The Book of Malachi, Lesson VIII, Malachi 2:8-12
As we continue in our Malachi passage of chapter 2, verses 8-12, we have heard God remind the priests of his covenant of life and peace with their tribal father, Levi.
This covenant of life and peace was an agreement between God and Levi whereby if Godís law was obeyed the children of Israel would live a life of peace.
The law is like that, in any society.
Obey the law and you will have peace, disobey the law and peace will vanish.
And this is what is taking place in Israel in Malachiís day as God rebukes the priests for not following in the footsteps of Levi, the father of the priestly tribe.
And because of this God says in verse 8 and 9 of chapter two.
8 But ye [the priests] are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
God states that the priests of Malachiís day have corrupted the covenant God made with Levi and because of this they are now contemptible and base which means dishonorable before all the people.
What a fall this is from what they should have been!
He concludes this statement by saying that all this has taken place because the priests have been partial in the law.
Now my Bible clearly says: God is not a respecter of persons.
God does not show partiality as did the priests of old.
Since God shows no partiality, and He has created us in His image, He commands that we be like Him in this regard.
Favoritism, then, is incompatible with faith in Jesus Christ.
Showing partiality reveals an underlying motive of hoped for gain.
Showing partiality either to the rich or to the poor, the famous or the common, the weak or the strong, relatives or no blood relation, is contrary to the mission of Christ.
Both, whether rich or poor, are to be ministered to in our Saviorís name as our Lord would so do.
This is not easy and we are wise to pray for those who carry Godís message to your soul that they be obedient to God in all they do for as God tells the priests if they lay it not to heart, if they not give glory to His name a great discipline awaits at their door.
I imagine one of the greatest responsibilities of any man is to preach and teach Godís word.
It is a sobering and fearful thing to be called to labor in Godís vineyard in this manner for God has His curses at the ready for those who unfaithfully carry out this mission by showing partiality.
God said clearly to those unfaithful priests: Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people,
Telling the priests of this curse includes even their seed, their ministry, their blessings, their health, their life, their familyís life.
God is not a God of going through the motions.
God expects your heart!
Everything that God commands is to be obeyed.
We may operate our homes in a light and casual way whereas a childís obedience is optional and the parentís word means little, but in Godís economy that is not to be the case.
God is not willing that any should perish but if a man or woman, boy or girl chooses to not believe on God the consequences are sure.
God does not waiver in this for Godís word is true and He makes this plain to the priests of old and the pastors of the new.
For in Malachi 2:10-12 God in no uncertain terms declares the action of cutting off those who profane the covenant of their fathers.
And God points out exactly who profanes the covenant of their fathers, for it concerns the institution of marriage, it concerns those who have taken to themselves daughters of strange gods.
So God declares in verses 10-12: Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.12 The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.
Today, as of old, Satan is a very busy creature as he loves to bring together the sons of God with the daughters of men and to be modern and equal about it the daughters of God with the sons of men.
But what could be clearer in the scriptures than the edict by God that light is to have no communion with darkness.
What part of II Cor. 6:14 is so difficult to understand that we jump over it as we rush to the altar to unite with darkness?
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Is there some hidden exception in this?
Can saying, I love him or her make this verse go away?
By declaring that all things will work out well and I will be sure as time goes by, to bring him or her to Christ, make things right?
How can this relationship be against Godís will when it feels so right, when it feels so good?
And oh how we love each other!
Will God give special dispensation in your case since love conquers all?
No, a thousand times no, for we are to look at how God looks at this as he calls this an abomination and a profanation of the holiness of the Lord.
He states clearly in our passage that Judah hath dealt treacherously.
Godís edict is clear!
Godís command to His people is that it is never His will for a believer to marry a non-believer.
For continuing in II Cor. 6:15-18, And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
And in Ephesians 5:8-11, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
And in 1 John 1:5, This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The Bible, Godís Holy word is direct in this truth.
Godís will for his children is to marry within the family of God.
There is no need to pray for Godís will in this for His will is not open to modification.
