Malachi 2:16 (NKJV, emphasis added)
16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
Malachi 2:16 (NIV)
16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.
So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
“…you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Teachers, Pastors, Priests, Christians: you are to follow the commands and words of our Lord without partiality. The words of God are being changed, being softened and manipulated to speak to us in a way we feel we ought to be spoken to. Both versions of Malachi 2:16 proclaim that divorce is wrong. If we are to place our hopes in the words of our Lord and Savior promising everlasting life and peace from our strife in this world we are to hear the words of our Lord and God as He has said them without partiality. The nature of sin is to question God’s words, contemplate His motives and intentions and conclude that God could never be that strict and that uptight about how we ought to live. We are merely human, right? But He means what He says. His words are strict to our sinful ears because His ways are higher than our ways. He is Holy and we are not. His words are as uptight as they sound because the way of Jesus is a narrow gate that few enter because of the costly sacrifice and complete denial of self that following Jesus into eternal fellowship with the Father requires.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Be shrewd as a serpent and gentle as a dove, Christian. Our Heavenly Father demands that we be Holy as He is Holy. The sin within us will always seek partiality concerning God’s Holy words. It will always endeavor to weaken the sting of His rebuke in order to massage our weary soul from its burdensome struggle for Holy perfection and encourage us to seek the desires of our heart. God is love, right? And the gospel of Jesus is forgiveness and grace, right? Yes on both counts. But Jesus is still the narrow gate that came preaching repentance of sin and complete transformation in his image. Holiness. Righteousness. Obedience to the Father. Let the words of God sting you. Let them stab you. Let them cut you to the heart as a double-edged sword. Protect and cultivate a relationship with our Lord that welcomes the sting of Holiness and the demands of it on our life. The sting of God’s Holy words and the self-sacrifice of our sinfulness for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus is nothing compared to the sting of eternal separation from God that Jesus came to save us from.