Summary: Our greatest covenant relationship is to the Lord but our marriage is second to that and must be under the Lordship of Christ. The enemy attacks marriage in two different ways which impacts our relationship to God.
Some of you have been married many years – much longer than me and my wife…some 30 years…some 40…one couple over 50 years. Isn’t that amazing! But how long have you been married to the Lord? How is that marriage? He is much more passionate about your relationship than you ever could be for your spouse – after all he gave himself for your love. Could there be any greater demonstration of his love? And on the day that you responded to him, there was a far greater celebration than any earthly wedding. All of heaven rejoiced when you received Christ as your Savior.
So he is very passionate about that relationship and jealous about having you to himself and that you continue to love him, serve him and give him glory.
The second most important relationship that you have in life is to your spouse. You are united in spirit, soul, and body to that one person. You also have a great celebration and passion for that person.
At the same time, our enemy, Satan has no greater passion than to destroy our first marriage - that relationship with the Lord. He doesn’t want you giving honor, glory, and praise to Jesus. And one very crafty way he does that is found here in the book of Malachi: by attacking covenant relationships of marriage. This is a two pronged attack which begins with those who are yet unmarried.
1. Marrying outside of the family of God. (2:10-12)
God created us to marry – to bond with the opposite sex and live as partners for life. But when marriage gets in the way of our first love, the Lord God, then something is seriously wrong. How does that happen? First of all through romantic relationships with those who are not believers.
Why is this so dangerous? Why can’t two people have two different belief systems and be tolerant of each other in marriage? Isn’t that what marriage is all about – compromise?
Malachi has some strong words to say about this because this is exactly what was happening to the Jews when this was written. They were marrying outside of the faith. Now we’re not talking Lutherans marrying Baptists or Methodists marrying Pentecostals. This is someone who doesn’t believe in the Lord God marrying a believer.
Malachi says that - It profanes the worship of the Lord.
Malachi 2:11 Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
The scripture says “profaned.” The word means that something is polluted. Now people are not garbage. God loves all people and desires them to be saved. But the point is that if you’re not forgiven by God and cleansed of your sin through faith in the complete work of Jesus Christ who died for you on the cross, you are bearing on your shoulders the entire burden of sin, shame, and death. You are covered by the filth of sin and have no access to God. But on the other hand, a believer is said to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in the life of a Christian. And how can you bring in a non-believer to the temple of God?
Marriage is not evangelism
A common reason to marry a non-believer? I will bring him or her to the Lord! Maybe that’s the intention – but most often reality is the opposite – you will suffer and have to compromise YOUR faith.
During the rehearsal for her wedding a nervous bride was having a difficult time remembering all the details. Her kind pastor took her aside at the end of the night and said, “When you enter the church tomorrow, you will be walking down the same aisle you’ve walked down many times before. Concentrate on the aisle. And when you get halfway down the aisle, concentrate on the altar. And, when you reach the end of the aisle, your groom will be waiting for you. Concentrate on him. Focus on the aisle, then look at the altar, and finally, lock eyes with your man. That’s all you have to do.”
That seemed to help a lot, and on the day of the wedding, the beautiful but nervous bride walked flawlessly down the aisle. But people were a bit taken aback as they heard her repeating these words during the processional, “Aisle, alter, him. Aisle, alter, him. I’ll alter him.”
Scripture encourages us to have relationships in this world in order to share the gospel – we become all things to all men to reach them with the message of salvation. But marriage is not for the purpose of bringing someone to salvation. It’s a covenant which bonds Spirit, Soul, and Body. You are literally one flesh. It is a commitment of two people who are going the same direction in this life and the next one. It’s a knitting of souls together.