God Hates Divorce

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16 (NKJV)

Observation: In order to safeguard His relationship with His people, God commanded them not to intermarry with the surrounding nations who worshiped other gods (Deut. 7:3–4).   But this forbidden practice had now become so widespread that the prophet could legitimately say that the whole nation of Judah had ‘profaned’ the Lord’s institution (Mal 2:11).  What was Malachi saying? The Lord’s institution was His covenant relationship with His people, whom He loved, and that relationship was now being contaminated by the men of the nation treating their marriages so casually and marrying women who worshiped foreign gods.
To make things worse, the men of Israel were divorcing their wives so they could be joined in these mixed marriages.  This blatant disregard for their marriage vows, prompted God to say that he hates divorce (v. 16). It violates his ideal of oneness (vv. 10, 15; Gen. 2:24).

Application: To say God hates divorce is to say that he hates everything that leads up to divorce, which means he also hates all our failures to work towards real companionship and oneness in marriage.  We may be tempted to think that what goes on in our homes doesn’t have any bearing on the rest of life, but it does.  Here in Malachi’s day we find men going to meet the Lord at the temple, and the Lord points them back to their homes.  Family life influences every other part of our life.
What is it about divorce that causes so much concern?  Here are just a few of the many harmful results of this drastic decision to end a marriage:
Each year, over 1 million American children suffer the divorce of their parents; moreover, half of the children born this year to parents who are married will see their parents divorce before they turn 18. Mounting evidence in social science journals demonstrates that the devastating physical, emotional, educational, spiritual, and financial effects that divorce is having on these children will last well into adulthood and affect future generations. Among these broad and damaging effects are the following:
1. Children whose parents have divorced are increasingly the victims of abuse. They exhibit more health, behavioral, and emotional problems, are involved more frequently in sex and drug abuse, and have higher rates of suicide.
2. Children of divorced parents perform more poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They also are more likely to repeat a grade and to have higher drop-out rates and lower rates of college graduation.
3. Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent. Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.
4. Religious worship, which has been linked to better health, longer marriages, and better Family life, drops after the parents divorce.
5. The divorce of parents, even if it is amicable, tears apart the fundamental unit of American society. Today, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s 1995 Survey of Consumer Finance, only 42 percent of children aged 14 to 18 live in a “first marriage” family–an intact two-parent married family. It should be no surprise to find that divorce is having such profound effects on society.
When you are in the middle of a very contentious relationship you may feel as if the only way out is to get a divorce.  Here’s an interesting bit of information:  University of Chicago sociologist Dr. Linda Waite says, “For most people, marital unhappiness is not permanent.” Recent findings indicate that two-thirds of all unhappy marriages are repaired within five years.
Researchers examined data on 5,232 married adults and “found that 645 [of the] subjects reported marital dissatisfaction. When the unhappy spouses were surveyed five years later, those who had remained married were more likely than the divorced subjects to state that they were happy. In fact, the most miserable marriages had the most dramatic turnarounds: 78% of people who stayed in very unhappy’ marriages said that the marriages were currently happy.” The study also showed that only 19% of those who had divorced were happily remarried.
God hates divorce because of what it does to His children, the people He loves, the people He sent His Son to die for.  But He also hates divorce because of what it does to their relationship with Him.  Don’t give up on your marriage; fight for it as if your very life and salvation depended on it.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, please help those couples who are in the midst of that horrific decision to separate and divorce, help them to see the life-lasting results to their children, and help them to mend their relationship for their sake, for their children’s sake, and for Your honor and glory.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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