Lesson 4

In these verses of Malachi, God is addressing His chosen (currently in two nations of Israel and Judah).  He is so hurt when His own do not seem to remember their history and His part in it.

Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? (2:10 NIV)

His people were not even worshiping with each other.  They were refusing to acknowledge the common history and Father that they had.  Don’t we do that today?  Don’t we refuse to acknowledge other denominations because we believe that only ours is correct?  Yes, there are ones out there that are not true believers and follow the faith, but the mainstream ones are your brothers and sisters.  Why do you refuse them and treat them as the step-child?  We are doing the same thing today.
Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob  —even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty. (2:11-12 NIV)

Now, let’s explain that inter-marriage is not the problem per se here.  After all, Ruth was not of Jewish descent and neither was Rahab but both were ancestors of Jesus.  What the problem is here, is what those inter-marriages could bring with them.  Ruth and Rahab were ones who came into the Hebrew community fully embracing their religion.  But most foreign wives were bringing in idols and other forms of worship.  That was the unacceptable part.  Many of the husbands felt that if those idols could bring solace to them or peace to their house than what harm could be in it.  Well, the children are then raised in a conflicting religious household and slowly the worship of God is replaced.  King Solomon was a perfect example of this.  Even with all his wisdom, he allowed many of his wives (yes, he was foolish enough to have scores of wives) to keep their idols.  That opened the pathway to idol worshipping taking over the land under various rules of future kings.  If only he had stayed faithful and the head of his house.

Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. (2:13-14 NIV)

Why should God listen when you turn a deaf ear to Him, when you thumb your nose up at Him when He tries to direct you, when you “know” so much better than the words He sends to you?  Why do you turn to Him and cry out and feel neglected when He is the one that has been neglected except when you need something (usually something materialistic)?  He is always there for you.  Where are you today?

What you do to him, you do in your personal life?  How many even in those days were finding those loopholes in the law and divorcing their wives for the women outside the faith.  They were pushing away the ones they swore to love and protect in front of God for ones who did not believe in God and then they have the nerve to approach God asking for more when they insulted His gift?  Why should He give you more when you spit on the ones He has already given you?

Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself  with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty.  So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. (2:15-16 NIV)

God is pretty strong on the subject of divorce.  The reason is that when you first marry you are vowing before Him to stay together no matter what.  Now, don’t take this out of context here like so many do.  I had someone recently ask me if they were going to hell then because they had been divorced.  I directed them first to Romans 10:9 which states that to get into heaven you need to believe in your heart that Jesus was Lord and Savior and died for our sins and resurrected to conquer death.  If their answer is yes, then hell is not in the picture.  My next question was if that divorce occurred before their conversion.  If yes, then it will not matter because that is the old life.  The “sins” of that life before Christ should not play any part in your deterring your new life or be a consideration in your walk and calling.  If it occurred afterwards?  It does NOT effect your path to heaven or hell.  Consideration of sin and future paths should be explored by Bible study and counsel with your mentor or spiritual leader.  Remember that God is a forgiving God.  Even Jesus gave an exception to the blanket “No divorce” rule.  He still hates it even under this rule.  But He understood that adultery was such a deep betrayal because He was the victim in adultery more times than we could count.

God does not honor a man who cannot keep his vows and who treats gifts as trash.

How are you treating your spouse?  How are you treating the gifts in your life that God gave you?