Marriage and Divorce – Deuteronomy 23-24

Read Deuteronomy 23-24

Moses offers wise words to his people on the subject of marriage and divorce. He knew if the nation was to survive they would have to handle the intimate union of husband and wife with success. The subject of divorce is painful even today. Still, we discover that Moses’ teaching on the subject is so powerful that even Jesus reads and quotes Moses 1,400 years later (Mark 10:2-12). Here are three conclusions that Jesus draws from Moses’ teaching on divorce.

  • Marriage is a profound union where one man and one woman become “one flesh” (see Genesis 2:24-26).
  • The uniting of man and woman into “one flesh” is the work of God. No human is able to do this work.
  • No human has the authority to separate God’s work of uniting people in marriage. Jesus spoke of the hardness of men’s hearts in Moses’ day for this commandment in Deuteronomy 24:1-4.

Consider this: once the thought of “getting out” of a marriage forms in your mind, the permanence of marriage begins to erode. Though not easy, commitment is vital for marriage to survive and divorce should be rarely considered an option. For your marriage to succeed, you will need commitment to one another. Commitment is the asphalt on the paved road of permanence. Commitment means effort. If you desire a sturdy marriage, then you must add effort. Overcoming annoying habits and sinful choices, and pushing through the harsh consequences of emotional mistreatment is about effort.

Please know this: staying married is not mainly about staying in love. You need to work to make sure that the “lawn” of your marriage is so green that everyone else’s looks brown by comparison.

To make your marriage succeed, invest in three “T’s”

1) Time – some time with one another;

2) Talk – this also means listening;

3) Tenderness – use tender words and affection toward your spouse.

A Prayer Following the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Dear God,

Great and awesome God, there is no one like you. Your power is unlimited and you are good to your very core. Everything about you is holy and perfect. You are just and righteous in all your ways. You are clothed in splendor and majesty. You are in control of everyone and everything – nothing escapes your purview.

Your people have sinned. I have sinned. We have done wrong and rebelled against your commands. We have turned aside from your law and we have called what is wrong right (Isaiah 5:20). Your words have been read in our churches, in public, and in our homes and yet we have spurned your grace and kindness in order to go our own way. You spoke in order to save us from despair but we thought we knew better than you. We have not listened or obeyed you. We have pushed you away.

We confess the sin of pride, adultery, and divorce. Your way is for a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife so that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6-9). Your commands were given as guardrails to prevent us from careening into the caverns of our misery and depression. You have told your people that you hate divorce and yet we have divorced our husbands and wives and we have acted unfaithfully. We trade partners like it is nothing. Our schoolteachers are asked to educate children who come from broken homes. They are asked to do miracles with test scores when the children do not even know whom their fathers are – the modern day equivalent of making more bricks with less straw (Exodus 5:7-8). We have made a mess of our families so that many younger people refuse even to marry in favor of living together. We have a generation that suspects that no one can remain married for a lifetime, refusing the vows of marriage in favor of a lifetime of serial monogamy. The cynicism of this generation is ours and ours alone. We have forsaken your way. We deserve to pay for our sins.

We confess the sin of pornography and lust before you. Nude and seminude images are everywhere in our day. Marketers cannot sell cereal without appealing to sex and parading pornographic images in front of everyone. Erotic images are in checkout stands, splashed across Internet pages, and paraded in front of television screens. Men have treated woman as if they are playthings and women have suffered the consequences. We confess the sin of violence and domestic abuse that our evil fantasies have produced. We confess mothers refusing to teach their daughters decency, wearing clothes in public that are not appropriate. We confess the sin of lust. We confess our worship of sexual pleasure. We have lost decency itself. We deserve to pay for our sins.

