, not to Mosaic Law.  Godís intent for marriage was a lifetime commitment--just as Godís intent was no shame, or guilt, or fear.  The situation addressed human failure, not Godís intent.  Note the Pharisees, not Jesus, pressed the issue.

Often people seek justification rather than forgiveness.  We like to declare we do not need forgiveness.  We view forgiveness as documentation of failure instead of a declaration of blessing.

Suggestion for reflection: Rank your concern for Godís intent.  (Read 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31.)

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