free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!
Malachi 1:1-14 ; Malachi 2:1-17 ; Malachi 3:1-18
The Book of Malachi presents questions asked by God. In response, instead of a direct answer, the chosen people, Israel, ask God questions in return. As these pairs of questionings have to do with the theme in hand, we have decided to give a brief description of the varied questions that are in the Book as a whole.
1. The first pair of questions.
God says, "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?" (Malachi 1:6 ).
The Lord is speaking of the utter lack of filial honor, and servant-fear, which Israel manifested. If Israel desired to claim God as their father, God asks, "Where is Mine honor?" If Israel claims God as Master, God says, "Where is My fear?"
The reason God asks His question is because His people had offered polluted bread on His altar.
Israel answers God's question by asking one. She says,
"Wherein have we despised Thy name?"
"Wherein have we polluted Thee?"
God replied at once, "In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible." Then the Lord continues with a series of questions:
"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. 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. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire in Mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand" (Malachi 1:8-10 ).
We trust that some who hear these words will stop and ponder their own course? How many of our gifts must displease the Lord, who so richly gave us His best; yea, His all. How can we treat the Lord Jesus Christ as we do. We find many who give to Him no more than the "left overs," or, the no-account and worthless remains of things already sapped of their value.
When, on the other hand, we serve Him, we demand a good sum. We would not shut His doors, unless we were to receive something in coin or in honor from men. No marvel God says that He has no pleasure in us.
2. The second series of questions.
This time Israel speaks first. After God has charged His people concerning their sins, and laid bare their ignominy, showing how they had wearied the Lord, then Israel asks, "Wherein have we wearied Him?"
The Lord's people are feigning innocency. They would seek to hide their shame. With a false piety they ask, "Wherein have we wearied Him?" God quickly places His finger on their sin, and specifies their iniquity. He says, "When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delighteth in them: or, Where is the God of judgment?"
God then tells Israel how He will send His messenger before His face, how He will come suddenly to the Temple, and then God asks, "But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap."
Let those who act foolishly and deceitfully with the Lord, remember that a day of judging lies ahead.
3. The third series of questions.
We now come to the verses assigned for today's study. God calls unto Israel to return unto Him. Israel, still professing innocency, asks, "Wherein shall we return?"
In answer to this query, God asks some questions and makes some statements:
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:8-11 ).
How wicked it is to receive from the hand of the Lord, but never to return to Him! To take, but never to give. God gave definite command to Israel as to their tithes and offerings. When these were withheld, His people were no more than robbing Him. Are we better than they? Have we not received from the Lord, good measure, pressed down, and running over? Shall we then give back into His hand the miserable pittance that marks too many gifts. Shall Christians give a tenth? We reply that we certainly should not give less. Grace is not meaner than Law. Larger blessings demand larger gifts.
After God has said that He would hold back from Israel His blessings, as a punishment for their infidelity, then He says that their words have been stout against Him. Then follows:
4. The fourth series of questions.
"Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?" (Malachi 3:13-14 ).
The questions this time are from Israel. She still persists in her innocency. She claims thus not to have spoken against the Lord. She even goes so far as to assert that she had served God in vain. She claimed to have kept the ordinances of God and to have walked mournfully before Him in vain.
Thank God the Book continues to give a prophecy of the time when Israel will seek the Lord, and when He will be gracious unto her.
Read also carefully 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 , 2 Corinthians 8:9 .
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Malachi 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29