As the book of Malachi closes, God chastises his people one last time for reckless attempts at pseudo-obedience and reminds his people that he does hear his faithful ones. Ultimately, the day of the Lord will come, and consequences will exist, both for the faithless and for the faithful. The faithful will be lifted up by the Lord and the faithless will be cast down. Stay faithful by obediently serving the Lord from your heart.
Malachi teaches the Israelites that God wants their obedience. He doesn't want more or less than that...just simple, complete obedience. They were under a curse because they were withholding the whole tithe. They were stealing from God, holding on to what was not theirs. They possessed the tithe, but were not owners of it.
Are you holding on to what is rightfully God's?
Text: Malachi 2:17-3:5
Among the complaints God has against his people in Malachi is that of wearying him with their words. He is wearied because they claim false things for him. They claim false things for him because they are self-righteous. And in their self-righteousness, they can't wait for God to appear among them and give to everyone else what they deserve.
But God tells them in very clear terms that when he appears, it will be very sudden, and they do not want to be there when that happens. For when he appears, there is no escape. He will appear either as a purifier or as a judge. Thus, we will either be purified or judged. Which category will you find yourself in on the day of his appearing?
In Malachi 2:10-16, the prophet explains that God is not hearing the prayers of his people because of their sin, specifically because they married foreign women and divorced their wives. God hates divorce because it commits violence against one's spouse, treats them carelessly and outside of covenantal relationships, and breaks God's purpose for covenantal marriage--godly offspring.
In this sermon, I discuss a biblical view of marriage, referring also to Mark 10:1-12 and Ephesians 5:21-33.
The second topic God addresses in Malachi is the insincerity of the priests. After defending how he loved his own people, God now turned to them and asked, "But how do you love me?" In short, they didn't. The proof is their insincerity in breaking the law by offering blemished sacrifices. (Although the priests are targeted in this, it is also sinful on the part of the offerer.)
God is looking for pure priests (1 Peter 2:4-5) to teach and instruct others in his ways. Will you offer sincere sacrifices by faith to him on behalf of others?
The prophet Malachi preaches to people who are disillusioned, lazy, and even arrogant. They engage in outright disobedience, disregarding the law they claim to love. So God takes them to task. But before doing so, he reminds them that he loves them. In a display of their arrogance or laziness, the people ask, "How have you loved us?" God reminds them of his covenant, and his election of them. Similarly, God love to us is seen in his covenant with us, and in his election of us.
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