Home Library Donate

Malachi 3:1-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 17, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular: 2900 words Communion: 2500 words

Announce: Supper Eight. Israel.

Malachi’s name means “my messenger”.

He was a messenger for God.

We think he might have been a priest because of his knowledge of the priesthood.

Malachi ministered during the time of Nehemiah.

Malachi wrote somewhere between 450-400 BC.

Malachi is not only the last book of the Old Testament, he was the last voice, the last prophet to speak of the coming Messiah until John the Baptist.

After him there will be four hundred years of silence from God until the coming of Jesus.

In Malachi’s day, the people had returned from exile in Babylon, the Temple had been rebuilt, and the Temple worship had been restarted.

Yet the nation is once again in spiritual decline.

3:1-7 The Messenger

:1 “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts.

:1 I send My messenger

Kind of reminds you of Malachi’s name.

This is an example of what we call “double fulfillment”.

Because Jesus has TWO comings, there are two “messengers”.

The second will be Elijah (Mal. 4:5)

(Malachi 4:5 NKJV) —5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
We’ll see more of this next week.

The first was John the Baptist, who was kind of like Elijah.

When John the Baptist first started his ministry, Matthew recorded,
(Matthew 3:1–3 NKJV) —1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ”

This was a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, but our passage as well.

(Isaiah 40:3 NKJV) —3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

Jesus Himself talked several times about John the Baptist, even quoting our passage:
(Luke 7:27–28a NKJV) —27 This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist…

:1 he will prepare the way

When John came, his job was to “prepare” people for Jesus’ ministry by calling them to turn from their sins.

:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap.

:2 like launderer’s soap

launderers’kabac – to wash (by treading), be washed, perform the work of a fuller

soapboriyth – lye, potash, soap, alkali (used in washing)


God’s cleansing

If your life is filled with filth, and you wait until Jesus returns to deal with your filth, you will not survive (“who can stand”)
But you don’t have to wait.  You can be cleansed now, and then you will be ready when He returns.
Isaiah wrote,
(Isaiah 1:18 NKJV) “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
When David committed adultery, he was broken, and turned to God and asked for forgiveness.  David wrote,
(Psalm 51:7 NKJV) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Jerusalem is a pretty cool place and is spectacular from the air…

Video:  SourceFlix – Temple Mount Flyover

But it’s even more special when it’s covered with snow.  This was taken just a little over a week ago in Jerusalem…

Video:  SourceFlix – Jerusalem Snow

God’s cleansing comes when you ask for forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

:3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.

:4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem Will be pleasant to the Lord, As in the days of old, As in former years.

:4 the offering … will be pleasant

pleasant‘areb – to be pleasant, be sweet, be pleasing

God has always been wanting sacrifice to be a “sweet aroma” to Him (Ex. 29:18)

(Exodus 29:18 NKJV) And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord; it is a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord.

And yet the people have been bringing stinky sacrifices, sacrificing the cast offs as if they would be pleasing to God.

When God cleanses us, the sacrifices become “pleasant” again.

:5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien— Because they do not fear Me,” Says the Lord of hosts.

:5 I will be a swift witness

swiftmahar – to hasten, prepare quickly, do quickly, bring quickly

witness‘ed – witness, testimony, evidence (of things)

God says that He will quickly bring a testimony against these people.

He is, of course, watching us.  He sees everything.  Kind of like a “dashcam”
A policeman from Dover Delaware was caught doing this by his “dashcam” –

Video:  Dover Police DashCam Confessional

Sidenote:  A “swift witness” – he was singing to a Taylor SWIFT song…

My point is that God doesn’t need a “dashcam”.  He already sees everything you do.

:5 I will come near you for judgment

These are some of the things that God calls out as worthy of judgment:


Those that practice witchcraft or sorcery


Those that are unfaithful to their spouse


Those that lie.

Bad bosses

Those who exploit wage earners, their employees.


