The Book of Malachi
Chapter 1:06-2:09
"The Sin of Self"

The Book Of Malachi
Introduction The Book of Malachi
J. Deering


MALACHI

 

"The Sin of Self: Self indifference, Self righteousness, Self seeking, Self indulgence, Self centeredness"

 

Rebuke of Restored Remnant with Announcement of Future Purging and Blessing.

 

The Word of the Lord through Malachi

 

II.    God’s Complaint Against Israel: "Wherein have we despised Thy Name and polluted Thee?" 1:6 – 2:9

1.      A rebuke of the priests particularly: 1:6

(6) “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name.

 

Now God again speaks through Malachi and opens His heart to the leadership of the Nation of Israel. He tells them of their arrogance toward Him. The Priesthood, led by the High Priest, stands at the top of the leadership chain of command and they have come to despise His Holy name. They have come to see the blessings of God and proclaim that they themselves have brought about those blessings – and that they deserve them.

 

How far they have fallen. They don’t even see their sin toward their Almighty Holy God. They have become self-justified and self-righteous in their own eyes. They have no need of God – in today’s terms, “God has become irrelevant.”

 

Thinking and Discussing

1.     How do you demonstrate to God that He is your Heavenly Father?

 

2.     What do you do daily that would result in His knowing that you honor Him?

 

3.     What makes God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, relevant to you?

 

III.    Finding God’s mind on “divorce”

Malachi moves on from the Priesthood to the family of God – within the Nation of God. When God speaks of “divorce,” He speaks to many levels of understanding. Speaking through Malachi, He reveals to us aspects of divorce that offends Him – the sacred relationship between God and the individual.

 

For many, the verses contained here and elsewhere in the Scriptures are only understood on a popular (no scholarship) level. For these, the topic of divorce only has relevance to a man and a woman who are married (before God, or otherwise). While this understanding of divorce is relevant – it does not contain the whole truth concerning what God means in these verses.

 

Let me set the historical stage for this study. For the first lessons that God taught Israel through Malachi the emphasis was upon the unbelieving priesthood. Perhaps you remember God asking, “Isn’t there even one who would close the doors to the temple.” He was pointing out that there wasn’t a single priest who was faithful to Him. Not a single individual acted to prevent the un-holy and perverse activities  - in the temple – by the priesthood. We left off last week with Chapter 2:6, and God was asking, “Where is My honor, where is My respect, O priests who despise My name.”

 

But God is not done speaking to the priesthood. He now moves into the area of marriage, inter-marriage, and divorce. We’ll need to look deeper than the surface in what God has Malachi to say. We’ll need to understand the truth behind the examples that God will bring forth.

 

PRIMARY PRINCIPLES

 

1.     God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is one God in essence, yet He reveals Himself as being three distinct persons. This is certainly a great mystery to us who are of the flesh.

 

2.     God reveals Himself as being in absolute unity with each member of this trinity. There has never been any sense of division, there is no sense of division now, and there will never be any sense of division within this trinity.

 

3.     God has revealed that He made mankind in His image and likeness in order that we might enjoy true unity and fellowship with Him (apart from sin).

 

4.     God further reveals that those who believe will enter into an eternal relationship with Him in perfect fellowship and unity with Him.

 

5.     And God revealed that when man was created alone, there should be a partner which would come from his very being, so that in their rejoining they would – once again – regain that unity by once again becoming “one flesh.”

 

6.     And finally, God revealed that this mystical relationship of a man and his wife was the pure example of the unity within the Body of Christ, the Church.

 

So, any deviation from the pattern set by God, would be offensive to God and seen by Him as the breaking of so many patterns of unity, including Christ and His Church.

 

So, therefore… we should look for God’s examples of disunity and put our emphasis upon the disunity, and not the examples.

 

 

THE TEXT

The Example of Breaking Unity through Divorce,

The Example of Breaking Unity through Spiritually Mixed Marriage

 

10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to  one another?

 

[All one Father - Trinity]

[Did not one God create us – relevance?]

[Profane – to make unholy things that are Holy]

[Covenant VS unfaithful to one another]


 

11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord remove him from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings an offering to the Lord Almighty.

 

[Judah unfaithful]

[detestable / desecrated]

[The Lord’s love for His sanctuary]

[Offense, marrying a worshipper of a foreign god – probably a pagan temple prostitute]

[The penalty for the offense]

[Relationship of “an Offering to the Lord” to the man who brings it]

 

 

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth (first wife). You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

 

[The length of the list of offenses so far]

[What’s the evidence that God has turned away]

[Why is it all about the offerings]

[They cry and ask why]

[The wife of your youth]

[From your hands]

[God is the Witness]

[Unfaithful – Partner – Wife of your marriage covenant]


 

15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

 

[Ref 2:10, One God made you]

[Belonging to God – expectations of relationship]

[God’s “Godly offspring”]

[Consequences of marriage unfaithfulness]

 

 

16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.

