Malachi- With Words of preparation
Previously from My Messenger
Previously from My Messenger
The returned remnant has some recurring problems the prophet is promptly addressing
Previously Malachi, whose name means “My Messenger” had some strong messages for the people. A contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah (about 444B.C.) He had
Identified and attacked the spiritual and moral decay of the people.
Identified one of the main reasons, the leadership (the Priests)
Malachi was a different style of prophet who spoke in didactic-dialectic style
Make the charge, raise potential objections and refute them even before they could be asked.
Points previously made
They were doubting God’s love (Mal1:1-5)
They were dishonoring God’s name (Mal1:6-2:9)
By offering blemished sacrifices
And by half-hearted worship
They were profaning God’s covenant (Mal2:10-16)
By divorcing their Jewish wives
By marrying heathen women.
(Transition) So, after giving three proofs of moral decay, today we will see three more, as well as promises concerning the coming Messiah.
So, here is how we will approach it this morning.
People were trying God’s patience (Mal2:17-3:5)
People were forsaking God’s ordinances (Mal3:6-12)
People were despising God’s service (Mal3:13-4:6)
Trying God’s patience
Trying God’s patience
People who argue with God rarely receive all the blessings God has for them. They had argued about His love, Worship and Women (marriage) and now we get to arguments about God’s justice.
Trying God’s patience by questioning God’s justice (Mal2:17)
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
What are the two questions Malachi raises as if from the people (v.17)?
How have we wearied Him?
Words, words and more words, they are arguing with the Lord
They are calling evil good and good pleases God. Or is it saying.
Where is the God of justice?
Why is not God judging and executing judgment on others and blessing us?
Why are You not blessing us God, look at all we have done, returned, rebuilt, reestablished yet we are being mocked and attacked, where is your justice? We want your blessings.
God’s response will be, send His Messenger (Mal3:1-5)
1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear 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.
God’s messenger, forerunner, John the Baptist (Isa40:3; Mt3:1-3, 11:7-10)
3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
Clearing the way came via the Pax Romana by the Roman’s the one in the wilderness is John the Baptist.
1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!’ ”
In Mt11:7-10 was when Jesus spoke to the crowds on why did they go to the wilderness to see John, and look here at (v.10)
10 “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.’
God’s messenger, the messenger of the covenant (Mt26:26-28; Mt3;11-12)
Covenant of the Lord’s supper
26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
He will come to cleanse the temple too (see Mt21:12ff) - He will be the one who will purge, cleanse His people
2 “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. 3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.
The day He will be like what according to (v.2)?
A refiners fire, a fullers’ soap
What is the purpose of this purging, look at (v.3)?
To refine them, to purify them, so they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness
4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.
They had questioned the Lord’s justice and when you look at (v.5) it is coming on those who do not believe, those who oppress.
11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
That is what John had to say about the coming judgment from the coming Messiah, the Messenger.
(Transition) so, from questioning God’s justice the next complaint is they were forsaking God’s ordinances.
Forsaking God’s ordinances
Forsaking God’s ordinances
It is heartbreaking, God heartbreaking when we forsake God’s holy ordinances or when we allow them to loose priority in our lives. God through the prophet brings another complaint.
Inconsistency, have you ever started off strong in something and been very committed, then over time things have become, less consistent? God bring a charge, a complaint against Israel for their inconsistency..
God charges them with inconsistency (Mal3:6-7)
6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 “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?’
What is the charge against the people (v.7)
They have turned aside,
God calls for them to return to Him, but they do not see the need, so they ask how are they to return?
God uses their example of tithes against them (Mal3:8-9)
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!
What is the charge against the people (v.8)?
They are not bringing their tithe, offering their tithe
For this reason the whole nation is cursed (v.9)
10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts.
A solution is offered, bring the whole tithe, and if they do what will the results be (v.10)?
12 “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.
God wants to open the floodgates of heaven for them, always has, it is not about the offering it is about the obedience and the trust, faith in Him.
(Transition) this leads us to our next point this morning
They were despising God’s service
They were despising God’s service
Why serve God? That was the question that Malachi foresaw from the people. Their life, their actions reflected their own vanity. So, he has some words from the Lord for them.
Harsh words, useless words, arrogant words (Mal3:13-15)
Words matter as do actions, let’s look and see what is said here.
13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the Lord of hosts?
What is the accusation against the people (v.13-14)?
Your words have been harsh against Me (God)
It is useless to serve Him, what profit is it to us to be obedient?
Stop: Think about this, what kind of mentality do they have here, is it a consumer mentality? What do we/I get from this, or a giver mentality? And isn’t that the problem that is being addressed really? They were robbing God by their tithes
15 ‘So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’ ”
What benefit is it to us if we serve God when we see those who do evil or don’t follow God are blessed, or not judged.
May we not forget that God is just and God does judge, but also God is patient, and longsuffering that people may repent and turn to Him. The Words from Malachi were to remind them what happen and to help prevent judgment against them again, for them to repent and return now!
Some did believe, repent and heed Malachi’s message (Mal3:16-4:6)
This is a little longer section so will make some stops along the way
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.
Who did the Lord give attention too (v.16)?
Those who feared the Lord, those who esteem His name
17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
Who will be His possession (vv.17-18)?
The one who serves God, you can tie this back to (v.16) the one who fears and esteems the Lord will be spared judgment (v.17)
1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”
What is the judgment that was going to come against the arrogant and evildoer (v.1)?
They were going to be burned up like in a furnace, for they will be like chaff set ablaze and nothing will be left, neither root nor branch.
2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. 3 “You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.
What will be the results for those who fear the Lord (vv.2-3)?
Will rise with healing, tread down the wicked!
An exhortation to the faithful (Mal4:4)
4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
What is the exhortation, the command given (v.4)?
Remember the law! Keep the law!
Wait, there is more coming (Mal4:5-6)
5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
What was the Elijah that was to come going to do (v.6)?
Restore hearts of the father
Restore hearts of the children
What was the reason for the the restoration (v.6)?
So God did not come and smite the land (meaning the people).
Can you draw an assumption on who the Elijah was (Consider Mt11:14, 17:10-13)?
14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.
Jesus own words tell us who the Elijah to come was, let this further be evidenced by another passage
10 And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things;
12 but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
Any questions on who it is? Take it up with the author. Many want to speculate that the Elijah is yet to come before the return of Christ. Scripture, Jesus very words tell us he came!
To those in Malachi’s day it was a warning, to repent and also of hope for John was the forerunner to the Christ who was to come.
God has always called for people to examine themselves. They were guilty then, and we too could be guilty today.
Guilty of doubting God’s love
Guilty of dishonoring God’s name
Guilty of profaning God’s covenants
Guilty of trying God’s patience
Guilty of forsaking God’s ordinances
Guilty of despising God’s service
Now, giving credit where credit it do, much of the material today is taken from several sources to put this together, the biggest one is from commentary by Warren Wiersbe entitled “Be amazed”
May we be a people of the book, of the word who are always willing to examine self and make adjustments under the guidance of the Word and the power of the Spirit so not to repeat the same errors that Israel and Judah did as we have seen in the survey of the Minor Prophets we have seen.