Marriage is a Covenant - Devotion 1

Malachi 2:13-15 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.  (NIV)

Before we go into dating itself, I think it is helpful to understand what marriage is anyway. Marriage in Bible times was started in a different way than we begin marriage today. One thing hasn't changed, then like today marriage is a life long covenant between two people. At least that is what we still say at weddings!

What is a covenant? A covenant was basically the Biblical way of making a deal. Today, two people shake hands, sign a paper, and the deal is made. In Biblical days, it was a little more hands on. Say you wanted to make a covenant with another person. For example, in exchange for his property and you are willing to work for 20 years. What you would do to make such a covenant would be to take an animal such as a sheep and cut it in half. The word covenant literally means "to cut." Hence, we say today, "Let's cut a deal." After the animal was cut in half both parties would walk between the two animals. This act was a way of saying, "If you go back on the deal I will cut you in half just like we cut the animal in half. The other person had the right to do the same. So making a covenant was a big deal.

Marriage was thought of also as a covenant between two people. After all, God, the inventor of marriage and sex, knew how much it would hurt for a marriage to be broken. When marriages are broken, literally two people feel broken. Even the most gracious divorcees cut each other in half.

The verse for today shows how much God wants us to find someone we can be faithful with for life long.

Prayer: Lord, I do not want to be cut in half by the pain of broken relationships. Lord, you want marriage to be based on serious committment that only you can ultimately provide or break. Help me to be faithful, forgive me when I have not been true to my Word. Help me to find someone equally committed to you and to marriage according to your will and your time. In Jesus name. Amen