We confess the sin of pride and homosexuality. In past days, there was a clear line between what was right and wrong but that is no more. Today we have blurred these lines and teach our children to be gender-neutral. We have refused to make moral judgments and traded your standards for a revolving door of moral opinions. We live in a day where truth is “spinned” and we refuse to blush. You made us in your image as man and woman but we have rejected and spurned your way, feeling like we are smarter than you. All across our land we celebrate our sin and flaunt it. We confess our pride and arrogance before you. We as a nation are committing moral and spiritual suicide. We have reached the lowest rung on the moral ladder and broken through it, hell-bent on inventing new evil. Satan is delighted with us and we deserve to pay for our sins.

We confess our arrogance and lack of love for sinners. Just like the Pharisees, we have lifted up ourselves as better than others. We have failed to recognize that pride can slip in the back door and make us “moral” self-righteous sinners. We have thought of ourselves as morally superior to others and spoken hateful things to hurting people. Many of us have perversely enjoyed discussing how deplorable society around us. We have truly failed to understand that if were not for the grace of God we would be miserable wretches. We have failed to truly grasp the power of your grace. Our churches have failed to reach out to the hurting and offer them the hope of the gospel of your grace. We have turned inward in selfishness with inflated egos of self-righteousness, refusing to welcome sinners. Instead, we have looked down our noses at other sinners thinking we are better than others. We deserve to pay for our sins.

We recognize that there is pain and misery in our midst. Families are hurting, couples are suffering, and singles are often lonely and bewildered. All of this sadness while our children go abandoned. We hang our heads in shame and know that the consequences and misery of our sin is ours alone (Galatians 6:7). We confess that your wrath is just and righteous. Righteousness belongs to you but to us belongs open shame (Daniel 9:7). We confess that each one of us have rebelled against you.

But we plead with you to forgive us, Lord, for we are ashamed of what we have become. We blush to even lift our faces to you for our sins rise high above us (Ezra 9:6). Please do forsake us. Please do not give us what we deserve. We weep before you and turn to Jesus for forgiveness, for hope, and for help. For your sake, we ask that you save us from our sins and give mercy to your people. Make your face shine upon us again. Lord, pay attention to the prayers of your people.

We beg you to make our nation’s laws reflect your principles. Give us justice based on your laws. Grant us judges that are courageous and truthful. Give us men and women of God who seek the best for our nation by humbling themselves before you. Do not let wickedness rule in our land so that poor are marginalized and the helpless have no solace (Proverbs 29:2). Do not delay, Lord, but hear our cries for mercy.

Restore us to walk in your way and grant us repentance (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Turn your people, your church, and our nation back to walk in sexual faithfulness. Turn us away from wandering eyes and move our hearts to follow after you in faithfulness to one another. Rid us of lust, pornography, divorce, adultery, and homosexuality. Lord, hear our cries for mercy. Do not delay but act for your sake because we are your people, who are called by your name.

Place your hand on our marriages and make them strong again. O Father, give us godly families! Raise up fathers and mothers who humbly confess their sin before you and seek your grace. Cause husbands to love their wives as your Son loved his church (Ephesians 5:25). Be merciful to the women and wives of our land and provide them meek, loving fathers who will protect them. Give us wise sages for mothers who teach modesty and inner-beauty to the next generation of young ladies. We ask that you compel us to restore the hour of family worship throughout the nation. Lord, we ask that you do not delay but act for your sake because we are your people, who are called by your name.

Shine brightly in our churches so they would welcome sinners with your love. Provide us leaders who speak, live, and breath the gospel of your grace and righteousness throughout our land. Give us men who are more afraid of offending you than suffering the displeasure of others – we do not need more people pleasers! Steel us against suffering that evil men bring our way and give us strength to stand for righteousness and truth. May your very presence descend on us as we read the words of God (Isaiah 55:11). Live again in your people with power and conviction as we long to see the muscle of the Holy Spirit in our churches again! Do this, Lord, for your glory so that many people may worship you. Speed up your coming to us, O Lord, for we are in desperate need. Lord, hear our cries for mercy. Do not delay but come quickly to help your people. For your sake, revive us. For your glory, shape us.

In Jesus’ Name I ask you for this,

Amen.