Malachi is the last book of the OT. The Word of the Lord via the prophets would be silent for the next 400 years until Christ. The events that led to the decay of Israel and its restoration are covered by Malachi.
1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
The LORD's Love for Israel
2 "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
3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert."
4 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.'"
5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, "Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!"
The Priests' Polluted Offerings
6 "A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honour? 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?'
7 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.
8 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 favour? says the LORD of hosts.
9 And now entreat the favour of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favour 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.
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.
Malachi 2:The LORD Rebukes the Priests
1 "And now, O priests, this command is for you.
2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honour 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.
3 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.
4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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,
9 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
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!
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 favour 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."
The Messenger of the LORD
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?"
Things to think about…
1.Malachi is writing to the returned exiles. They have been back in Jerusalem for about 100 years by this point. He is writing around 440-430BC. Around the time of Nehemiah's needed reforms. They have fallen back into old ways where there religion is outward, formal and even an annoying inconvenience for them. Israel is back in their land and Esau has been judged as prophesied by Obadiah. So Israel should be rejoicing in God's goodness. I also wonder at the amazing blessing that has been poured out upon Australia. Let's never forget the incredible freedoms and blessings that we have. Give thanks especially in this season as we can freely worship the Saviour. After the fire there is always rain – thankyou Lord for your abundance.
2.What does Malachi mean do you think when he says their own eyes shall see and they shall say "Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel", Mal 1:5? Hint – In all likelihood no wall was surrounding Jerusalem. God is the God beyond the border. He rules not only Israel, but the whole world. The Lord Jesus who would come is the One to whom every knew would bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.
3.Malachi is asking – where is the Lord's honour? They offered lame, blind and sick animals. The governor would be disgraced by such an insult, Mal 1:8. Should God accept such a blatant denial of His existence and blessing? In what ways do you think we do this very thing as modern Christians? How do we offer second best to the Lord?
4.We should all meditate on Mal 1:10-14. Why should the Lord bless us? Have we honoured Him with our whole heart, time, finances, devotion and gifts? Often these things are squandered on ourselves in servicing our own comforts, desires, wants and passions. As western Christians, we are likely not blameless in achieving the right ratio of devotion to God against the satisfaction of self.
5.Malachi writing in the mid 5th Century BC goes to the heart of the problem with these returned exiles by the example they were being given and what they were being taught. He rebukes the priests. God says he will make their children unclean by smearing faeces on their faces and offerings, Mal 2:3. Offal was to be taken outside the camp and burned. By the Lord saying He would do such a thing means that there would be perpetual uncleanness for the priests and people because the smearing comes from God. Sounds quite disgusting and graphic, but unfortunately where people are hardened in their ways, a forceful, direct word from the Lord is the only thing they will listen too. We heard from James last week that teachers will be more strictly judged. These priests from the line of Levi were to represent God and therefore were to guard their knowledge and words and not cause people to stumble Mal 2:6-8. The priests were setting themselves up for judgement again. Antiochus Epiphanes as described by Daniel would be raised up in judgement against them.
6.The priests would be the most despised and abased before the people because they chose to show partiality in what they would teach rather than give the full instruction and counsel of God, Mal 2:9. The priests had married foreign women (as Nehemiah at the same time also addresses – rather forcefully) which no Israelite was allowed to do. The priests were eventually despised and abased when the Greek Antiochus Ephiphanes offered pigs blood on the altar and murdered a number of priests.
7.The offerings were not being used as the means of blessing because the lifestyles of the priests were contemptible before the Lord. They were also unfaithful to their wives and were committing adultery, Mal 2:14. Divorce rates were also high vs 16. Sounds much like today. The church and Christianity in general is held in contempt when moral scandal and unfaithfulness cripples the church, especially among church leaders. Pray for the church in Australia. Pray for godly leadership. When this happens it is the start of revival.
8.God is wearied by Universalism that says everything and everyone, regardless of character is good in His eyes, Mal 2:17.This is nonsense of course. One day He will say – enough! May He have mercy on us before then
CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.
Sunday's sermon "The Power of the tongue" came from James 3.
1.What words have defined you in both a positive and negative way as you grew up as a child?
2.James says right through his book that these Christians needed to guard their mouths. He actually says it is impossible to praise God and curse your brother. Salt water and fresh cannot flow from the one spring. Discuss the passage. How does it speak to you?
3.Jay mentioned "the Slippery Slope" on Sunday from Ken Sande's book "The Peacemaker". We tend to be either Peace-Fakers, Peace-Breakers and Peace-Makers. Discuss the 'Slippery Slope". Jay mentioned that Christians tend to fall towards Peace-Faking. Why is this generally the case?
4.What is the remedy and appropriate communication within the church? Discuss Mt 5:21-24 and Mt 18:15, 16.
5.Pray for the church prayer points.
1.Continue to pray for Tad's brother Andrew in hospital. Andrew is very weak, he is remaining at Ipswich hospital for the moment.
2.Our Community events – once a month on a Sunday in place of the Axiom evening service at church. First one at Chapters on the 23rd Feb – around 4:30pm.
3.Please continue to pray CBC's Mallacoota bushfire appeal. More exciting news this Sunday about what the Lord has done with our money thus far. Praise God for "Cowboy" and how we have helped his situation.
4.Christine Denning's mum recovering from a broken femur. Pray as she rehabilitates.
5.Ministry planning and events calendar for this year.
6.Our outreach initiatives as well as the Axiom podcast.
7.Sunday's message on Mal 3 "Money's too tight to mention" - Ps Jay. Axiom:- "Let's talk about the weather"- Jay.
8.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.
9.Church finances to meet our expenses.
10.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.
1.Praise God for the rain (if you are on the east coast of Australia). The huge Gospers Mountain fire in NSW that was thought to be unable to be put out the Lord put out on Monday night with the rain.
2.More visitors on Sunday – pray as they settle into CBC. Please continue to welcome them and get to know them as you can.
3.New Website being finished this week – Praise God for Melody and Suzie making this happen.
4.Recharge and Kids@Church ministries blessed over the weekend – thankyou leaders. New kids and youth in both ministries.
5.CBC's Mallacoota appeal David Jeffrey of Mallacoota, over $2000 has been raised – thankyou CBC.
6.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.
1.Hawkins - Hosting, morning tea next Sunday morning.
2.1st Community gathering – At Chapters café Karalee 4:30pm Sun 23rd Feb.
3.Member's meeting – A celebration of God's grace over CBC – Sun 23rd February after morning service. Open invitation – all welcome.
4.Mallacoota Bushfire Appeal. You can donate directly through our "Give" tab on the website http://www.chuwarbaptist.com/give . Label your offering "Bushfire appeal"
5.Kids@Church and Recharge parents.– Leaders for next Sunday Older group Leader:- Rod Rawiru. Lesson :- Journey to Mars 3 Psalm 119:105. Younger Group Leader:- Maddison Willey, Assistant:- Helen Hawkins. Lesson:-Long Necked Giraffe P 20.
6.Recharge youth 7pm at Church, Fri 7th Feb for all High Schoolers. Pool party at Bakers – details will be sent to all parents this week. Meet at church 7pm and we will travel together so everyone knows where we are going and where to pick their kids up. Recharge parent on roster for this week: - Angelo
February's catechism question...
Question. 9. Question:- What do we pray for in the second petition?
Answer. "That the gospel may be preached in all of the world, and believed and obeyed by us and all men"
Bible Reference – Matt. 28:19-20; John 17:20-21; Acts 8:12; Acts 28:30-31; 2 Thess. 3:1.
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3