Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
The Pharisees repeatedly sought to trap the Lord by attempting to draw Him into controversial discussions. Today’s passage demonstrates much more than a simple response to entangling questioning. Interestingly, we learn from the Lord’s response that God’s law made allowances for man based upon God’s understanding of man’s nature. In other words, the Lord Jesus indicated that God gave some of the law simply because of the hardness of man’s heart! Unfortunately, these laws are used today by men to justify decisions contrary to God’s will thus further validating the hard-hearted nature of man. In either case, God’s ways are never thwarted. God’s laws allow even man’s wickedness to bring about God’s justice and His laws further expose the inherent shortcomings of man. God graciously gave some of His laws to make allowances for man’s weaknesses caused by sin.
- (For children): Read Matthew 18:23-33. The wicked servant had the right to have the man who owed him money thrown into prison. The king was angry when he heard that the wicked servant wanted justice rather than expressing mercy and grace. Being entitled to do something does not always mean God is pleased with what you do.
- (For everyone): Do you abuse certain Bible verses as justification for your actions when you know that these actions displease God? Do you allow God’s concern for justice to become the grounds for which you violate God’s will for your life and the lives of others?
- Are you satisfied when you find a justification for doing something that God allows but doesn’t will for you to do? The Bible says that allowances were created because of man’s hard-heartedness.
- Ask the Lord to give you a tender heart toward His will.
- Ask God to keep you from the sin of justifying your sin.
Song: His Way with Thee