Malachi 1:1 The burden of
the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
It is believed that Malachi is a prophet who lived after the temple was built. Some believe he lived in the same time period as Nehemiah. We see from this study that he has to be the one to reprove the priests from misusing the tithes and robbing God. When the priesthood sins in this, it would cause the whole nation to sin because they would mimic the actions of the priests. People tend to follow their leaders into good or evil.
Malachi means "My Messenger."
We can't preach the "thou shalt not's" to anyone if we are not keeping those things ourselves. People can usually spot a hypocrite. We have to say and do as we say in order to influence others to do the same.
When God lays a burden upon our hearts it is usually because something is out of whack spiritually. There is usually something existing that needs serious correction. Sometimes in today's world, someone is in need of prayer. I've had burdens before and they can be heavy until I pray through the thing or do what God is calling me to do concerning the thing.
Paul describes it here:
Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
Rom 9:2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Paul's heart was so heavy with sorrow because Israel was not saved.
Mal 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,
Mal 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Jacob was a man of many faults as we can read in the book of Genesis and Esau actually appeared to be the good one in our eyes. Jacob was a deceiver and very crafty. Esau was the mighty hunter and pleased his father. Jacob was a man though that sought after God. He needed changing and paid for his mistakes but he was a man of the spirit whereas Esau was a self made tough man, but a man after the flesh.
Jacob cared more for the spiritual heritage handed down from God's promise to Abraham that in his seed would all nations be blessed. It was more than the heritage of the land of Canaan because in Jacob's day, he didn't acquire much of the land of Canaan. It was a heritage of the future. It was also a spiritual heritage as being the elect of God or ones chosen by God to bring forth His own Son into the world to save the world from sin.
Esau was a man of the flesh. His concern was worldly things. He was willing to sell his birthright that automatically belonged to the first born, for a bowl of portage. His appetite and desire overcame his desire to keep his spiritual heritage given to Abraham then from him to his descendants.
God hates the attitude that we can make it on our own and do not need Him. Jacob in spite of all his faults knew that he needed God. No matter how we may look on the surface, we really all need God and need His spirit abiding within us. To neglect this do as we please will eventually get us in trouble. In the parable of the prodigal son, it was the good son that needed correction in the end rather than the one who messed up and came home broken. This doesn't mean that we should live as the bad son so that we end up under God's mercy because it may not always turn out the way we desire. Sin has consequences that can ruin our physical body. We can be forgiven and restored but sometimes our body dies an earlier death because we didn't take care of it while we had the chance. The good son though that did all that his father wanted him to and never strayed, had a bigger problem.....he lacked compassion for his wayward brother. He was jealous. You can read this story in Luke 15.
The story of Cain and Abel also shows us two sons. One had the heart toward God and the other had a casual approach to God and didn't realize His holiness and now much He needed him. He had sin lying within his heart which came out later when he slew his brother out of jealousy.
God knows that if we think we do not need Him, it opens the door for spiritual deception and Satan steps in. Satan rules the life that neglects to seek God. We may not always see it. On the surface they might appear to be a good person but God looks on the heart. He sees the one who knows they can't be good in themselves and need a savior from sin.
It was prophesied that of the twins born to Rebecca, the younger son would be the one to inherit the promise of God. Jacob was the younger.
Here is the New Testament reference to Esau
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Heb 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Heb 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Romans 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
Rom 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
God didn't hate Esau in the way we think of as hate. It was just that God chose Jacob to carry on the seed that was to bring forth His Son into the world to save those that were lost. He chose Jacob over Esau and it would seem as if He hated but He simply rejected the firstborn in that case and chose the second born. God sees things differently than we see them. Rebecca recognized this but Isaac loved Esau the best and his favoritism blinded him to God's will. The story of Jacob and Esau can be found in Genesis 25.
Mal 1:4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation forever.
The children of Esau missed out on a blessing by not allowing Israel to pass through their land on the way to the land God promised to them. God promised Abraham that He would bless those that blessed them and curse those that cursed Him. The descendants of Esau were called Edom.
Numbers 20:14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:
Num 20:15 How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers:
Num 20:16 And when we cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border:
Num 20:17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.
Num 20:18 And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.
Num 20:19 And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet.
Num 20:20 And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.
Num 20:21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.
Mal 1:5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
God promised the land that was formerly Canaan to Israel. They are yet to receive all the land that God promised them but they shall receive it and not only Edom but all surrounding nations that try to rob Israel of their land will be defeated.
