For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (Malachi 2:16 KJV).
When we invest in something of great value we are quick to ask for a warranty, a guarantee that it will not break down in a short time. We go further to insure everything including our pets against future likely disasters.
Well God does the same when it comes to anything he institutes and commits to a human being. There is always limits and boundaries around the use of everything including your own self. If you break certain universal laws, you reap the negative consequences. If you refuse to give up chain smoking for example, you will be headed towards getting a lung disease.
Everything we are given freely to enjoy, also has boundaries within which to enjoy it in, so as to keep it safe and sound. A lot of the world’s problems come because of lack of control, excessive living and abuse of nature’s provisions.
When it comes to our relationships, they are meant to be operated by agreements and boundaries. Whether explicitly or implicitly every relationship in your life is maintained because both you and the others you are in relationship with, conduct your relationship knowing what you are allowed to do and not to do. It is up to you to set those boundaries, whether by verbal means or by non verbal means and ensure that on your side, you do not behave in a way that suggests to the other person that your boundaries are lax or that they can be re -negotiated as and when it takes their fancy. Without this in place, your relationships become like wildfire. They take over your life and lead you where you do not want to go, destroying everything in their path.
So it is up to you not only to choose where possible the people you bring into your life but also to choose and agree the rules of engagement from the very start of the relationship. There is now an expectation on both sides to stick to the agreement both in practical everyday living and also in principle ( in the spirit of the agreement), with no undercutting or short handed behaviours or hidden hatred.
God subjects himself to this principle when it comes to human beings. He is a respecter of free will because he is responsible for the choices he makes and like it or not you will be held responsible by him for the choices you make.
God therefore respects our relationships and the agreements we make with one another. Where there is true and positive agreement towards a specific positive purpose, he always lends his support and involvement.
‘Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven’. (Matthew 18:19 KJV).
Can two walk together except they are in agreement?
‘Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican’. (Matthew 18:15-17 KJV)
Relationships must always be brought back to the place of agreement. If they cannot then the relationship does not exist as it should before God. What he sees when he looks at the parties involved is a victim and a perpetrator. An abuser and the abused. The residue of the spirit when there should have been no residue but full acceptance and equilibrium. He always will go about setting the record straight.
‘Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord’. (Romans 12:19 KJV).
God himself operates by Covenants. Covenants are agreements to which the parties pledge never to break or breach forever and ever. Each willingly enters into it and submits to its terms forever. This is God’s insurance policy given the fickleness of Man’s heart. For a blessing to be established, God wants it to transcend the one person and to reach to future generations. A Covenant not only implicates the Covenantee but also generations after him or her. Why? So that the benefits of that Covenant, the fruit of it will last and be established for the benefit of others. The same thing happens when a Covenant is breached. The consequences of it transcends the offender reaching to his children and his children’s children, to generations yet unborn. That is why blessings and curses transcend generations. It is because they are the result of Covenants between man and God or between man and man (humans) with a God as the arbitrator. They were made to last and be rock solid.
You see the Trinity does not need a Covenant. They are a bonded 3 in 1. Always have been, always will be. But humans, that’s another story.
Covenants are made so an unbreakable bond or agreement can be entered into. Never to be broken.
So marriage which is one of God’s masterpieces can be built on no less than a Covenant. We choose our own lifelong partners, hopefully we are allowed to do so voluntarily. We agree our own terms and boundaries. That is Covenant enough as far as God is concerned irrespective of whether you are a Christian or not.
But as Christains we go even further. We bring our chosen ones before God and we vow and verbally reiterate the Covenant in his presence. We submit to the added bonus of God’s own set of rules and boundaries as far as the marriage relationship is concerned and he gives us to each other as a sacred gift. He blesses the union and makes the couple ONE. This ‘making one’ is a replica of the bonding within the trinity. It is unbreakable. And God expects the parties involved to realise the enormity of the Covenant they have entered into.
Jesus was questioned about the issue of separation and divorce. Look at the discussion:
‘The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry’. (Matthew 19:3-6, 8-10 KJV).
The disciples seeing the enormity of the implications of the Covenant concluded that it is not good to marry. Jesus did not agree with their assertion but did not belittle it either. He simply said that some are eunuchs by choice and others by compulsion. In other words, if you cannot comply to God’s terms, it is better not to get Covenanted.
The emphasis appears to be on protecting the women. There’s good reason for this, most of which I cannot go into in this post. But put simply, the woman was made as a resource bank, a gift to bring completeness where there is lack of any kind. It is just like God to want to insure a thing like that. Even you, will you leave your resource bank unprotected? He always puts a woman under the care of someone he can hold responsible and accountable. Before she is married that will be a father, natural, adopted or spiritual. He holds them to account for this resource bank and how it is used.
The woman is also the nurturer of the seed. Without her, there will be no future generations. She receives the seed, carries the seed, nurtures the seed and brings it forth. And I am not talking just about children. Let the Holy Spirit help your understanding. It is the seed brought forth by the woman that does the damage to the devil.
On a material level, it takes a father and a mother working together in agreement to bring forth and raise godly children who will be sound and whole enough to undertake God’s agenda optimally on earth.
The safety of the woman who is the more vulnerable one is important to God. As a woman, I am always amazed at the length to which God goes in scripture to protect the woman. So that most scriptures we read which seem to be disqualifying women and putting them to the background are simply a picture of God’s heart towards her. A woman who is loved, cherished and protected is a reservoir of power and goodness not only to her children but the world at large.
So God takes it very seriously when women are abused, beaten, maltreated, used, degraded and violated and worse of all, put away, or divorced and left in the cold without a covering of a husband or a father. It is even worse when her children are thrown out with her.
Any man who does this callously and without great thought is in my view courting with danger.
‘A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation’. (Psalm 68:5 KJV)
A woman who is put away is like a widow in God’s view. Note that a widow is a woman whose husband is dead. In putting your wife away callously, you are like a ‘dead man walking’.
However if the husband is still alive God expects him to return for his wife where possible and he expects all others to stay away and same for the wife.
‘And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery’. (Mark 10:11, 12 KJV).
Listen to Jesus’s words again;
‘And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery’. (Matthew 19:9 KJV).
In the light of the above, God will avenge and so he answers a complaint made by the people as follows;
‘And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth’. (Malachi 2:13-15 KJV)
The wife of your youth is simply your first wife and God expects you to have only one.
I cannot say it any better than has been said in the scripture above. Marriage is a covenant and one that God takes extremely seriously. All I can say is be careful in your decision making about marriage. If you go for it, you cannot ‘put away’. There are consequences which are dire.
You are unforgettable as far as God is concerned. Your worth is beyond measure. He will fight for you.
Disclaimer: This post is my understanding of what the scriptures say. You may not agree with it. But read it thoughtfully and raise such questions as you may have to God. He is able to shed light on what you need further explanation for. This is the best I can do. God help us all.