Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Malachi's Momentous Message by John.

Malachi 1:1-5

1. What do you say to people who think God has let them down?
(1) When people stray away from the real worship of God and real fellowship with Him, they frequently feel God let them down instead of the other way around.
2. Fellowship with God does get broken.
(1) It may break with a resounding snap you can't miss!
(2) More often than not, it breaks so slowly you never notice, unless someone calls your attention to it. One day you may wake up and just discover it is no longer there!
3. What do you say to people out of fellowship with God, and who think He let them down!
4. 2:13,14 show this is what the Jews were thinking. "Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, 'Why?' It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant."
5. I wonder if Malachi grew up planning to deliver God'sˇ message to Israel, or did God just give it to him in a moment?
(1) Tradition says his name may have been Malachiah.
a. Malachi means "my messenger" in Hebrew.
b. Malachiah means "messenger of Jehovah," a much more personal designation.
(2) Tradition also says Malachi was born a Levite, and he belonged to "the great synagogue."
(3) He obviously knew the history of Israel and probably felt all the prophetic preaching had not led Israel to become truly "the people of God."
6. I wonder if the message grew slowly in his mind and heart, or did it come in a flash?
(1) God speaks in so many ways to so many people.
(2) He spoke face to face with Moses at the burning bush and at many other times.
(3) Both by prophet and directly to David.
(4) He spoke with authority, and then in a still small voice to Elijah.
(5) And perhaps God has spoken to you in some other way.
7. The time came when Malachi's momentous message had to be delivered.
(1) Jeremiah experienced the same thing, and I love the way he put it.
(2) He said, (Jer. 20:9) "If I say, 'I will not mention him or speak any more in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."
8. Malachi called people to repentance.
(1) He called for people to remember the godly goals of their lives, and fulfill them.
(2) He called for them to leave off lives of sin and to worship in spirit and in truth!
9. His message is extremely practical, and yet, it is some of the most spiritual prophecy in the Old Testament. George Adam Smith called it "prophecy with the Law." (The Book of the Twelve Prophets, p. 340)


1. 1:11, The first unique insight is that God will be glorified wherever people worship, perhaps even if it is heathen worship.
(1) The NAS & NIV translate the Hebrew word, goyim, as nations. The KJ called it Gentiles. All three are both correct.
(2) The Jews have always had a problem accepting that God can be worshipped by anyone who doesn't become a Jew first!
(3) This was a brand new concept for them! And it didn't catch on!
(4) Jesus repeated the same thought almost 500 years later in John 4:21-24. "Jesus declared, 'Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.'"
a. The worship of God is above and beyond religion, race, social position, intellect and tradition!
b. At the time Jesus said this, He was inviting a woman of the street, perhaps an innkeeper, a Samaritan hated by the Jews, to be His disciple. Malachi knew almost 500 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem God was more interested in people obeying Him than in what race they belonged to!
2. The third unique insight is his concept of the brotherhood of human beings.
(1) 2:10 says, "Do we not all have one father?"
a. He was talking to Jews about Jews.
b. But he must certainly have considered the whole human race, a concept not brought out clearly until Jesus said it.
(2) If we are all brothers, why do we deal so despicably with each other? It doesn't make sense, does it? It's ungodly for sure!
3. Malachi pictures marriage in its highest form in 2:14.
(1) The husband/wife relationship is patterned after God's relationship with us!
(2) 2:16 says God hates divorce!
(3) The Lord also hates treachery, and to marry an idolater, or to divorce the "wife of your youth" is treachery!
(4) It thwarts God's purpose for marriage in providing godly companionship and a godly family for children.
(5) It is both a sin against the love of God and against the family relationship of mankind.
4. Malachi was close to Jesus' teaching on all three of these.
ill. Some think that remarried people should separate, go back to their original mates, and undo the sin they committed. We cannot undo the past! The right way to live starting where you are is to make Jesus the Lord of your life right now, and to obey Him from now on into the future.


1. The Greek philosopher Socrates used the same method of debate as Malachi did. So did Amos, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
2. Malachi lived before Socrates. Socrates became famous, so people called his method of argument, the Socratic method. It feigns ignorance, asks questions, and uses the answers to break down the opponents' arguments. It is a good debate style.
3. While Amos, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all used this method; Malachi polished it into an art form.
4. He asks and answers seven questions in this book.
(1) We've already mentioned some of them.
(2) Probably the best known is Malachi 3:8-10. "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' 'In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
5. With these questions, he calls for strict loyalty to the letter of the Law of God.
(1) By the time of the Pharisees, the people adhered to the practice of tithing as a rite.
(2) Malachi backed up each call for loyalty with a principle from the nature and character of God, but the Jews overlooked that.
(3) Malachi was more interested with people's godliness than with their keeping of the Law.


1. In 1:11, he prophesies God will be glorified in the whole earth.
2. In 3:1-6, he prophesies the coming of John the Baptist, and the Lord, and judgment against sin.
3. In 4:1-3, he prophesies Judgment Day and blessing for those who fear Him.
4. In 4:4-6, he issues a final warning to keep the Law and the coming of Elijah (John the Baptist according to Jesus in Mt 17:10-13) to insure their blessing when Jesus came.


1. This little book we have been examining today is one of the great books of prophecy.
(1) People call these last books of the Old Testament the "Minor Prophets."
(2) Today that gives us the connotation that these aren't as important as the other Books of Prophecy, but it actually means that they are comparatively short books, nothing more.
2. How do you speak the message of God to people who think He is letting them down?
3. You use questions for which they already have God's answers! They just have not applied them properly, or in some cases, they just don't know them at all.
4. You warn them, exhort them to change, and you give them hope!
5. Our God is like that! He wants us to know Him, and knowing Him is life everlasting!
6. Do you know Him? You can make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior right now as we sing a hymn of invitation.

Emmanuel Community Church April 9, 2006.


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