MSG: Perfect Patience Became Weary

This message was presented on June 30, 2013 as part of the series on Malachi.

Perfect Patience Became Weary
Malachi 2:10-17 
            Malachi is the last prophet recorded in the Old Testament.  He spoke 1000 years after Moses in B.C. 425.  He writes in Malachi 1 God’s expression of love to Israel, but Israel said, “How have You loved us?” God reminded Israel through Malachi that there were no more Edomites.  They were the descendants of Esau who were a pain in the neck for hundreds of years to Israel.  The Edomites were gone.  God certainly showed His love to Israel.
            Yet God asked Israel, why are you giving defiled offerings?  Israel responded, “What do you mean? We’re not giving defiled offerings.”  God responded, when you give offerings that are sick, lame and diseased, it is evil. 
Then in Malachi 2, God sternly rebuked the priesthood. God said they had not served glory to His name, they had not stood in the covenant of truth, they had not submitted to the covenant given to Levi of life and peace and they had not set themselves apart from the world to instruct their children, Israel and the other nations.
Now in Malachi 2:10-17, God rebuked their indifference.  They were indifferent to God’s holiness in marriage, indifferent to God’s holiness in their children and indifferent to God’s holy purposes.
I have been counseling with Joseph and Miriam this last month and they are struggling in their marriage.  They are wondering if it is all worth it.  Joseph has grown weary and he was caught on video leaving his dear wife Miriam:
“Miriam, I’ll be leaving today.  I’m all packed up, and I’ll send back support for the children.”
“Why am I leaving? Because there is nothing between us any more.  We don’t have any more things going for us.”
              “What do you mean I haven’t loved you?  I told you I love you when we smashed the wine goblet at the wedding, I haven’t changed.”
             “What do you mean I don’t show you I love you?  We took care of that before we were married during the courting and betrothal period. And besides, we’re close at night. Isn’t that enough? Oh, forget it; we just need to move on. After all, you know what Moses said about finding an unclean thing in your wife, back in Deuteronomy.  Well, our relationship just isn’t clean anymore and I need to move on to this other relationship. What’s the big deal?”
            “What covenant am I violating?  Yes I agreed to marry you, but be real, that doesn’t hold anymore today.  What’s the Big Deal?”
             “What is God going to say?  I don’t know.  He hasn’t spoken to us for so long, who knows what God would say.  You need a priest or a prophet, and how do you know who to trust?”
             “Compare what he says to the writings?  Come on, Miriam, it takes too much work to compare and study all those things. There are people to see, places to go, and this other woman.”
             “So what if she isn’t an Israelite?  What’s the big deal? Sure I know Moses said not to marry foreign women, but that was Moses and she is different.  You know our people suffered so much in the exile and after; I think God favors these foreigners.  The wicked are not judged by God, why should I be concerned.”
             “Miriam, I know you are sad, but I think God would want me to be happy, so I am off.  You know Miriam, you weary me with all that talk about the holy writings and the prophets.  What’s the big deal? 
What would you say to Joseph? To Miriam? What would get their attention? I understand the illustration is not perfect reflecting God’s weariness of Israel, because God would never put his eyes on another woman like Joseph did.  Have you ever gotten weary of how your children were acting, or a friend that disrespects you or even co-workers or friends who keep annoying you in some way?  Have you ever grown weary?
Israel’s actions were making the Lord weary. Now, you can’t wear God out, but He can, in human terms, grow weary and say, “Enough is enough.”  How do you make the Lord weary? Note what Malachi says in Malachi 2:17, “You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, ‘In what way have we wearied Him?’”  How do you make the Lord weary? 
<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)      <!–[endif]–>Be indifferent toward holiness in marriage 2:10-13 
  • 10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?
Is there one Father in Israel? The Hebrew requires a yes response, because there is no other god but Jehovah in Israel.  There is only one Father, but they were acting like there were more.
The apostle Paul made it clear when he wrote,
  • 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  • <!–[endif]–>15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (Eph. 3:14-15)
In other words, there is One source from whom all come – it is the Father!
