There are five strong reasons in Malachi 2:13-16 that lead a believer to remain faithful to their marriage vows. The first reason (covered in Part 1) is because of the divine covenant of marriage, based on Malachi 2:14, which says, “Yet ye say, Wherefore? because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.”
The second reason to remain faithful to your marriage vows is because of the infinite power of the Holy Spirit: “yet had he a residue of the Spirit” (Malachi 2:15).
While Malachi 2:15 is a difficult verse to interpret, the point seems to be that the Holy Spirit is available to give God’s people the needed power to overcome any challenge or conflict that comes against us in our marriage. God’s Holy Spirit power is freely obtainable for you to have love, joy, peace, and contentment as well as to demonstrate patience and give forgiveness in your marriage. God’s Spirit will give every marriage grace to endure and never fail.
The interesting and unusual term, “residue of the spirit” could mean that the people still had a sense of what was right. A residue is a dried up remainder of what once existed in fulness. A residue is what remains left over after a substance completely dries up.
The people Malachi addresses were living carnally and were not walking in the Spirit. They had grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit so that just a remnant or “residue” of their spiritual heart and power remained. For many, evil behavior had gained a foothold and they were looking for a way out of their marriages.
Unquestionably, the longer a person chooses to partake in sin, the Holy Spirit is grieved and the harder it will be to do right and follow God. As the people of God had descended into backslidden self-delusion, Malachi paints a picture that just a residue of the Spirit remained, but this was sufficient. Although the people had a weakened ability to make wise decisions and do right, the possibility was still there. They could still repent and fully rely on the power of His Spirit!
Some not doubt wonder, “how can I remain in my marriage?” A wife who is neglected, and a husband who is nagged may feel worthless, unloved, and unloving. The answer is to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit in your marriage and repent from your carnal behavior. Without God’s power, you will not have what you need. With His Spirit, you have more than enough power to obey God. Although you may feel in a weakened condition to overcome, God’s grace is always sufficient for you.
A third reason to stay in your marriage is because of the momentous goal of marriage to raise a godly seed. Malachi 2:15b: says, “That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.”
Why is it vital to fight for your marriage? Because bringing up children for the Lord is a two-person job. Children need father and mother, both husband and wife. For the sake of the children, married couples must remain true to their marriage vows for God longs that you bring up your children so that they live in a godly way.
What are the social and spiritual implications on society, the home and the church, of intermarrying with unbelievers and committing divorce from the spouse of your youth? The repercussions are momentous. When parents do the wrong thing, it has a terrible influence upon the children.
As husbands and wives live as one, bringing up their children in the Lord’s nurture and admonition, they must always draw near to God, loving what He loves and hating what He hates. Malachi not once but twice commands them to “take heed to your spirit” and not deal “treacherously” in your family relationships (Mal. 2:15-16). Parents must give their children loving instruction and loving discipline consistent to Scripture. Guard your spirit so that you protect yourself from the worldly compromises flooding the culture. Protect yourself! Guard your home! Divorce breaks the wall of protection in the home that God has designed. When divorce occurs, the compromising influences of the world can break through like a flood to threaten the safety and spiritual lives of your children.
In the next post, we will discover two final principles why you should stay married from Malachi 2:13-16.