1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Malachi, Lesson XI, Malachi 2:13-16


We ended our last lesson from the book of Malachi speaking to Godís command in both verses 15 and 16 of chapter two whereby God directs those who marry to take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.


Take heed to your spirit for your spirit if not controlled by the word of God will lead to treachery in your marriage.


Treachery means deceit, betrayal, disloyalty and duplicity which means double mindedness.


These men displayed at the temple bringing their best to the altar were in despair, crying and moaning and weeping about the lack of blessing in their lives.


Doing things religious but not doing things at home in fulfilling vows they had expressed before God and seeing no connection therein with the lack of blessing from God.


They had taken up women of the land, they had divorced the one to whom they had given themselves and then they had the gall, the audacity to offer to God, what was in actuality an enticement, in essence a bribe, to get a blessing.


Sinners definitely live in a dream world dreaming of a God of their own imagination who is not righteous, a God who does not hate sin, a God who overlooks all wickedness and covers up all treachery.


Can there be any greater example of self-deceit?


Moses because of the hardness of heart suffered the putting away of wives and part of that hardness is deceitfulness.


Satan using his wiles as the author of this world system, attempts in all his ways to destroy the truth of God, the truth of God that reveals to man his true condition, that condition that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.


Think about this relative to your receiving a diagnosis from your doctor.


Imagine a doctor with the name Dr. Good News who only provided a positive message to his patients.


Can you imagine yourself going to such a doctor?


Would you pay your doctor to only provide good news to you or do you pay your doctor for truth even though that truth may be devastating news to you, perhaps even news that you have only three months to live?


Of course we want a doctor to tell us the truth so that proper care can be begun and a cure be had or at the least to prepare for the inevitable. 


But Satan, the doctor of death, has convinced the world that everything is beautiful in its own way and the heart is not deceitful and desperately wicked and in doing so sentences the multitudes to death for without the cure of Christ there is no hope. 


And this deceitfulness naturally creeps into marriage unless each take heed to his or her spirit and commit themselves to Godís heart which is pure and always wise.


Taking heed to your spirit is seeing that ďNo doubt the trouble is with you.Ē 


The natural spirit refuses this and instead says, No doubt the trouble is with her, or No doubt the trouble is with him. 


It is our nature to blame others, to excuse ourselves from any responsibility and to look for others in whom to find fault.


These men at the altar were deceiving themselves thinking that God should be blessing them greatly in light of all the wonderful offerings they were bringing while never connecting their sin of throwing away the wives of their youth through divorce in order to marry another. 


We love to compartmentalize life but there is no such thing as one thing isolated from another.  All things connect!


But they, like the blind of the world, like the children of the world were living in a world of make believe.


That world of make believe had convinced them that marriage was entered into simply to fulfill romantic desire and once that was over it was time to look for another.


The world today fills the mind with things that promote this idea while Godís word has no connection with such a notion.


God has established marriage as a lifelong covenant which is a contract entered into in the presence of witnesses and within that covenant there are certain binding obligations on the part of each party. 


God defined marriage is not based on feelings or romantic love. 


Covenant marriage includes a promise to love her which is a matter of the will.


If it is a matter of the will it does not depend upon circumstances which are always prone to change.


If a man loves her because of her beauty that kind of love will disappear as her beauty disappears.


Isaac took Rebecca in marriage seeing her for the first time, a marriage arranged by Abraham. 


Was romantic love the basis for this marriage? 

No, it was a covenant relationship and romantic love and true love grew with the marriage. 

The covenant always comes first.


We are to remember the contract of marriage that says till death do ye part and with that promise we are, as a matter of the will, to love one another.


Only that contract, that covenant, that commitment will keep the marriage during the inevitable times of stress and difficulty.


Today we hear so often about marriage, the idea that if it doesnít work out we will get a divorce. 


That statement declares the one saying that to have no idea what marriage is.


God defined marriage is a promise not only to one another but a promise to God. 


It is a promise to God to commit to each other a lifelong relationship as intimate as relationships can be and it is to continue for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. 


It is a promise for two to become one before God a one that will not be divided.


Godís word is inviolate, is unchanging, it is perfect. 


We are made in the image of God and our word is to be the same and the promise of covenant is to be inviolate, unchanging and perfect.


As Malachi tells us in chapter two, verse 16 God hates putting away, he hates divorce for it is a revocation of word.


God speaks of divorce as one covering violence with his garment.


This phrase derives from a Hebrew marriage custom whereby the man would take his robe or outer garment and place it around his bride symbolizing the protection and care he was offering her as her husband.


Remember Ruth who lay herself down next to Boaz and he awoke and asked:


Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.