            Then note the word “treacherously.” It occurs five times in this passage.  God has had enough.  They have dealt treacherously with Him and it is seen in how Israel had dealt with their wives.  The word (bagad) means “to deal faithlessly” or probably better, “to be traitorous.”  That is a very strong indictment and God meant it to be that way. They did this in two ways.
            First, Malachi charges they had “profaned the covenant.”  The word for “profane” means “to make light of, “ in other words, to treat as common other similar or even dissimilar objects.  Profaning the covenant meant that Israel was treating the covenants that God made with Israel, as similar to the agreements foreign people made with their pagan gods.  Israel was mixing pagan religion with Yahweh worship and God had grown weary of their actions.  Secondly, Israel profaned God’s holiness.  
  • 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, For Judah has profaned the LORD’S holy institution which He loves: He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
            A second time, Malachi charges Israel with dealing treacherously, which God considers an abomination.  What is the abomination?  They had “profaned the LORD’s holy institution.” The word for “institution” is not in the original Hebrew.  Malachi had just dealt with how the priesthood had profaned holy worship and the sanctuary in Malachi 2:1-9.  Now in this passage, Malachi rebukes them for profaning God’s holiness in marriage, in children and in His purposes.
            God established marriage as holy in Genesis 2.  Man and woman were no longer two, but were joined to be one.  They were one unit under Yahweh with no other god.  However, the Jewish men were also marrying those foreign gals that were great lookers and amazing with weaving machines.  It did not seem to hurt to have an extra wife to help with all the household duties.  How did God describe the unholy marriages?  “He has married the daughter of a foreign god.” God saw the offerings made from the people of Judah as mixed with pagan worship.  Furthermore God did not let his weariness remain stifled. He said through Malachi, 
  • 12 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, yet who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts!
Let those who strayed from purity be cut off!  The expression “being awake and aware” is a military expression of a sentinel soldier on guard duty who is vigilant and aware of his surroundings.  The people of Judah knew what they were doing, but did not care very much, because they were bored and thinking of themselves.
            This was not the first time Judah was indifferent toward holiness in marriage.  When Ezra returned to Israel in B.C. 465 to reestablish worship, he faced a horrendous disregard of pagan marriages.  Ezra writes,
  • When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
  • <!–[endif]–>2 “For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass.  (Ezr. 9:1-2)
And then again in Ezra 10,
  • Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.
  • 2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.
  • 3 “Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
  • 4 “Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.  (Ezr. 10:1-4)
Twenty years later, Nehemiah returned to Israel to rebuild the Jerusalem walls.  The pagan marriages were still a problem and Nehemiah took action!
  • 23 In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.
  • 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.
  • 25 So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves.
  • 26 “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin.
  • 27 “Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?”  (Neh. 13:23-27)
If the Jewish children could not speak Hebrew, they would not be able to learn about Yahweh.  Nehemiah’s action of cursing and pulling hair may have seemed a little excessive, but Nehemiah had grown weary and said, “Enough is enough. The holiness of God is far more important than anything else!”
            Did God not love Israel?  God made it clear and never wavered in the least.  When God used Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, He said, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Ex. 19:5) Israel was a special treasure!
It is very much like the couple in California whose wife was about to deliver their child and she removed her ring so it would not cause a problem or in case she couldn’t easily remove her ring at delivery, she would already have secured it at home.  She safely hid the ring as she went to the hospital.  Upon her return, she found out her husband had become very efficient in leading the children to have a garage sale and prepare room for the baby to come home. He was so efficient, he inadvertently sold one of the plain, ordinary boxes in the closet. It was the one she had hidden the ring.  The box sold for five dollars; the ring was worth $23,000.00.  The couple was obviously upset and considered that they might never see the ring again.  Her treasure was gone.
Fortunately, the couple that ended up with the ring saw the news story and returned the ring to the relieved owner.  That ring was a special treasure and will be treated with great care from now on. 
Moses continued to describe God’s love for Israel in Leviticus. God said, “But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples….` 26 `And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.  (Lev 20:24-26) God loved Israel so much, He gave them land and homes they did not have to prepare or build.  They went from slavery to a land flowing with milk and honey! Yet what did the people do?
