Tag Archives: faithfulness

Covenant Faithlessness (Malachi 2:10-16)

Be careful who you marry.  I know you are young now, but at some point you will probably get married.  Most people do, though God has called some to be single (though never alone).  I would encourage you to start thinking about marriage now because the person you marry is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your entire life!  God gives us help in making this tough decision, and we need to listen closely to what he says.

First, the person you marry must be a Christian.  And not just that they call themselves of Christian, but you can see that they are living to please God because they love Him and they love Jesus. God says that to marry someone who is not a Christian is an abomination.  That’s a big word but it means that God hates it.  God wants you to be happy, but he wants you to be happy in Him.  That’s why Paul wrote that if you are not married, you are free to marry anyone you want in Him. In other words, Christian women are free to marry Christian men, and Christian men are free to marry Christian women.  That’s what “in Him” means.  We are not free to just marry anyone we want.  Our love for God and Jesus must always be greater than our love for anyone else.

At the same time, our love for God must be our motivation in marriage.  Paul wrote that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church.  A wife is to submit and respect her husband as the Church does to Jesus.  That means that when two Christians are married, they are not to divorce one another.  Often times people that get divorced will say that they stopped loving one another or that they had irreconcilable differences (they can’t agree on things). But Malachi wrote that those excuses are good enough to get a divorce.  He wrote that this was a violent act toward himself or herself.  So we must be one guard to keep our marriages according to God’s Word.

This was probably one of the most, if not the most difficult sermon I have ever preached. To get the full scope of these verses, please watch the video above.

The Heart of the Matter is a Matter of the Heart

Back in the day there was a band called “Brother’s Keeper.” They could still be around but I haven’t heard a song of theirs since the mid-late 90s.  The one song that has always stuck with me though is titled, “The Heart of the Matter.” In its own cheesy way, the song expressed a truth that states that no change will come until there is change in the heart.  “The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.” Solomon would not have agreed more.

Notice his instruction to his son in Proverbs 3: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,” (v. 1, ESV; emphasis mine). To Solomon it was not about doing the right thing, but being the right thing.  As Jesus said centuries later, “For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander,” (Matthew 15:19, ESV).  Solomon, years ahead of his time, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit expressed a similar attitude: its a matter of the heart. The body can externally do what is necessary for “survival.” We can physically do what is deemed necessary by society, but once those constraints are gone and we no longer have to worry about being judged, ostracized, or punished by those around us, the real us is shown–who we are in our hearts.

Solomon wanted his son not to forget what he was taught, but more than that he wanted that teaching to go straight to his heart and become his own. He didn’t want the external forms of obedience, but internal obedience that led to external righteousness.  We’ve all heard of the little boy who was told to sit down, and complied saying, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside.”  We’ve all been there at some point. We’ve all done what was expected, and were not obedient from the heart.

Solomon went on to give a demonstration of what he meant.  “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart,” (Proverbs 3:3, ESV).  Steadfast love was an Old Testament way of expressing grace.  It meant to love or favor or to deal kindly.  Solomon wanted not only the actions that looked gracious, but the heart that was gracious.  He not only wanted the appearance of faithfulness, but a deep-seated faithfulness to his father, others, but especially to God.  It was as if he was saying let these be who you are, let them go to your very soul (the neck/throat was often a symbol of the soul), and be the monument of your heart.

So as today is Wednesday Wisdom, it would be wise of us to strive for and desire the same that Solomon wanted for his son: obedience from the heart–grace and faithfulness as who we are not simply what we do.