I recently heard someone say that God hates divorce. I’ve heard that statement countless times. I have even seen commentaries on this verse trying to explain away what this statement means. Where does this statement come from? As you may or may not know, Malachi 2:16, in many English translations, says, “‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD…” But is this really what the verse says?
To be honest, this will not be a post about divorce. Why? Although these verses do speak of divorce, divorce is not the main issue. Let’s look at Malachi 2:13-16 in context and language. It says in verse 16 in the Hebrew, “‘For he hates divorce,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘covers his garments with corruption or violence,’ says the LORD of hosts. So guard your spirit and do not deal treacherous.”
What we see here, is that the Bible does not say in this verse that God hates divorce, but that the man hates divorce. What? As we read all the verses in context, we find out that the man hates divorce, so instead of divorcing his wife, he takes another woman…he is faithless…he betrays her…he cheats on her. In other words, he won’t divorce his wife, he won’t perform the husbandly duties with his wife, so he goes to another woman and commits adultery.
God says that they can weep and mourn at the altar, but He does not receive their offering because of this offense. They thought they could live any way they wanted as long as they brought the sacrifice to the altar, because grace would cover it. Is this much different than the ideology that is acceptable in the church today? They wanted God…but they wanted Him mixed with a whole bunch of other things. This is called syncretism. The Bible is laced with syncretism. Here are just a couple of examples:
- 1 Samuel 19:11-17 – David has idols in his house, as Michal uses one to make it look like him
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 – David names his son Beeliada (English translations) meaning “Baal Knows”
- 1 Chronicles 8:33; 9:39 – Saul names his son Eshbaal (English) meaning “Man of Baal”
- 2 Kings 22-23 – Josiah begins renovating the temple…he has no idea that the idols in the temple are wrong…until the Torah scroll is found and read to him
- 2 Kings 18 – Hezekiah destroys the high places…the messenger of the king of Assyria asks how they can trust in the LORD when he removed His high places and altars… remember at this point the only altar should have been in Jerusalem
- Judges 17 – Micah, his shrine, & the Levite…go read this story, it is classic syncretism
- 1 Chronicles 12:5 – One of David’s mighty men, a kinsman of Saul, is Bealiah (English) meaning “Yah is Baal” – FYI…”Yah” is the poetic form of God’s divine name
- 2 Samuel 5:17-21 – David has a major military victory and says, “The LORD has burst through my enemies before me like a bursting flood.” Then he names the place Baal-perazim meaning “Baal bursting forth”
Wow, those last two show that the people had gotten to the point where they were calling the LORD “Baal.” Talk about syncretism! It got so bad that God says in Hosea 2:16, “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.'”
I know, I know…this is Old Testament stuff. We now live in the “dispensation” of grace. But Paul picks up this principle in the book of Romans. As he is talking about worship and being a living sacrifice he says in 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The writer of Hebrews says in 10:26-27, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” He then says they have profaned the blood of the covenant and outraged the spirit of grace!
One last thought…In 1 Kings 12:25-33, we see that Jeroboam builds two golden calfs and puts one in Bethel, and the other in Dan. He says in verse 28, “Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Wait a minute…that sounds familiar, real familiar. In Exodus 32 is the infamous golden calf at Mount Sinai. You know, approximately 40 days after they came out of Egypt. They build a golden calf and say the exact same thing. But in verse 5, Aaron says this, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” Could it be, and this is just a thought, that they had seen the glory in the fire/cloud, but then Moses went up the mountain and though the people didn’t want to get rid of God, they wanted something visual to represent the glory??
O dear, I better stop! This is much bigger than a short blog post can handle. The problem here is a compromiser. As a wise man once said, “What you compromise to keep, you lose.” It is evident today that compromise and syncretism are still alive and well in the church…if there is no standard, then anything goes. Will you be the one who stands and says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD?” Well until next time, continue to walk your journey with joy.