  • 13 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
They covered the altar with tears. They emotionally cried out to God complaining to God that He was not blessing them, was not showing love and was not favoring them.  They were saying, “Where is our blessing? Where is the love? Why are we having so many problems? How come we are suffering so much with health? How come our economy suffers so much?”  They tried to get God’s attention by emotionally crying out to God.  Joshua bemoaned the deaths of 36 soldiers who died at the battle of Ai. God told Joshua, “Why do you lie thus on your face. Israel has sinned…” (Josh. 7:10b-11a) In the same way, Israel was sinning before God by marrying pagan wives and mixing paganism into their worship.  Yet they cried for God to accept what they were offering.  God grew weary of Israel’s indifference to holiness and sin.
How do you make the Lord weary?  Be indifferent toward holiness in marriage and secondly, be indifferent toward holiness in your children. 
<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)      <!–[endif]–>Be indifferent toward holiness in your children 2:14-16
  • 14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
Israel was saying, “What’s the big deal?” God said, “I have seen your unfaithfulness, your treachery in how you have dealt with your wife.  You have married additional pagan wives and you have been unfaithful to your wife.  You have been traitorous!  In what way?
Your wife is your companion. This Hebrew word has three consonants – b, r, t. The next significant word is “companion” and it has the same three consonants – b, r, t, which would have grabbed the heart of any humble Jewish person.  Both words use the same consonants, but have different vowels.  It is a Hebrew way of gaining attention in a godly and subtle way.  God joined husband and wife and that bond was not to be broken.  They were joined by covenant and were companions by covenant. Breaking covenant violates what God would never violate. Breaking covenant wrongly presents God as One who would break covenant. God would never do that.
  • 15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
God made the man and woman one in Genesis 2:24, “The two shall become one.” God made them one.  He could have made several wives. He could have done other things. He sealed them by His Spirit. God will not break His covenant and the marriage covenant should not be broken.
Why did God make them one?  Was it so they could enjoy each other and pursue happiness?  Was it so they could have children and grandchildren?  Was it so they could do what they wanted to do?  No!  God made them one, so they would produce “godly offspring” God is not interested in successful, nice kids as much as He is interested in godly children.  He is interested in godly offspring who will produce godly offspring. 
That was Eli’s problem.  He had two sons, Hophni and Phineas, who happened to be walking in their daddy’s footsteps serving in the temple.  Eli even rebuked them when they were not serving in a godly way.  However, Eli did not insist that they do the right thing.  They continued serving for their own selfish interests.  That is why God warned Eli that there would not be an old man in his home.  On the day Hophni and Phineas died in battle against the Philistines, Eli fell over backward and broke his neck.  God is serious about raising godly offspring.
Now some cannot have children, or because of circumstances, they do not have children.  Does that mean you cannot have godly offspring?  You can still disciple other people.  Children or grown ups can be discipled and be your legacy of godliness in offspring. Therefore, do not deal treacherously with your wives. Be faithful and work together to raise godly children.
  • 16 “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
In fact, God hates divorce.  God hates sin. God hates idolatry (Deut. 16:22). He hates what it does to women and children (and men). He hates what it does to His name. Why?  God hates divorce because it reveals violence in marriage.  Divorce was never God’s intention.  It is like ripping a cloth in two, real violence against the cloth.  It impugns His reputation. Do not deal treacherously. It profanes the covenant.  God never approved divorce, but allowed it as Jesus said, because of the hardness of heart.
How do you make the Lord weary? Be indifferent toward holiness in marriage and be indifferent toward holiness in your children. And thirdly, be indifferent toward His holy purposes.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>3)      <!–[endif]–>Be indifferent toward His holy purposes 2:17 
 
  • 17 You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the LORD, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?”
The word for “weary” is the hiphel of yaga’, which emphasizes the toil of work and the exhaustion that results from labor.  It provokes the body.
Had they really wearied God?  After all, they had endured many trials during the exile and post-exilic period. They were ready to believe God favored the wicked, the heathen, who enjoyed prosperity, over the godly.  “God should be judging the wicked,” they thought. At least the wicked were not judged as severely as Israel had been judged. Israel took the blessings from God for granted. They impugned God saying He delights in wickedness.  They had a wrong understanding of God’s holy love and mercy.
