Malachi 2:10-16 Relationships – Authentic Christianity Part 4
Adam and Eve
When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset.
“You’re running around with other women,” she charged.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Adam responded. “You’re the only woman on earth.”
The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by someone poking him in the chest. It was Eve.
“What are you doing?” Adam demanded.
“Counting your ribs.”
All marriages are happy. It’s the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.
Love is blind, but marriage restores its sight. G. C. Lichtenberg
Keep thy eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards. Benjamin Franklin
Marriage is a way that God shows His love to His people. He invented marriage. While marriage is a choice, it is also the will of God. The way you relate to your spouse says how you love God.
God wants your marital relationship to reflect your spiritual relationship. Marriage is a mirror of how you love God.
You want to evaluate your love relationship with God, then look in your marriage mirror.
Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
(Malachi 2:10 NKJV)
Marriage is a two-way mirror. When God looks at your marriage mirror, He sees one person. Husband and wife become one spiritual being. I can’t explain it very well. I can only tell you that is what God says it is.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
(Genesis 2:21-24 NKJV)
We are made in the image of God. God takes that image and shares it in a marriage mirror.
Jesus said the same thing in a different way:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
(Mark 10:7-9 NKJV)
God created the marriage union to a unity. God unites a male and a female. We are still two physical beings. But spiritually, the couple is one. There is ONE God and He has established ONE institution – marriage – that makes TWO physical people ONE spiritual being. Marriage is the earthly example for the world that God exists. Marriage shows us God’s love by illustration. A married couple shows the love of God in their marriage. Marriage proves that God has made a covenant with His people.
This is the reason why God speaks to the people about the situation. He says that they have tarnished the mirror. He says essentially that they have taken the mirror of marriage and ruined it.
Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The LORD’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
(Malachi 2:11 NKJV)
During this time, the people of God were straying away from Him. They were questioning God’s love. They were not giving God their best attention. They were not letting God influence their decisions. As a result, there social relationships were a mess. You can notice the downward spiral, and point to the reason why so many people have had difficult relationships.
This verse (2:11) tells us exactly how God feels about marriage. It is holy to Him; it is an institution to Him; and God loves marriage.
1. When we sin against our marriage or our marriage vows, we sin against something holy to God. He has set apart marriage for a special meaning, a special purpose in the life of His people.
2. When we sin against our marriage or our marriage vows, we sin against an institution that God has established. Marriage is God’s idea, not man’s; He formed and established the first marriage as a pattern for every one afterwards (Gen_2:20-25). Because it is an institution, we are not allowed to define marriage any way that pleases us; God has established it and we must conform to what He has established.
3. When we sin against our marriage or our marriage vows, we sin against something that God loves.
God loves marriage for what it displays about His relationship with us
God loves marriage for the good it does in society
God loves marriage for the way it meets the needs of men, women, and children
Most of all, God loves marriage as a tool for conforming us into the image of His Son
The marriage that God wants has certain conditions. God loves marriage. But He wants it done His way. How does God view marriage?
1. God wants a Christian man to marry a Christian woman.
The people in Malachi’s time had abused the idea of marriage. They had dirtied the mirror of marriage. How did they do that? They had allowed the children of God to marry people who were not His people. In Malachi’s time, that meant that Jews married people who worshiped other gods. What does that mean for us today?
A Christian should marry a Christian. It is as simple as that. When a Christian marries an unbeliever, it is “profaning” or defiling God’s idea. When you go off and marry someone who is not a Christian. You might satisfy yourself for a short time. But you are really breaking God’s heart. In essence, we are dirtying God’s mirror. Why is this so important to God? He answers it in verse 15?
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
(Malachi 2:15 NKJV)
God wants a Christian woman to marry a Christian man because He wants them to grow children who will later come to know Jesus Christ. This won’t happen when you marry someone who does not know Jesus. Look at this way: God loves you. He wants you to love Him back. He wants to love you by letting you marry. He wants you to love Him by loving your spouse. He wants you to receive that same love by having that spouse love you. He wants you to teach this love to children. He gives married couples children so that they can be taught by experience the love of God.
Now how is this going to happen when you as a Christian decide to go off and marry someone who doesn’t love God. Someone who loves a foreign god will not love you. Someone who has no desire in the God you serve, will treat you with treachery. This treachery hurts God when you treat Him with disrespect, abuse, and arrogant selfishness. The same will happen to you. (The same may have already happened to you. You may have learned this from first-hand experience.)
