Vol. 2 - No. 1

January, 1983

God Hates Putting Away

by Jesse G. Jenkins

God created man, thus, he knew the needs of man. To provide some of these basic needs, God ordained the husband-wife relationship. (Gene­sis 2:23-24). This relationship is honorable. (Hebrews 13:4). The relationship between hus­band and wife is the most inti­mate, the most sharing, the most productive, the most loving, the most glorious, and should be the most revered of all physical relationships. Parents love their children. But the time comes for them to leave the home of their parents and establish homes of their own. But the husband-wife relationship is until death. It is a shame and a sin that men look upon this most sacred of all physical relationships as being so unimportant and so easily broken. But the real shame is the loose attitude that has grown up among brethren. But whatever man in general or brethren come to think about it, God still hates putting away!

There is only one honorable way for a man to ever take a second wife, i.e., the death of the first wife. (Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:39). There is one other way -- a way of dishonor. (Matthew 19:9). The man who puts away his wife for fornica­tion has not acted dishonorably. But the wife who broke the two-one-flesh covenant has dishonored God, the covenant, the husband and herself.

When a man divorces his wife without the cause of fornication and marries another:

He Profanes The Covenant Of The Fathers
(Malachi 2:10)

That is, he profanes the husband-wife cove­nant that God made with the fathers. Marriage is not just a covenant between a man and a woman. It is a covenant that God made with man and woman, and that man and woman made with God. Thus, the covenant cannot be broken just by the mutual consent of man and woman; God has to be considered. And he has given only two ways that a man can be released from that covenant: (1) death (1 Corinthians 7:39), and (2) put away his wife for fornication. (Matthew 19:9).

He Deals Treacherously With His Wife
(Malachi 2:14)

In thus putting her away, he brings hardship, heart break and tears upon her. (Malachi 2:13). And he puts terrible pressure upon her to marry again and thus sin. (Matthew 5:32).

He Commits Abomination Before God
(Malachi 2:11)

The man who puts away his wife for any cause deals treacherously with God, and such is an abomination in his sight. The margin of difference between how God and man look upon putting away shows how far man has allowed his thinking to drift from right principles. Mankind should realize that putting away is no light thing. But when brethren look lightly upon putting away and concoct various ways to try to circumvent God's covenant, it is despicable beyond expression.

He Profanes The Holiness of God
(Malachi 2:11)

Thus, the husband-wife relationship is "the holiness of the Lord." And the man who loves the Lord will cherish and respect it. In Ephesians chapter five, Paul uses the Christ-church relationship to illustrate various points about the husband-wife relationship. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. The wife is to be subject to her own husband as the church is subject to Christ. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The husband is to honor and cherish his wife as the Lord does the church. Then he said: "For this cause," i.e., because the husband-wife relationship is so closely patterned after the Christ-church relationship, "shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Just as the Christ-church relationship is not to be polluted, the husband-wife relationship is not to be polluted. And he who does so "profanes the holiness of the Lord."

His Children By the Second Marriage Are Not "Godly Seed"

(Malachi 2:15)

God made husband and wife one, though he had the residue (fullness) of the Spirit and could have done otherwise had he so chosen. Why did he choose to make them one? It was because he sought a "godly seed." Children by a God-ordained marriage are "clean," (1 Corinthians 7:14); thus, "godly seed." From this, the necessary implication is clear: children by a marriage that is not God-ordained are unclean, not a godly seed.

He Wearies The Lord By Calling The Second Marriage "Good"
(Malachi 2:17)

I am aware that some commentators connect verse 17 with what follows rather than with verses 10-16. But it looks to me like it fits the context of our study much better than it does the context of what follows. But either way, there is a princi­ple here that is applicable to our study: When any man says: "Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the , Lord," he wearies the Lord. I do not suppose any man has ever literally said: "Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord." But when man rejects God's ways and does that which is right in his own eyes, and then says that is good in the sight of the Lord, he has done exactly what Malachi was talking about. Therefore, when men concoct all kinds of theories to try to circumvent God's marriage law, they weary the Lord. Divorce and remarriage is evil in his sight. He hates it.

He Will Be Cut Off From Before The Lord And The Lord Will Not Regard His Worship
(Malachi 2:12-13)

Therefore, preachers need to be trying to im­press people with the seriousness of putting away instead of trying to persuade them that all second marriages are, or can be, acceptable to God. God did not think any more highly of the priests that had led Israel to look lightly on the "covenant of the fathers" than he did upon the people that were actually profaning it. He told the priests: "If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it." That is pretty severe language, but it shows what God thinks about the teacher who will not lay His words to heart. Brother, that is not the kind of face-pack I want!

Brethren, let us as parents, and as teachers of the word try to instill in our children and others --the sanctity of God's marriage covenant.