Malachi 1:1 - 2:12

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Malachi 1

INTRODUCTION:

 

The book of Malachi is named after the prophet Malachi, which means my messenger. It is likely an abbreviated form for a name which means the messenger of the Lord.

 

The book of Malachi is attributed to the prophet Malachi; but apart from this book, nothing is known about him. It is estimated that Malachi delivered his messages around 450 B.C. or later. Some would allow a date as late as 400 B.C. He was a contemporary of Nehemiah.

 

Gleason Archer has written –

“The theme of Malachi is that sincerity toward God and a holy manner of life are absolutely essential in the Lord’s eyes if His favor is to be bestowed upon the crops and the nation’s economic welfare. Israel must live up to her high calling as a holy nation and wait for the coming of the Messiah, who by a ministry of healing as well as judgment will lead the nation to a realization of all her fondest hopes.”

We see –

I.   THE LORD’S COMPASSION FOR ISRAEL, 1:1-5

 

We note –

            A.  THE LORD’S COMPASSION DECLARED, 1:1-2A

 

Malachi 1:1 The burden [i.e. the oracle] of the word of the LORD to Israel by [i.e. through] Malachi.

 

Malachi 1:2 a – I have loved you [i.e. Israel], saith the LORD. . . .

 

(BKC) . . . His [i.e. the LORD’s] love for Israel antedated her existence; He loved her in that He sovereignly and graciously elected her to be His own possession. . . . Acknowledging God’s love for her, Israel should have responded by loving Him and obeying His commands (Deut. 6:4-9)].

 

Deuteronomy 6:4-94 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

 

We also note –

            B.  THE LORD’S COMPASSION DOUBTED, 1:2B

 

Malachi 1:2 b – . . . . Yet [i.e. but] ye [i.e. you Israelites] say, Wherein [i.e. how, in what way] hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,

 

(BKC) By questioning God’s claim, Israel was betraying a distrust of God, a lack of faith in His word – not only a lack of trust in Malachi’s statement in 1:2a [i.e. I have loved you, saith the LORD] but also a distrust of God’s faithfulness to His covenant. Israel’s failure to believe God’s Word caused her to fail to love Him and also caused her to be hostile toward Him.

 

1:2 – (RSB) I loved Jacob . . . I hated Esau. Since the love is an elected love, the hate is the opposite; i.e., rejection from a chosen position (cf. Gen. 25:23; Rom. 9:10-13).

 

Genesis 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels [i.e. from your womb]; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

 

Romans 9:10-1310 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

 

(BKC) . . . (God’s) love (was) expressed in His free choice, His election of Jacob and his descendants (including this generation which had questioned Him) to inherit the promise. This was contrary to the normal practice of choosing the oldest son. Esau, also named Edom and the father of the Edomite’s . . ., was the firstborn of the twins. Yet even before birth God freely elected Jacob, later named Israel, as the heir. . . . The Hebrew words for loved and hated refer not to God’s emotions but to His choice of one over the other for a covenant relationship. . . . To hate someone meant to reject him and to disavow any loving association with him. . . . Nor do these words by themselves indicate the eternal destinations of Jacob and Esau. The verbs refer to God’s acts in history toward both of the two nations which descended from the two brothers.

 

Next, we note –

            C.  THE LORD’S COMPASSION DEMONSTRATED, 1:3-5

 

Malachi 1:3 And I hated Esau [i.e. I have hated Esau], and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons [i.e. for the jackals] of the wilderness.

 

1:3 – (RSB) his mountains. The land of Edom, for the Edomites were descendants of Esau. . . . Nebuchadnezzar invaded Edom in 586 B.C. . . (Jer. 25:9, 21), and later (550-400) the Nabataeans drove the Edomites from their territory.

 

Jeremiah 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

 

Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will also bring them against –

Jeremiah 25:20-2120 And all the mingled people [i.e. the foreign people, the mixed multitude], and all the kings of the land of Uz [i.e. its location is unclear], and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah [i.e. Gaza], and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, 21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon.

 

Malachi 1:4 Whereas [i.e. if, though, even though] Edom saith, We are impoverished [i.e. we have been beaten down (or crushed)], but we will return and build the desolate places [i.e. the ruins]; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down [i.e. tear down (or demolish)]; and they [i.e. men] shall call them, The border of wickedness [i.e. the territory of wickedness, the wicked territory], and [i.e. men will also call them], The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever [i.e. the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever].