Those who exploit widows and orphans, the most vulnerable in society

Not loving aliens

God isn’t talking about aliens from outer space, He’s talking about immigrants to our country.
As we know, some people are out to capture the aliens… (32 years ago…)
Video:  E.T. Ride in the Sky
I am not going to get into a discussion on illegal immigration, but I think we need to be careful just how we handle the subject of “aliens”.
God wants His people to be compassionate on those who are not from where we live.

:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

:6 consumedkalah – to be complete, be at an end; to come to an end, vanish, perish, be destroyed

:6 For I am the Lord, I do not change


God’s immutability

This is one of the God’s “attributes”, one of God’s qualities that are unique to God.
This same quality belongs to Jesus as well, who is God.
(Hebrews 13:8 NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
God doesn’t change.
His rules don’t change.

He still wants His people to learn to walk in His ways.

His promises toward us don’t change.

The nation is not “consumed” because they are still the apple of His eye, even if they are flawed and sinful.

When God makes a promise, He keeps it because He doesn’t change.
(Romans 8:28 NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

When you are going through difficulty, you may start thinking that God no longer keeps this particular promise, but you are wrong.

God keeps His promises.

We are going to be looking at some of God’s promises regarding our finances.
Keep in mind.  He doesn’t change.

:7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’

:7 Return to Me, and I will return to you

returnshuwb – to turn back, return


Just turn around

Some people think that getting right with God requires that they fix all the problems in their life before they come to God.
The problem is you’ll never be able to fix enough.
God simply wants you to start by turning around.
Yes, He will want to help you make some changes, but make the changes WITH His help, not without it.
You may think that God is so far from you that you could never come back to Him.
That’s not true.  He’s not that far away.
You just need to turn around and you’ll find that He’s there.
When the Prodigal Son realized that he had screwed things up and needed to go back home, he didn’t have to travel all that far…
(Luke 15:20 NKJV) “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
James wrote,
(James 4:8a NKJV) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

:7 In what way shall we return?

As we’ve seen, the people are often challenging God’s statements.  I’m not sure they’re going to like the answer …


Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher. When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, “AMEN, BROTHER!” When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, “PREACH IT, REVEREND!” And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, “RIGHT ON, BROTHER! TELL IT LIKE IT IS...AMEN!” But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet, and one turned to the other and said, “He’s quit preaching and now he’s meddlin’.”

Some of you are going to think that I’ve moved from “preachin’” to “meddlin’”

3:8-12 Robbing God

:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.

:8 Will a man rob God?

Malachi is going to connect repentance with their wallet.

Note:  God is not saying you have to “give some money” if you want to get right with Him.
Some folks think that if they’ve sinned extra bad, they should put an extra $20 goes in the offering.

This is not about “buying” God’s favor.

The problem is that some people think too much of their money.

When Jesus met with a wealthy young man, the man wanted to know how to go to heaven.  Jesus talked about obeying the Ten Commandments, which the man said he already did.  Then Jesus said…
(Matthew 19:21–22 NKJV) —21 …“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Jesus didn’t tell everyone He came across to sell everything they had.

But for this man, that was the message he needed to hear because his money was everything to him.

The story is told of Sam Houston, hero of Texas history, who gave his life to the Lord in the later years of life and asked to be baptized. He was taken down to a little country stream, and the pastor said, “General Houston, you should take your glasses off because I am going to immerse you in water.” There also were some papers in General Houston’s pocket, so he took those out as well. Then, just as he was getting ready to go into the water, the pastor noticed that General Houston still had his wallet in his pants. He said, “Well, General, you might want to take that wallet out of your pants. It is going to get wet.” Houston responded, “If there is any part of me that needs baptizing, it is my wallet.” So Houston was baptized, wallet and all.

Some people think too much of their “tithe”.

They are proud about how they tithe and think that their tithe makes them special to God.  Jesus said,
(Matthew 23:23 NKJV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Jesus didn’t say to NOT tithe, but He said there were other things to pay attention to as well, like justice, mercy, and faith.

