Let’s begin our study in Hosea 2. Who is described as being adulterous? Does God seek divorce or repentance? If she doesn’t repent, what will God do (verses 3-13)? How does the Lord choose to deal with His unfaithful people (verses 14-23)? Is it in God’s heart to divorce?
Then, if God does divorce someone, is it because He seeks it, or because
the person is faithless (see Jeremiah 3:8)?
Learn from the Lord how to approach your spouse in any situation. Read again Hosea 2:14-23. How is the Lord’s speech, even when His
beloved has committed adultery (verse 14)? Does the Lord seek to exercise control, as
in a Master-Slave relationship, or does He seek you out in intimacy and
closeness (verse 16)? What kind of union does the Lord seek (verses 19 and 20)? Faithfulness is the key here. How do we show faithfulness? How does the
Lord show His faithfulness? Our
faithfulness as Jesus’ bride is shown in our acknowledgement of His Lordship by
how we choose to live. Just like two
people should willingly submit to each other in marriage out of their own free
will, so should our submission to Jesus (as His bride) come as our own choice. If we have chosen the Lord as our groom, why
should we be faithless and adulterous?
When the Pharisees sought to
test Jesus with their question regarding divorce, they and even Jesus’
disciples realized the seriousness and commitment God expects in a
marriage. Read Matthew 19:3-12. What purpose does God have for marriage (verses 4-6)? Has God changed His purpose since Creation? Who joins a man and a woman in
marriage? Is this joining voluntary
from each party? Why then, do people
seek to separate? Should this
happen? Why did God allow such
separation to happen (verse 8)? Just because God allowed it, does it mean
that it was beneficial or holy in His sight?
In verse 9, Jesus mentions the only acceptable clause for divorce. What is that clause? Porneia, referring to all acts of sexual immorality between two
people, is the Greek word translated as marital
unfaithfulness. Do you think Jesus
gives us this clause to encourage divorce for this reason? The binding nature of marriage does not
depend upon human wills or upon acts of persons, but upon the original
character of the divinely appointed institution of marriage (Believer’s Study Bible). Understand that Jesus is not teaching that
the innocent party must divorce the unfaithful one. The purpose in this
allowance clause is not to encourage
divorce for marital unfaithfulness but to forbid
it for any other reason.
Since marriage is a
reflection of the divine covenant we have with our Lord God, commitment and
loyalty is what keeps the marital relationship healthy and growing. All of the lessons we can learn about our
marriages here on earth need to come from the example of Jesus and His bride,
the Church. Read through the Song of Songs
from the viewpoint of you and your spouse, if you’re married; or you and the
relationship you aim to have if you desire to be married. As you read through this, also keep in mind
this book was used in the Old Testament to draw an analogy between Israelite
marriages and God’s love for Israel, His wife.
In New Testament times, as we are today, we need to read Song
of Songs as Jesus’ love poem between He and His Bride, the Church. How does Jesus treat His Bride in this
book? Can you see the passion Jesus has
for you? Do you consider your marriage
to be a reflection of your relationship with God? Discuss with your spouse what you both need to do and think to
make this more of a reality. If you are
single, begin to develop relationships in the church that reflect oneness of
mind and spirit (soul), before you begin thinking about oneness of flesh with
Whereas our society
preoccupies itself with issues concerning divorce, we, as a Christian
community, need to spend time cultivating better relationships and better
marriages because divorce never was intended to be an answer to problems in
relationships. Divorce is the ugly
consequence of lack of loyalty and integrity in human relationships. It is not a solution! Read 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11. Does Paul offer separation
as an option during marital difficulties?
If separation does occur, what other option is there to deal with the
difficulties? What is the best solution
offered for marital difficulties? Read 1 Corinthians
7:12-16. These verses deal
with a special marital situation: spouses with unbelieving spouses. After reading these verses, what is the best
option to deal with difficulties that may arise in this situation? Are the instructions being given to
encourage divorce or to encourage salvation?
Remember God’s focus is always reconciliation. The Spirit always seeks to reconcile (Galatians 5:22,23)
but the flesh seeks convenience and immediate gratification.