Friday, April 26, 2013

Malachi 1

[1] The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
·         Jewish tradition has it that Malachi was a member of the great synagogue that collected and preserved Scriptures. This was the kind of thing Ezra was doing, much like when he wrote Chronicles.
·         The prophetic message is a burden, it’s something that must be shared, off-loaded, it cannot be shouldered.
·         This book was written about 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah. It is the last prophetic book in the OT.

[2] I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?
·         The first thing they do is question God. If He tells them He loves them, they turn around and deny it. Prove it, in what way, show me.
·         That He allowed them to rebuild the city should be evident He loved them, but they became forgetful of the things that had transpired they would refuse Him.
·         There is an exchange between God and Israel in this book that is rarely present elsewhere. The question answer will go back and forth a total of seven times in this book.

Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
[3] And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
·         Paul takes this to mean that God hated Esau personally, and loved the man Jacob.
·         This is proved because God would not let the heritage of Esau prosper, He so did not like the man that He would wipe out his descendents.
·         A woman came up to Spurgeon and said ‘how can God hate Esau?’ ‘That is not my chief difficulty ma’am’ he replied, ‘I cannot understand how God could love Jacob.’ That is asking the question the right way up.
·         God does not hate for no reason, hate is a response to iniquity and sin, justice is the principle attribute of God. Jacob had done nothing to deserve God’s love but Esau had done everything to earn His wrath. Esau sold his birthright, if you will remember.
·         Jacob was loved by God, although Jacob was a scoundrel. He tried to cheat everyone he came into contact with, and was fearful, yet God abundantly blessed Him for His own purpose. This is because God has chosen Jacob, before the twins were even born or had done anything good or bad Gen 25:23.
·         Love hate here must also be referring more to the chosen/not chosen aspect of this situation.
·         The message is that they are loved because they have been chosen personally to receive God’s blessing and favor. They are descended from the Patriarchs, whom God loved. Difficulty and affliction should not be a cause for questioning God’s love.

[4] Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
·         In contrast to Israel is Edom, a people that God did not forgive for their idolatry. These are two bad names to be called ‘the people God will be eternally angry at” and “border of wickedness.”
·         God doesn’t change His mind in their suffering, because neither will they change their ways. Sinners in hell steadfastly refuse to accept correction.
·         The Edomites were destroyed completely in AD70 when the Roman army came against Jerusalem, although they were once upon a time enemies of Judah, and King Herod was from their tribe. Imagine that a king tried to kill your son, what would you think of him? Or of killing your chosen people, your beloved Christians? The Herods had a bad history with God in fact, also see Acts 12 and the story of Herod Agrippa.

[5] And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
·         They will see, and then understand that God will cause His name to be blessed, and to be great. This is a gracious invitation.

[6] A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name.
·         Apparently they were to understand God as both a master, and a Father, but principally as a Father. This is what Jesus came and claimed for Himself, since Israel was the shadow, and He was the fulfillment. Exodus 4:22 “Israel is my firstborn” Jer 31:20 “Is Ephriam my dear son?” Hosea 11:1 “out of Egypt I called my son”
·         The idea of a servantship is pervasive in the OT, and even in the new, the apostles title themselves as bondservants, or slaves of Christ.
·         The priests who were appointed to serve despised the Lord. They did not actively think evil thoughts against him necessarily, but they didn’t love him and honor him.

And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
·         We serve you in the temple, we offer you sacrifices, how can you say we despise you? This is the same thing you see today in the people who will not affirm key doctrines, they appeal that these things do not make them more holy or any less loving toward God, when all the while they are despising Him. We need eyes to see things how they really are.
·         Just because God has loved His people with an eternal love does not mean they will escape punishment for what they have done, nor escape being called to account.
·         Of all people, the priests should have known better.

[7] 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.
·         Table of the Lord refers to the offerings on the alter (see Ezekiel 41:22). The servants were to place the food on the table for God to have as a feast, when Christ comes He takes away the idea of them being servants, and changes it to them being sons, where they partake together with him.

[8] And if 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 pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
·         If you take a ragged and sick animal and offer it to someone, will they be happy with it? Will they want to eat it? Why would I, says the Lord.
·         Prohibition against this very thing was given in Deut 15:21, Lev 22:20-25. These were to be understood as people who were sinful were not to approach, for example Lev 21:17-21.
·         Nehemiah’s brother did not collect such for taxes, he would not have accepted it.

[9] And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
·         Treating God with contempt and then making appeals to Him or demands upon Him are is just mad. Will American boo God at political conventions and then demand His blessing be any different than this principle?

[10] Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
·         Here God wishes that they would just close the doors and lock them. He doesn’t take pleasure in the sacrifice of animals, but in mercy and justice. See the similar rebuke in Isaiah 1:11-15
·         Animal sacrifice was not pleasing to God, it was necessary. What they were doing was therefore doubly unpleasant to God. God is most pleased when the sacrifice means something, See David in 2 Sam 24:24, or Jesus on Mark 12:44
·         How many churches would God say this to today? I have no pleasure in you. Have someone shut the door so you don’t make it worse on yourself.

[11] For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
·         This is a promise embedded in the text, that God would bless and include them in His plan of salvation. This is seen in the book of Acts.
·         From the rising to the setting sun is a phrase that indicates the whole Earth is His. See also Psalm 50:1, 113:3.
·         I have remarked on this for awhile, that God does this for His name sake. This is why He will pardon us, Psalm 25:11, or lead us Psalm 31:3, save us Psalm 106:8, give us second chances Isaiah 48:9, or deliver us from oppression Ezek 36:2.
·         God is concerned not just about the Jews, and that’s why they, as a city on a hill, and a light to the nations, are not allowed to slander and blaspheme God.

[12] But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, ‘The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.’
·         This is not what they literally said with their words. They have instead said this with their actions. They believe they are too good for God, that He is less than worthy, that they don’t want a part of it. This is a big statement, but consider that atheists find the notion of God contemptible and reprehensible and it’s not so surprising.
·         By bringing lame and sick animals, they were treating God with the utmost contempt.

[13] Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.
·         They had at first intended to do better perhaps, but after awhile they were going through the motions of it because they had obligated themselves to doing so by signing that covenant, but were secretly desiring to quit the business altogether. God knew.
·         God does not accept certain offerings. This is first shown with Cain, who did not bring an acceptable offering to God. This is surprising to us in the modern era who think that God is gracious therefore He has to accept anything we bring Him. He doesn’t.

[14] But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, 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.
·         They would promise an unblemished male, and would sacrifice an imperfect female. They were bringing this of their own violation, which makes this even more inexplicable. See the same principle in Acts 5:1-5 where God stops tolerating it.
·         This was not treating God with the respect He deserves. The chapter opens and closes the same way, with the demand that the name of God be high and lifted up.

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