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Malachi Chapter 1

Memory 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: 

Introduction:  We begin a new study on the book of Malachi this week.   Malachi is one of the prophets referred to as a minor prophet.   That 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.   


I.  The Prophet Malachi

Mal 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 fulfilled.  

Hag 2:21  Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;

Hag 2:22  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 brother.

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 own governors.

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.

Neh 13:23  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.

II.  The Love of God for Israel

Mal 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 loved Jacob,

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:

Deu 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 animals.

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.)   

Mal 1:3  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Mal 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 successful.

Mal 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.”

III.  The Sins of the Priest

Mal 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?

The 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.


1 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:

1 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.


In 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. 

Mat 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Mat 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


God brought judgment upon Israel because they did not honor him from their hearts. 

Isa 29:13  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: 

This 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. 

Eccl 12:13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.


J. Vernon McGee had this to say about verse 6. 

“A 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]


Mal 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 contemptible.

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 contemptible.


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.  [2]


Mal 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 best.

Mat 22:37  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.

Exo 34:26  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 be pleased.

IV.  God Would Not Accept their Offering due to their Sins

Mal 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.

Mal 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.

V.  God’s Great Name is not be Profaned

Mal 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.

Acts 15:13  And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

Acts 15:14  Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.


Mal 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.

Mal 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.

Mal 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.


John 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

John 15:10  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.

John 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

John 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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