Digging in Deeper: Malachi 2:16

“‘If he hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord God of Israel, ‘he covers his garment with injustice,’ says the Lord of Armies. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There aren’t many subjects more uncomfortable to deal with in the Scriptures than the various teachings on divorce contained within them. And yet, given just how important marriage is to our own lives, to our culture as a whole, and to God Himself, whether or not to end it and when and what comes next is something we have to deal with. We have to be able to find that place where theological truth and pastoral reality come together to bring God the glory He deserves and us the joy He intends for us to have. This verse does not by any means solve all the difficulties here, but it does offer an important contribution to our understanding of God’s thoughts on the matter. Let’s talk about it together.

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Digging in Deeper: Malachi 2:13-14

“This is another thing you do. You are covering the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because he no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands. And you ask, ‘Why?’ Because even though the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, you have acted treacherously against her. She was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is great comfort in the fact that Jesus followers are no longer liable to the Law of Moses. If you don’t believe me, take some time over the next few days and read through Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, and reflect on everything you don’t have to do in order to be right with God because Jesus came and did all that He did. That being said, Jesus didn’t simply do away with the Law. He fulfilled it. And in so doing, some parts of it were picked up for application in the lives of His followers. Where the various authors of the New Testament repeat commands from the Old Testament, we know there really isn’t any wiggle room on them for us. This is one of those commands, and it isn’t comfortable.

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Digging in Deeper: Malachi 2:10-12

“Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? Judah has acted treacherously, and a detestable act has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the Lord’s sanctuary, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, whoever he may be, even if he presents an offering to the Lord of Armies.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been in one of those moments when you’re messing around with someone and all of a sudden things turn from silly to serious? It’s not always clear where this line is, and because of that, when you cross it, not everyone is immediately aware of the change. Sometimes we get surprised by the discovery of just how important to someone else is something that we had considered trivial. As Malachi introduces this next topic, the language used suggests we’ll be talking about a really serious issue. Well, we are…but not everyone agrees today.

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In the Beginning…

This past Sunday we kicked off a brand new teaching series called, Marriage Myths.  The idea is that when we survey the picture of marriage offered up by our culture, what we end up with is a pile of myths that leave couple disillusioned and, sometimes, divorced.  Over the next few weeks we’re going to talk about what some of these myths are and why the truth is so much better.  In this first part we begin by laying a foundation of what marriage is and what its purpose is.  Keep reading for more…

 

In the Beginning…

We live in a day in which marriage is on the wane.  That’s actually kind of funny if you think about it.  Not all that long ago it seemed like marriage was the only thing we could talk about as a nation.  The storm of who gets to define what marriage is in the first place along with who is able to be married to whom was intense.  In fact, we are still feeling its after effects.  The Obergefell decision from the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage may be behind us, but we are still only at the beginning of figuring out exactly what it will mean for our society.  The Masterpiece Cake Shop case coming up this term will have a major impact on that question.  The irony in this is that some of the most vocal supporters for marriage equality have now come out and revealed that they never really cared about getting married themselves, they just wanted to wreck the thing because they don’t believe it should exist as it does.  But, before you jump to hoot and holler at such a person, a few minutes of reflection can fairly quickly bring someone to the conclusion that while you may not agree with them, you can’t blame them all that much for harboring such hatred for marriage. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Corinthians 7:6-11

“Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)‬‬

Singleness, marriage, and divorce are tough issues to talk about.  They are emotional ones.  Singleness is a difficult journey in and of itself.   Cultural pressures to be sexually active regardless of marital status combined with pressures from the current culture of the church for everyone to be married and which suggest that singleness is a kind of second-class status make it even more difficult.  Marriage opens us up to a level of intimacy that is often a lot scary and hard to maintain.  Its “til-death-do-us-part” mantra is daunting, especially when you start it young.  And, once again, culture puts all kinds of pressure on us to make it something entirely less sacred and permanent that it was designed to be.   And, because of the intimacy of marriage, divorce is always messy.  If the Scriptures are right in that the married couple becomes one flesh, a divorce for any reason is akin to amputating a part of our body, and not something small like a toe.  It’s more like taking off an entire leg or arm.  In other words, these are big issues.   Read the rest…