1356.) Malachi 1

Mala1 prophetMalachi 1   (ESV)

The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

Malachi makes no reference to his personal life or work, and he is not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament.  But his writings show him to have been a dedicated prophet, used effectively to warn people of sin and urge them to conduct their lives in a manner pleasing to God.  He speaks against intermarriage with foreign people, failure to pay tithes, and offering of blemished sacrifices.  Probably the most outstanding matter regarding him was that God granted him the privilege of bringing the illustrious line of writing prophets to a close.  He is the last.

–Leon J. Wood

The Lord‘s Love for Israel

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

God reminds his people that he loved Jacob but hated Esau.  This is not to be taken absolutely but relatively, i.e., God preferred, or chose Jacob.  Neither are Jacob and Esau to be understood exclusively as individuals but as nations, Israel and Edom.  God’s love, then, primarily has to do with election and covenant.  God formed a covenant relationship with the Israelites, so that they were the special objects of his love.  Nevertheless, Gentiles are not completely excluded.  The creator and father of all people is cognizant that there are those who fear him in every nation (see chapter 1, verses 11 and 14).

–from “Malachi” in Old Testament Survey, by William Sanford Lasor, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush

The Priests’ Polluted Offerings

The book is written in a question-and-answer format sometimes called a disputation style.  There are six disputes.  We have already read the first one, above: 

Yahweh:  I have loved you.

The people:  How have you loved us?

Yahweh:  By choosing Jacob (Israel) over Esau (Edom).

The second dispute starts here and continues into chapter 2:

Yahweh:  Why do you priests despise my name?

Priests:  How have we despised your name?

Yahweh:  By offering polluted sacrifices.

Priests:  How have we done that?

Yahweh:  By offering blemished, sick, or lame animals.

–from “Malachi” in Old Testament Survey, by William Sanford Lasor, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord‘s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

Mala1 sunrise

12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

_________________________

Music:

It is quite similar to what we have just read: Psalm 113:3 —  From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord‘s name is to be praised.

HERE  is a song for that!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
The prophet Malachi.    http://holy–bible.com/wp-content/uploads/The%20Prophet%20Malachi.jpg
Malachi 1:11.    https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8143/7558858696_468e6d07de_z.jpg
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