III. The nature of the marriage covenant: two become one.
Read Malachi 2:15-16
This short passage is the clear and consistent demand from God for faithfulness to the marriage covenant because it is based on God’s nature. The marriage vow is a covenant with Him. While thousands of books have been written about the subject, the bottom line is found in these two verses.
Divorce is a fact of life in our culture, as it was in the Jewish culture. Obviously a wronged husband or wife cannot force their partner to stay in a marriage, much less love them. Divorce is not the unforgivable sin, and again, sometimes there is no other choice. But the fact remains that sometimes couples give up on their marriage when there is a choice. While we can read these verses as a condemnation, we can also see them as a reason, and as an encouragement to do everything in our power to protect the marriage vows, and to protect the children.
- God had already alluded to His right to instruct humanity because He is the creator. Re-read the creation of man and God’s instruction to Adam and Eve regarding their union in Genesis 2:23-24.
Then fill in the following blanks from Malachi chapter two:
“Have we not all _____________ Father? Did not ___________ God create us?”
“ Has not the Lord made them ______________. In _______________ and _____________ they
are his. And why ______________? Because he was seeking ________________
______________.” Malachi 2:15
Why does the marriage covenant reflect the nature of God?
- What was Malachi’s advice to the Jews on how to protect themselves spiritually… (the relationship with God)? (v. 15b)
- What does God hate? (v. 16)
- It seems that God is equating divorce with violence in verse 16. How can divorce and violence be the same thing? (Consider the meaning of the word “one”.)
- God gives a reminder about how to have spiritual health. What is it? (v. 16b)
- What was God’s original complaint against Judah? (v. 11)
Once again a break is made in the train of thought by the verse notations and headings in some versions of the Bible. Read Malachi 2:15-17 together. God seems to be saying this discussion was tiring. Adultery was one of the abiding sins of his people. The consequences of divorce cause a ‘domino effect’ of misery that simply could not be denied. God simply says “I am a just God.” In God’s eyes the marriage union can’t be broken any more than He can be divided against Himself. The marriage relationship is designed to imitate God’s faithfulness. God knows, and we know, that breaking our vows is is a catastrophic hit to our own spiritual and mental well-being.
From Genesis to Malachi, we have seen a story of true love. God remained faithful to His covenant with His people, in spite of their rebellion and rejection. God loved them first, and he always loved them.