Morning Bible Study
We don’t know anything about him as a person.
He talks a lot about the priesthood, and some have suggested that Malachi
might have been a priest.
Malachi = “my messenger”
His name comes from the word for “angel” or “messenger”.
Malachi is the last of the Old Testament prophets who would tell of the
coming of the Messiah.
Malachi ministered around the time of Nehemiah.
You will see some of the same problems dealt with in Malachi that Nehemiah
faced – defilement of the priesthood, marriages to foreign wives, and neglect
of tithes and offerings.
We would place his book as having been written somewhere between 450-400
BC, about 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah.
The Temple had been rebuilt, Temple worship had been restarted, but the
people had begun to once again fall into spiritual decline.
1:1-5 Loved by God
:1 The burden of the word of the Lord
to Israel by Malachi.
:2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s
brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet
Jacob I have loved;
:3 But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For
the jackals of the wilderness.”
:3 Esau I have hated
Paul quotes this verse to talk about God’s choices in whom He loves.
NKJV) —13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” 14 What shall
we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says
to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it
is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
In our society, we appreciate the freedom to love who we want. We wouldn’t
appreciate it if someone picked out our husband or wife for us – we want to
have that choice to ourselves.
God has a choice who He will love. God can love whomever He wants to love.
He can also choose not to love whomever He wants.
God chose to love Israel (Jacob)
:2 In what way have You loved us?
Don’t question God’s love
Be careful about getting caught up in what it means that God “hates”
Esau. The point is that God LOVES
Israel. That’s who God is speaking to.
God loves us too. Jesus said,
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God’s love for the world was demonstrated in the giving of
His Son for us.
(Romans 5:8 NKJV) But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
You may think that God isn’t going to love you because you
are such a jerk. Yet Jesus died for
sinners, not good guys.
(1 John 3:16a NKJV)
this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
The cross is our proof of God’s love for us.
NKJV) – 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us,
who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall
bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is
he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen,
who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is
written: “For Your
sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all
these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am
persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You may not understand what is going on in your life, but that doesn’t change
the fact that God does indeed love you.
It was proven on the cross.
I need to face my difficulties knowing that God loves me and is for me, not
Sometimes God has bigger priorities in this world than my comfort.
Sometimes God’s priorities may put me in some discomfort,
but it will always be for a greater purpose.
Don’t equate your comfort level with God’s love for you.
:4 Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will
return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the Lord of hosts: “They may build, but I will throw down; They
shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever.
:4 They may build, but I will throw down
The Edomites might try to rebuild, but they will never fully come back.
Nebuchadnezzar not only wiped out Jerusalem in 586 BC, five years later he
invaded Edom as well.
The Nabataeans (550-400 BC), an Arab people, would eventually drive the
Edomites completely from their territory and they would settle in southern
While the Edomites would be scattered and not be allowed to recover as a
nation, Judah had been scattered by the Babylonians, and had rebuilt their
Even after being scattered again by the Romans in AD 70, they have once
again recovered as a nation.
This was a sign that God did indeed love Israel.
:4 the Territory of Wickedness
People will know that the reason that Edom has been scattered was because
of their wickedness.
:5 Your eyes shall see, And you shall say, ‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’
:5 The Lord is magnified
God is able to work outside of the nation of Israel, demonstrated by how He
would deal with Edom, their enemy.
He’s a “God without borders”. (like “Doctors without borders”)
Now that we’ve established that God loves Israel, how have they returned
1:6-14 Bad Offerings
:6 “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If
then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence? Says the Lord
of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we
despised Your name?’
:6 A son … a servant
Since God is both a father and a master to Israel, they ought to be
treating Him with honor and reverence, but they have not.
:6 In what way
This is the second time Israel responds to God’s charge with a challenge like
Throughout the book, Israel will repeat this phrase six times (1:2,6,7;
It has been suggested that this is simply Malachi’s writing style, but I
can’t help but see something else here.
Lose the attitude
You’re going to see throughout this book that Israel has a bit of a snotty,
Remember what they've been through - idolatry,
judgement in Babylon, humility, calling on God, returning to the land,
rebuilding their Temple, and NOW - they complain and challenge God. A sequence
we can all fall into.
Every time God points out something, they challenge it.
It’s important to stay “teachable”.
Solomon had a lot to say about this.
