A recent post on Intentionally Yours blog exhorts Take a Stand: Divorce is Not the Answer! Similarly, Will Davis Junior recently posted Hey Christians, It’s Time to Take Divorce Off the Table! and Always Learning recently posted For Those Pondering Divorce ~ DON’T
These sorts of posts are quite common. If you frequent the Christian blogosphere, you can easily find one every couple of weeks along these lines. Most of them are by well-intentioned believers convinced they are promoting a good and godly message. I understand…a couple of decades ago, I would have mostly agreed with their position and supported their efforts…but not any more…
I suspect they haven’t really thought through what they are promoting. By taking a stand against divorce aren’t they taking a stand in direct opposition to God’s chosen course of action proclaimed in Jeremiah 3:8?
And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce…
Frankly, as a follower of Christ, I don’t want to take a stand against anything God has chosen as an appropriate course of action.
Even more, I wonder how have we so forgotten our foundational beliefs? There is no principle more foundational to biblical faith than that of Redemption. Have we completely forgotten what redemption is? Or have we not studied our own faith deeply enough to understand redemption?
Today, we often use the word redemption (or redeem) in a rather broad sense, to simply mean bringing good out of bad circumstances. However, the biblical use of this word is much more specific, relating to covenant law and legal ownership.
The Law of Redemption, recorded in the 25th chapter of Leviticus, clearly relates to land which has been sold and to people who have become enslaved, both as a result of covenant agreements.
God provided redemption right for land, allowing the land to be bought back by the original owner or by a near kinsman on his behalf. Essentially, the redemption right allowed the seller to cancel the purchase covenant by refunding the cost of the sale.
The basis of provision for redemption was that the land belongs to God:
The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. (Leviticus 25:23-24)
God also provided redemption right for someone who had become enslaved as the result of a debt covenant he could not repay. A near kinsman could redeem the debtor from slavery by repaying the debt on his behalf. The debt payment justly fulfilled the covenant obligation, thus ending the debt covenant.
Here, again, the basis for the redemption right was that they belong to God:
For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt… (Leviticus 25:42)
So we see that redemption, as used in scripture, means to justly bring about the end of a covenant of bondage by which someone (or something) belonging to God is being held captive.
God, working through Moses, redeemed Israel from Egypt. He brought about the just dissolution of Joseph’s covenant with Pharaoh…the inherited covenant that had become slavery under the abusive rule of the new king.
Jesus redeemed His people from the kingdom of darkness. He brought about the just dissolution of Adam’s covenant of bondage to the kingdom of darkness by which we were enslaved to sin.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13)
Let’s be very clear on this. Where there is redemption there is a divorce. Without the just dissolution of a covenant, there is no redemption.
To categorically take a stand against divorce is to take a stand against redemption!
I stand in strong support of whole-heartedly honoring covenant vows. I also stand in strong support of redemption from covenants of abusive bondage.
Jesus announced the beginning of His ministry with these words:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
I am taking a stand for the downtrodden and abused…for justice and mercy…for redemption and deliverance.
I will speak hope, encouragement and blessing to the oppressed and marginalized:
- to those living in fear of injury or death at the hands of an abusive spouse who have been told that leaving would be a sin against God…
- to those living with the guilt of knowing their children are being abused but feeling helpless to intervene because they’ve been told they must remain in the marriage to have God’s blessing in their children’s lives…
- to those living a lonely existence apart from the body of Christ because they did what they had to do, then were pushed out of their church for refusing to reconcile with their abuser…
I will speak out for these.
I will speak of God’s heart of redemption for His children who are enslaved in a covenant of abusive bondage.
What stand has God led you to take?