God is holy and awesome;
indifference makes God grow weary.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>God is worthy of worship.  Worshiping God is the most important thing you do.  Worship is not for convenience, or a left over, the worn outs, the give out, but your best for an awesome God.  When we give up worship time to go to a football game, or leave church for a family outing, or stay out late and then decide we are too tired for church the next day, that profanes the Lord’s name.  When people spend more time, more talents, or more resources on themselves beyond the basic necessities, rather than on the Lord, that is marrying the daughter of a foreign god.   Satan wants you married to, involved with, working in anything that distracts your relationship with God.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>Marriage mirrors what God is. Does your marriage mirror a great God? What are you willing to do in order to ensure your marriage remains healthy?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>Raise godly children.  God must be your first love.  Marriage must be tender and precious in order to raise godly children.
 
~ Abraham Lincoln – America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>America has forsaken her first love. She is fully giving herself over to licentious immorality. God knows with whom America has laid.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>America rebels against God. She has shaken her fist at Him and arrogantly proclaimed, “We don’t need you. We don’t want you. We know better than you. So, go away.”  So He’s removing His blessing.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>America has adopted a national platform of Romans 1.  We have mocked God.  God will not be mocked.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>America chose a platform that three times denied God, and then returned His name in vain – amid deafening boos – to its platform. God will not be mocked.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>In the last election, America said, “Abortion, same-sex marriage and immorality are our priorities.”
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>America has enshrined into law the celebration of sexual deviancy, the mockery of marriage and moral disorder.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>What America calls “reproductive choice,” God calls murder.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>What America calls “fundamental fairness,” God calls theft.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>What America calls “alternative lifestyle,” God calls an abomination.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>We “call evil good and good evil.”  It makes God weary.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>We don’t need to win every battle.  He has won the war. We need to remain obedient. We need to remain faithful to his Word and to his commands. We need to remember that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>There will be divine discipline on America as we continue on this path. Things will get far worse before they get better.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>Yet, God remains sovereign. He is faithful. The victory is His. He spoke a word and the world came into existence. Millions of stars, light-years of space, and galaxies beyond number came from God’s spoken word. From the depths of the oceans to the peaks of mountains, the Lord reigns on high.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>God can take 5 loaves and 2 fish and feed 15,000. The little bit that the disciples were able to locate with a young boy, Jesus multiplied to fill hungry souls.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>God will provide food everyday in the desert.  When Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years, they never went without food.  Every day except the Sabbath, there was food provided freely to them.  The day before the Sabbath a double allotment was given.  God was faithful in His provision and He will be faithful to you today.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>·         <!–[endif]–>God will cause a thousand to turn and run with five who stand with the Lord.  God is able.  Seek holiness in your marriage and in your great-grand-children and in His purposes.
 
Message Based Discussion Questions
<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)      <!–[endif]–>How were you taught about reverence for God?  Or were you?  How do, did, you learn it today?
Digging Deeper:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)      <!–[endif]–>Malachi was clear regarding marriage.  What was God’s purpose of marriage (Mal. 2:14-15)? ____________  What are God’s provisions so that divorce does not happen?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>3)      <!–[endif]–>Did God allow divorce in the Old Testament (Deut. 24:1-4)? _______ What was God’s procedure for divorce in the OT? Why do you suppose He allowed it?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>4)      <!–[endif]–>In Jeremiah’s day, God had had enough (Jer. 14:19-5:3). Was God going to listen to Israel anymore? _____________  What was God’s concern for Israel?
Making application from the message to life:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>5)      <!–[endif]–>What did the church of Ephesus do well (Rev. 2:1-7)? __________   What did they fail to do?  Can that happen with us?  What did Jesus command that the church of Ephesus do?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>6)      <!–[endif]–>What are seven things your group can contribute that will ensure marriage will remain strong?  Do marriages matter if you are single?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>7)      <!–[endif]–>How should the church function so that marriages that are struggling will become restored and strong again?
 

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