March 10, 2019
By: Jim Eschenbacher
Sunday’s message was from Malachi 2:10-16:
10 "Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 "Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 "As for the man who does this, may the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the LORD of hosts. 13 "This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 "Yet you say, 'For what reason *?' Because * the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 "But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." - Malachi 2:10-16: (NASB)
This prophecy was written about 2,400 years ago but it is still relevant today. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Knowledge of God’s unchanging character provides a foundation for us in applying these words to our world today. With that in mind, let’s walk through this section of Scripture.
The first main point of this message is that God wants His children to be faithful. Verse 10 says “Have we not all one Father?”. It occurred to me that, as a father, I want my kids to act in a way that was consistent with my desires and my actions. God calls Himself a Father in this prophecy. God is faithful, His children should reflect His faithfulness.
He also addresses our relationships with one another in verse 10, “Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers.” The word, ‘fathers’ in this phrase refers to our older brothers who have come before. I am reminded of that famous statement by Jesus, when asked which commandment was the most important. He said “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.” He continued on as if on the same subject, “This is the great and first commandment and the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Lawyer had not asked for the second commandment. Jesus gave this as a continuation, or an amplification, of the first. It helps us understand Malachi 2:10. “If you are going to be faithful to Me, you must be faithful to one another.”
Drew reminded us of a time when Abraham was given a promise by God:
4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. – Genesis 17: 4-6 (ESV)
Abraham grasped the significance of God’s promise to him. At his age, and the age of his wife, Sarah, it would be impossible to bear a child without God. As time went on, Abraham got impatient and he took his wife’s maid to mother his child. This son was named ‘Ishmael’ and he was a brute of a man, fighting his way through life. He was not the child of God’s promise but God blessed Ishmael because he was Abraham’s son.
God’s plan was bigger than Abraham could understand but Abraham didn’t trust God in his lack of understanding. Abraham didn’t stay faithful. In his desire to have God’s promise fulfilled, Abraham intervened. To this day there is conflict between the descendants of Isaac, the child of the promise and the descendants of Ishmael.
This story expresses the importance of faithfulness. I read something yesterday, “If you trust God, you must trust Him also for timing.” Apparently, Abraham was a bit deficient in that. God is going to do what He is going to do, in His timing and in His way. When we proceed with an idea that we think is better, we are telling God, “I can do this better than you can.” That is pure rebellion.
We are all sinners, saved by grace. The Sunday school teacher, the greeter, the usher – all have sinned. As sinners, there are not enough things we can do to earn the privilege of helping God with His plan. God is holy and far more capable of executing a perfect plan than we can imagine and He loves us without condition. He does, however, have an expectation. He commands us to love one another. Love as He has loved you.
The last big point of the sermon was “Be faithful to your spouse.”
You might ask, “What does that have to do with anything?” Verses 13-16 give us the details:
13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” – Malachi 2:13-16 (ESV)
The Israelites He was addressing here had married foreign women with different gods. Foreigners were not prohibited; but the worship of other gods was prohibited. This comes back to, “Be faithful to God”. Don’t wander off the Path of Truth. If you are married, be faithful; if you are not, be faithful.
This message may seem difficult but it is easier than we make it. It isn't hard to be faithful when we keep our focus on the ever faithful Almighty God.