AND AN ABOMINATION IS COMMITTED IN ISRAEL AND IN JERUSALEM
Text: MALACHI 2:10-17
- As I was reading our text, a phrase jumped out at me: "And an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem" (Mal.2:11).
- This word "abomination" is a very strong word.
- There are two big books that I always keep close by my desk – my Webster’s Dictionary and my Strong’s Concordance.
- Webster defines "abomination" as a "vile, shameful, detestable action, condition, or habit."
- The word "abomination" is found many times in the Bible, all the way from Genesis to Revelation. I counted 75 references to "abomination" and 74 references to "abominations."
- To give you an idea of how strong the word is, let’s look at a few examples (Lev.18:22; 20:13; Deut.7:25,26; 12:31; 22:5; Matt.24:15; Rev.17:4,5).
- Therefore, we can readily see that the word carries with the idea that this is something God hates. This is something God considers very disgusting and offensive. As a matter of fact, He uses the word "hate" (Mal.2:16).
- Today we will see why God was so offended at the behavior. Let us keep in mind that these sins are still being practiced today. In fact, our nation today is in worse shape than Israel was in Malachi’s day.
I. THEY PROFANED GOD’S HOLINESS (2:10-13).
- We have established that the word "abomination" is a very strong word. So is the word "profaned" (2:10,11). It is where we get our word "profanity."
- They were guilty of "profaning the covenant of our fathers" (2:10) and they had "profaned the holiness of the LORD which He loved" (2:11).
- What exactly does this mean? First of all, it means God loves holiness. Secondly, it refers to the covenant which God had made with their forefathers. In this covenant He told them they were forbidden to marry heathen wives (2:11). To marry a heathen wife was a serious violation of their family relationship to the LORD as well as to one another.
- You may recall that this problem is referred to in the book of Ezra, and in the book of Nehemiah, which also were written after the Babylonian captivity (cf. Ezra 9:1-3; Neh.13:23-28).
- This same principle applies today (cf. II Cor.6:14—7:1).
- The basis of God’s covenant was that the Israelites were to be (and we are to be) a separated people – different from the idolatrous, heathen tribes that surrounded them (cf. Ex.19:5,6; Lev.20:24,26,27; Deut.7:1-6).
- Again, please allow me to emphasize that this same principle applies to us today (cf. I Peter 1:15,16; I John 2:15-17).
- God says that "Judah hath dealt treacherously" (Mal.2:11). This means "deceptively." God say that "an abomination is committed in Israel and in Judah" (2:11).
- "Abomination" – like witchcraft, like idolatry, like homosexuality, like men wearing women’s clothes and women wearing men’s clothes, like the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth, like the antichrist. In God’s estimation, it is a horrible sin to marry an unsaved mate.
- They had profaned God’s covenant by marrying heathen wives which was a direct violation of the covenant, and they profaned God’s holiness because these heathen women were likely to worship false gods (Ex.34:10-17).
- The LORD punished them for their sin – the Bible says, "The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this…" (2:12).
- Their weeping at the altar would not help them – God knew that their hearts were not right (2:13; cf. Jer.11:14; 14:12).
II. THEY DEALT TREACHEROUSLY WITH THEIR WIVES (2:14).
- As usual, these guilty covenant-breakers and treacherous rascals had the nerve to say to God, "Wherefore?" (2:14; cf. 1:2,6,7).
- In other words, "Why doesn’t God accept my offering?"
- God gave them their answer: "Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously…" (2:14).
- They were guilty of a double sin – they had violated their marriage covenant by divorcing their wives, and they had profaned God’s covenant by disobeying Him.
- Malachi 2:15 teaches us that "he" (i.e. God) made "one" (i.e. one pair – one male and one female, one time). Cf. Gen.2:24; Matt. 19:3-6. In the marriage relationship God had made two into one.
- "Yet had he the residue of the spirit." "The residue of the Spirit" refers to God’s creative power. God could have made Adam a number of wives, but He only made "one." He made just one pair from whom all the rest might proceed, that He might have a holy offspring.
- "And wherefore one?" (2:15). He made one couple from whom all the members of the human race might proceed in order "that He might seek a godly seed" (2:15). In other words, God wants godly couples to produce godly children, who in turn will go out and marry godly husbands and wives and produce godly children, etc. In this manner, God’s program is passed on from one generation to the next. Polygamy, divorce, and broken families are not conducive to bringing children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
- I have had some people criticize me over this issue. I am not trying to make people feel bad. My heart goes out to them.
- #1 I am just preaching what the Bible says.
- #2 I am trying to warn those who not yet married and those who are already married that "God hates putting away" (2:16).
- God says, "Therefore take heed to your spirit…" (2:15), i.e. consider what you are doing.
- The Bible plainly teaches that God "hateth putting away (divorce)" (2:16; cf. Mark 10:2-12; I Cor.7:10,11,39,40).
- In Malachi 2:16, "garment" symbolizes marriage (Ruth 3:9), and violence refers to the cruel treatment a husband inflicts on a wife when he divorces her for another woman.
III. THEY WEARIED THE LORD WITH THEIR WORDS (2:17).
- The people were reprimanded for bringing unacceptable sacrifices to God. They were reprimanded for divorcing their wives and marrying heathen wives. And they were reprimanded for having wearied the LORD (2:17). They had exhausted His patience.
- They were complaining, "Behold, what a weariness is it!" (1:13). And now God is fed up with them and declares that He is weary of them (2:17).
- Beloved, God still is weary of phony religion – weary of hypocrites giving long-winded testimonies when they are not right with God; weary of long, pious prayers from people who don’t mean it.
- And once again, they had the audacity to challenge God: "Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied Him" (2:17).
- Malachi gave them God’s answer: "When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?" (2:17).
- They were accusing God of being either unjust or indifferent. Like infidels or skeptics, they challenged God by saying, "Where is the God of judgment?" They were maligning His character.
- The people of Malachi’s day were not the only ones who questioned God and wondered if He was not going to judge the wicked (cf. Eccl.8:11).
- Throughout the history of mankind, man has always had a tendency to look at the prosperity of the wicked and come to the conclusion that God approved of their behavior.
- There is a song we used to sing in Bible college called "Farther Along." It goes like this:
- This is exactly what the Psalmist wrote back in Psalm 73 (cf. 73:1-18).
Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long,
While there are others living about us,
Never molested though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know all about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
[Send Email ]