What Jesus Did! 'Not So!' — Matthew 19:7-9

Sunday, September 5, 2021

"Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?" [the Pharisees] asked [after Jesus' initial response to their question about divorce].

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife* and marries someone else commits adultery — unless his wife has been unfaithful."

— Matthew 19:7-9 NLT

Key Thought

Divorce is prevalent in modern society. But God is not pleased with divorce. God's plan is one man and one woman for life. Divorce shatters lives, injures children, and breaks commitments. It adds to instability and insecurity. God wants the "oneness" that exists in marriages to grow and deepen. He hates it when the oneness is destroyed. While God does allow for a circumstance when divorce is permitted, he always hates it because that circumstance grows out of betrayal and because of the damage it does. It was not his plan from the beginning. He wanted the security of growing and developing marriages.

* During Jesus' time, a woman did not have the legal right to divorce her husband, so this message is targeted to men, who are the ones raising this question. In addition, Jesus was continuing the Old Testament's way of speaking primarily of the husband's decisions about marriage. See, for example, Genesis 2:24; Deuteronomy 22:19, 29; Jeremiah 3:1; Leviticus 21:7, 14; Ezra 9:2, 10:2; Malachi 2:15-16. Jesus emphasized that God joins husband and wife in marriage (Matthew 19:6), so his statements here about husbands and divorce certainly also apply to wives not divorcing their husbands as well (Mark 10:12).

Today's Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, give the people in your church a greater sense of commitment. The world I live in seems to take promises and covenants so lightly. As for me, please protect my marriage from unfaithfulness and insensitivity. I want to grow and deepen my relationship with my marriage partner. Please give us a long and dynamic life together. And Father, I also pray that you will lead and guide and bring together the right people to marry my children and grandchildren. Please bless each of them with a life-long marriage partner who will help them grow in their relationship with you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Malachi 2:13-16
  • 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
  • Mark 10:10-12


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Illustration of Matthew 19:7-9 NLT — "Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.