The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the nature and consequence of the wedding vows – a promise of devotion.
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.”
1 Peter 3:7
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Context: Malachi prophesied in about 4000BC in the newly restored Jerusalem to Jews religiously observing the ceremonial rituals; however they missed the intent of the Law. Peter wrote to scattered and persecuted Jewish Christians throughout the Roman empire in AD45.
- Consider Malachi 2:14-16
- Summarize the prophet’s appeal in one sentence.
- The word “faithless” is used three times. What does the word mean in this context?
- The prophet accuses his hearers of being “faithless” (v14) – what does that suggest of the culture of the day? And considering the audience why should that surprise you?
- Suggest a few synonyms for “faithlessness” in this context.
- What are the consequences of this “faithlessness”? [hint: verses 14a and 16a]
- What do you understand under “covering his garment with violence”? (verse 16)
- There is much similarity between the two Texts above: both written by Jews to Jewish audiences about marriage and unanswered prayers (450 years apart).
- Why according to Malachi are the prayers of his hearers unanswered?
- Why according to Peter are the prayers of his readers unanswered?
- How does “faithfulness” and “honour” in marriage relate to each other? [hint: how do you get married…? What do we do during the wedding ceremony…?]
- What does that suggest about God’s intent for marriage?
Personal reflection and Prayer
Marriage is covenant of companionship. It’s a pledge of devotion, a promise of loyalty to each other in mind, heart and body. Marriage requires faithfulness.
- What is commonly regarded as the most destructive act of betrayal within a marriage?
- Typically, how does that start? And how does it escalate?
- What are the typical emotional consequences for the guilty party within the marriage?
- What are the typical emotional consequences for the innocent party within the marriage?
- Describe the long-lasting effects of such betrayal in the married couple, should it survive the betrayal?
- Describe the long-lasting effects of such betrayal in the married couple, should the marriage end in divorce.
- What then is the ultimate cost of such an act of betrayal/ unfaithfulness / dishonor?
- How could one maintain marital faithfulness in (a) mind, (b) heart and emotions, and (c) body in such a perverse society with a low regard for the marriage covenant?
- Malachi instructed his readers to “guard themselves in your spirit” (v15 and 16). How could you “guard yourself” against such unfaithfulness?
- One way of “guarding yourself” is to be “sober-minded and watchful in prayer.” (1 Pet 5:8) Pray that God will keep you from temptation, and preserve your moral holiness in mind, heart and body.