"For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 2:16 (NKJV)
Marriage is a wonderful blessing from God. It is the picture of God's love for the Church, it really is the last remaining vestige of what we had in paradise. We acknowledge that in marriage God joins one man and one woman together and that we should not put them asunder. God even expressly, directly says that He hates divorce, by name, without any doubt to what He is referring. Indeed, divorce is the ultimate sign of condemnation - Consider Jeremiah 3:6-8, which reads "The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: "Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, 'After she has done all this she will return to me,' but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore."
Divorce is the very picture of condemnation and destruction. It is the opposite, of what God created man and woman to be together - it is the failing of the fall made manifest, and it undercuts and destroys the blessing that God intended marriage to be. God hates divorce.
The above is truth, is solid, is what the Scriptures say.
Do we on the basis of the above make a hard and fast rule - "No one may ever divorce!"
Of course we don't, because, even though Divorce is expressly decried and vilified and condemned, in both the Old and the New Testament, there is an allowance for it.
Leviticus 24 allows for the writing of a certificate for divorce.
And in the New Testament, we see our Lord engaged in the following discussion Matthew 19:
1Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. (2) And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
(3)And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?" (4) He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, (5) and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? (6) So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." (7) They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" (8) He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (9) And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."
Even as our Lord points and teaches that Divorce is not how it should be - it's not how it was in the beginning, it is a result of human weakness and frailty, it should not be done simply for "any cause"...
He never says "Thou shall never divorce." He doesn't say, "Nope - you must never do this thing, for it is vile." He does not say, "If you were just more faithful and trusted in the God who put you together with your wife, you would know that you can never, never, never divorce."
God understands perfectly well that our sin, that life in a sinful world, breaks and shatters things He would not have broken. He understands that things now are not as they were in the Garden. And because of this, He makes allowances for us -- not putting us as liberty to be vile or wicked, but rather when the consequences of life in a sinful, fallen, imperfect world fall upon us, He provides us a way of escape.
Is this ideal? Is it His Will? It's His will that there be no more sin -- but He doesn't pretend that sin doesn't exist, doesn't impact, doesn't vilely abuse us.
His solution to sin is not simply to toss out absolute Law. God does not say, "As I hate divorce, therefore, Thou Shall Be No Divorce Ever!" That is not His solution. He, for as long as we live in this vale of tears, allows a way of escape - not that we should run at the first sign of trouble, but if we must escape or be utterly crushed - there is a way of escape.
And then, He sends His Son, Christ Jesus, to enter into this world, to suffer and die, so that we might be restored unto perfection, might be rescued from this vale of tears on the Last Day.
We can be eager for this - indeed, I would imagine every Christian desires perfection, desires to be free of the burden of sin, can say with Paul - Oh wretch that I am, who will save me from this body of death. Indeed, we confess that we look forward to the life of the world to come.
But until then, God is aware of the burdens of living in a sinful world - and even as He redeems us through His Son, He makes allowances, gives us ways of escape so that sin and doubt and fear do not crush us.
He does this even concerning divorce - something He expressly states, teaches clearly and unequivocally that He hates. Is not His mercy and compassion to us a wondrous thing.
Let us rather remember that in all things, as Paul says, whether we live or die, we live or die to the Lord.