Be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
Some Bible versions translate the first part of this verse to say, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel.” God loves love. “God is love” (1 John 4:8)! It is in the very nature of God to hate it when love breaks down. God hates divorce.
But God does not hate divorced people! In fact, God hates divorce because he so loves the people that go through that turmoil. He hates watching them suffer. He hates watching their families and friends suffer. In some situations, God acknowledges the breakup of marriages. But God still hates the pain, frustration, and brokenness that fill the hearts of people he so dearly loves. Many people have found that divorce makes their pain even worse. If you’re thinking of divorce, please seek help right away!
But this verse is not just about marriage vows. This verse is key to the whole book of Malachi. God is saying here, “I don’t want to divorce Israel!” Often in the Bible, God’s people are described as the Lord’s unfaithful bride. God would have every right to divorce a people as unfaithful and spiteful as Israel was. But God hates divorce. He loves love. Some marriages cannot be saved. But in the cross of Jesus we learn that God will do all it takes, even suffer death himself, not to divorce his wayward people—and that includes us today. Can we not try to turn our hearts to a God who loves us so?
Dear Jesus, you showed us the greatest love by dying to save us and to reconcile us with God. May we be filled with your self-giving love. Amen.
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