Marriage and Divorce
By Edwin & Sophia Christiaan | 2007 | www.instituteoflove.net
“Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together.” Matthew 19:6 NLT
With the emphasis on “for God has joined them together,” I believe that what God puts together in a covenant between Him and the man and woman, no one is able to separate. God wants to shed his light on many of the misunderstandings when it comes to marriage and divorce, especially among Christians. We all seem to know somebody who is divorcing, and it seems like a shock every time. The couple next door with school age children, the elder at the church and his wife, the sports athlete and devoted wife with children, the movie star, your son, your daughter, the wonderful pastor down the road…and the list goes on.
The purpose of marriage is to reflect the love relationship between Christ and the Church, and to effectively accomplish God’s plan for that particular marriage on this earth, for as the Bible says, there will be no marriage in Heaven. (See Luke 20:34-35)
“And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.
And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. And we are his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:21-33 NLT
However, it’s obvious that not all relationships are put together from God! Sometimes God will give us what we want only to show us that it doesn’t work. Many times, we marry out of our own desires and needs and God allows us to do so. Let me illustrate with a story about the Israelites who desperately wanted a king as they said to the Prophet Samuel:
“Give us a king like all the other Nations have.” (1. Samuel 8:5 NLT)
Israel was ruled by judges at that time, and one of them was the Prophet Samuel who appointed his two sons as successors since he was getting older. The leaders of Israel were discontent with the abilities of Samuel’s two sons, and thought to themselves that having a king would be the perfect solution for their need, even though it wasn’t God’s original intention. Ultimately, God told the Prophet Samuel to give the Israelites the king they desired and to warn them what kind of abusive and demanding person this king would be, by saying:
“When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but the Lord will not help you.” (1. Samuel 8:18 NLT)
But even so, they refused to listen and still wanted a king. So the Prophet Samuel went ahead and anointed Saul to become the king of Israel. (See 1. Samuel 10:1)
Many times, we get into relationships from motives that do not come from the perfect choice of God. We have our own personal reasons for stubbornly moving ahead with the relationship and ignoring the warning signals, thinking that we ultimately know what is better for us, just like the Israelites. Then, a few years down the road, when the relationship has grown sour and dysfunctional and even abusive, we find God waiting, since He knew all along that we were setting ourselves up for disaster and would need His rescue in the end when we “beg for relief.”
Remember also that the Israelites were under a generational curse, in the sense that they had been under captivity of Pharaoh for over 400 years, and had now the mentality of bondage and had settled for the little they could get during their captivity. This mentality caused them to “desire” what was “familiar” to them. So many times, we can see how people choose to go on a certain path when it comes to relationships, standard of living, and how they treat themselves and others, without even knowing that they are choosing what they are familiar with without examining other options. A generational curse will cause a person to remain in a certain mindset and lifestyle and therefore producing the same as what they came from.
As was predicted, King Saul’s reign became a source of problems even though God gave him many victories over his enemies. He was more concerned about protecting his own reputation and the praise of the people than pleasing God. Along with a demonic bad temper, Saul couldn’t hide his jealous nature. Therefore, he was more than willing to compromise and disobey God’s instructions, blaming others for his failures and wasn’t willing to genuinely admit any wrong doing. This prompted the Prophet Samuel to tell him:
“Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being king.” (1. Samuel 15:22-23 NLT)
Samuel continued by saying to King Saul:
“See? The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else – one who is better than you.” (1. Samuel 15:28 NLT)
Note: God did not reject King Saul as a person, but brought an end to this counterfeit covenant after many years of reign.
God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) because He hates when people choose their own will over His. He knows what we need and what is best for us and He never meant for anybody to marry someone He didn’t call them to marry.
When we enter a marriage on the wrong conditions, God still gives us grace. We may have victories in battle like King Saul and anointing from a prophet, but God knows that everything that is not built on His choice will eventually crumble and come to an end, even if it means many years of marriage.
God had a “better” man to rule the people of Israel, and literally replaced King Saul with David who was a man after His own heart because of his willingness to humble himself in confrontations of wrongdoing. God’s intentions and choices for us are always better than ours. His covenants are unbreakable and everlasting regardless of what comes against it. David’s kingship was God’s chosen covenant. Although he, during his reign, committed adultery and murder by taking another man’s wife and killing her husband, (2. Samuel 11) God did not take away his kingdom.
David’s own son, Absalom, conspired and came to take away his father’s position as king. Absalom’s plans ultimately failed, and he paid the price of death while God was with David, who still remained king. So you see it’s the same when God ordains a marriage covenant. No matter what comes against it, or no matter the turbulence you have to go through, if God has brought it together, He will preserve and protect it, as He did with David’s kingship covenant.
Although David had to run from Absalom, God ultimately brought him back and reinstalled him in his position. I have encountered many people who have tried to leave their spouse with the intention to divorce, but had to come back together. They testify about their conviction of not being able to stay away from each other. In the end, they also start understanding God’s purpose and destiny for their relationship.
