Friday, April 26, 2013

Malachi 2


[1] And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.

·         In many ways this letter was for the priests, they are rebuked the whole chapter long for having an unacceptable priesthood, which showed the need for a true and faithful priest.
·         The command stems from the covenant they had taken, they had placed themselves under Gods rule, therefore they must fulfill His requirements.

[2] If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.

·         The blessings and cursing that came upon the covenant takers came from either their obedience or disobedience. Most notably this is seen in Deut 27:15-26, 28:15-68, with the removal of the blessings because they were never able to keep the law and merit them.
·         The idea is that they were refusing to listen. They would not be persuaded. No matter how many times God tried to get through to them they were not concerned. This is the plight of the non-believer, they will not be persuaded, they will not listen, no matter how many times they are told.
·         Jesus uses the same language to talk about His salvation, “He who believes has eternal life… he who does not believe stands condemned already.”

[3] Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.

·         The dung was taken outside and burned, see Exodus 29:14. The message here was that God was going to associate them with dung, and someone would come and take them away and burn them. This is a lot like what hell is.
·         The solemn feast was no better than this to God, it was disgusting and should only be disposed of. This is what God was saying last chapter, that someone should shut the doors and do away with this.

[4] And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.

·         By being disobedient these priests were kicking themselves out of the bounds of the covenant. God was going to remove them and cause them to be destroyed so that the real covenant with Levi may continue. This is a little like Adam knowing good and evil after he became evil.
·         Levi here stands for Israel at Sinai, Deut 33:8-11. Num 3:44-48; 18:8-11

[5] My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.

·         God gave the covenant at Sinai so that the people would fear Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom Proverbs 9:10. The law was added because of transgressions, because sin abounded, Gal 3:19.
·         The covenant was of life and peace. It promised that if they did these things, they would live by them. Lev 18:5, Deut 8:1, Luke 10:28.
·         Ultimately the law pointed to Christ who was the fulfillment of the promise, who kept the law, and showed Himself to be God’s very Son.

[6] The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

·         This can’t really be Levi, because God made the covenant with his descendents, he gave the promise of scattering to the man himself.
·         This can’t fully be Aaron, although he obeyed, he wasn’t perfect.
·         Ultimately the fulfillment is in Christ who is the fulfillment of the shadow given to Aaron. He is the one who was perfect, who walked in peace, who turned men from iniquity.

[7] For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

·         The priest is the messenger of God’s law and truth, it falls on them to faithfully relay what God would want done.

[8] But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.

·         This is the same thing Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes.

[9] Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

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[10] Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

·         The idea of a fatherhood encompasses the idea of God as a creator, but greater. More intimate, more personal.
·         If God is their creator and they have Abraham together, then they should do the works of Abraham, and believe God. Jesus rebuked them for this very thing: “We are children of Abraham.” If you were his children you would do his works, instead you are trying to kill Me, something Abraham never did.”
·         The idea is that they were divorcing their wives and marrying foreign women, which was a treachery against their wives and against God.

[11] Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.

·         God loves the institution of marriage, and it’s His institution. He presided over the marriage of Adam and Eve, desiring to create them together. The institution models His Son and the church.
·         The idea of marital fidelity is deeply connected to right doctrine. The false teachers are the ones who have abandoned the correct doctrines, and have given themselves over to slavish desires Eph 2:3, 2 Peter 2:18; Gal 5:19; Rev 2:14(!), as well as the people who worshipped the golden calf and were killed 1 Cor 10:8, to name a few cases.
·         Unfaithful Judah was turning her back on God, and this was seen particularly in Ezra where Ezra calls them to repentence and to turn back from foreign women and their ways.
·         Daughter of a strange God comes from the idea that whomever worshipped the God was his child, see also Jer 2:27

[12] The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.

·         The person who commits adultery was to be killed. God would carry out this sentence upon them, which was just.
·         The Hebrew is difficult to translate, the KJV has ‘master and scholar’ the NKJV has ‘awake and aware’ some versions have ‘nomad and settler.’ The idea seems to be a proverb of two kinds of people, one who is keeping watch, the other who is standing by supporting it, or being helped by it. The nomads would put a guard in front of their tent ‘the awake’ so that the ones who settled inside would be ‘aware’ as well. I dislike the NIV and particularly the ESV for calling it out as ‘everyone.’

[13] And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.

·         The notion of holiness is strong in the OT. God must not be approached as one who is sinful. In the NT what God wanted was that the person would acknowledge sin, and come anyway, what He did not tolerate was someone who did not acknowledge sin and came, like the Pharisees and their hypocrite friends.
·         Repentance is necessary because it magnifies the work of God, and lifts Him up. It makes Him so much more glorious, and God is all about His glory.
·         They made their now divorced wives and children bitter and sorrowful with tears, crying out to God who hears them.

[14] 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.

·         Wives were married young, right about the childbearing years of 16. God put the people together to have love and companionship and instead they had betrayed their spouse, and their covenant.
·         This theme is expressed through this chapter. God had ordained the women in their lives to keep them faithful, being from the tribe of Levi, and they had turned their backs on them. Wives help make men who they are.

[15] And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

·         God Himself draws people together and makes them of one flesh. Consider how your children are a blending of the two of you.
·         This verse is sorely neglected in both the world and church. Divorce destroys children, polygamy destroys children, marriage to an unfaithful spouse cannot give godly offspring, and homosexual marriage cannot give children. It’s only by God’s plan for families that He can have godly offspring.

[16] For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

·         God hates divorce. He had permitted it because some things were even worse, but He never endorsed it. The only given grounds are sexual unfaithfulness (Matt 19:1-9) and if an unbelieving spouse leaves (1 Cor 7:10-16)
·         Divorce is like shooting someone and getting their blood all over your clothes, it’s wreckage is evident and lasting.
·         Covering your wife with a garment was part of the marriage process. By uncovering his feet Ruth was asking this of Boaz Ruth 3:7, and asking for him to cover her with his garment, Ruth 3:9. Here God points out that this is harming your own self as well.

[17] Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

·         “God doesn’t care about us, He has abandoned us. The wicked prosper and He does nothing because that’s the kind of God He is.”
·         Where is the God of judgment? We want justice, we want judgment! They don’t realize what they are asking for.
·         This is wearisome to God and He does not like to tolerate it.

It’s easy in this chapter to miss the forest for the trees. In this chapter God is calling out the faithlessness of the priests, and warning them that unless they repent He will destroy them and their entire system, because He wanted them to have ‘godly offspring’ that is, to properly teach the people His truth. Jesus came and did away with all of these earthly shadowed, and removed their evil from the nation, just as He forewarned here.

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