Leave and Cleave

Matthew 19:3-9 ESV

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

Man and Woman

From the very beginning, after God had created man, he then created woman to be a helper fit for him. He, thus, took one of man’s ribs, from his side, and from that he made woman who was to be flesh of his flesh. And, it was God’s intention and will for man that he should leave his father and his mother, and that he should hold fast to his wife, and that they would, thus, become one flesh (Gen. 2:18-25).

So, from the very beginning, it was God’s plan and purpose in his creation of man, and then woman, that, in marriage, they should become one, united in Christ and in God’s love and purpose, and that the man should see the woman as his helpmeet, whom God brought alongside him to assist him.

Although they are still individuals, and the man is the head, they were to become one in Christ, united in purpose, working together alongside each other toward the same ultimate purpose, which is for the glory of God.

Also, the man is to leave his parents, and he is to hold fast to his wife. And, this is not merely physically leaving his parents’ home to go live with his wife, either. This is also departing from wrong behavior patterns learned from his parents, and forsaking wrong attitudes and bad influences, too. And, it has to do with growing up, as well, and no longer being childish, but growing to maturity and manhood and taking responsibility now for his own home and family physically, spiritually and emotionally, too.

And, he is to “cleave to, be glued together with, and to be intimately connected in a soul-knit friendship” with his wife (1).

So, this “oneness” is not just a sexual union. This is a union that covers all areas in a marriage relationship, and that seeks the good of one another. It is a give and take relationship that is not all one-sided. Although the man is the head, he is not to lord it over his wife in an abusive or a demanding way, but he should be thoughtful and considerate of her and her thoughts and feelings, too.

They are to be partners, in other words, two joined together as one, which is dependent largely on the man being glued together with his wife in thought, attitude, heart, mind, emotion, affection, etc., as well as in body.

Although it takes two to do this, and both partners have to work together with each other towards this oneness, the Lord lays a large part of that responsibility on the man who is to lead his household in the ways of God, but to do so by example and with purity of heart and mind, and in love (unselfishly).

For, the man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, and the wife must respect her husband (Eph. 5:25-33). For, we each have our roles in this marriage relationship, but we are also each to do what leads to us becoming one flesh, too, and both husband and wife have to work on this together, united in Christ, with the husband leading the way lovingly, tenderly, affectionately and in purity, too.

Sin Corrupts

Although this was God’s design for the marriage relationship from creation, and it still is his design, for it is mentioned again several times in the New Testament, sin corrupted this union when man and woman sinned against God. And, sin continues to corrupt the marriage relationship, and our relationships with God, when humans decide to ignore God’s commandments (his protections) and to go their own way and to do their own thing instead.

Thus, men (and women, too), including Christian men and women, will often or sometimes look for loopholes in God’s boundaries he has set for us, i.e. they will look for wiggle room and for ways to excuse away what they know is wrong. For example, a man (or a woman) might lust after someone other than his or her spouse, and then excuse it away as “normal” or as “innocent” or “harmless,” especially if he (or she) thinks no one noticed.

So, in a sense, they are looking to “divorce” their spouses, though not necessarily in a legal or physical sense, but emotionally, spiritually, and with regard to their marriage vows of fidelity and faithfulness. For, a man or a woman can separate from each other, not physically (in the sense of not living together), but through adultery and sexual immorality.

Infidelity, especially done on a consistent basis, such as via viewing pornography, breaks those marriage vows and that oneness. For, the man or the woman no longer is clinging to (being glued together as one to) his or her spouse, but they have decided to chuck God’s boundary lines, i.e. his protections for us, and to disassociate and separate from their spouses, i.e. to divorce them due to the hardening of their hearts towards God.

A Stronger Responsibility

Guys, I know that us women are not unsusceptible to this, and I do know that there are women (wives) who are living in this “divorced” state from their spouses, too, via the breaking of their bonds of holy matrimony, because they have stepped outside of God’s boundary lines (his protections), and because they have decided it is ok for them to “wander” off in their minds or in their actions towards “other lovers.”

But, I do know that scripturally God has given you guys a stronger role of responsibility here to keep your marriages glued together as one, and to love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. And, I also know that sexual immorality is much more prevalent among males than it is among females, and that much larger percentages of men are addicted to porn than are women.

So, I believe God is talking mostly to you guys right now, though us women are not off the hook by any means, and he is saying to you that you need to stop playing with sin. You need to stop flirting with adultery and letting your minds and your hearts wander off toward “other lovers” whoever or whatever those may be. But, you need “to be intimately connected in a soul-knit friendship” with your wives, and you need to work together with them towards this oneness that God created you to have with each other.

The Big Loophole

But, this is not just an individual problem we are dealing with here. This is universal. And, it is being adhered to by the church, too, largely. For, they have largely been deceived by the great deceiver. And, they have listened to the lies rather than listen to the truth. And so they are convinced that God’s grace permits them the liberty to continue on in their sexual perversions. But, that is cheap grace, not God’s grace.

For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs (demands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:17-24).

Many a marriage is in disarray right now largely due to men who are not being glued together with their wives as one, but who are throwing out God’s protections (his boundaries) in order to follow after the lusts of their flesh and after their “other lovers,” and while they turn their backs on their spouses and they abandon them spiritually, emotionally and mentally, and perhaps physically, too, and then make excuses for it all.

Women, you are not being excluded here, though. Largely the same rules apply for us, only we are not the heads of the family, and we are not given the responsibility to lead in this or to “leave and to cleave” in the same way in which God has commanded the men. But, we are to follow the correct leading, and we are to submit to godly leadership, but we are never to submit to sin or to helping another to sin, either.

We just need to all follow God’s commandments regarding purity, morality, faithfulness, love, compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, and unity, which is to be first in Christ and then with one another who are also united with Christ. And, men, you are to lead the way in this. If you are married, cleave to your wives, become one with them in heart and mind and love. Let them be a part of you and you a part of them, and be honest and be faithful.

Healing is Possible

Wife, if you are living with a man who is unfaithful to you, who is living in adultery and is “divorcing” you by his actions, attitudes, and immorality, be encouraged. God loves you and he is watching out for you. He will lead and guide you in the way he would have you go, and he will strengthen and help you to forgive and to keep loving your husband and to keep praying for him.

Let the Lord heal your broken heart, and do not let bitterness get a foothold in your life and heart. Trust in the Lord in all things, and believe he is working all things together for good for those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.

And, ditto regarding any males who may be in a similar situation with their wives. Just keep trusting the Lord, and keep following him, and keep forgiving, loving, hoping and praying. God is good! All the time! Believe him. Follow him. And, let him lead the way.

His Tender Mercies

An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

(1) https://biblehub.com/greek/2853.htm

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