Marriage 2 – covenant

The aim of this devotional study is to consider the nature of the marriage relationship.

Scripture

Malachi 2:14-16

14  But you say, “Why does [the Lord not answer our prayers]?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15  Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16  “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Proverbs 2:16-19

16  So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17  who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; 18  for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; 19  none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.

Observation

Definition: A covenant is a formal, binding agreement by which one party binds itself to another for life.

  1. Consider Malachi 2:14-16.
    1. What is God’s main accusation against the religiously devout Jews in this Text? Can you discern what practice he was countering?
    2. With what words does the prophet define marriage? What do you learn about marriage from this text?
    3. What are the results of defiling the marriage covenant from this text?
  2. Consider Proverbs 2:16-19.
    1. In one short sentence summarize this Proverb.
    2. What are the results of defiling the marriage covenant from this text?
  3. Both the Texts quotes above place the words “companion” and “covenant” next to each other.
    1. How does those two terms relate to marriage?
    2. What does that suggest about the nature of marriage?
    3. Notice that in the one Text “companion” and “covenant” is refers to the husband, and in the other Text these two terms are used in reference to the wife. What does this teach you about the nature of marriage.

Personal reflection and prayer

In essence, marriage is a covenant of companionship by which two people bind themselves before witnesses and God “until death do us part”.

The standard contemporary wedding vow reads as follows:

Do you [John] take [Jane] to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage?  Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?

  1. Considering the Texts above, how does this typical wedding vow correspond to the “covenant of companionship” in the Texts above?
  2. For the married person:
    1. Was your wedding vow similar to this? Did you understand the impact of what you were doing when you made those vows before God and witnesses?
    2. In which ways have you been tempted to make an end to this marriage since your wedding? Why did you not do it?
    3. Malachi refers to God’s intervention once the wedding vows have been made. In which ways have you experienced God’s intervention into your marriage in your marriage?
    4. Partnerships are formed because “two is better than one” (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). What benefits have you and do you receive from this “covenant of companionship”? (You will enjoy this article on the Benefits of Marriage http://walklikejesus.net/2015/02/20/do-you-know-what-you-are-letting-yourself-into/ )
    5. Pray for grace to be faithful to “your spouse by covenant”.
  3. For the unmarried person:
    1. Why would you / would you not want to be married?
    2. Considering today’s devotional reflection, how does it impact your perception and expectation of marriage?
    3. Pray for your marriage partner and grace for faithfulness to one another.
  4. So you know someone close to you whose marriage is falling apart? Pray for them!

 

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