 

So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

 

[Relational hate VS Relational hate plus divorce]

[Violence VS Protection]

[“Be on your guard”]

[The responsibility of the man in faithfulness]

 

MALACHI – Israel’s Problem and God’s Resolution

 

The Problem, 2:17

Charles Lee Feinberg says, “The third offense of the ungodly in Israel was an evil skepticism. By their ungodliness and unbelief they had wearied God; they had exhausted His patience. They brought forward the old argument against the providence of God from the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous. They had endured so many trials in exilic and post-exilic times, that they were ready to believe that God delighted in and favored the cause of the wicked, the heathen who enjoyed prosperity, over against the Godly. They complained that God did not judge wickedness severely enough. And if such were not the case, where indeed is the God of justice of whom they heard continually. Many connect this verse with the next chapter (and it is related in thought), because the answer to 2:17 is found in 3:1. God never fails to answer such a question put forth in such skeptical spirit. It rounded out the tale of their misdeeds and revealed them to be ripe for judgment.” [1]

 

TEXT

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” Because you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord’s opinion, and he delights in them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”

 

 

Summary:

The purpose of Malachi was to assure his people that God still loved them, but He demanded honor, respect, and faithfulness from them. Malachi pointed out religious and social abuses and warned that judgment would come to purge the people of sin unless they repented.


 

[1] Feinberg, Charles Lee, Th.d., Ph.d., Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Malachi, Charles Lee Feinberg, 1951, self Published.

 

 

 

II.     God’s Complaint Against Israel: "Wherein have we despised Thy Name and polluted Thee?" 1:6 – 2:9

1.      A rebuke of the priests particularly: 1:6

(6) “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name.

 

Now God again speaks through Malachi and opens His heart to the leadership of the Nation of Israel. He tells them of their arrogance toward Him. The Priesthood, led by the High Priest, stands at the top of the leadership chain of command and they have come to despise His Holy name. They have come to see the blessings of God and proclaim that they themselves have brought about those blessings – and that they deserve them.

 

How far they have fallen. They don’t even see their sin toward their Almighty Holy God. They have become self-justified and self-righteous in their own eyes. They have no need of God – in today’s terms, “God has become irrelevant.”

 

Thinking and Discussing

1.     How do you demonstrate to God that He is your Heavenly Father?

 

2.     What do you do daily that would result in His knowing that you honor Him?

 

3.     What makes God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, relevant to you?


 

2.      Defilement of the Sacrifices, 1:7‑14

(But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’)

 

(7) You are presenting defiled food upon My altar.

 

The holiness of “the Altar of Sacrifice” is being constantly defiles with the presentation of rotted bread and leftover portions of meat. The Law of God is being violated. The very covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is being broken every day. The priesthood has chosen to express their lack of reverence for God through the continuing practice of placing of unacceptable offerings at His table of sacrifice.

 

This table is the place where God has typified the sacrificial suffering and death of His Son. It is here that God has given Israel the very picture of what God does for them. Every element of that offering represents the eventual sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah. Even the smoke of the burning offerings is seen as the manner in which God “smells the wonderful aroma of that sacrifice. Now what He smells is burning garbage – This is how they treat their God.

 

By Law, the Grain Offering required grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread, and salt. This offering was in recognition of God’s goodness and provisions. It is the second of five required offerings brought under the Mosaic Law.

 

But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ (8) But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to please to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.

 

Here God lists the actual offenses Israel’s priesthood has committed, and continues to commit on a daily basis. In their arrogance they ask “How have we defiled you?”

        a.     They don’t recognize their actions of defilement

        b.     Bringing blind animals for sacrifice – even worthless for selling

        c.      They don’t recognize their actions are evil in the sight of the Lord – nor do they care

        d.     Bringing sick and lame animals for sacrifice

 

The four remaining sacrifices were violated in a similar manner as the Grain Offering.  The Burnt Offering, representing atonement for unintentional sin. It was an expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God – Specific animals with no defect, wholly consumed by fire. The Peace Offering, representing thanksgiving and fellowship, a communal meal. The Sin Offering, A pure animal whose blood was drained and sprinkled on the holy elements of the tabernacle. A mandatory offering for the forgiveness of sin and the cleansing of defilement. Finally, the Trespass Offering, an undefiled Ram, for the forgiveness of unintentional sins that required restitution.

 

Each of these offerings were being defiled by the Priesthood – under the supervision of the High Priest. The whole system had become corrupt.

 

(9) “But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering from your hand, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.

 

God asks the question that should invoke self-shame. “Do you expect God to act kindly towards you when you bring such offerings as these with your very own hands?”

 

(10) “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates [doors], that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar!

 

God states, “There’s not even one of you who attempts to close the doors of the Temple so that these atrocities cannot be committed against me!”

 

I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you [your hand]. (11) For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts. (12) “But you are profaning it, in that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’

(13) You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the Lord of hosts, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering!

 

Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. (14) “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “and My name is feared [revered] among the nations [Gentiles].”

 

No comment needed on the above paragraphs!

 

3.      Unfaithfulness, 2:1‑9

(1) “And now this commandment is for you, O priests. (2) If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. (3) Behold, I am going to reb uke your offspring [seed], and I will spread vomit on your faces, the vomit of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. (4) Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. (5) “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. (6) True instruction [law or truth] was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. (7) For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

 

 

(8) But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the false instruction in the law; you have violated the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. (9) “So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction law.

 

1.     What steps can you take even today to prevent unfaithfulness to the desires of God and His relationship to through your remembrance of the Sacrifice of His Son?

 


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