The Book of Malachi, Lesson IX, Malachi 2:11,12
As we continue our study of Malachi, given to be Godís Messenger, we are to speak of unions or marriages within the family of God.
We who are in New Testament times know that God clearly defines what unions are to consist of for God-blessed unions, unions made in heaven are to be in accordance with Godís word which forbids in no uncertain terms that believers not be united with unbelievers.
God is Light and only those who walk in the light are allowed in His presence.
Godís Apostle Paul, another of Godís messengers, whom He sent to the Gentiles brought this command as did the prophets of old bring to his people Israel for in II Cor. 6:14 the command goes out clearly and concisely:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
This is nothing new in the scriptures for the Old Testament declares this truth from the beginning when God took out from Adamís body a rib and from that rib He brought forth the first woman, a woman God ordained to be fruitful and to multiply.
God has predestined a people for his name and that people is to be faithful in this, that believers unite only with believers and never those of unbelief.
But the Jews of Malachiís day were careless about Godís word for they made for themselves a convenient religion, a religion disobedient to Godís word.
But God who is light only saw darkness in Israel and declared in:
Malachi 2:11,12 where He said through Malachi, 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.
Last week we read of Ezraís discovery of this treachery and his reaction to what he obviously knew as great sin, the sin of intermarriage with the people of the lands.
But imagine today a reaction to sin as was expressed by Ezra in his day when upon learning that the holy seed had been mingled with people of the lands for men and women of Israel had taken of their daughters and sons.
Compare todayís reaction of whatever, no big deal, things may work out, with Ezraís renting of his garment, his plucking of his hair and beard, his utter astonishment and the shame he felt for the sin of his people which resulted in his face too blushed to lift it up to God.
Ezraís reaction to this great sin, the sin of mingling darkness with light, caused him to fall upon his knees and spread out his hands humbling himself before a holy and righteous God while saying:
our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
Oh that we should be so grieved over sin!
But just a few years later, Nehemiah faced the exact condition and his reaction was even stronger for it included contention, cursing, and even smiting, and plucking off the hair of the offenders.
Read of this in Nehemiah 13:23-27, In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: 24 And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. 25 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. 27 Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
God gives us vivid pictures of godly men who display a godly hatred of sin which seems to us so absent in our time for we take sin so casually but the same God we serve is the God of Malachi who called false unions treachery and abomination.
One of the greatest truths of the Bible message is that God loves His people and that love is not just a love expressed in words but a love expressed in deed.
God has begun this Malachi prophesy by expressing his love in word by saying in Malachi 1:2, I have loved you.
He does not stop there for it is because of His love that He brings His children into His holiness.
God is holy and he says to His children Be ye holy.
And not stopping with words he commands strong standards of holiness for His people.
I am saddened today in what I see walking the streets to our local schools for when I see our young children, so many that could be of great promise and achievement, so neglected by parents who say they love them but their actions lend no support to those words.
Love is tied to standards that our children are to strive to reach and to adopt in their lives but sadly standards have fallen on hard times.
God sets standards for God loves His children and He provides them with all they need to be holy.
But sin is the enemy to Godís holiness and it is only God who can banish sin from His creation and in eternity, praise God, He will do that.
God sets standards for holy unions.
And to strive to meet those standards means waiting on the Lord.
We are to be a militant people knowing that we move on the command of God.
One of the things that was so apparent in the military was the need to wait on orders from above and it is the same in Godís economy for our God desires, that in regard to marriage, we are to wait on the Lord.
As we read in Psalm 27:14, Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
But in Satanís economy instant gratification with regard to marriage is the temptation presented to those who do not dwell deep in the heart of God and deep in His love.
But knowing Godís love is expressed in His word makes waiting a wonderful thing for you know that Godís desire for you is only good.
Is marriage Godís desire or does He have another plan for you?
Waiting without anxiety and simply trusting will give the believer the greatest peace.
Admittedly this is not easy at times as the world intrudes with its temptations but the greatest victories always come with the greatest struggle.
As I said victory in gaining Godís choice in marriage is only gained by living and walking deep in the heart of God.
God will bring all his children to be holy and every step He directs will be toward that end.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved brings you to a place where total surrender of your life, a life of goals and plans and purposes and desires, are turned over to a commander who only looks out for your welfare.
For you now ďbelieve onĒ which is a two word couplet which means you place yourself in the arms of Christ and commit yourself to go with Him knowing fully that He loves you and knows what is best for you.
And what is best for you is clearly expressed in Godís word, that holy word, that word given to bring you to holiness, that word that commands you to only marry one who believes on Christ desiring to walk in His way.
God gives high and lifted up standards without compromise, with no allowances for expanding or contracting, with no allowances for trying new things that the culture may bring in not only as normal but as desired and sometimes even demanded within new laws.
God answers prayer but God answers in His own good time.
As the Apostle Paul did on the road to Damascus we are not to kick against the pricks in this for pricks always cut to the quick and will bring hurt.
God knows the consequences of sin and there are always consequences when a believer marries an unbeliever and in this God will bring discipline.
This of course is what is in the love of God.
It is not in the love of the world for the world preaches sin without consequences.
But God who loves us tells us in Hebrews 12:6, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
My wife and I have reared four children that she physically brought into this world and in addition many others who for a time lived with us.
What would be your thought of her and me be if we took a laissez faire attitude regarding their rearing, a policy of letting things take their own course, a policy of non-interference.
Just let things happen regardless of the consequences.
Certainly it would be fair to judge us unloving parents, not caring for our childrenís welfare and what was best for them.
Love is what moves a father or a mother to correct his or her child so that offenses are deterred and wellbeing is insured.
Because God is love He has so ordained consequences and has confirmed that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.
All of nature declares this truth and to somehow think that consequences will not come from disobedience to Godís decree concerning marriage is living in a dream world of oneís own making.
After speaking of the holiness of the Lord and marrying the daughter of a strange god God brings the consequences to bear for in the 12th verse we read:
Malachi 2:12, 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.
The master and the scholar describes the whole range of men, from the young to the old, from the simple to the wise, who sin against God in attempting to marry light with darkness.
This is a hard thing for God is cutting off the man who does this, and separating him from the covenant people of God.
This result can be seen all around us when believers ignore Godís clear word and marry outside the faith for it will not be long that those who come from this union will be far afield from any faith of their fathers.
It is generally true, unless God by his grace acts, that mixed marriages do not result in children who are committed to the Lord.
Division produces division.
Sowing disobedience reaps disobedience.
There may be union on paper, there may be union in the words of vows but there will not be union in rearing children to worship and to serve God.
Now certainly by the grace of God not all homes of mixed marriages will suffer for God still calls and honors repentance and turning away from rejection of Godís call to believe on His precious Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God is so good and his love is so pure that there is always hope but to test God by disobedience is sin and to think that a life of sacrifice will placate God is a foolish notion for one simply has to read Malachi 2:12 to know Godís heart on this matter.
To obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Now one of the principles of the world is that there is no wrong done between two consenting adults who engage in activities with each other if no harm comes to anyone else.
This is in the worldís operating manual but nowhere will you find this in Godís word for in Godís word we know that our sin affects the body of Christ.
Verse 10 asks Have we not all one father?
Does not the sin of one family member affect all family members?
Does not one part of your body which is hurting affect all parts of your body?
For a believer to disobey Godís word in the matter of marriage is to sin against the people of God.