“Biblical Grounds for Divorce” July 24

 

Biblical Grounds for Divorce - What does the Bible say about divorce? Is it allowable to divorce because we're not happy or no longer in love? Is it OK if we're unequally yoked? Are there even any biblical grounds for divorce?

 

I’ve often heard that the rate of divorce in the US is about 50%, but I’ve discovered that statistics are hard to pin down. Some say the rate of divorce has dropped in the last decade and that as high as 70% of marriages make it to their 15th year. While that’s good, what about the 30% who don’t? And is it possible that the divorce rate is going down because many couples simply live together without marrying?

What does the Bible say about divorce? Is it allowable to divorce because we’re not happy or no longer in love? Is it OK if we’re unequally yoked? Are there even any biblical grounds for divorce?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 9 & 10
Psalm 88.6-10
Proverbs 21.23-24
Acts 24.1-27

 

Biblical Grounds for Divorce

 

Ezra 9& 10:

Marriage and Divorce when Unequally Yoked

 

59 years had passed since the completion of the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel. In these passages, the second group of former captives have returned led by Ezra. He has learned that the Jews who were already there, including many of the leaders, have taken pagan wives. This was strictly forbidden by the Law, had repeatedly led the people into idolatry, and had caused the nation to be taken into captivity. Yet, they had gone back to the same practices!

John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible notes that even though there was a decision made that these wives as a whole were to be “put away”—that is divorced—each marriage was examined individually, probably to learn whether the wives had become believers. He also notes that other gentile women like Ruth and Rahab who had embraced faith in God were accepted and even included in the lineage of Christ.

So what about today? Can we divorce an unbelieving spouse? Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “As to being unequally yoked with unbelievers, such marriages, it is certain, are sinful, and ought not to be made; but now they are not null, as they were before the gospel did away the separation between Jews and Gentiles.”

2 Corinthians 6.14 says:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

So while it is wrong for a Christian to marry a non-Christian, if a believer is already married to a non-believer, divorce is not an option in most circumstances.

 

divorce argumentBiblical Grounds for Divorce

 

So what does the Bible say about divorce? Is it ever allowable? Jay Adams, in his book Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible, says, “Contrary to some opinions, the concept of divorce is biblical. The Bible recognizes and regulates divorce.”

When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, “being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly (Matt. 1.19). He was going to divorce her until an angel convinced him that she had not committed adultery. Continue reading

“Loving Your Enemies” July 20

 

Loving Your Enemies - What do you value more—your rights when abused and mistreated or the eternal destiny of your abuser? Like Christ we are called to love our enemies.

What do you value more—your rights when abused and mistreated or the eternal destiny of your abuser? Like Christ we are called to love our enemies.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 1 & 2
Psalm 86.6-10
Proverbs 21.15-16
Acts 21.18-40

 

Loving Your Enemies

 

Acts 21.18-40:

Paul’s Eternal Focus

 

What an incredible example of boldness in the face of intense persecution! Paul had just been beaten by a mob. It says they were, “seeking to kill him.” After he was rescued, he asked the soldiers if he could address his abusers and then he began to share his testimony and to prepare their hearts for the gospel.

Like Christ who died for us when we were His enemies, he was more concerned about their spiritual destiny than any harm done to him.

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matt. 5.44).

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Phil. 2.3-4).

Like Paul and Jesus, we need to resolve to keep our focus, not on any wrongs done to us, but on others’ need for a Savior!

That doesn’t mean that those who abuse physically, sexually, or in any other way should be allowed to continue illegal or immoral behavior. But even when the right thing to do is to report a crime or in some other way allow the abuser to suffer the consequences of his actions, the focus of our hearts should be eternal, forgiving them, trusting God in our own lives, and praying for their salvation.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Ezra 1 & Ezra 2:

God the Author of Human History

 

historyThe book of Ezra picks up where 2 Chronicles left off, with a pagan king named Cyrus sending the captives who wanted to return, back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

Verse 1 says, “that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled …”

God was orchestrating the course of human events. History is His-story.

And just as God is in control of the events of human history, He is in control of our individual histories, as well.  Continue reading

Relationship Q & A: “Physical Abuse”

 

Physical Abuse: A few weeks ago my husband hit me. He said it would never happen again, but it did. I hope you can tell me what to do.Welcome to Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible and on all kinds of other subjects related to living the Christian life. My “day job” is counseling. I’m an ACBC certified counselor. I meet with couples, families and individuals to help them find God’s answers for the issues and struggles they face.

