Granted, the book of Malachi is directed to the children of Israel; but we, as being the adopted sons and daughters of the Most High King, His words, every word, is directed to us for instruction. Also as a reminder of the expectations that God has of His children. I’ve heard many say that they don’t read the Old Testament because it’s just too hard to understand. I would have to disagree with them. The Old Testament may be filled with a considerable amount of history and law, and topics that we think do not pertain to those of us saved by grace, but the lessons scattered throughout its pages are as relevant today as the day they were penned. The prophet Malachi was sent first to convince and then to comfort, much like the task of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today. He first draws us to Himself, convicts us of our sin and then daily provides comfort to the child of God to make their pilgrimage to the Promised Land.
Malachi 1 has God voicing a complaint to Israel that is still an issue today. We haven’t come so far as we might think. I need for God to take the Band-Aids ® of productivity off my spiritual life. I conceal a nasty wound in my soul by covering it with busyness. Man… that hurt just like someone ripped a Band-Aid off my hide. But listen to the words of Malachi and see if they don’t ring true.
Malachi 1:2 – I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob.
God opens the conversation with the subject of ingratitude. That will likely rip the hide off most of God’s people. We are an ungrateful group; filled with the pious opinion that our sacrifice of time and energy for the church is enough. From Esau came the Edomites, who triumphed in the overthrow of Jerusalem, a fact that God could foresee and an attitude that was instilled in them through those generations. So when we read that God hated Esau, (vs. 3) as parents it’s a hard pill to swallow; until you read further into the history and discover the end result of Esau’s attitude.
Ingratitude is at the foundation of many of the issues of life. We’re dissatisfied with our position or possession because we’re not grateful enough for the fact that we have what we have. (Esau sold his position in life for a bowl of soup). We’re aggravated with someone because we’re not grateful enough for their presence in our life. We’re neglectful of what we’ve been given to steward because we’re not grateful for the blessing. We fail to use to the talents that God gives us for the purpose He gives them to us because we’re not grateful He gave us the opportunity to serve Him at all.
I think that hit me on every point!
When God began His complaint to Israel through Malachi, He could see Shari in 2017. He could see you in 2017. He knew we needed this word. So as I sit here on a Saturday morning, I am ever conscience of God’s complaint. We never like to think about someone having something against us. It’s when the excuses begin.
God told Israel that He loved them and yet their response is “Wherein hast thou loved us?” Show me how much you love me God by allowing (enter your request here) to happen. Have you ever said that? I know I have. I may not have said it in those exact words, but my ungrateful heart has said it in the way that I behaved when life wasn’t going my way. But God doesn’t except excuses.
He told Israel that all their “busy work was for nothing.” We think that our service for God is so grand, so did they.
5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.
Israel thought that their service to the Lord was “enough.” But God knew the ungratefulness behind their service. They didn’t fear God, else they’d have not served Him with half their heart and a substandard offerings.
6 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? 7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. 8 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. 9 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. 10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord. 14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
God’s closing of His complaint finds Him telling Israel that if they won’t serve Him as they should, with their best, He’ll find a people who will.
Before God moves out of my life, perhaps I should look at the quality of my service and sacrifice. Is it bountiful, or is it just busyness?
Jacob, like us, was far from perfect, his name meant deceiver after all! But he sought to serve God when he wrestled in Genesis 32:24. He was willing to fight for what God had. Are we? Or are just satisfied with a bowl of soup?
Esau was a hunter and provider. He got his job done. Jacob wouldn’t stop until he prevailed with God, and God changed his name from “Deceiver.” To “a prince who had power with God and with men and hast prevailed.”
Jacob sacrificed for, sought for and served for God. And in Him God did not complain.