THE LORD REBUKES THE SELF RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE FOR PROFANING THE SACRED COVENANT OF MARRIAGE
Series of self righteous questions continues as the people wonder why God is not looking with favor on their sacrifices. They continue to go through the external religious motions, but it is obvious God is not buying it.
Easy to put together some frightening statistics about the failure rate of marriages.
I. (:10-12) MARRYING OUTSIDE OF GOD’S COVENANT FAMILY VIOLATES OUR UNIQUE SPRITUAL IDENTITY AND DENIES US GOD’S FAVOR
A. (:10) The Root Sin = Selfishness
1. Sinning Against Our Common Father
“Do we not all have one father?”
2. Sinning Against Our Common Creator
“Has not one God created us?”
3. Sinning Against Our Fellow Brothers
“Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother?”
4. Violating the Fundamental Law of our Society
“so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?”
More is at stake than our momentary happiness
Piper takes this verse in a more general sense:
In verse 10 it’s the general area of personal relationships: “Why then are we faithless to one another?” There was widespread dishonesty. People were not keeping their word. Trusts were being broken. “Why are we faithless (or treacherous) with each other?” That is, Why can we not trust each other. Why all this breaking of faith? . . .
So the sin that runs through each of these areas of life is this failure to keep a trust, the failure to keep a commitment. It is the breaking of an agreement or covenant or contract or promise.
So what Malachi does with this key word is to show that community life is supposed to be ordered by the faithful fulfillment of promises and contracts and oaths and covenants and commitments. But this order has given way to the disorder that comes when people give in to the power of self-centered emotional impulses.
B. (:11) The Ultimate Offense = Directed Against Holy God
“Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.”
Marrying an unbeliever is equated with the most serious religious offense
Nail down your convictions in this area at a very young age.
C. (:12) The Fatal Judgment = Cut off from the Land of the Living
“As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts.”
Hypocritical religious exercises will not save such an individual.
II. (:13-16) DIVORCE VIOLATES OUR UNIQUE COVENANT RELATIONSHIP AND DENIES US GOD’S FAVOR
Another in list of offenses
“And this is another thing you do”
A. (:13) Wallowing in Unjustified Self Pity (instead of repenting and turning to the Lord)
“you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.”
B. (:14a) Self Righteous Question
“Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’”
C. (:14b) Charge of Divorcing Your Covenant Wife
“Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.”
Bad deal when the Lord is testifying against you
Piper: The reason that divorce has kindled God’s wrath is that marriage is a covenant. The life together is rooted not in the sand of emotional satisfaction but in the rock of covenant commitment. And two things in this text clarify what sort of covenant that is.
D. (:15-16) Solemn Warning Against Divorce
“’But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly off-spring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘and him who covers his garment with wrong,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’”
Element of Hope – Power of the Spirit available; vision for a godly offspring
God’s final word on Divorce: “I hate divorce”
Treat your spouse honorably, not treacherously
Key = Act Faithfully toward your spouse – what type of character would that involve?
– Forgiveness and Acceptance
– Unwavering Commitment – a one woman man