Besides meeting with people formally, I am frequently asked questions at church or by email. I’ll be answering some of those questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like to see answered (using only a first name or initial) you can submit it here.

 

TODAY’S QUESTION:

From J.:

A few weeks ago my husband hit me. The first time he told me it would never happen again, but last week it did. We have only been married 2 years and we have a new baby. My parents don’t live here, but I did talk to his mother. She seems to be concerned, but she doesn’t want me to tell anyone. I love my husband, but every time something goes wrong, I start to get afraid. I hope you can tell me what to do?
Continue reading

November 27 “Responding to an unreasonable spouse”

arguing argumentHow are we to respond to mistreatment, harshness or a lack of loving behavior, especially from a spouse?

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 45 & 46
Psalm 135.1-7
Proverbs 29.8
1 Peter 3.1-22

 

Ezekiel 45 & 46:

The Millennial Temple

As we are nearing the end of this book, the prophet lays out the plans for the Millennial Temple. Be sure to read John MacArthur’s notes about the presence of sin during the Millennium.

 

Psalm 135.1-7:

All for our good & His glory

Verse 6, “Whatever the Lord pleases He does …”

Our God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), everywhere-present (omnipresent), and in control of everything! Just to name a few of His characteristics!

He alone is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. And everything He has allowed in our lives He has allowed for our good and His glory! Nothing happens by accident. He will use difficult circumstances, trials, even the sins of others for good if we will keep our eyes on Him and respond in a God-honoring way. No person, thing, or circumstance can make you or me sin (1 Cor. 10.13). Instead, we can call on God to enable us to respond in a way that leads to peace and brings Him glory (Rom. 12.17-21). Continue reading

July 24 “Biblical grounds for divorce”

The Bible says we are not to be unequally yoked, so is it ok to divorce an unbelieving spouse? Are there ever biblical grounds for divorce?

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Today’s Readings:
Ezra 9 & 10
Psalm 88.6-10
Proverbs 21.23-24
Acts 24.1-27

Ezra 9 & 10:

Marriage and divorce when unequally yoked

59 years had passed since the completion of the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel. In these passages, the second group of former captives have returned under the leadership of Ezra. He has learned that the Jews who were already there, including many of the leaders, have taken pagan wives. This was strictly forbidden by the Law, had repeatedly led the people into idolatry, and had caused the nation to be taken into captivity. Yet, they had gone back to the same practices!

John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible notes that even though there was a decision made that these wives as a whole were to be “put away”—that is divorced—each marriage was examined individually, probably to learn whether the wives had become believers. He also notes that other gentile women like Ruth and Rahab who had embraced faith in God were accepted and even included in the lineage of Christ.

So what about today? Can we divorce an unbelieving spouse? Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “As to being unequally yoked with unbelievers, such marriages, it is certain, are sinful, and ought not to be made; but now they are not null, as they were before the gospel did away the separation between Jews and Gentiles.” Continue reading

January 6 “One reason our work may not be blessed”

Cross

Have you wondered why God doesn’t seem to be blessing some endeavor? Could it be that you failed to seek His wisdom beforehand and, merely, asked Him to bless it after the fact?

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 11 & 12
Psalm 4.1-3
Proverbs 1.28-33
Matthew 5.27-48

Genesis 11 & 12:

Hey, by the way, God …

In chapter 11 we have the story of the Tower of Babel. Verses 3-4:

Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

God had told them to scatter and repopulate the earth; instead they decided to build a city and a tower to make a name for themselves. The tower itself wasn’t the real problem; the real issue was pride and rebellion against God’s command.

So the Lord confused their languages and forced them to scatter. He knew what they were doing would not bring them closer to Him, but would lead them into idolatry. So He frustrated their building project.

It makes you wonder how often we set out on some venture without seeking God. We may pray, but almost as an afterthought, asking God to get on board with our plans. Then we can’t understand why He isn’t blessing our work.

Notice also in chapter 11 that life spans had been shortened. Some believe the water that rained down during the flood came from a canopy of water that surrounded the earth, protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays. Once it was gone, aging took place much more rapidly. (Makes you want to get out that sunscreen!) Continue reading