Malachi 1

1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.

2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. But you say, "How have You loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet I have loved Jacob;

3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness."

4 Though Edom says, "We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins"; thus says the LORD of hosts, "They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever."

The first message that God gives to Israel is that He loved them. Why does He do this?

People backslide because they forget God’s love for them. They forget the great things that God has done for them. As a result, they do not have any gratitude towards God. They feel that they do not owe Him anything and they do not give Him thanks (Rom 1:18-32).

The way back to God is to be reminded of His love for you, and that will help you to love Him. 1 Jn 4:19 tells us that we love because He first loved us.

God tells Israel that He loved them so that they would remember what God has done for them and turn back to Him and love Him.

5 Your eyes will see this and you will say, "The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!"

When we see how God has saved us from our enemies then we are full of gratitude towards God. In the Old Testament the enemies were other nations, but in the New Testament the enemies are not flesh and blood but our own flesh and demonic forces in heavenly places (Eph 6:12).

Our greatest enemy is our own sin. God sent His own Son to die for our sins and redeem us. When we see this we should be full of gratitude and magnify the Lord. We need to realize that without salvation from sin we are doomed to eternity in hell. We need to recognize what God has saved us from and the price that He paid to save us. Then we will have no trouble honoring and respecting Him.

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. But you say, "How have we despised Your name?"

7 "You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. 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 your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts.

The first problem that God points out is a lack of honor and respect for God. They gave God the worst of what they had – blind, lame and sick animals – for sacrifice. They did this because they really didn’t think that God was worthy of better! They forgot what He had done for them. They sacrificed out of routine and not out of joy and love.

So what about you and me? Do we serve the Lord in love? Do we serve the Lord at all? When we give of our time and money to God, do we give from the bottom of the barrel? Do we give cheerfully? Do we study the Bible when we are too tired to do anything else? Do we attend church meetings and Bible studies just to look okay before others? Have we forgotten what God has done for us?

God was not pleased with Israel because they didn’t honor Him and give Him the respect due to Him. When we behave in a disrespectful manner towards God, do you think that God will be pleased with us? Not at all!

Rom 8:8 says that those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Heb 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Both of these verses are to believers. In 1 Thess 4:1 Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they must walk in a manner that pleases God.

9 "But now will you not entreat God's favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts.

10 "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of hosts, "nor will I accept an offering from you."

When God is not pleased with us He doesn’t want anything from us. Our sacrifices are useless. The money we give is useless. The time we give is useless. And when we ask for favors He will not hear us! That was God’s response to the Israelites in the time of Malachi and that will be His response to us today. He is the Lord who does not change (Mal 3:6).

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.

You may not realize the greatness of God but there are others who do. God will walk with them, but you will be left out. Will God be the loser, or will you be the loser? If you are wise and love God you will be the one to benefit, but if you are foolish and dishonor God only you will pay for it

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 among the nations."

God is great and His Name is to be feared among the nations. The Israelites forgot that truth and they treated Him badly. They vowed to Him and did not fulfill it. And God cursed them!

Now if we do the same thing to God today do you think that God’s blessing and favor will be upon us?

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