After breaking up with his fiancée, a young man realized the error of his ways and wrote: “Dearest Marie, No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you! Yours forever, Jimmy…P.S. Congratulations on winning the lottery.” I’m not sure how sincere this guy was, but at least he was right to restore their broken relationship at any cost.
It is hard to talk about strained or broken relationships isn’t it? As Phillip Jensen and Richard Pulley say in Burning Desire
“Many of us know it close to hand, and it may be almost impossible to discuss it without bringing complex emotions to the surface. It is one of the most painful and pervasive social issues… and it is one of the most personal. We would prefer to avoid raising it. However… when God says “I hate divorce” we cannot leave the matter to one side. We need to understand the warnings of Scripture about breaking faith, and then heed them. It’s a difficult task, but one which we must try to do, in prayer, humility, and with an eye open to those of our Christian brothers and sisters around us for whom this subject will be very relevant indeed.”
So, please, please, remember what we learnt two weeks ago in the opening verses. “I have loved you,” says the LORD” (Malachi 1:2a). Remember how this oracle begins – God declares His unfailing love: “I have loved you,’ says the Lord.” He doesn’t begin by pointing out their sins or listing his complaints. The word “love” is in the perfect tense, indicating that God not only loved in the past but loves in the present as well. “I have loved and do love you.” And the word He chooses for “love” is not the typical OT term that describes “tough love” or “covenant love.” This word is more relational: “I have embraced you. I have expressed my affection for you,” At its core then, Malachi is really a love letter from God. A love letter full of hope and encouragement. And it is a love letter containing some heated exchanges.
Malachi contains six such disputes between God and his people:
1. A dispute about God’s love (1:2–5)
2. A dispute about God’s honour (1:6–2:9)
3. A dispute about Godly Faithfulness (2:10–16)
4. A dispute about God’s justice (2:17–3:5)
5. A dispute about God’s blessing (3:6–12)
6. A dispute about God’s mercy (3:13–4:3)
Today we come to the third. Please turn with me to Malachi 2:10-16. A dispute about Godly faithfulness. I’ve entitled this, “From this time Forward: Faithful in all things”. Because five times in this passage we encounter the word “faithless”. Twice the Lord commands, “do not be faithless” (2:15, 16).
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