What is treachery really? Treachery is also known as acting covertly, deceitfully, or acting unfaithfully. The best picture I can use to define treachery is relationship terrorism.
The word treachery or some form of it is used at least five times in these verses. A terrorist uses his powers and weapons to eliminate the ability of others to feel safe and secure. T
hey spend time training and building weapons that can be used to inflict pain and harm on other people physically. In the same way, a person who does not desire God and the way He designed, will act like a terrorist. He or she will act in ways that go against what you believe. They will not relate consistently nor join you in your faith. They will in fact work against your faith. Just as a terrorist lays bombs to inflict physical pain, someone who is treacherous will relate to you in a way that leads to divorce. Divorce is violent. Divorce is when the bomb goes off. God feels strongly about divorce because he knows how many people it hurts.
Are you planting bombs in your marriage? Do you want to rock your relationships with explosions of anger, greed, pride, or evil?
So the problem here is not inter-racial, or inter-cultural marriage. The problem has to do with incompatible faith. Treachery will happen in your life when you don’t marry someone who has the faith belief as you. It is the difference between oil and water. It is the difference between light and dark. Oil separates to the top and tries to overtake the water. When darkness comes, there is no room for light. Darkness and light cannot occupy the same space. When you marry someone who is not a Christian, you are treating God with treachery. You are acting like a relational terrorist with God.
The first way you treat God with treachery is when you go off and marry someone who will not love God.
2. God wants you to treat your marriage partner with the same love that God loves you.
And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the LORD with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the LORD has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
(Malachi 2:13-14 NKJV)
The problem in Malachi’s time was that they were worshiping God (an open expression of their love to Him), while at the same time they were hurting their marriage partner.
CUSTOMER SERVICE MANIPULATION
We have been in the process of closing accounts for all kinds of services. For example, our investments, insurances, and cell phone. Some companies have treated us well, and some have treated us with treachery. We have been loyal and faithful to certain companies. We have paid a monthly price. But now that we have started to close accounts, they have treated us with treachery – bad customer service.
“No, you can’t close the account for another year.”
“No, we can’t help you.”
“It doesn’t matter how faithful you have been to the company, we are going to treat you poorly.”
What I have just described as a problem between disloyal companies and its customers, God says about marriage relationships. We were manipulated by certain companies. We were ripped off financially. We were treated with disrespect. And it happened long before we decided to close accounts.
But as the time has come to end one type of relationship, the cycle of manipulation, coercion, disloyalty, and unfaithfulness increased.
We could have established a better relationship in another country. We could have said: “Yeah, you were so good to us, we will stay faithful to you in the United States. We would use the same company, transfer to other accounts, and buy more products.
But because you treated us poorly, we have no choice but to walk out and leave. It is a shame that some companies look after the profit, and not to the people who give the profit.
In the same way, it is a shame that some married couples treat each other treacherously because they care only about themselves (like the company) and not their spouse (the customer.)
Treating a customer with treachery and disloyalty and unfaithfulness can lead to a divorce. The same can happen in a marriage. Both lose in the process. It is a lose-lose situation.
There was no one else watching this process between us and these companies. But in your marriages, God is watching. God reminds us that because we have made a covenant with our spouse and God was there as a witness, we should honor Him and our spouse. God is basically saying: “Remember when you got married? I was there. I saw you make a commitment to your spouse. It was a life-long commitment of love and responsibility. Don’t walk out on your responsibility, and don’t give up loving your spouse.”
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. “For the LORD God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
(Malachi 2:15-16 NKJV)
When you stop loving your spouse the way that God loves you – with grace and peace, it can lead to a separation. This separation is a tearing of the union and unity that God designed in your marriage. Your marriage mirror shatters into two pieces. It breaks and ruins the beauty that God designed marriage to be.
Shattered glass in a mirror is haphazard. You can’t see clearly. When a mirror shatters, you can easily get hurt. That is the nature of divorce. God hates divorce because divorce hurts what God loves. The phrase here is a proverb: If you hate (by acting with anger, disloyalty, and unloving) and divorce your wife, it covers the marriage with violence.
The picture is from the wedding. In a wedding, the bride wears a white dress. In Israel, you would wear a veil or covering for the face. Divorce is like covering that veil with blood. Violence always follows the separation that leads to divorce. Divorce is never nice. If you have been through a divorce you know what I have talking about. It drains your money, your energy, and your love. Divorce is like a knife that cuts across your relationships. Divorce is the shattered mirror laying on the floor when the marriage has ended.
God warns us to “take heed to your spirit”. Your spirit is guided by the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit ultimately leads to love.