Monday, January 28, 2008


There is an inseparable link between marriage and worship. That is especially apparent in the Old Testament book of Malachi where the people had made two very big mistakes when it came to the sanctity of the marital union. First, many of the men were guilty of marrying unbelievers. The prophet Malachi asks two rhetorical questions in verse 20. Don’t we all (men and women of Judah) have one Father? The answer is an obvious yes. Has not one God created us? That answer too is clearly affirmative. If this is true than why were they treating each other so wrongly?

This wrong action was seen in the men of Judah marrying women from foreign countries (v11). God had commanded this not to happen (Exodus 34:10-17; Deuteronomy 7:1-40). This command was given due to the risk of idolatry. The problem was not marrying a different race but marrying a different religion. This was a problem in Israel’s history (Ezra 9:1-3; 10:1-4; Nehemiah 13:23-27). Paul addresses the same issue with five rhetorical questions in 2 Corinthians 6. What partnership has righteousness and lawlessness? None! What fellowship has light with darkness? None! What harmony has Christ with Belial? None! What has a believer in common with an unbeliever? None! What agreement has the temple of God with idols? None! And when we go outside of these parameters the result is the absence of the blessing of God (v12).

I know that there are some young people who will look at their parents realizing that their mom dated or married their dad before he was a Christian and it all worked out well. That is wonderful but let me be clear. If that is the case with your parents please understand that their case is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. For every couple like your parents that you can point to where it all worked out, I can point to a 100 examples where the result was pain and broken heartedness.

The second problem with the men of Israel is that they were divorcing their spouses in order to marry these foreign unbelievers. They had dealt treacherously with their wives by divorcing them to marry foreign women (v13). By so doing, they had broken their covenant with their wives of which God was a witness (v14). God’s view of this is not up for debate. God hates divorce (“treacherously” is used 5 times). The fact that God allowed for divorce in Deuteronomy 24 does not change this fact. His allowance was due to the hardness of man’s heart and in order to protect the wife who was being divorced.

Malachi speaks of removing the garment from their wives. “Garment” is the idea of offering protection through marriage. To divorce their wives was to remove the garment of protection from them. In Ruth 3:9, Ruth requested Boaz to spread his garment over her. This was an old custom where a man would put his garment over a woman, claiming her as his wife. In Malachi’s day they were removing this garment of protection by divorcing their wives to marry younger foreign women. The lesson is clear. We cannot be authentic worshippers unless we are treating our spouses correctly. Authentic worship involves reflecting God in my marriage.

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