We’ve been looking at some tender passages of bridegrooms covering their wives with protection, and how they are a reflection of Christ. It is important we look at the opposite, which our Lord addresses in Malachi 2.
I lost a husband I loved to death. I have what the Scripture calls “sweet tears.” Some of you have lost a husband to divorce, or abuse. You have what the Scripture calls “bitter tears.” Some of you are in the midst of an abusive marriage, and you fear separating for financial or emotional reasons. And yet, the only hope for your husband is if you do separate and demand he get help and show the fruit of true repentance before you or your children return to him.
This Malachi passage has often been distorted, making it mean the exact oppositie of what it actually means. It is a difficult passage, but when the Hebrew is understood, can bring such comfort to the victim of physical and emotional abuse.
If you have a friend in this situation, please encourage her to read, even join us.
1. In the last post we looked at how the Lord covers us, and how a husband, if he is sacrificing for his bride, covers her. Summarize what you learned.
2. Here in Malachi we have the Lord thundering at husbands who failed to cover their wives. The most accurate translation of Malachi 2:16B is “I hate a man covering his wife with violence.” Looking at the context will help:
A. In Malachi 2:10-11, why is God angry with the men of Judah?
B. What are the men doing to try to cover up their sin according to Malachi 2:12-13?
C. Why will God not accept their offerings according to Malachi 2:14?
3. What reasons does God give for His anger at the men who have cast aside their wives (without even giving them a certificate of divorce so that they could remarry). Find as many reasons as you can in verses 15 and 16.
4. The phrase “I hate divorce” is often taken out of context and thrown at the victim. Why is this the oppositie of the intent in this passage?
5. For those of you who have The God of All Comfort, read pages 207 through 209 and comment.
6. Read this article from Christianity Today online. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/october/20.26.html
I think this is an excellent article – most Christians accept that infidelity and abandonment are the two scriptural
reasons the New Testament gives for allowing divorce as the covenant has, indeed, been broken by the perpetrator. This article goes into what abandonment, according to the Old Testament really means. Read this carefully, summarize, and give your supporting or dissenting views.
7. If you are a victim, why does the truth of this passage show you that God will deal with your abuser? How can this help you forgive?
8. How might you apply this lesson personally?
8. Abused women often will not speak up — will not enter in. We may not hear from them on this blog, but I know many are reading. Some fear leaving for financial or emotional reasons. Would you pray for them here?