Malachi 1:1 “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.”
I love this book,….it has one of my favorite verses in it.
It is written several hundred years after the captivity under Nebuchadnezzar………and over four hundred years before Christ (the fullness of times is come…Galatians 4:4)
God, according to His promise……has brought them back to the land, and told them to build Him a temple, and rebuild their lives.
Those of a willing heart, came back in joy….
…and though there was persecution, and problems….still the Lord has given them encouragement and instruction by His prophets.
And so, the people have built a temple, and returned to the sacrifices for sin, peace, and trespass…..and things are good….for a time…
….but…after a while…
….their greed, and love of money has led them into error and sin….again.
Not of idolatry….which was their sin before the captivity….but of impiety…..a lack of reverence to God.
In Malachi……in four short chapters, God declares His love to Israel….”I have loved you, saith the Lord.” (Malachi 1:2)…
……and shows their dishonor to that love……and to Him.
And how are they dishonoring Him?
Malachi 1:6 “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honor? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of host unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say, Where in have we despised Thy name?”
Concerning the sacrifices, God had laid down some very specific laws that they were to follow….
….and had given them priests to enforce these.
The priests were to sacrifice nothing that was blemished, torn, or too old….
…for each sacrifice showed forth the Great Sacrifice of Christ.
But after returning from captivity….building houses, and estates again….and the temple…
….their affection became consumed by making “more”…..more money, more cattle, more land.
And in the process, they began to bring “second-hand” sacrifices to God….
….thinking He would not mind….after all He is getting a sacrifice!
And at the heart of this dishonoring of His sacrifice…..were the priests.
They should have stood with God, and made the people aware of their sin….but instead, they encouraged it.
Malachi 1:7-8 “Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?
Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be please with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.”
God is very practical…..
….He tells these “worshippers”…….to take these animals to the governor…..
…find out what he thinks of your present?
He is mocking them,….for He knows no man would except a defective present….
…..yet they were bring these to Him.
(They bring the blind, for they have no “sight” or understanding in their sacrifice and worship….they are blindly giving for show.
They bring the lame and those ready to die…”sick”….because that is the state of their hearts toward God.
Malachi 1:14 “But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and vowels, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My name is dreadful among the heathen.”)
But that is not all…..the people had begun to put away their wives, and marry women of the land….
It wasn’t really divorce as we know it. The old wives were merely put into another house, and the husband would get a new wife.
The first wives were coming to the priests and weeping (looking toward the mercy seat)…..but the priests did nothing….
….but God heard.
Malachi 2:13-14 “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He regarded not the offering any more….
Yet ye say, Wherefore?
Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.”
And the third sin was with their tithes:
They were to give the first portion of their goods to God,….
……a sign that they were all His,….and that they thankfully received what He gave them.
Malachi 3:7-8 “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them.
Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.
But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings.”
These three things symbolize our everyday life in the world….things which should be sanctified to the Lord, as Christians…
….our spiritual life….worship and work….how we do, when we do, what we do.
….our family life….to our parents, our spouses, to our children.
….our financial life….giving God control of our finances…(Matthew 6:31-33)
Impractical, you say?
Frankly, there is nothing so impractical,…..as a Christian giving only part of his life to Christ.
When God is in control of our lives…in every way……we are blessed…if not with everything we want….with everything we need, for now.
Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts,
if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
The Lord has opened His heart to them…..then He speaks of opening the windows of heaven….if they will return to Him,….and honor His Word.
And then here is one of my favorite verses: I love this….our God is so Personal….He sees everything….He is Almighty…..yet…
….speaks as if He bends down to catch these words, spoken between believers!
Malachi 3:16 “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another:
And the Lord hearkened and heard it,
And a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.”
(In every age, God has His godly remnant….those that look to His honor, and trust on His word….
….even in the worst of times….there will be such a remnant in the Tribulation period)
I love this!
Those that feared Him…..reverence and love was what He spoke to them about…..
(Though the majority thought, “It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance….”Malachi 3:14
Those wrapped up in this world always thing of “profit and loss”…..but forget their souls…Matthew 16:26)
….yet, for those that loved the Lord,….they “spake often to one another”
…..comforting and encouraging each other in the Word of the Lord…..
And when they did…..He leaned down and “hearkened and heard it”.
And when God hears, He answers (1 John 5:14-15)….
Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall (under His special care and protection).”
God would remember….and write their names…..in His book of remembrance,….
…..for those that “thought upon His name”.
The word, “thought” here, means “valued”…those that valued His Name….and Him.
God loves to be longed for….He loves to be sought;
For He sought us Himself with such longing and love;
He died for desire of us….Marvelous thought;
And waits for us, to be with Him in heaven, above.
God leaves this book…..and the Old Testament…..
….with a finger pointing to the coming of His Son….and to the prophet (John the Baptist. Malachi 4:5-6)…
….that will be sent, to awaken those that look for Christ,….
…..to prepare themselves….to prepare their hearts….to prepare their families for….the “great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
Great for those who received Him…..dreadful for those who thought that they could in any way….”get rid of” the Son of God.
We, too, are waiting for Christ Jesus (the rapture)…..and it is time we prepare our hearts for His return.
Are we giving Him our best, our all, in all our everyday happenings?
In this world, of so many “things”…..what do we “value”?