Esau and his descendants dwelled southeast of the Dead Sea to the Arabian gulf. It was called Mt Seir. It is around the area we now call Jordan.
After the prophet reminds these people of their heritage and triumph over the enemies that try to oppress them and rob them of their land, he turns the attention back to the reason for this burden and exposes their sin.
Mal 1:6 A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? 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?
This is directed toward the spiritual leaders or priests that were supposed to have respect to God and do sacrifices and service according to the plan that was originally given to Moses.
Mal 1:7 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.
Disobeying the law of God, they began to offer just any old thing and not according to the way they were supposed to do service. It had to be perfect and according to the plan of God, never the plan of man. We can see again how the story of Cain and Abel ties in with this. Cain's offering was rejected. We have to come God's way for salvation, not our own.
This pointed to the perfect way that was yet to come and the only way of salvation. To give an imperfect offering or do things in an irreverent manner was to mar the testimony of the one to come signifying only one way to God or to eternal salvation.
Mal 1:8 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.
The Old Testament is given for our learning and example. If their offerings were polluted and evil, we can remember not to allow our offerings to be polluted and evil. Do we give to the Lord what is left over after we have bought all our needs and desires? Do we give our service to the Lord if we have time and get everything else done first that have a priority?
Is our time with the Lord spent first or last on our list of priorities? Have we left our first love?
They wouldn't have given this polluted second best offering to a king or governor, why should they offer this to the Lord who is Lord of all?
I realize that we are not under the Old law of sacrifices and ordinances of priests because we live in a day that the perfect one has come and has given Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sins. So we do not have to offer gifts and sacrifices that Jesus Christ has fulfilled but it does show us an example for follow.
Do we serve God and seek God only half-heartedly or just enough to get by and not miss heaven (so we may think)? Do we have time for God only when we do not have anything more important to do?
When we learn to live by the perfect law of love and do all things by the spirit and not by the flesh, what greater joy we would have in our lives.
This service of the temple was becoming contemptible and routine. They were not doing this from the depths of their heart and spirit. It was just a job in other words. Sometimes we attend church as a routine instead of getting up in the morning and rejoicing that this is the day that we worship God with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Our service to the Lord should be in love and by the spirit. When learn this good way of a life in the spirit, even giving is a joy rather than a burden. It is actually fun to give.
Growing up in a holiness church sometimes our opinion of what is right or wrong may not have been on the serious things but on trivial things but it is worth noting.
When I first got saved, I couldn't wait to give up what I thought was sin. We probably wouldn't even consider those things sin today but I thought they were sin and my love for the Lord caused me to want to give up anything that I thought He didn't like. That was "first love." I was too young actually to know what real sin was but it did show that I was aware of a holy God who came to save me from sin. As a child I wanted to please God.
Mal 1:9 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.
Mal 1:10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for naught? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for naught. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
The priests should have guarded the doors of the temple and not allowed any polluted offering. One can't get to God any old way. The way had to be perfect as Jesus Christ was perfect and without sin when He was offered up for the sin of all mankind.
Mal 1:11 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.
Here is a prophecy for the gospel going to the Gentiles and they will be accepted in the vine of Israel by their faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that pure offering mentioned here is the prayers of the saints that we see in heaven in the book of Revelation. A pure offering would be one coming from a heart that loves God with all his heart, his soul, his mind and his spirit.
The name of the Lord would be great among those that at that time were heathen and without hope.
Pure offering could also be pure praise and worship by the spirit that we offer up to God when we worship Him in spirit and in truth. This is a hint of the living water Jesus mentions in John chapter 4.
Mal 1:12 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.
Mal 1:13 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.
Mal 1:14 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.
This could be a chapter dealing with haft-heartedness or lukewarmness. They thought they could just come to the temple and offer any sacrifice that they themselves wouldn't want. Some good verses for the church today to go along with this chapter is from Revelation:
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
A lukewarm church is one where Jesus doesn't seem to matter to them as much as when they were first saved or first baptized in the Holy Spirit. Christianity is just a religion and something done on the side as fire insurance instead of fervent worship in spirit and in truth.
When we give the Lord half-hearted worship or serve Him in a half-hearted manner it is similar to what these priests were allowing in the service at the temple. Yet, we miss out on so much. God has something better in this life and in eternity than the world can ever give us. I'm not talking of material things and the wealth of this world. The spiritual presence of God is something the world cannot duplicate. To walk in the spirit is a life of peace and joy even when we are in the middle of trouble. We rob ourselves when we rob God of fervent praise and worship.
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