The second chapter of the book of Malachi is a snapshot of our world today. It talks about three important things: the teaching of the priests, the sanctity of marriage, and fidelity to God's standards.
Let us start with the priests - or the religious teachers. In Malachi's prophecy, God chastises them for profaning the altar, from turning from God's teachings, and causing many to stumble. Unfortunately, we have many religious leaders who do the same today. We have the Fred Phelpses practicing their own brand of hate-filled religion in the name of the Lord. We have teachers who teach God's love - but not His righteousness, power, or judgment. We have others who use the Lord's house and attendance there to further their political or business ambitions.
We are profaning the altar of the Lord and leading others astray.
Then there is the state of marriage and the family.
Sometimes tragic situations come from marriages when the two parties do not worship the same God. God is not Allah, nor Buddah, nor any of the other names people give their dieties. Intermarriage in this passage is talking about marriage between two people who believe in different gods. And it talks about breaking faith with the wife of your youth. You see, God instituted marriage. When a person breaks faith with the marriage, he is also breaking faith with God.
I think, however, that this last verse in the chapter may be the most pertinent. We weary the Lord when we call evil good, and good evil. But we have done just that. Beginning with the Humanist Manifesto, we have tried to displace God in our world and our lives. Our educators are trained with those values, and our schoolrooms are filled with those ideas. We have tried to make man the measure of all things. It is false and wrong. And just like the original sin in the Garden of Eden, it springs from an arrogance of the intellect.
Lord, deliver us from such arrogance!
You chastise us with these words. Help us to look carefully at our lives and motives and judge them by these standards. Give us the wisdom and grace to correct our failings insofar as is within our capabilities, and to rely upon You to make up for our shortcomings.
In Jesus' most precious name.