How do you view marriage?
In the culture today, fewer and fewer people are getting married. Marriage is the first institution that God ordained in Genesis 2:24. God takes marriage seriously, but society has reduced it to a social contract and sometimes a contract of convenience.
Historians agree that the primary reason for the collapse of the Roman empire (27B.C. to 476A.D.) was the internal decay of morality and the dismantling of the family structure.
In Malachi 2:10-16 the Lord rebukes the nation because of their broken relationships, relationships between the tribes of Israel and also personally in their weak view of marriage.
In verse 10, Malachi reminds them that they are a nation, created and called by God. God called them to be one nation, for His purposes and for His glory. But it seems that as they came out of exile, they became selfish, as the Lord blessed them with comfort and wealth, they forgot about their purpose as a nation.
America is a blessed nation, but the problem with financial blessing is that it frequently leads to selfishness. We have forgotten our roots as a nation. Forgetfulness lead to unfaithfulness.
As followers of Jesus, we are to be known for our unity and love. It doesn’t matter what our race, age or ethnic background, we are to display unity and love because we are united around the Gospel and we have the unity of the Holy Spirit drawing us together. Unity is a miracle because it is only possible by the power of God’s presence.
When we set aside petty differences and we prefer each other in forgiveness, we are putting God first in our church and that is worship. All unity in the body of Christ is only because of what Jesus has done for us.
In verse 11 and 12 we read that the second indictment God has against the people is in their lack of faithfulness to Himself. We don’t know the details but from Jeremiah 7 we can assume that they were turning to idol worship, running after the gods of the land that had been brought in since the exile began. The nation was profaning the name of God and His temple.
Idol worship is something that we can all fall into, it is when we value other things more than we value God.
In verse 11, Judah is described as the bridegroom and the daughter of a foreign god as the bride. Malachi is referring to a practice that whereby the Jewish men were divorcing their wives and marrying the wealthy non-Jewish inhabitants of the land. The Jewish men found this was the quickest way to restore their wealth in their homeland. This was strictly forbidden by God (see Deuteronomy 7:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 6:15-16).
The people of Israel were marrying idol worshippers, people outside of the faith. The problem with marrying someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, someone today who has not submitted himself or herself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, is that they simply do not have the same worldview. A worldview is the lens by which we view everything that is happening in your life. A Christian worldview determines how we use our time, the places we go to, the way we spend our money and raise our children. The Christian worldview makes it difficult to be in unity with someone who does not share the same value system.
In Verses 13 and14, we see a picture of a man weeping and the groaning. This is a man who has divorced his wife and married a pagan woman for her wealth and God has judged him. The husband cannot understand why God is taking marriage so seriously as we see in verse 14.
A marriage is where both participants leave their past influences and begin a new life together. Jesus taught in Mark 10:6-9, that marriage is serious and that it is a covenant before God whereby both partners leave their past influences and begin a new life together. In our culture divorce is no longer viewed as the last resort, rather it is simply viewed as a way out of a difficult relationship. Celebrities have made a living out of marrying and divorcing each other simply for the media attention. And sadly, as marriage is treated with less significance the true casualties of marriage are the children and the next generations.
As Christians, we view marriage as a holy commitment, not simply between two people, but before Almighty God, who instituted marriage in the first place.
Finally, in verses 15 and 16 God issues a warning and a challenge. In the last sentence of verse 16, God says, “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless”
Walking the Christian life takes daily monitoring; in the same way, being faithful in marriage takes daily monitoring and attentiveness.
The reason God takes marriage so seriously is that it is designed by God primarily to display the relationship that Christ, the bridegroom has with his church. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul writes about the roles of a husband and a wife, but we get so tied up about wives submitting to their husbands that we don’t see the big picture that God is pointing to. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ in faith and love. Husbands are to give their lives for their wife as Christ who gave his life for the church. This passage is primarily about the glorious relationship between Christ and the church.
Marriage is so much more significant than what our culture teaches us. If you are married, remarried, about to be married or single, settle in your heart right now that marriage is a covenant before God, it is His institution that He chose to portray the relationship between Christ and the church.
Ultimately, we are weak in our faithfulness, but Jesus is the faithful one. The nation of Israel was easily seduced away from God, but Jesus is faithful. Even when we are unfaithful and value other things more than God, Jesus relentlessly pursues us as his bride. Jesus remained faithful to the point of death, giving his own precious blood for our sins.
God takes marriage seriously, commit today to pray for the marriages in your life.