“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.“ Mal 2:16
The very thought that God hates is not new to the scriptures. Moses wrote that God hates idolatry, which in spiritual terms is relative to adultery. Deut 16:22 Hosea wrote that God married Israel, and became to them a husband. Hos. 2:13-20 Yet, Israel played the harlot, and worshiped idols, and so did her sister Judah. Therefore, God put Israel away, giving her a bill of divorcement. Jer. 3: 1-14. It was the apostle Paul who put the framework together in Roman chapter 7 in his analogy between marriage, and the law of Moses. When one divorces, they also are divorced from the law of the husband. v2. When God divorced Israel, the law that governed their marriage also dissipated. Therefore, we, the Gentiles, are allowed to be married to God for two reasons. One, God divorced Israel for spiritual adultery (Idolatry), the equivalent to death, and secondly, we are dead to sin through baptism Rom 6:3,4.
We are warned, that despite God’s divorce of Israel (grafted out), and our marriage to God (grafted in), we too could be divorced by God if we follow the sins of Israel. Rom 11:22. God truly loved his first wife, Israel, and it hurt him dearly that Israel would go whoring after other gods, serving idols over the only true, and living God.
It is no wonder why God hates divorce, for it separates, devours, and destroys love itself. John wrote, that God is love, 1 Jn 4:8,16 which is the opposite of hate. Yet Amos wrote for us to hate the evil, and love the good. Amos 5:15 Therefore it can be easily concluded that divorce is an evil thing, just as much as idolatry was evil in the sight of God. Marriage was designed by God to endure for a lifetime, but man has saw fit to circumvent God’s law throughout the ages. If man would love his wife, even as Christ loved the church, and gave his life for it, and if women would reverence their husband, even as Sarah reverenced Abraham, calling him Lord, divorce would not enter into the hearts of man. Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 3:6 Instead of looking up exceptions for divorce, man would be better served looking up reasons to save their marriages instead of destroying them.
Marriages are often based upon lust and desires, instead of the kind of love the apostle Paul spoke about in 1 Cor 13:4-7. This kind of love suffers long, envies not, doesn’t brag, isn’t arrogant, isn’t rude, isn’t self-seeking, and isn’t easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. This my brethren is the foundation of marriage, and without these, marriages will crumble.
In modern times when we marry, we take marriage vows, vows which are made before God, and man, to be married to each other till death do us part. It was stated that God hates oath breakers in Zech 8:17. We are told to not make or swear oaths, lest we fall into condemnation in Jam 5:12. The old law stated we are bound to the vows which we make with our own mouths. Nu 30:2. Marriage is a covenant between a man, and a woman, and God hates covenant breakers. Rom 1:31. Therefore, it is no great mystery why God hates divorce.
Yet divorce was a necessary evil which was allowed in both the old, and new Testaments. Moses stated that a man could divorce his wife for any reason. Deut 24:1 God in the spiritual sense is a divorcé, because He was married to Israel, and divorced her. Jer 3:8 Though God hates divorce, it does not imply that divorce is not allowed in certain circumstances. However, it is totally inconceivable that God, in His infinite wisdom, made it easier to divorce in the New Testament, as opposed to the Old Testament. Jesus stated that divorce was not so from the beginning. Mt 19:8 God intended for a husband, and wife to be married until separated by death. This was true in both the Old and New Testament. Jesus stated it twice, that man can could divorce his wife is she has committed harlotry (fornication). Mt 5:32; Mt 19:9 Paul stated it twice, that a woman was bound to her husband as long as he lived. Rom 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:39.
Paul also stated that a married woman could separate (put asunder) Mt 19:6 from her husband, but she was not allowed to be remarried, though she could be reconciled to her husband. 1 Cor 7:10,11. To make things even more stringent, a woman’s whose husband had died, could only marry again in the Lord. 1 Cor 7:39 God still intends for both a man and woman to be married until death, just as was the original law, which was given to Adam and Eve. Mt 19:5; Gen 2:24
Despite mankind’s attempt to rewrite God’s Word, God still hates divorce, and doesn’t give mankind a wink, and a nod to do it anyway. Acts 17:30 The bottom line is that God hates evil, and those who break his laws. God’s law was intended for man, and woman to be married for life. God does not intend for mankind to seek today that which he still hates, divorce. If we are to be reconciled to a brother, Mt 5:24 and we are reconciled to God through the death of Jesus Christ, Rom 5:10 then it is also conceivable that God intends the married to bear with one another, and be reconciled to one another in marriage when things go badly. How many times did God forgive the idolatry of Israel? How many times did he take her back? Just read the book of Hosea, and how that he took Gomer back after her whoredoms. As I heard one gentleman say, who had been married for 75 years, the secret to marriage is the ability to forgive each other when they make mistakes, and who doesn’t make mistakes. God was such a husband to Israel, and was an impeccable example for marriage today.