“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the Lord’s holy institution which He loves: He has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!
13 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying; so, He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
16 ‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’ 17 You have wearied the Lord with your words; Yet you say, ‘In what way have we wearied Him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,’ Or, ‘Where is the God of justice?‘”
As we continue on in the conversations that we have been exploring between God and the children of Israel, one of the things that we can see plainly is that God is an involved God. He is not some distant God who is at arm’s length to His people; rather, He is an intimate God even when His people are in the wrong. He does not abandon them; rather, He is there and working to correct bad behavior as any loving parent would.
Today we are going to explore God’s hatred of infidelity. As a faithful God, the very idea of unfaithfulness is an abomination to Him. God is faithful, and He expects His people to be faithful as well.
- Unequally Yoked (married), verses 10-11
God is not against the Gentiles. He is against their gods. The very bloodline of Jesus has Gentile women in it; Rahab and Ruth are Gentile ladies. What God did not want was that the women brought the worship of their gods with them. Jezebel was probably one of the most famous Gentile queens in Israel, and she brought the worship of Baal with her into Israel and caused the people to hate Yahweh; men like Elijah had to worship the True and Living God in fear and not openly. Even King Solomon, the wisest man to walk the planet except Jesus, was turned away from God by his pagan wives.
1 King 11:1-4 “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go into them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.”
One of the ways that Satan attacks God’s people is with spiritually unequal relationships. If you are a child of God, saved and secure in Jesus, you need to marry someone who is saved and secure as well. If you are a conservative Bible Christian, one who has been brought up to the strict interpretation and application of the Bible, then be wary not to get out of that. God has someone for you, and so does Satan; be very discerning. When a saved person and a lost person get into an intimate relationship like that of husband and wife, more often than not, the saved person leaves following the Lord or limits how they can follow the Lord. Imagine child-rearing with a person who has a different moral compass than what you know the Bible to teach? This is very hard. If Solomon was led away, don’t fool yourself; so will you be.
Even in a secular business, you need to be wary of partnering with a lost person. Their moral boundaries may be different than yours, and they may be willing to compromise in places that you won’t for the sake of profit. Marry someone who loves the Lord and is sold out to Him. Marry someone who is longing to grow in his or her intimacy with the Lord. Marry someone who understands that God’s boundaries are there for our benefit because He loves us and that He wants the best for us.
Sadly, the priests here were married to pagan lost women; they had the pagan religions in their home and then came to serve God in the Temple. This is infidelity. You pretend to serve God on the outside but serve a pagan statue in your home. God begins to pull away and stops hearing your prayers. He refuses your worship and your sacrifices. Your children grow up with mixed signals and, more often than not, turn away from the true and living God to serve idols.
Some idols are not made of stone or wood; they can be philosophies that become our gods like the ‘wokeness’ and ‘social warriors’ infiltrating a lot of churches. The transgender ideologies that are creeping into the local churches and ‘new revelations’ that you hear a lot of pastors talking about – these are just as pagan as having a little statue in your home, church, or office.
- Loveless Marriages, verses 12-16
Let me be totally upfront and honest; I am divorced. My first wife left me and moved away after about 16 years of marriage. We are still friends, and we talk, but she did not want to be married anymore. Over the years, we have mended, and she even has met my current wife. They spent a lot of time talking, and I can honestly say that there is no animosity there. Neither she nor I were unfaithful; and while I did not want her to go, over the years, we have talked things out, and there was a lot going on under the surface with depression and the like that I did not know, nor did I understand, and it appears that she did not at the time either.
June 1st, 2021, will be twelve years that my current wife and I have been together. I met her long after I had been divorced and actually had planned to quit the ministry. I had resigned from my church, the one I am still at, and was planning to move away. But God opened a door for me to meet this lovely lady who loved Him and to marry into a family that loves Him. And, as they say, the rest is history. We have been married 11 of the 12 years, and she still wows me whenever I see her.
What was happening here in Israel, what God is addressing, is that the priests had put away their ‘older’ wives and married younger pagan women. They had left the women that they were supposed to love until the end of life and not only divorced them but were now treating them badly. God hates divorce, and in the book of Hosea, He sends the prophet to marry a harlot, a prostitute, and this was a picture of Israel. She was a spiritual harlot to God, always seeking after pagan spiritual lovers. But God redeemed her time and time again. God treats Israel as a wife. See Ezekiel 33.
The book of Proverbs, verse 5:18, tells us to rejoice with the wife of our youth.
When I was in seminary, the professor reminded us that it did not say rejoice with your young wife. This was about the permanency of marriage; all the way through the Bible, the man is instructed to love his wife and the wife to be submissive to her husband. Men, pastors, preachers, God wants you to love your wife like He loves Israel and the local church – sacrificially. In the same chapter of Proverbs, we are told to let her beauty intoxicate you (NIV) all of your life.
But this was not the case here in Israel in the days of Malachi. These priests had abandoned their wives and taken younger pagan wives, so God no longer regarded their worship. He no longer heard their prayers. In 1 Peter 3:1-7, we are warned by the apostle that the way we treat our wives will play a part in the way God hears our prayers. This was being played out right here before us in Malachi 2. How is your relationship with your wife, dear pastor, preacher, and leader? If you love her, cherish her and honor her. God will hear your prayers and receive your worship.
- Messed Up Morals, verses 16-17
When we get relationships wrong, it tends to get everything else out of whack. The family unit is the foundation of all society. It is not an accident that God built the family structure first, one man and one woman together for life. This foundation stone is the sure footing for all of us, and when we get out of whack and out of God’s perfect plan, then the moral basis of society can be compromised.
We are seeing that more and more today. In the early 1970’s, the push to accept homosexuality as normal. Then in the 1980’s, the gradual push on the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle in movies and TV shows. Do you remember “Three’s Company”? Where a man could live with two girls as long as they all think he is gay. Then the 1990s and the push to make ‘same-sex marriage’ be allowed and accepted. This gradual erosion of the family was the catalyst to the vast majority of our moral perversions that we see today. Now more than ever, we see evil being called good and good actually being hated and despised.
Well, the erosion of the family unit in Israel in the days of Malachi, with the priests abandoning their wives and getting new pagan wives, led to moral decay as well, and God says that they are calling evil good and vice-versa.
It does not take long for the moral decay to set in and for evil to prosper and choke all that is good in society. We see that firsthand before our very eyes, and I do not think that any generation has seen the erosion that we have seen at the rate that we have seen. Oh man, we went from the strong family in the mid-1960s to the total destruction of the family in less than a generation. The idea of the Biblical family of one man, one woman, and children born in wedlock has become the bane of society. But when a people and especially the spiritual leaders, are morally corrupt, then the Lord stops hearing the prayers, and people begin to think that God is not there. He is there, but there comes a point where people have to reap what they have sown, and the consequences of their actions come home to roost.
We here, as a society, are reaping what we have sown and bearing the consequences of our unashamed rejection of God and His righteousness.
Thankfully, God is merciful to those that love Him and are like the 7,000 men and their families that had not bowed to Baal in the days of Elijah. We need men and their families who will stand for what God says is right no matter the cost and no matter the changes in society. Let us stand together!
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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