The skirt was the garment of Boaz and used to indicate a marriage relationship and to cover his garment with violence means a man is treating his wife with cruelty, which is the opposite of what covering her for protection means.


Marriage includes a pledge to protect and when that turns to violence God calls it treachery.


I remember the day when a man would walk on the curbside of the street so that his wife would not get splashed from the water thrown from vehicles.


I remember the day when men would open the doors for her to enter first and also give women their seats in buses and public transportation.


I remember the day when women welcomed the protection of a gentlemen and the comfort of a ready arm when walking together.


I remember the day when a man would take off his coat and wrap it around his wife lest she be cold.


Those were the days when there was such a thing as ladies and gentlemen.


Today we simply live in the land of the guys, a barbaric land indeed.


But covering violence with his garment makes that garment an object of deception for the garment was meant to provide protection but it now simply covers violence instead of care.


Marriage is indeed a most serious covenant before God for He expresses himself in no uncertain terms that he hates divorce.


God has brought marriage into being because it has purpose. 


When God created Adam He said it is not good for the man to be alone and He therefore created Eve for Adam.


Marriage then is to be for companionship.


God expresses that through Malachi for in verse 2:14 He says She is thy companion and the wife of thy covenant.


God said: It is not good for a man to be alone. 


So God has implanted in man that marriage is the natural thing to desire. 


God expects his children to ask for a mate for it is not good to be alone. 


Therefore one can say it is better to be married than to be alone. 


Now the Apostle Paul speaks to being alone in I Cor. 7:7 but we will not go there at this time for the subject today is marriage and Godís hatred of divorce.


Marriage is for companionship but it is also intended to depict our relationship with God.  


God in the Old Testament sees Israel as His wife and He says in Isaiah 54: For thy Maker is thine husband.


In the New Testament the church is the bride of Christ and husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.  


That is the pattern of a marriage, that is the mark of love for God so loved the world that He gave.


The bride of Christ is that which defines marriage for the believer, a marriage wherein Christ promises to never leave or forsake. 


Christís covenant is eternally valid, more than the earthly covenant of till death do ye part. 


But a Christian marriage is to be an example to the world of how God loves those who are in a covenant relationship with Him through Christ.


Divorce is never, never in this mix for Christ has vowed to never forsake.


Another reason for marriage is that God seeks godly seed, God seeks fruit of marriage. 


Be ye fruitful and multiply was the command given to our father and mother, Adam and Eve and repeated to our father Noah.


God made one from two. 


For it says in Malachi 2:15, And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.


He did not intend for three or four to become one. 


God made Adam and He made Eve as the pattern to follow in marriage and all other arrangements given in the Bible that do not follow this pattern are not God defined marriages.


Godís way is always the best way and His pattern of the family is one man and one woman who promise each other to be together till death takes one for this is where offspring best prosper.


Certainly it is plain that Godís best is for children to be nurtured and cared for by a father and a mother who demonstrate in the home the same covenant relationship as they do with Christ.


But this world is a wicked place and Godís plan is not always carried out. 


There are many reasons for households to be apart from the ideal of two who have become one to raise a multitude of offspring.


Single mothers and single fathers raising children are in situations that are real and challenging and how they got there does not change the fact that they are there. 


Things are what they are and have to be dealt with by the Grace of God.


So as the body of Christ we are to help each other as one part of your body helps another part of your body.


These folks without marriage helpers have loads we may not know of and prayer and help is always needed. 


But also pray for those who seek Godís favor to them by providing mates that they may be complete. 


When God said in Genesis 2:18, It is not good for the man to be alone, He also said I will make him a helper suitable for him.


In the King James Version it is a help meet for him which means a help fitting for him.


God knows how you fit together for he made you. 


He knows your strengths and he knows your weaknesses. 


He knows where you will need help and he knows where you can go it alone. 


In fact you may think of something you have as a strength when it fact it is a weakness but God knows the truth and he loves you enough to provide a mate with the exact kind of helps you need.


Now from a practical standpoint it seems only right to ask the one who knows such things to provide the right one that a home can be established, a home that remembers such things and desires to honor and serve and love the one in whom they live.


Sometimes God sees you in the baking oven of life and sees you as not quite ready for the one who is also baking in the oven of life but when both are done just right out the oven they will come and God will bring them together at just the right time and they will live happily ever after, well, happily most of the time. 


When God promised to make a help suitable for Adam He continued showing us the map of marriage, a map wherein somewhere there is a someone suitable for you. 


You who are in such a situation are to pray and wait, and pray and wait, but while doing that donít simply hide behind a tree.