If you happen to come to Christ when married to an unbeliever the Bible says to stay with your spouse if they want to, but let them go if they want to, because,
“You must accept whatever situation the Lord has put you in, and continue on as you were when God first called you.” (1. Corinthians 7:17 NLT)
Even if the unbeliever wants to stay in the marriage, God may still have a great divine purpose for that. God may be using you to bring the unbeliever to Christ, and the believer should allow God to work His will through it. (See 1. Corinthians 7:16)
It has never been God’s intention for us as Christians to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. (See 2. Corinthians 6:14.) Just like God warned the Israelites not to intermarry in Exodus 34:15-17 and Deuteronomy 7:3-4,
“Do not inter-marry with them, and don’t let your daughter’s and son’s marry their son’s and daughter’s. They will lead your young people away from me to worship other God’s.”
Even the Israelite priests and Levites had intermarried with the ungodly, and we see in the Christian world today that even Pastors and leaders of the church are being tempted to do the same. In the Book of Ezra, chapter 9 and 10, we can read about how the Israelites disobeyed this command and ultimately confessed their sin for this act. The consequence of this was that they had to divorce their pagan wives and send them away with their children. Even though it is never the intention of God to see anybody divorce, He clearly wanted to cleanse the Israelites from this unrighteousness of people being in a marriage relationship they are not supposed to be in. Again, what God does not bring together, will be separated.
“Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, a descendant of Elam, said to Ezra, “We confess that we have been unfaithful to our God, for we have married these pagan women of the land. But there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Let us now make a covenant with our God to divorce our pagan wives and to send them away with their children. We will follow the advice given by you and by the others who respect the commands of our God.” Ezra 10:2-3 NLT
God, in His love and mercy, wants to spare us from being trapped in a curse and stop what is hindering our spiritual progress in Him. On the other hand, we also see that God does the unusual by allowing for instance Samson to marry a Philistine woman against his father and mother’s advice because God had a purpose. A purpose, we many times don’t at first understand the full measure of.
“His father and mother objected strenuously, “Isn’t there one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry? Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Get her for me. She is the one I want.” His father and mother didn’t realize the LORD was at work in this, creating an opportunity to disrupt the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time.” (Judges 14:3-4 NLT)
Another very unusual event was when the Lord told the Prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer who would have children born to him by having sex with other men for the purpose of illustrating the way the people of Israel had been untrue to God by openly committing adultery by worshiping other gods. (Hosea 1:2). This was obviously an act against God’s own law (prohibiting the people of God to marry prostitutes and pagans), that says in Leviticus 21:7 NLT:
“The priests must not marry women defiled by prostitution or women who have been divorced, for the priests must be set apart to God as holy.”
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church in 1. Corinthians 6:15:
“Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never!”
As you can see, God asked the prophet Hosea to do a very difficult and extraordinary act which took discernment from his side, since it seemed to contradict God’s own law. Nevertheless, he was willing and obedient to do it.
You may remember when God replaced Queen Vashti with Esther? How could it be that God would allow this Hebrew woman to marry an ungodly Persian king? God had a plan to set up a defense against the coming slaughter of his people to so deliver them. He cleverly brought Esther to the palace to become His spokeswoman and mediator between her husband, King Xerxes, and her people, the Jews. (See the Book of Esther)
Mary was an unmarried woman, and yet God impregnated her by the Holy Spirit, causing all sorts of confusion to her fiancé Joseph, the family, and people around her, who suspected her of infidelity and/or sex before marriage. Even so, Mary humbly believed and obeyed God’s calling at the expense of her reputation; a seemingly crooked, controversial way for God to bring our Deliverer and Savior, Jesus Christ into this world. (See Luke 1)
All these stories come down to the fact that ultimately God can do anything with anybody, anywhere and anyhow for His intended purpose and Glory. That’s why it takes Godly discernment to know what God is doing in individuals, and we should not be too quick to be opinionated and judge what could be the hand of God.
I believe that this year is the year of the Prophet. God is pouring out His Spirit and is using His prophets to speak to people, as He always has done. Many times the understanding of the prophetic world is what separate or unite Christians. It is almost like speaking two different languages when we are not one in the same Spirit.
In my experience, once you have tasted the unusual and controversial and awesome life in the prophetic realm, there is no turning back. The life in the prophetic is characterized by judging by the Spirit and not the flesh.
Christians are being challenged into a life of the unlimited supernatural; a place where things many times don’t seem to make sense in the natural world, but perfect sense in the Spirit. It is the time to leave religious traditions behind and surrender to a life of faith; a fruitful life that includes persecution and yet having supernatural peace.
“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution.”
“It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” 2. Timothy 3:12, 17 NLT
Copyright©2007 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan