Godly divorce (Abraham and Hagar study)

This is a part of a series about Godly divorce and marriage…

Previously I wrote about Divorce and in it I shared from scripture, from my own thought and from my own experiences.

I was very clear that these were not Gods words, that they were my thoughts. That was on weds.

On thurs I felt I had not told the full story. I felt that again on friday, but my sense was that some people are right to get a divorce, but my post was unbalanced and could lean towards religion and cause that person to remain trapped in something unGodly.

On friday night I decided that if I had this feeling again today, then I would write the other part of it… where divorce is sanctioned by God in the bible.

This morning I had a distinct impression to do a search for “did Abraham get a divorce”. In my mind I confused Abraham with Moses. I had Moses putting away Zipporah (Ex 18:2) in my mind.

So when I searched for that exact phrase, I came upon unexpected teaching. I had never realised that Abraham was divorced from Hagar and whats more I had NO IDEA tht God had approved the divorce.

I would like to share two things with you… in this pos the scriptural view from a legal standpoint… and in the next post is an interpretation of Gods heart and His plan for marriage.

Taken from the superb Divorce and Remarriage scripture study

Gods divorce

God’s Divorce

Why then did the Almighty divorce Israel, if He Himself hates divorce?

Thus says the Lord: “Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and for your transgressions your mother has been put away.” (Isaiah 50:1)

The Lord divorced Israel because of their extreme harlotry (idolatry) and unfaithfulness against Him.

Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. (Jeremiah 3:8)


Godly approved divorce

Godly Divorce

There is such a thing as godly divorce found in Scripture. The first one is found in Genesis 21.

So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.” (Genesis 21:8-12)

Abraham obeyed Sarah’s voice because of God’s command and “sent her away” (Genesis 21:14). The Hebrew word גָּרֵשׁ (gârêsh) Sarah used when she said, “Cast out” in verse 10 means exactly that, but it is also translated “divorced” in Leviticus 21:7, 14; 22:13; Numbers 30:9 and Ezekiel 44:22. The Hebrew word יְשַׁלְּחֶהָ (shallechehâ) used in verse 14 for “sent her away” means exactly that, but is also translated “divorce” in Deuteronomy 22:19, 29; 24:4 (“divorced”); Jeremiah 3:1 (“divorces”) and Malachi 2:16. When it comes to dealing with one’s wife, casting out and sending her away equals divorce (see also Deuteronomy 24:1, 3; Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8). The language here is definitely that of divorce. Abraham divorced, sent away, cast out, his wife, Hagar (Genesis 16:3), and this was all done by the direct command of God. Was this a godly divorce? Yes it was. Abraham obeyed God.

and what if you have been divorced, is it udultery if you remarry?

Is remarriage adultery?

Further exceptions to Christ’s teaching about divorce and remarriage (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18) are given to believers in 1 Corinthians 7. In 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 Paul writes,

But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)

In this passage, Paul addresses believers who are “unmarried.” This would include anyone who is not married, even divorced believers, because this same term is used for a divorced woman in 1 Corinthians 7:11. Therefore, for the unmarried, who lack self-control, Paul tells the church to, “let them marry.”

Later in this chapter Paul discusses the state in which one is found when they came to Christ. Paul encourages the believers “to remain with God in that state in which” they were called (1 Corinthians 7:17-24). In this context Paul writes,

Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you. (1 Corinthians 7:27-28)

Here Paul clearly declares that a man who is divorced from a wife (i.e. loosed), and then remarries, has not sinned. If he has not sinned, then he has not committed adultery. Therefore, for those who come to Christ in a state of having been divorced (loosed), Scripture gives them the freedom to marry.

In my next post I will share on the same topic, also using Abrahams God approved divorce from Hagar, but sharing from a non-religious viewpoint.

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