An Indissoluble Bond

“I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel.
–Malachi 2:16

The Bible gives two allowances for divorce and remarriage: Jesus said adultery, and Paul added desertion. But good grace also emphasizes God’s desire for permanence in marriage. Look at Genesis 2:24: “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” That phrase “be joined to” in Hebrew is sometimes translated “cleave to,” and it means “to stick together in an indissoluble bond.” You become one emotionally and spiritually with that other person.

Interestingly, that same Hebrew word is used elsewhere in Scripture to describe our relationship with God. In Deuteronomy 10:20, God said, “You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him.” When you become a Christian, you are cleaving to God, and He is cleaving to you. Does that mean you say, “God, I am going to love You with all my heart–unless I find another god I like better. In that case, we are both free to pursue whoever we want to”? No, we have an indissoluble bond with God, and the same is true with our marriage partner.

I remember years ago going to the drug store to pick up some photographs. Do you remember when you used to drop off film at a drugstore, and you had to wait a week to go pick up your pictures? When you finally got your photographs, they were in a folder that was held together by this sticky glue. I ripped through that folder and reached in for my pictures, but some of the glue had made its way to the pictures and stuck two of them together, front on front. I had to decide how to separate the photographs without destroying them. Unfortunately, I was not successful. When I pulled apart the pictures, it pulled off the faces in both of the photographs as well.

That is a good picture of what divorce does. In Malachi 2:16, God said, “I hate divorce.” He did not say, “I hate divorced people.” And the reason God hates divorce is because of what it does to the people inside that marriage. Divorce is not just the destruction of a marriage; it is the destruction of the people who make up that marriage.

That is why good grace always will emphasize God’s desire for permanence in a marriage relationship. Good grace acknowledges that divorce is unavoidable in some circumstances, and it does not heap guilt on those who divorce for biblical reasons. But good grace will also treat divorce as a last resort. And when given the opportunity to extend grace, good grace will always encourage us to be dispensers of grace for those who ask for it instead of dispensers of justice. After all, isn’t that what we desire from God?


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Marriages” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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