Malachi - A Book of Warning Against Those Who Would Lead God's People Chapter Two; Part Two - Violating the Covenant of Marriage 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. 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. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?And what was the one Godseeking?Godly offspring. So guard yourselvesin your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,says the Lord, the God of Israel, covershis garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” - Malachi 2: 13-16 (ESV) While the beginning of Chapter Two dealt with the priests violating the covenant of Levi, the end of the chapter deals directly and frankly with the topic of faithlessness in marriage. The world shuns commitment. They actually are starting to consider divorce as enlightenment. People enter marriage knowing it is not a big deal in society if it doesn't work out. There are websites designed specifically to help people have affairs. Unfortunately, when the world looks into the church they do not see much of a difference. They see Christians employ the same worldly logic and faithlessness when dealing with their own marriages. We have snuffed out the light of the shining city on a hill when it comes to marriage and faith. It is difficult sometimes to blame the masses when all they see from leadership is more of the same. Pastors on their second and third marriages themselves. Pastors constantly being caught in adultery, prostitution or homosexuality. Excuses made from the pulpit but what is the damage to those who follow? But look at the key verses to better understand how we break the heart of God. Your wife is your companion and wife by covenant! When you marry you enter into an agreement with God beloved! God made you one with her! Not only that - He gave a portion of His Spirit in the union! He was seeking godly offspring! It is quite disturbing to see the casualness with which leaders of the faith throw away their covenant agreements with God. They fail to guard themselves in the spirit and the flesh creeps in. But the key here is verse 13. They cover the altar with tears and groaning because somehow the power of God has left them. If we do not understand the relationship in the spiritual realm between our covenants with God and the power He can impart in our lives then we are truly lost. God doesn't want to see our tears regarding not having our desires met when we are faithless in the things we have promised Him. I know many like to point to what Jesus said on the subject but they misconstrue that as well: “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. - Matthew 5: 31-32 (ESV) What is Jesus teaching about here? Divorce? No - adultery. He is teaching that if you divorce for any other reason you become an adulterer in your following marriage and make an adulteress of your next wife! This is not a get out of jail free card beloved. God always hates divorce. But preacher, you don't know my marriage. That is true. I am only saying what the Bible says. The real truth is that sometimes we do not take the covenant of marriage serious enough before we get married. One of the greatest fears we have is being alone and we let that drive us into the arms of people God never intended for us to be with. There is a reason why the Bible implores us to not be unequally yoked: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? - 2Corinthians 6: 14 (ESV) The answer to that question is NONE. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. That doesn't mean you cannot get along with someone. Years can go by seeming to prove the Word of God wrong and then...the testing comes. Every marriage goes through trials just like every person must. When those trials come you will see there is no fellowship. I am not saying these are easy teachings. I also present this as someone who has not been married. I try to take the act of entering into a covenant relationship with God very seriously. Reverently. One of the effects of the seeker friendly theologies is a loss of reverence for the things of God in the church. There is no more teaching about the fear of the Lord. Easter bunnies on the altar of God. Secular leadership principles chased after by the church leaders. There is a cumulative effect. I have had people exclaim - "what's the big deal?" The big deal about the little lumps of leaven is eventually they spread throughout the entire batch. When we treat the little things of God as unimportant - or OK to compromise - eventually we start moving that bar. When we start compromising with the world we start to think like the world. We use their carnal logic instead of the Word of God. Maybe we look the other way about the faith of the person we want to marry - after all - God doesn't want me alone. Maybe we look the other way when we are considering divorce - after all - God doesn't want me unhappy. This is how leaven works. Slowly and insidiously. The little things matter because they add up and pave the way towards the bigger things. Lastly on this subject, divorce is not an unpardonable sin beloved. Jesus died to cover our sins and His grace is always sufficient. This is instruction not condemnation. Never walk under condemnation. Learn and move on. Learn and move on. God always has a new level for us to go to but it starts with treating the things of God with the reverence they are due. That has to start with those that would assume the leadership of the church. They are responsible for the spiritual development of the people. Their marriages should be an example for people to look to. That doesn't mean that their marriages are perfect but that the God who keeps them together is. What a radical thought in this post modern world. That disagreements are not bigger than the God we serve. That the covenant is more important than our feelings. That the covenant still matters. Rev. Anthony.