verses for this week: Isa
59:1 Behold, the LORD'S
hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy,
that it cannot hear:
We begin a new study on the book of Malachi this week.
Malachi is one of the prophets referred to as a minor
doesn’t mean that he was not as important as Ezekiel or Daniel, it
just means the amount of words recorded in his book was less than
some of the greater known prophets.
The name “Malachi” means “my messenger”.
The prophet Malachi, who is unknown to us apart from the
superscription to his book, was the last of the Old Testament
prophets and the author of this prophecy.
It is believed the book was written in approximately 435 BC.
Although the book is not dated by a reference to a ruler or a
specific event, internal evidence, as well as its position in the
canon (following Haggai and Zechariah), favors a postexilic date.
A considerable amount of time apparently had elapsed since
the rebuilding of the temple.
Consequently, the excitement and the enthusiasm for which the
prophets Haggai and Zechariah were the catalysts had waned. Moral
deterioration and religious lethargy characterized Malachi’s day.
There were problems of intermarriage with foreigners (2:11; cf. Ezra
9; 10; Neh. 13:23–27), failure to bring tithes (3:8–10; cf. Neh.
13:10–14), and economic oppression.
The Prophet Malachi
1:1 The burden of the
word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
Malachi is identified as the one who wrote this book, and as
mentioned earlier, his name means “messenger.”
The word of the Lord was delivered by the prophet Malachi to
the people. It is
in important to understand the condition of Israel during this time. Some of the poor Jews had gone back to rebuild Jerusalem and
the temple after the Babylon captivity.
They were looking for the words of the prophets to be
Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake
the heavens and the earth;
And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will
destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will
overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses
and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his
Zerubbabel had been appointed governor soon after they
arrived in the land, but apparently he had no successor in the royal
line, for in the period of Malachi the Persians had appointed their
The Jews had been compelled to pay their taxes to the Persian
Empire regularly, and in order to do that, may of them as reported
in Nehemiah had to mortgage their property.
Their social condition was displeasing in the sight of God.
Most of the Jews that returned were poor, and in order that
they might become rich and influential, they married into the rich
families of the other nations in order to get rich wives.
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of
Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
Because of this defeat the people began to doubt the very
existence of the love of God, and to have little or no reverence for
the honor and holiness of God.
The priest treated all their ceremonial and ritual with
contempt. As a result
of all this they sacrificed only the poorest gifts they could find;
they picked out the lame and blind animals for their sacrifices.
They offered the poorest of their bread upon the altar and
treated God as if he were not worthy of their worship.
The Love of God for Israel
1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast
thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I
God declares that He loved Israel. Yet because they were not increased in wealth and
prosperity, they doubted God’s love for them.
We know God did not choose this nation because they were
great in number and prosperous, but just because He loved them.
Deu 7:7 The LORD
did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more
in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
7:8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the
oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you
out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of
bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
In verse 2, they question God and say “Wherein hast thou
loved us?” When
things don’t go our way, sometimes we doubt God’s love.
But we should not.
He cares for us more than we know.
If he takes care of the birds, how much greater are we than
God calls their attention to the nation of Esau and His
dealings with them to prove that He had loved the nation of Jacob.
(Edom and Israel.)
1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage
waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
1:4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return
and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They
shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The
border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath
indignation for ever.
In verse 4, Edom, after he was crushed, said “We will
return and build the desolate places.”
Not God said that he would throw them down.
When God is against you, you can be sure you will not be
1:5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be
magnified from the border of Israel.
Malachi records the words of the Lord in verse five, where he
says “The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.”
The Sins of the Priest
1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then
I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is
my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise
my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
statement “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master”
is based on the firth commandment which says “Honour they father
and they mother.” They
claimed God as their father but they did not honor him.
We need to remember that you and I are priests of God today,
and as we study this, keep this in mind.
Pet 2:9 But ye are a
chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called
you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Pet 2:10 Which in time
past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not
obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
the New Testament, one of the most strict sects was the Pharisees.
But the Lord condemned them for honoring him with their lips
but not their hearts.
15:8 This people
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their
lips; but their heart is far from me.
15:9 But in vain they
do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
brought judgment upon Israel because they did not honor him from
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near
me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have
removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught
by the precept of men:
is not a hard condition to get into.
We all must fight the tendency to be speakers of good words
but not doers. God
knows the heart, and we can’t fool him.
We might fool others or even make ourselves believe we are
ok, but unless we are, God knows.
These claimed God as master, but they did not fear Him.
Man’s duty is to fear the Lord.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and
keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Vernon McGee had this to say about verse 6.
son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a
father, where is mine honor?” Now God was never Father to an individual Israelite. Even of both Moses and David, the best that
was said was that they were servants of Jehovah—each was a servant
of Jehovah. But God called the whole nation His son. He reminds them
that He has this relationship with the nation.
“And if I be a master [that is, your Lord], where
is my fear? saith the Lord
of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say,
Wherein have we despised thy name?” They are greatly offended that
God would say this about them. They say, “My, we’re such nice,
wonderful religious people. We go to the temple, we go through the
rituals, we are very faithful, and we are really the pillars of the
whole nation of Israel. And then You dare ask us about despising
Your name? How in the world are we despising Your name?”
