December 31, 2013
READ: Malachi 2:10-17
The men of Judah have defiled the LORD’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols (v.11).
In an online forum, one woman wrote: “I’m single, over 30 and under pressure from parents, friends and just about everyone around me to get married. Haven’t met the right guy, but still praying to. I’m really looking for ways to cope with this and would really appreciate sound advice.”
Would you advise her to consider nonbelievers in Jesus?
Someone said, “When you have a practical problem, start solving it by getting your theology right!” And that’s exactly what the prophet Malachi did when addressing the issue of marrying nonbelievers. By asking several rhetorical questions, Malachi drove home the point that since God is the Creator and the Redeemer of His people, we have an obligation to honour, love, fear, worship and obey Him (Malachi 2:10). And what did God call marrying a person who was not one of His own? Unwise? No, He said it was “detestable” (v.11).
Why? Because God wants His people to be holy—set apart for Him (Exodus 19:6). Being in a romantic relationship with a person who doesn’t love and obey God will inevitably compromise holiness (34:11-16).
But didn’t Paul make provisions for marriage to unbelievers in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16? No! When Paul instructed those who were married to unbelievers in Corinth, he wasn’t endorsing such a union. Rather, he was giving counsel to those who had become believers after marriage. Paul went on to say, “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord” (v.39).
While marrying a believer won’t guarantee a ‘happily ever after’ marriage, it’s God’s right way for selecting a Mr. or Mrs. Right. True holy matrimony will mirror the holy, loving relationship He has established with us. —Poh Fang Chia
Read Proverbs 3:5-6 for God’s assurance and direction in pursuing a romantic relationship.
What qualities do you look for in deciding whom to marry? What biblical characteristics can’t be compromised?