"Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god." — Malachi 2:11
God cares deeply about family. These verses begin a section of Malachi about how important family is to God.
A family needs a foundation of parents who agree on values and beliefs. In many ways everything we have read so far in Malachi has been leading to this discussion about family. If the community isn't upholding its faith foundation and the religious leaders aren't showing and teaching the importance of their faith, parents will be less likely to lay such a foundation in their family life.
That's what was happening in Malachi's day. With very little sincere trust and love for God in the community, young men were marrying women who didn't believe in the true God and worshiped other gods. What we believe and value has a way of coming out in our family life, even if we think it's unimportant at the time. Imagine the tension in a home where either parent suspects the other of subverting his or her foundational beliefs. The sanctuary noted in our verse is referring not just to the temple but also the safe haven of the home.
A safe home includes parents who model themselves after the God of love and faithfulness. The God of the Bible loves his children unconditionally and self-sacrificially. He wants families in which both parents learn how to love from his example.
Father, help us to model our love and faithfulness after yours. May we honor you as the foundation of our families, finding direction and refuge in you. In Jesus' name, Amen.