Of course, you’ve got to go way back into “uncivilized”
times to find children honoring their parents. The modern way and
the civilized way is not to honor your parents. But back in that day
they did, and so God uses that as the illustration: “A son will
honor his father, and a servant his master, but you don’t honor
Me.” This is something that should have gotten to them, but it
didn’t get to them because they had a hard shell about them. They
were a very arrogant and haughty and self-sufficient people. You
couldn’t tell them anything. I am of the opinion that that is a
picture not only of youth today but of all people. We accuse young
people of not listening, but the older folk are not listening
either—they certainly are not listening to God at all. God said to
Israel, “You despise My name.” And they act hurt; they act as if
they really don’t know what He is talking about. Very frankly, had
you been in Jerusalem in that day, you would have seen the crowds
flocking into the temple. They were bringing their sacrifices. They
were going through the ritual. They gave an outward show of being
very religious. Their pious performance was very impressive. I am
sure that most of us would have said, “This certainly is an alive
group, and they’re certainly worshiping God.” To tell the truth,
they were very far from God. Down underneath they actually despised
His name. 
1:7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein
have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is
This is what they had done… they had offered polluted bread
upon God’s altar. That
proved that they despised His Name, His Majesty, and the Holiness of
God. They were so
blind to their sins that they ask God
“wherein have we polluted thee?”
They were so cold and indifferent that they could not even
see the reality of their situation.
In so doing, they proclaimed the table of the Lord was
Matthew Henry said this about the priests.
They not only made no account of sacred things, but they made
an ill use of them, and perverted them to the service of the worst
and vilest purposes—their own pride, covetousness, and luxury.
There cannot be a greater provocation to God than the profanation of
his name; for it is holy and reverend. His purity cannot be polluted
by us, for he is unspotted, but his name may be profaned; and
nothing profanes it more than the misconduct of priests, whose
business it is to do honour to it. To this they plead Not guilty, and challenge God to prove it
upon them, and to make good the charge, which added daring impudence
to their daring impiety: You say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
(v. 6), and wherein have we polluted thee? v. 7. It is common with
proud sinners, when they are reproved, to stand thus upon their own
justification. These priests had most horridly profaned sacred
things, and yet, like the adulterous woman, they said that they had
done no wickedness; they were so inobservant of themselves that they
remembered not or reflected not upon their own acts, or they were so
ignorant of the divine law that they thought there was no harm in
them, and that what they did could not be construed into despising
God’s name. They
either laugh at the reproof, as those that despise it, and harden
their hearts against it, or they laugh it off, as those that resolve
they will not be touched by it, or will not seem to be so. Which way
soever we take it, their defence was their offence, and, in
justifying themselves, their own tongues condemned them, and their
saying, Wherein have we despised thy name? proved them proud and
perverse. Had they asked this question with a humble desire to be
told more particularly wherein they had offended, it would have been
an evidence of their repentance, and would have given hopes of their
reformation; but to ask it thus in disdain and defiance of the word
of God argues their hearts fully set in them to do evil. Note,
Sinners ruin themselves by studying to baffle their own convictions;
but they will find it hard to kick against the pricks.
1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and
if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy
governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith
the LORD of hosts.
God makes it clear that they had made his table contemptible.
They offered the animals that were blind or lame...
Those that were sick and thought this was pleasing to the
Lord. Sometimes, we offer God our last things too… whether
it be our time, our money, our thoughts... and we think it makes no
difference. God does
not want our leftovers and the worst we can bring, but the very
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring
unto the house of the LORD thy God.
Malachi points out that if you brought the worst of your herd
to the governor to pay your taxes, see if he would be pleased.
If a man would not, how could they possibly think God would
God Would Not Accept their Offering due to their Sins
1:9 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious
unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons?
saith the LORD of hosts.
1:10 Who is there even
among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle
fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the
LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
The priest would not so much as shut the doors of the temple
unless they were paid. They
would not kindle the fire anymore unless they saw gain in it for
themselves. When it
comes to the point that we come to worship the Lord only when we are
benefiting or receiving gifts or wages, something is sincerely wrong
with our hearts. God
help us to keep tender and moldable hearts… ones that can be used
in God’s service.
God’s Great Name is not be Profaned
1:11 For from the
rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall
be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be
offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be
great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
We know beginning at the house of Cornelius, God revealed to
Peter that the Gentiles were to be a part of God’s people.
God has taken from among the Gentiles a people for His name.
Verse 11 will be ultimately fulfilled during the 1000 year
millennial reign of Christ.
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying,
Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the
Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
1:12 But ye have
profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and
the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
1:13 Ye said also,
Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the
LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and
the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your
hand? saith the LORD.
1:14 But cursed be the
deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and
sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King,
saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
We are not to bring corrupt things to the Lord for sacrifice.
God is a GREAT King, and the bests we have is what we should
offer. God’s deepest
desire is for us to worship Him in pureness of heart, and to follow
the commandments. He
would much rather for us to obey than to sacrifice.
1 Sam 15:22
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt
offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the
fat of rams.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye
in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even
as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain
in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his
life for his friends.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.