:8 tithesma’aser – tithe, tenth part

One of the arguments against “tithing” that many cling to is the suggestion that “tithing” was part of the Law of Moses, and we are no longer under the law, therefore we don’t need to “tithe”.

I’d like to lovingly remind you that tithing predates the Law.
When Abraham returned from successfully rescuing his nephew Lot, he met the mysterious King Melchizedek, who was a priest of “God Most High”, and gave a tenth of all the spoils to him. (Gen. 14:18-20)

(Genesis 14:18–20 NKJV) —18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.

When Jacob was leaving home and heading to a distant land, he made a promise to God:

(Genesis 28:22 NKJV) And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Jesus paid attention to what people gave to God.  He pointed out one person in particular as a good example of giving.

(Luke 21:1–4 NKJV) —1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
The “mite” is a very, teeny, tiny coin.  It’s hardly worth anything.
It’s not the actual amount that counts, it’s all about what the gift means to you in your financial condition.
It doesn’t mean much to God if a billionaire donates $50,000 to the church, but if a senior citizen living on social security donates $50, it means a lot.

It’s important to realize the tithe isn’t really a gift from you, because it actually already belongs to God.

If I loan you my car, and we agree it’s just for one day, at the end of the day am I grateful that you return my car?
Of course.
But it’s not like you’re giving me something I wasn’t expecting, like it was a brand new GT.
You’d just be returning MY car to me.
Yet if you never return my car, you’d be “robbing” me.

:8 offerings

Offerings are things that you’re not particularly obliged to do, but are done “over and above” the tithe.

Some of us are struggling with the concept of actually giving ten percent of our income to God.

And to think there could be something over and above that God might ask us to give?

:9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.

:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

:11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;

:12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.

:10 open for you the windows of heaven

The concept of the “windows of heaven” is related to the idea of where rainfall comes from.

When Noah’s flood started …
(Genesis 7:11c NKJV) … the windows of heaven were opened.

Parts of Israel are a dry desert land.

Rainfall was considered a priceless gift from God.
Rain was a picture of any kind of blessing from God.
During the famine of Elisha’s day, Elisha predicted that the famine would end the next day and that food would once again be available and affordable for everyone.  An official of the king couldn’t believe it could be over that quick.  He said,

(2 Kings 7:2b NKJV) …“Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?”


Blessed by giving

What I’m about to say is not about “getting rich”.
Some teachers try to entice people to give, promising them they will receive a hundred times what they put in the offering basket.
That’s giving for the wrong reasons.
But God does promise here to supply your needs when you learn to give as He is leading you to give.
Paul taught it this way:
(2 Corinthians 9:6–8 NKJV) —6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

If you’re going to be “cheap” with God, then expect God to be “cheap” with you.

7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Purposes - You need to decide ahead of time, with God’s leading, how much you are to give.

Not grudgingly - You should not base what you give by what another human it telling you to give.

Don’t give in to arm twisting, not even from me!

If you are resenting what you are giving, you’d be better off keeping it to yourself, but keep in mind, that doesn’t make God happy either.

Make it your goal to learn to give with a cheerful heart.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

God promises that when we give for the right reasons, with His leading, He will take care of all we need.

:10 try Me now in this


Put God to the test

trybachan – to examine, prove; scrutinize; to test
The word is used 28 times in the Old Testament, but often it’s used to describe how God “tests” us.

(Psalm 139:23 NKJV) Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;

A few places it is used to describe how proud rebellious men “test” or “tempt” God.

(Psalm 95:9 NKJV) —9 When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.

This is the only place in the Old Testament where God actually invites us to “test” Him.
Video:  BADD – Eye of the Tither
If you are not a tither, perhaps you have some homework to think about this week. 
Could God be challenging you to put Him to the test?

Deb and I learned to tithe a long, long time ago.  We’ve found that God keeps His promises.

Don’t come up to me and ask me how much you should give.
I don’t have a clue what you give, so don’t think that I’m checking up on you.
This is something between you and God.