Covenants bind us, as individuals, to God; as children of God, to our families and to our brothers and sisters in God's church throughout the world; and, as citizens, to preservation of a moral, God-fearing society.
In Sunday's sermon at the Cohocton Assembly of God church, Pastor Dan Gardner used a text from the Book of Malachi:
10 Have we not all one Father; Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?
11 Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob -even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty.
13 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. 14 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.
15 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.
16 'I hate divorce,' says the LORD God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the LORD Almighty. ?So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. (Malachi 2:10-16)
In the Biblical sense, marriage covenants can be viewed on three levels. First is the bond between individuals and God. Second is the covenant between Israel and God; after Jesus's crucifixion, the new covenant in His blood, joining all Christians in the church as children of God. Finally, in the marriage bond between husband and wife and between parents and children. These, obviously, are interrelated and can be seen as aspects of keeping faith with God.
All three levels of covenant require transformation of our lives and abandoning our old, immoral ways.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
Malachi focuses primarily upon Israel's repeated failures to live up to its side of the covenant with God and identifies, as a primary source of deviation, Israelites marrying foreign women and beginning to worship their foreign gods. But the encompassing focus is upon avoiding what today could be called the moral relativism of multi-culturalism propounded in our amoral and secular public educational system.
To maintain the integrity of our families and to pass along to our children the Word of God, husbands and wives must be true to each other and they must be true to God. A society built upon that foundation will survive and prosper as a testimony to the faith of God.
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 'Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
6 'Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:1-8)
For thousands of years the Jews worked to save their society and preserve their religion by avoiding marriage outside their faith. But, since the advent of secular rationalism in mid-18th century, increasing numbers of them have slowly drifted away from worshipping God and become secular, nominal Jews. Many Jewish leaders today fear that assimilation to secular culture will doom Judaism.
In the same way, Christians have drifted away from the Judeo-Christian morality upon which the United States was founded. We and Jews alike have worshipped foreign gods: money, power, sensual gratification, and our own intellects.
To preserve our society, at the most basic level, Christians must guide our children away from marriage to non-believers to avoid the ruination against which Malachi warned.
To preserve the United States from disintegration from within or destruction from without, we must return to having only one God, the God of our fathers. We must love our brothers and sisters in God's church on earth, and we must deal fairly and charitably with everyone else.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776
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