Malachi 2:10-16, Treachery against the Sanctuary!

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We saw yesterday from Malachi 2:10-16 that the people were dealing treacherously against their brothers.  Today, we see their treachery agains the sanctuary.

II.  Against the Sanctuary    v11-12

v11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god.

Judah had profaned the sanctuary of the Lord.  The temple was being profaned by the Jews going into the temple while toying with the foreign gods of their foreign wives.  Idolatry was the big issue here, but it was linked to marrying pagan wives. Nehemiah, Malachi’s contemporary, described the seriousness of the situation.  “In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own people. 25 So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. 27 Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?” (Nehemiah 13:23-27).   We see play out in Nehemiah’s account, and in Malachi’s day, exactly what God had warned the people of Israel about centuries earlier.  God warned in Exodus 34:12-16, “Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 --for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God-- 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.”  Again in Deuteronomy 7:3-4, “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.”  

The people of God got swept up by a pagan culture when they became infatuated with foreign women.  When they secured themselves foreign wives, they began to accept foreign culture and eventually foreign religion and false gods.  In a short time, the people of Israel were mingling their sacrifices in the sanctuary of God with their worship of false gods.  How easy it is to get swept up by a pagan culture, and before you know it find out you are pagan.  If we are not extremely careful we might find ourselves gathering in the sanctuary on Sunday but acting as an idolator Monday through Saturday.  

Malachi goes on in verse 12: “As for the man who does this, may the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the LORD of hosts.”  According to Wolf, “The English expression of being ‘alive and kicking’ may not be far from the thrust of this Hebrew idiom.”  In other words, every man who does this, if he is alive and kicking, will face the judgment of God!  They were dealing treacherously with their brothers, toward the sanctuary, but also their wives.  We will see that tomorrow.  Until then...