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Daily Devotional with Pastor Jon

December 16

When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

Deuteronomy 24:1–2

For centuries, this was a controversial passage in the life and history of Israel. In fact, when Jesus came on the scene, there was a red-hot debate taking place in the culture concerning the definition of “uncleanness.” One opinion was voiced by a famous scholar named Hillel. Liberal in his perspective, Hillel said a woman was to be considered unclean - and, therefore, a candidate for divorce - if she caused uncleanness in her home. For example, if she over-salted her husband’s eggs, thereby causing him to be angry, the resulting “unclean” atmosphere of the home would be her fault. Hillel went on to say that if a man saw a woman who was “cleaner” than his wife, his wife would become “unclean” by comparison. The other opinion was voiced by a scholar named Shammai, who insisted that uncleanness applied exclusively to immorality.

When asked His opinion on the matter, Jesus answered, “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

“Why, then, did Moses give permission to divorce?” the Pharisees asked Him.

“Because of the hardness of your hearts,” Jesus explained (see Matthew 19:3–9). As evidenced by Jesus’ answer, the answer to the question of divorce doesn’t lie in loopholes.

“I want a divorce because I’m being abused,” says a wife.

“How are you being abused?” I ask.

“Verbally,” she answers.

“I want a divorce because my wife is hindering my spiritual growth,” a husband says.

“No,” Jesus says. “Go back to the garden of Eden and see that God’s plan is that one woman and one man stay together until death separates them.”

Does this mean the divorced person has committed the unpardonable sin? Not at all. It means they’ve committed a sin - just like we all have. But because God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), it must be an absolute last resort, not a first option. And there must be the admission that it is only the hardness of one’s own heart that makes it even a possibility.

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book "A Pillar By Day" by Pastor Jon. "A Pillar By Day" is a collection of 365 short devotions from the Old Testament books of Genesis through Deuteronomy. If you would like your own copy of "A Pillar By Day" you can order one from the SearchLight Store.

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