This past Thursday was our 38th wedding anniversary and, since August 5, I have asked myself a few times how seriously have I taken my marriage covenant with my wife over this past year (see my post from last year “Celebrating 37 Years of Our Marriage Covenant“) as well as the years of our marriage. As I ponder my own earnestness in relationship to my marital obligations, Malachi 2:10-16 has much to say about this subject. More specifically with this post, I would like to make two observations from v. 14 about the seriousness of the covenant relationship between a husband and wife.
This verse in Malachi explains the reason why God did not accept the worship of the Jewish community in Malachi’s day, as well as its significance for us since the marriage covenant is a creation ordinance: “Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have acted treacherously against her, though she was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant” (HCSB).
First, breaking the covenant relationship is a challenge to God’s authority. Since God stands as a witness to and enforcer of this covenant relationship, it is not a mere human contract, but one that includes a heavenly dimension. God confirms and acknowledges the wedding. It has a heavenly confirmation by the eternal, self-existent, sovereign God! To break faith with one’s partner is to defy the Almighty.
Second, the marriage partner is described in two ways in this text. She is “the wife of your youth” (in the OT, a contracted marriage while one was under the authority of their parents) and “your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.” Both these expressions point to the intimate relationship of the marriage covenant. To break this bond is to deny the most intimate of all earthly relationships. Even more than this, violating this marital bond is to be unfaithful to God. And this has eternal ramifications!
In contrast to the call of our culture that promotes sexual freedom outside of marriage between a man and a woman, God calls his redeemed people to live antithetically to our society. May God give us the faith to be loyal to our God by following his biblical mandate for marriage.