Saturday, September 4, 2021

Moses, The Law Giver

Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In Chapter 19 of Matthew, Jesus is back in Judea. There, the Temple Leaders approach Him with an issue familiar to us all, even today. They, being Jews represent the faithful of the Old Testament, following The Law to the letter. Their question to Jesus is designed to trick Him into stating something contrary against the Law, thereby giving them reason to declare Him a false teacher.

This brings us to Proverbs 26:27, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” In the Book of Esther, Haman built a gallows for Esther’s Uncle Mordecai, plotting against him, and planning to have him hanged. But once Esther was declared Queen, the tables were slowly turned as Esther made a plea to her husband the King.

Mordecai was protected and rewarded, and it was Haman himself who was hanged from the gallows that he built. Though God is not mentioned a single time in the Book of Esther, His provision and protection over His Chosen People are never more evident than in that Book.

As believers, this is something that should always lay peacefully in our hearts. God is for us and never overlooks what is going on in our lives, even with things that we cannot see. God is always alert towards us. It is a special and unique relationship that God has with those that believe in Him, and put their trust in Him. His faithfulness is unmatched, and His love never-ending. He is a pillar we can lean on; a tower of strength Who stands with us, watching the minutia of our daily lives.

So as the Temple Leaders are planning to entrap Jesus with His own words, Jesus-the-Living-Word already knows their hearts, and their plan. Our all-knowing Lord cannot be neither surprised, nor caught off-guard. He knows what has been recorded in His Word and what quotes are attributed to whom.

As the Leaders quote Moses, He takes them back further in the scriptures and quotes His own Words. They were caught in their own trap, by the author Himself!
Following The Law can be good, as long as the Law isn’t forced and manipulated by man.

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;”  - 1 Timothy 1:8

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 19:1-15 - "Moses, The Law Giver"

In today’s passage, Jesus teaches us God’s view of divorce.

We see Jesus leaving Galilee for the last time during his earthly life and traveling to Jerusalem where he would be rejected and killed for the redemption of his people. Jesus would return to Galilee only after his resurrection from the dead.

In this passage we find Jesus, along with a crowd, staying beyond the Jordan where he taught and healed multitudes. While he was there some Pharisees came to him. Now, these Pharisees did not come to the Lord Jesus Christ with the intention of being instructed or healed by him. We know that because they did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. These Pharisees were coming to test and trap Jesus.  This has been an ongoing plot to discredit Jesus and get rid of Him.

The Pharisees ask a couple of questions dealing with divorce. The Rabbis were split on this issue, and basically had two schools of thought. The liberal and the conservative….very much like it is today. One school of thought gave the husband freedom to divorce his wife if he in any way was displeased with her. The other school of thought taught that divorce was only right when there was infidelity.

Setting the trap: Wanting Jesus to take sides, first between the two schools of thought amongst the rabbis, and second pitting God’s Word against the word of Moses.

Jesus first responds to their ignorance, their ignorance of God’s Word. As religious leaders, they were scholars of the law….man’s law, yet completely ignorant of God’s Word. Once again Jesus asked them, Haven’t you read the scriptures?

Rather than focus on what the scriptures teach on marriage, their focus is divorce. God’s standard of marriage goes all the way back to beginning. Genesis makes it clear that marriage is intended to be for one man and one woman and is considered the strongest, most permanent covenantal bond ever created.

Marriage between a husband and wife completes the image of God that was separated from the creation of Eve. That God took from Adam’s body to create Eve shows us great insight into why we become one flesh in marriage. Since man is the image of God, and God took a part of that image out of man to create woman, the image of God is now separated into two beings (man and woman). Genesis 2:24 says the man and the woman shall become one flesh being joined together by God. God separated the image of God (Adam) when He created Eve, and now the image of God is brought back together when man and woman are married.

Those differences that you see between you and your spouse are more special because they are God’s design. Your spouse completes you, both perfectly  designed by God to compliment each other. Both created in the image of God. The differences are not a reason for divorce, but they are a gift and a blessing from God.

In response to their second question, Jesus explains that Moses allowed for divorce because of the hardness and sinfulness of man’s heart. It was a concession, not a command. It is not God’s design, in fact God hates divorce.

Though God hates divorce, it is not the unpardonable sin. God is able to forgive and restore sinful man into right relationship with Himself and with others. Though this is a sensitive subject for many, we must discuss it with all the grace and mercy of our Lord.  As followers of Christ, we are to walk in holiness and obedience to His Word.

Jesus’ definitive statement on the issue of marriage and divorce is in verse 9: “‘I say to you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” and in Mark 10:12 we find the opposite is also true: “And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Who is speaking these things? The eternal God, the Word that was made flesh! When Jesus says, “I tell you,” he is giving us the command of God himself governing marriage, and we had better pay attention. Marriage, therefore, is for life. It is a unity God has created and no one is to tamper with or dismantle that unity.

Divorce results from sin, not from God. God’s love is not fickle, it is loyal. His love is not conditional but is everlasting. We see this love on the cross. Christ died for us and lives for us, and he will never leave us nor forsake us.



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