1359.) Malachi 4

July 17, 2014

Mala4 flowers sky

Malachi 4  (ESV)

The Great Day of the Lord

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.

Mala4 healing wings
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

–Charles Wesley, 1739

You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

The last few words of the Old Testament are a call back to the Law, because under the Old Covenant people related with God on the basis of Law. Thank God for the New Covenant — for the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.

It is significant that in these closing words of the Old Testament, God makes reference to both Moses and Elijah. They both met God at Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1; 1 Kings 19:8-18). They also both met Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5).

And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers,

Mala4 fathers children

. . . to their earthly fathers and, more importantly, to their Heavenly Father . . .

lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Clearly Malachi’s message says, “Unfinished.”  The rebuilding of the temple in the postexilic period did not usher in the kingdom of God. But Malachi heightened Jewish expectations by engendering a fear of judgment and a hope of healing.

Christians believe that fulfillment of these expectations comes in at least two stages:  the First Advent of Christ, providing salvation for all who believe in him; and the Second Advent, bringing the final judgment and ultimate salvation.  Malachi, like the other prophets, does not make this distinction.  Rather, he sees the near and the distant in a single view.  Further uncovering of God’s plan had to await the new revelation of God in Christ, as heralded and interpreted in the New Testament.

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

The End of the Book of Malachi
and
The End of the Old Testament

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Music:

HERE  is Robin Mark and “Days of Elijah.”

This song mentions Christ “shining like the sun,” as in Malachi 4:2 above. The song also says that we are the voice in the desert crying “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”  This is an obvious reference to John The Baptist, who is prophesied of in Malachi 4:5 — “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Malachi 4:2.    http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/yy331/tdhack99/christian_malachi_4_2_1.jpg
the sun of righteousness.    http://truebeautyministries.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/sun-of-righteousness-healing-in-his-wings-malachi-4-222.jpg
fathers and children.    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/fe/3d/ff/fe3dff58d6389281d8e7ed068b3a11f7.jpg
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1358.) Malachi 3

July 16, 2014

Mala3 change not

Malachi 3   (ESV)

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

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Music:

You are already hearing it in your head, aren’t you?!  HERE   is “But who may abide the day of His coming” from Part I of Handel’s Messiah.  And then,  HERE  is “And He Shall Purify.”  Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

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“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Robbing God

Now we come to the fifth dispute, about repentance and tithing:

Prophet:   Return to Yahweh.

People:   How?

Prophet:    You are robbing God.

People:   How?

Prophet:   By withholding tithes and offerings.

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

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.

Mala3 tithes-and-offerings

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Tithes and offerings are not the same.  “Tithes and offerings,” God says.  In writing to the converts in Corinth (2 Corinthians 9:6-11), Paul does not speak of tithes; he takes them for granted.  He speaks of offerings which are over and above tithes.

Love always finds ways to do more than give tithes.  It gives free-will offerings, something over and above what must be given.  That is the joy of love.  It is about such love, and the things such love does, that God says “his righteousness remains forever” (v. 9).  He calls our little love-gifts by that great name, and lay them up as treasures in heaven.

Are we faithful in our tithes?  Are we loving in our offerings?

You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Mala3 Proverbs
11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

The sixth and final dispute:

Yahweh:   You have spoken against me

People:   How?

Yahweh:   By saying it is vain to serve God.  He will punish the wicked and reward the faithful.

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

13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”

The Book of Remembrance

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

Verse 17 in the King James Version goes like this —

And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

I believe it was the first funeral I ever attended.  I was only a child, and it was another child who had died, drowned in the livestock watering tank outside the barn on a neighbor’s farm.  My father and another man sang a duet, a hymn based on an idea from this verse, that God comes to gather his jewels.

When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Refrain:

Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.   (Refrain)

Little children, little children,
Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.    (Refrain)

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Music:

Far be it from any of us to get into disputes with God or with those who speak his truth!  And may we not withhold from the Lord the tithes and offerings due to him!  Instead, let me submit fully to You.  HERE  is Robin Mark and “I Surrender All.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
I change not.    http://owprince.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/malachi-3_6-god-does-not-change.jpg
Tithes and Offerings.    http://mybethanyumc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/tithes-and-offerings_std_t.jpg
Proverbs 3:9.   http://sopfamily.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/offering.png

 


1357.) Malachi 2

July 15, 2014

Mala2 Faithfulness

Malachi 2   (ESV)

The Lord Rebukes the Priests

“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. 

God uses Levi as an example for the priests in the days of Malachi. Levi is shown to be an example of:

  • Reverence: He feared Me and was reverent before My name
  • Knowing God’s Word: The law of truth was in his mouth
  • Godly character: He walked with Me in peace and equity
  • Preserving and promoting God’s Word: Should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth

–David Guzik

My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

Judah Profaned the Covenant

Now comes the third dispute:

Prophet:  Yahweh will not accept your offerings.

People:   Why?

Prophet:   Because you have broken your marriage covenant with the wife of your youth.

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

10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

God’s command against mixed marriages in Israel had nothing to do with race, but with faith. There is even a foreign wife in the genealogy of Jesus:  Ruth was a Moabite who married a Jewish man named Boaz; but she forsook Moab’s gods for the Lord (Ruth 1:16).

–David Guzik

13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Mala2 divorce
The Messenger of the Lord

Here begins the fourth dispute:

Prophet:   You have wearied Yahweh.

People:   How?

Prophet?    By questioning his justice, thinking that evildoers will prosper.  God will punish the wicked.

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

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

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Music:

I freely confess that for me some days it is easier to be faithful than others.  And for those days when the world, the flesh, and the devil pull me away from wholly trusting Jesus, then I am so glad I can rely on him to be faithful to me.  2 Timothy 2:13 promises, If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.  HERE  is Selah singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
faithfulness.    http://larryslines.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Spirit-of-Faithfulness-10.00-.jpg
divorce.    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/98/c3/e4/98c3e46f052d4cf5e67915e39b268ef7.jpg

1356.) Malachi 1

July 14, 2014

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.

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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!

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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