When Janie and I married, we were young, excited, and in love. Looking back, we were also largely clueless about God’s deeper purposes for the marriage union. Twenty-five years later, when my future son-in-law asked my blessing to marry our daughter, I was able to share with him the sacredness of marriage and describe for him the lofty role of a faithful husband from a much broader and more eternal perspective. I wanted to equip him with a biblical view of marriage. Also, I wanted him to know that marriage is a big deal to me—and that marriage to my daughter was a REALLY big deal to me! Since I had my hopes set on the good of my children, future grandchildren, family, friends, and the honor of God, I let him know that my desires and expectations for their marriage were sky-high.
- From your perspective, how does faithfulness honor God?
READ THE WORD: MALACHI 2:10-16 (ESV)
10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has been faithless, and 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. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!
13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
(Today’s questions focus on verses 10-12.)
- The text begins with three questions. The first two are about the nature of God, and the third is about the actions of mankind. Take a moment to briefly consider these questions.
- In what ways had the people of Judah been faithless to God (vss. 10-11)?
- What concepts does this passage contribute to biblical teachings on faithfulness? Take notice of the strong wording in verses 11-12.
- God described the Israelites as “faithless.” How would he describe you and your relationship with him? Also, in what ways are you causing relational damage to another, due to a lack of faithfulness on your part?
RESPOND TO GOD
Malachi addressed Israel’s unfaithfulness to their covenant with God, evidenced in these verses by their intermarriage with non-Israelites who worshipped pagan gods. God designed marriage with a special meaning and purpose in the life of his people; we are wise to value and conform to what he established. God’s sky-high expectations for faithfulness show his brilliance and his desire for our good. Faithfulness, especially in marriage, illustrates his relationship with us. God also knows the relational destruction caused by a lack of faithfulness on our part.
- Confess to God anything in your thoughts or actions that he would characterize as unfaithfulness.
- Be reminded of God’s faithfulness to you. Wait quietly as you once again receive his love.