The Covenant of Marriage

“You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. ‘For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.’ ” Mal 2:13-16

Here Malachi shows that marriage is a three-way covenant between a husband, wife and God. A covenant entails a relationship with obligations that is established through an oath. God is involved as a witness to the marriage and to whom the couple is permanently accountable. Being faithful to one’s spouse is part of one’s relationship to God. One of the greatest benefits of an unbroken marriage is godly offspring, something God is earnestly seeking. We see the effect on young people today of so many broken marriages.

Malachi’s contemporaries were distressed because God was refusing to accept their offerings and was withholding His blessing because they had been unfaithful to their wives. God created a husband and wife to be one in marriage with a spiritual as well as a physical union. Marriage is a very holy union, the two become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). It is a covenant to be honored and not broken through divorce, save for infidelity (Matthew 19:9) and even then it is best for the offended spouse to forgive and attempt to restore the marriage if possible. God did not break His covenant with Israel when they were unfaithful to Him.

Men, in particular, have a tendency to have a wandering eye when it comes to women as part of their fallen nature and strong sex drive. However, happiness is found in honoring God by having only one spouse in a committed covenantal relationship for life. This includes not only staying in the marriage but treating your spouse lovingly as part of yourself. So let us guard ourselves, that is watch out for our lives, as one’s life and fidelity to his/her spouse are intertwined. The marriage relationship is a covenant and those who break their vows should not expect God to bless them without repentance and restoration.