Praying about whether or not to marry a non-believer is as sinful as praying about approval to commit adultery or to rob a bank or to commit murder.
Adultery is sin, stealing is sin, murder is sin and attempting to unite darkness with light is sin.
It is never Godís will to commit sin.
In this God reminds the priests and Israel that they have one father, that they have one creator and in this they are to remember they are beholden only to this one father and this one creator.
In this they are a special people subject to the law of God and to go outside the law, which includes law about marriage, is a grievous sin against their father, against their creator.
God sees Israel as His special people, a people of testimony who have entered into a covenant relationship with God and therefore in order to display the God of this covenant they are singularly committed to obey His word and to walk in his word.
And with regard to marriage God has every right to constrict their right to marry.
I am in the family of God for I was born of the Spirit of God.
I was bought with a price, and that price was without equal for that price was the precious blood of Christ.
I am not my own and therefore I am to recognize the authority of the One who bought me and therefore am only free to do that which pleases Him.
And He has decided I am only free to marry as He directs in His word and that word always directs me to marry a believer in Him, never one who does not believe.
God commands, Be ye holy for I am holy.
God is holy meaning He is totally separate from sin and He commands His people to also be separated from sin.
And to be separated from sin includes being separated from those who do not desire to be holy, who do not desire to be in the family of God.
The Lord in our passage says that Judah had profaned the covenant and in describing that profanation marriage is what has been profaned.
Malachiís Israel is rampant with mixed marriages, whereby foreign gods defile the dwelling places, dwelling places where God refuses to dwell for they are an abomination unto Him.
What a strong word that is, abomination which usually is associated with witchcraft, idolatry, sexual perversion and so on.
But God includes this union of light and darkness as an abomination and in this we are to learn Godís mind about this important subject of a holy marriage.
We are so casual at times about things like this, just thinking our thoughts and thinking unions apart from Godís word may be a trivial sin but Malachi reveals to us how God feels about this by calling it a treachery.
Because of intermarriage between the sons of God and the daughters of men, God brought the flood to destroy all these wrongful unions thus beginning the human race all over again with the Noahic Covenant.
Abraham, the father of faith preached the righteousness of holy unions when he made his servant swear: by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
But it was not long till Esau, Abrahamís great grandson, took unto himself in marriage two unbelievers.
Generations come and generations go but to keep the word of God from generation to generation is almost impossible for the human heart is wicked indeed.
Think back on what God had to do to bring forth a people for his name contrary to what his people would do had not God intervened.
In order to keep the line toward Christ untainted by intermarriage God had Joseph, the son of Jacob by his wife Rachel, sold into slavery in Egypt.
This act resulted in the whole tribe of Jacob moving away from the promised land to be kept in a kind of incubator land for 400 years, thus making them into a cohesive nation.
Had God not done this Israel would have simply melted into Canaan because of intermarriage.
Drastic disobedience results in drastic consequences.
How many brick did Israel make because of this sin?
But this did not stop this great sin of intermarriage.
Remember Balaam, the mouthpiece of Balak, king of Moab who advised the way to curse Israel is to use your women to lure the men of Israel into marriage.
Israelís entire history is filled with problems caused by marriage to heathen women, women who served other gods.
Do you think Samson won Delilah to the Lord or did Delilah corrupt Samson by her wiles?
Did Solomon build altars to the Lord throughout Jerusalem or were the altars built to the strange gods of Solomonís many wives?
Did he win them to the God of Israel or was his heart turned away from Jehovah?
I wonder what Ahabís parents said when he brought Jezebel home and announced his marriage to this fine believing woman.
Only what she believed was not the truth of Godís word for it was not long before the land was full of Baal worship.
Again we see a weak man, a man who marries the strong for he is weak and in that weakness allows his mate to be contrary against Godís word.
Ezra and Nehemiah were appalled when they found some of those who had returned from captivity had married the heathen of the land.
Read Ezraís account in Ezra 9, Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: [darkness with light] yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. 3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. 4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. 5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, 6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.