Malachi: The Smack DownPart 1 of a 4 part messgae on Gods Justice and Redeeming Grace
"The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi", well one would think that only good things could come from an oracle of God. I mean Abraham and Sarah were approached by an angel of the LORD bearing news that Sarah was to conceive a child in her old age, something they wanted for such a long time. God sent Gabriel to Mary to tell her the good news that she had been found righteous and worthy to give birth to the Son of Man, and before that even occurred her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah received news from Gabriel that they too would soon give birth to a son named John. That's all good news. Even the shepherds on the hill overlooking Bethlehem received good news from a whole host of angels proclaiming "Good tidings of great joy to be for all people" about the birth of the Messiah. So from this evidence one would think an oracle from the LORD is a really good thing, something that announces good news. I'm about to rock your idea of an oracle of the LORD, well God is doing the rocking, I'm just a vessel being used by Him.
In Malachi we read the message of an oracle that appeared to the prophet Malachi who was sent to the Israelites to pretty much tear them down and tell them that God was pretty angry with them and that He demanded respect, because well He's God and in being God we owe Him our unyielding allegiance and obedience. Well on with the smack down.
Malachi starts off by the oracle reporting to Malachi to tell Israel that He still loves them, but that He is becoming displeased with them. God says "I have loved you, but you say how have you loved us? Was not Jacob Esau's brother"declares the Lord, "Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated, I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert". Honestly that sounds like God loves Israel(Remember that Jacob and Israel are used interchangeably by God), and it sounds like God isn't too angry just yet. It sounds like He's angry at the other side of Jacobs family, at Esau's descendants, but He's just laying the groundwork for some serious accusations that Israel needs to answer to, and soon. Malachi chapter one verse six starts off as such "A son honors his father and a servant his master. If then I am a father where is my honor? And if I am a master where is my fear? says the LORD of host to you, O priest, who despise my name. But you say 'How have we despised your name?' By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say 'How have we polluted you?' By saying that the LORDS table may be despised..." Whoa...what happened you ask, well Israel done messed up is what happened. They thought that they could get away with offering dirty, poor looking, sickly animals to the LORD of Heaven and Earth and get away with it. I mean who do they think they are? Does God not deserve our best? Don't you think they would remember what happened to Cain when he offered measly old vegetables to God as an offering. Doesn't God require blood to atone for sins? Doesn't God give them the Law through Moses? You think that they would remember these things, well they kind of backslid on this and figured just any old lamb, goat, either lame or sick would do. Well it just doesn't. Lets continue on in verse ten "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire upon my altar in vain!(Gods angry)I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of host. But you profane it when you say that the Lord's table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations." Yeah I think God's really angry here, and He has a right to be for one huge reason. Israel was disobedient. Israel tried to get by, by just offering the leftovers, the scraps, and God of Heaven deserves the freshest cut, the purest offering imaginable.
Tomorrow I'll continue on The Smack Down and why God was angry at Israel. Be praying and searching your own heart. Ask yourself "Is there something I'm not offering to God that isn't pure and worthy of Him?"
P.S. Be sure to check out the links on the side of my blog, the information is priceless and can only help you further your understanding of God and how He is always relevant no matter the circumstances. Also I've posted links to mission opportunities and how you can become involved whether you are single, married, retired, in high school, or college. Whatever season of life you're in God can use you.
All scripture is taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) published by Crossway