Onward with Malachi

Treachery of Infidelity

10 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,[b]
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 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?”

This section could be considered a dispute over the peoples unfaithfulness.

 10 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? 

Has not one God created us? – This brings to mind the creation text of Gen 1:26-28-

Genesis 1:26-28

New King James Version (NKJV)

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

 Why do we deal treacherously with one another – God requires that we, humans treat each other equitably as He is the creator of all humanity and we are all made in His image. 

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.

The term abomination is a strong word indicating that the people had done something awful as to make one  sick to the stomach. The text here presents the ideas of affection and revulsion which we usually think of in terms of the verbs to love and to hate.  Marriage is something God loves, divorce is something that God hates.  The Lord’s people had polluted something in which God takes great pleasure. The question of intermarriage in ancient Israel was not ethnic nor racial but spiritual.  A lack of faithfulness in God Himself.  We can see in Joshua 6:25 that Rahab the Canaanite prostitute became part of the Israelite community and Matthew 1:5 shows that she was a part of the genealogy of Jesus. The problem was not the intermarrying of foreign women but that the foreign women worshiped idols and led their husbands away from the worship of the Lord, the the only true and living God. 

 

12 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob 
      The man who does this, being awake and aware,[b]
      Yet who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts! 

cut off-This phrase may may refer to either banishment or even death. 

being awake and aware- This is a difficult phrase but may mean a deliberate offense against the Lord. (see Lev 10:1-3).

 Many men of Israel has married foreign wives and tolerated their idolatry, yet they continued to bring offerings to the Lord, as if there was nothing wrong in their families. But God said their hypocritical offerings did not make them holy in His sight.  Do we have areas in our lives where we are ignoring God’s clear command?  Do we suppose the going to church, giving an offering, and saying a prayer will smooth over our actions? God calls us to give ourselves completely over to Him, to make Him the Lord over our entire lives and not to hold back in any area. 

 

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.

the second thing – Prophets often spoke of the compounding of the people’s sins. 

tears-here seem to be judged as hypocritical acts of insincere repentance.  Crocodile tears do not fool God. 

So He does not regard the offering anymore- When the right things are done for the wrong reasons or with the wrong attitudes God does not accept them.

 

 goodwill -The Hebrew suggests God’s pleasure is in sacrifices offered with humility, faithfulness, and joy. 

14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” 
      Because the LORD has been 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. 

For what reason?- The feigned surprise of the people fooled no one, certainly not the Lord!  

witness – There are some whose witness can be challenged but not the Lord’s!

wife of your youth- These men had not only married pagan wives but had divorced their first wives to make room for their new ones.  

companion- this describes a permanent partnership.

by covenant- The union of a marriage is formal,public,legal, and sacred, a binding contract. 

 

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.

 

make them one- Here the prophet recalls the words of from Gen 2:24- “one flesh”.  

a remnant of the Spirit- This somewhat difficult phrase likely indicates the work of God’s Holy Spirit in the life of a married couple. God has joined them, and by His spirit He has worked on their behalf to strengthen them.

 godly offspring- God seeks godly children as He seeks true worshipers.  

Therefore take heed to your spirit- We must control our attitudes so that they will be in line with those of  God’s Spirit.

treacherously- To the Lord, attitudes of indifference to marriage vows and duties are the actions of a traitor. 

The above verses are God reaffirming what marriage is- a man and a woman becoming one.  God hates divorce. When we marry, we are to remain faithful to our spouse and are only released from our covenant in cases of sexual immorality( Matt 19:9) or abandonment (1 Cor 7:15).

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.

Disobedience to God leads to broken relationships. For the Israelites, it lead to broken relationships with each other( marital divorce) and with God (spiritual divorce).  Ephesians 5:21-23 indicates that marriage is a picture of our relationship with God.  Good relationships must be guarded and nurtured with time, effort, and most of all, love.  

 

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?”

 

God is wearied by people who do not submit to Him but who argue their points against His revelations.  When justice comes they will be sorry. 

 

 

 

 

 

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