Thursday, December 20, 2012

Malachi 1:1 - 2:9: Respond to God's Love and Honor Him

LINK: Malachi 1 & 2

Try reading the whole book of Malachi in one sitting. It took me 11 minutes to read 55 verses.

If you have not already done so, please read the "Introduction to the Prophetical Books." 

BACKGROUND

Book of Malachi

Most scholar agree that Malachi was written around 450-430 B.C. He was a contemporary of Nehemiah who returned to Jerusalem in 444 to face many problems that Malachi addressed in his oracle. Some of the problems included:

1) Intermarriage with Gentiles (2:10-11; Ezra 9:1-2; Nehemiah 13:1-2, 23-28)
2) Lack of support for the Levites (3:10; Nehemiah 13:10)
3) Oppression of the poor (3:5; Nehemiah 5:4-5)

Malachi's name means "My messenger." This is appropriate since the name "LORD Almighty" occurs 20 times. Of the 55 verses, 47 are spoken by God - the highest proportion of any of the prophets (85%).

He writes in a very different style from the other prophets. He introduced each of his six messages by a charge or command addressed to the people and five out of six of the times follows them with sarcastic questions introduced by "But you say (ask)" (1:2, 6-7, 13; 2:14, 17; 3:7-8, 12). Then, he offered proof that each charge was correct. He confronted the apathetic Israelites and applied the Mosaic Covenant to problems of neglect and outright disobedience. His message is similar to the other prophets: covenant blessings require covenant faithfulness!

Malachi 1:1 - 2:9

First Message - Respond to God's Love (1:2-5)

God loved Jacob and chose him to be the one through whom the nation of Israel and the Messiah would come. The people of Edom were descendants of Esau. See Genesis 25:19-26. God loves his people even when they ignore and disobey Him.

Second Message - Honor God (1:6-2:9)

The priests had dishonored God by offering their insufficient sacrifices (Leviticus 22). They were casual, lazy, impure, and disobedient by not following the Law. God's command was that they honor Him or they would be cast out of service in order to purify the line of Levi (Levites were God's ministers in the tabernacle and temple. See Numbers 1:47-54; 18:19,21.).

Also, Malachi prophesies about a time when Gentiles "from every place" (a better translation of 1:11) will worship God (Isaiah 11:3-4,9; Daniel 7:13-14, 27-28; Zephaniah 2:11; 3:8-11; Zechariah 14:9, 16) and His name will be great among the nations (another "bottom line" verse).

OUR RESPONSE

The Lord said through Jeremiah, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness" (Jeremiah 31:3). Do you believe that He really loves you?

Jesus said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (John 14:21). How have you loved God by your obedience today?

PRAYER

Lord, You have loved us with an everlasting love and drawn us with lovingkindness. We want to respond to Your love by loving and obeying You. Guide us. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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