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We come now, in our study of Malachi to chapter 2:10-16. In our text today we will see that the Lord of Hosts takes careful note of the treacherous acts of His people, mercifully calls them to repentance, and graciously warns them to be watchful of falling back into such sin again.
“Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 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. 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. 13 “This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” 17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, “How 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?”
As we see in this text, the Lord of Hosts takes careful note of the treacherous acts of His people, mercifully calls them to repentance, and graciously warns them to be watchful of falling back into such sin again. What does this word treacherous mean? According to Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary treacherous means, “Violating allegiance or faith pledged; faithless; traitorous to the state or sovereign; perfidious in private life; betraying a trust.” Needless to say, The Lord of Hosts does not take treachery well. He is rebuking them for three treacherous dealings, which are all inter-connected if we carefully observe.
I. With their brothers v10
First, they were dealing treacherously with their brothers. We read in verse 10, “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?” Malachi is pointing out to the people the hypocrisy of claiming one father while dealing treacherously with each other. Every Jew would gladly claim Abraham as their one earthly father. But more significantly than that, they all would claim God as their heavenly Father. By pointing out to them their brotherhood in Abraham, and ultimately God, Malachi is hitting head on the disjointed nature of the tribes of Israel. Why was there such disunity and dysfunction? There was disunity and dysfunction between the tribes of Israel ultimately because they has profaned the covenant of their fathers.
What was this covenant that Malachi is referring to? Back in the book of Exodus, Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive from God, the law. The 10 Commandments were the summary of that law. The first four commands related to God. The last six related to their neighbor. Moses comes down from the mountain with the ten commandments, and with the law of God, to a group of people who were willing and anxious to covenant together with God. We read in Exodus 24:3-8, “Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” 4 Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
God had brought together these people to be His own. God had covenanted with them. They had covenanted with God. They had covenanted with each other. Now, they were violating this covenant by dealing treacherously with one another. We can only imagine the number of ways they could have been violating the last six commandments with each other. With one God and one earthly father this should have been unheard of!
How much more the church of the Lord Jesus Christ? We have been redeemed from our life of sin, depravity, and godlessness. We have been brought out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We have been ransomed from slavery to sin and Satan and made children of God, joint heirs with Jesus, and brothers and sisters with all those who have come to God through repentance of sin and faith in Christ alone. With one heavenly father, one Lord and Master Jesus Christ, how could we not deal lovingly and lawfully with one another? In the words of Jesus in “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The people of God Malachi’s day were not only acting treacherously toward their brothers, but also toward the sanctuary. We will learn about that tomorrow. Until then....