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Final words are interesting. Mel Blanc has been called, "The Man of a 1000 Voices." If you are familiar with Looney Tunes, he was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and many other characters. Mel lived and died in Los Angeles, California. And written on his tombstone are the famous final words, "That's All Folks!"

The book of Malachi is made up of famous final words--the final words of God. They are His final words of the Old Testament. They are His final words to His people, the Israelites, for at least 400 years. So, listen for a moment to God's final words.

“...the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant...Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 'For I hate divorce,' says the Lord, the God of Israel..." (Malachi 2:10-16 NASV)

We all have a Father; He made us and He loves us. However, He doesn't always like us. Our behavior can be greatly displeasing to Him at times, especially when He sees His children mistreating one another. In Malachi, God has already corrected His people for being dishonoring and disrespectful towards Him. Now, He rebukes them for their mistreatment of one another--specifically, in the relationship of marriage.

Marriage is highly valued by God, and always has been. The Bible is bookended with marriages. (Gen. 2; Rev. 21) There is a marriage at the beginning; there is a marriage at the end, and God has been present at every marriage in-between (Mal. 2:14). God's intention for marriage is that it last for a lifetime. That one intention alone makes marriage a huge responsibility. To borrow a phrase from Eugene Peterson, marriage requires "long obedience in the same direction." Some marriages seem advantaged over others from the very beginning, simply because not every marriage begins the same way.

Some marriages begin after children are already in the picture. The couple reverses the order, and must learn to be parents before they learn to be partners. Learning to drive the bus of marriage with seats full of passengers can be a bumpy ride for everyone involved.

Some marriages begin with unrealistic expectations. One may believe they need a spouse to "fix" them, or to help them shoulder life's burdens. While marriage involves spouses helping one another, it is not primarily about finding a person to "fix" your broken life.

Some marriages begin with practiced deception. Do you remember the group, Acappella? Not wanting to sound obvious, but they are an a cappella group that began in the late 1980's. They had some great hits like: "Conquerers," "Rescue," and "We Have Seen His Glory." Dr. Dre is another artist from the late 80's. He is partially responsible for bringing the genre of Gangsta Rap to the musical scene. The two artists don't have much in common, except for this story I heard recently.

While a woman was cleaning out her garage, she ran across an old Acappella cassette case. Looking inside, she found her Dr. Dre cassette, just where she had left it many years ago. Apparently, when she was younger, she had a very clever way of disguising her real choice of music.

Your choice of music is important, but your choice of a spouse is paramount. People are clever, they have been known to disguise their true identity and reputation. Don't portray a reputation that is unreal, and never be duped by one who does. Avoid this deception by never rushing into a marriage. Instead, take your time to get to know the person you will marry--from case to cassette.

God values you. He values marriage. He wants you to value marriage, so that it will last a lifetime. And that is His final word.

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