 

(RSB) Regarding the wickedness of Edom, read Gen. 26:34; 27:41; Obad. 10-14.

 

Genesis 26:34-3534 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: 35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

 

Genesis 27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

 

Obadiah 10-1410 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. 11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

 

Malachi 1:5 And your [i.e. Edom’s] eyes shall see, and ye [i.e. the Edomites] shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border [i.e. even beyond (i.e. even outside) the border] of Israel.

We also see –

II. THE LORD’S COMPLAINT AGAINST ISRAEL, 1:6 - 3:15

 

We note –

            A.  CHEATING, 1:6-14

 

1:6-8 – (RSB) polluted bread. i.e., food, including meat. They offered defective animals (strictly forbidden by the law, Lev. 22:20-25 and Deut. 15:21), an act insulting even to an earthly governor, and much more so to the heavenly Ruler.

 

Leviticus 22:19-2519 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves [i.e. of the cattle], of the sheep, or of the goats. 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. 21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves [i.e. cattle] or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. 22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen [i.e. a sore, an ulcer], or scurvy [i.e. eczema], or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD. 23 Either a bullock [i.e. bull or ox] or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. 24 Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land [i.e. you shall not offer to the LORD, or sacrifice in your land]. 25 Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.

 

Deuteronomy 15:21 And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.

 

Malachi 1:6 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 [i.e. My respect, My reverence]? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name [i.e. says the LORD to you priests who show contempt for My name]. And ye [i.e. you priests] say, Wherein have we despised thy name [i.e. How have we shown contempt for Your name]?

 

(BKC) Fear of God does not mean being terrified of Him; it means a proper respect and reverence for Him, a reverence that leads to worship and obedience.

 

Malachi 1:7 Ye [i.e. you priests] offer polluted bread [i.e. defiled bread] upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we [i.e. we priests] polluted thee [i.e. How (or in what way) have we defiled You]? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible [i.e. it deserves no respect, it is to be despised, it is despicable].

 

1:7 – (RSB) The table of the LORD. The altar of burnt offering, from which “table” the priests were provided with their portions of the offerings (also v. 12).

 

(BKC) They were treating it with contempt by disregarding God’s requirements concerning the kinds of sacrifices that should be placed on it. This made them guilty, deserving of death. . . . Also their contempt was deepened as they ate some of those unacceptable sacrifices (the priests received their food from the offerings . . . ).

 

Malachi 1:8 And if ye [i.e. if you priests] 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 [i.e. would he accept you favorably]? saith the LORD of hosts.

 

Malachi 1:9 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means [i.e. while this is being done by your hands, with offerings such as these]: will he regard your persons [i.e. will He accept you favorably]? saith the LORD of hosts.

 

Malachi 1:10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought [i.e. Who is there among you priests who would shut the doors so that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain – the thought is that all the priests continue to offer sacrifices which are unacceptable to the LORD. None of them will put a stop to this practice]. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.

 

1:10 – (RSB) . . . God prefers no worship to contemptible worship.

 

Malachi 1:11 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 [i.e. among the nations], saith the LORD of hosts.

 

There is coming a day when the Gentiles from around the world will worship the LORD. It is somewhat true today and will be universally true in the millennium.

 

Malachi 1:12 But ye [i.e. you Jewish priests] have profaned it [i.e. have profaned My name], in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted [i.e. defiled]; and the fruit thereof, even his meat [i.e. even its fruit and its food], is contemptible.

 

(BKC) Their attitude was one of contempt. Apparently the priests recognized that these sacrificial practices were irregular, for they said that the Lord’s table . . . is defiled and that its food . . . is contemptible. But they did not care to take the trouble to set things straight.

 

Malachi 1:13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it [i.e. how tiresome it is – (BKC) Being involved in offering the sacrifices was just a burden.]! and ye have snuffed at it [i.e. you sneer at it, you belittle 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.

 

(BKC) Such a response was a form of contempt (cf. James 4:17 ).

 

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

 

Malachi 1:14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing [i.e. what is blemished]: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful [i.e. to be feared] among the heathen [i.e. among the nations].

 

1:14 – (RSB) A vow was voluntary, but, if made, it had to be fulfilled.

 

(RSB) a corrupt thing. Lit., a blemished female animal, in place of the more valuable male animal vowed to be offered. To substitute animals was to cheat the great King.

Scriptures
Series

This sermon is the 1st part of the series, Study of Malachi. Other sermons in this series are: