Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thankfully, God Hates Divorce!

Rev Eric Brown was talking about the Christian view of divorce a few days ago. You can find that conversation here. Someone named "Jace" left the following comment on the thread:



divorce is necessary for many who are trapped in an unhealthy relationship, i do not believe God would allow man to live his life unhappy just to prove he is faithful


As is my custom, I blew him off with a derisive laugh and a sharp comment, but I've been thinking alot about what Jace said. It takes at least 24 hours for my maturity to kick in. All too often we look at divorce from a man-centered point of view... as if what the Scriptures have to say about divorce only applies to our various situations. But there is incredible gospel here if one takes the time to look!

How blessed we are that God does not think the way that Jace thinks He does about marriage and divorce! ...for God Himself is deeply grieved by the sins of man and yet remains faithful to His marriage covenant to Israel through Christ Jesus our Lord. He proves His faithfulness to us in spite of our dreadful adultery and whoring as we greive Him with our idolatry and wickedness. He has borne our griefs and endured our blasphemies and yet does not cut us off from His love and covenant.

For God has rescued Jerusalem from the bonds of slavery and called her to Himself as His bride and has adorned her with blessings and riches beyond compare:

"When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD." [Ezekiel 16:8-14]

And this chosen bride took those gifts and turned to whoring after other gods and presented these lavish gifts that God had given to her various other lovers:

"But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord GOD. And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood." [Ezekiel 16:15-22]

...and yet, God did not cast Jerusalem aside and divorce her from His sight in spite of her filth and treachery, but he seeks her out and draws her to Himself and promises forgiveness, hope, reconciliation, and points to His steadfast keeping of His covenant to her through grace:

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.' For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD." [Hosea 2:14-20]

So God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, born of a virgin. This savior, fully God and fully man, lived the perfect life that we could not and died on the cross to bear our guilt and shame so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." [Ephesians 5:25-32]

Jesus Christ, the Lamb, sanctifies and cleanses His church (Israel) "by the washing of water with the word" so that He might present the church to Himself without spot or blemish. And so, in spite of her wickedness and adultery, God does not cast His chosen people aside, but renews and purifies them on account of Christ by the power of the Gospel through the Means of Grace: Word and Sacrament which are the marks of the church and the essence of the apostolic Christian faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

"Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." [Revelation 21:9-14]

Rejoice Jerusalem! Praise be to God for His steadfast love, faithfulness, and grace!

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