October 11 – Today’s Readings – Malachi 1-4 and Psalms 101

Malachi 2:13-16 reads, “Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ‘I hate divorce,’ says the LORD God of Israel, ‘and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.”

I deliberately chose this passage today because we need to understand the value God places on our human relationships. All of our relationships have great worth in the eyes of the Lord but the sacrament of marriage holds special meaning in His heart. Why? – Because it is a direct reflection of our relationship with Him. (Ephesians 5:25-33) There is a powerful message in Verses 13-14 where God states that He will not listen to us if we are not right with our spouses.

1 Peter 3:7 reinforces these words – “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

I can’t think of too many things worse than God being upset with me and not listening to my prayers. After all, the very source of all life and productivity for me comes from hearing and doing the will of God. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He also attributed all of His good works and miracles to hearing and doing the will of the Father.

Do you still want to harbor a hard heart toward your spouse? Well then – you’re on your own! Don’t expect God to direct your path if you can’t forgive, love and have a soft heart toward your spouse.

Jesus said; “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.” (Matthew 19:8) It’s when we harden our hearts in our relationships that we get ourselves in trouble. Think about it for a moment. Almost all sins we commit against one another are precipitated by the hardness of our hearts toward people. Do we want a close relationship with the Father? Then we must keep good relationships with one another. Let’s never forget this link.

Questions:

1. Show other places in Scripture where God directly links our human relationships to our relationship with Him.
2. Tell of an instance where you hardened your heart towards someone and it affected you spiritually.