NKJV) He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, But he who
refuses correction goes astray.
(Proverbs 12:1 NKJV)
loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.
Fred received a parrot for his birthday. This parrot was fully grown with a
bad attitude and worse vocabulary. It was after all a Pirate Parrot. Every other word was an expletive. Those that
weren’t expletives were, to say the least, rude. Fred tried hard to change the
bird’s attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music,
anything he could think of. Nothing. He yelled at the bird and it got worse. He
shook the bird; it got madder and ruder. Finally, in a moment of desperation, Fred
put the parrot in the freezer. For a few moments he heard the bird squawking
and kicking and screaming expletives, then suddenly there was quiet. Frightened
that he might have actually hurt the bird, he quickly opened the freezer door.
The parrot calmly stepped out onto Fred’s extended arm and said, “I’m sorry
that I might have offended you with my language and actions and ask for your
forgiveness. I will endeavor to correct my behavior.” Astounded at the bird’s
change, Fred was about to ask what had brought this about when the parrot
continued, “Might I ask what the chicken did?”
:7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we
defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord
:7 The table of the Lord
The “table” refers to the altar of sacrifice in the Temple.
Some sacrifices had to do with paying for the penalty of sin.
Other sacrifices were more like having a meal with God.
The people of Malachi’s day had a bad attitude towards eating with God.
:8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And
when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your
governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says
the Lord of hosts.
:8 offer the lame and sick
Their contempt for sacrifice was shown by what they sacrificed.
The Law of Moses was clear that you could not use an animal with any kind
of defect as a sacrifice.
NKJV) But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or
has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.
Giving the best
There was a story about a farmer whose cow gave birth to twins. He was so
excited he told his pastor on Sunday that he was going to give God one of the
calves. The pastor asked if he could come over and look at the calf that the
farmer was going to give to the church. “Not yet” said the farmer, I haven’t
decided which one I’m going to give to the church. A couple of weeks later the
farmer called up the pastor and asked him to pray because one of the calves had
gotten sick. The pastor asked if the farmer had decided which of the calves he
was going to give to the church. The farmer replied, “Not yet”. The following
week the farmer called up the pastor and informed him that he was sorry but
that God’s calf has died.
I think that sometimes my offerings to God are a little like the next two
meals you had after Thanksgiving dinner – leftovers.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Thanksgiving leftovers, but
they’re never as good as the original meal.
When it comes to the amount of time we give to God, I might
base it on whether or not I think I have any time “leftover” at the end of the
I might want to have a daily time with God, but I never
seem to have enough time “leftover” in the morning before work…
When it comes to the amount of money I might give to God, I
wait until the end of the month and base it on what’s “leftover”.
God promises us that if we put Him at the top of our priority list, He will
take care of everything else.
6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
these things shall be added to you.
It’s important to figure out what God wants us to give
FIRST, and do it before anything else, and He will take care of the rest.
:8 Offer it then to your governor!
Could you imagine having your boss, the governor, or even the president
over to your house for dinner?
What would you serve them?
:9 “But now entreat God’s favor, That He may be gracious to us. While
this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?” Says the
Lord of hosts.
:10 “Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that
you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in
you,” Says the Lord of hosts,
“Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.
:10 who would shut the doors
God challenges the priests that there ought to be someone around who has
the courage to shut the doors to the temple in order to prevent the other priests
from continuing to offer bad sacrifices to God.
Shutting the door would be preferable to the bad offerings.
:11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall
be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered
to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
:11 My name shall be great among the Gentiles
God is saying that there will be a day when He is worshipped properly even
The point is that if even the Gentiles will one day figure out pure
worship, how come the Jews are struggling to do it correctly?
:12 “But you profane it, In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled; And its fruit, its
food, is contemptible.’
:13 You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring the
stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept
this from your hand?” Says the Lord.
:13 Oh, what a weariness!
These people didn’t like the idea of giving God their best, so they said
things like, “Oh it’s just too hard to get to church”.
:14 “But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And
takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished— For I am a
great King,” Says the Lord of
hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.
:14 the deceiver who has in his flock a male
Just like the farmer who gave God the sick calf…
:14 For I am a great King
How do you respond to God, the great King?
Malachi has given us several components to acceptable worship.
Verse 6 used two different words to describe how we ought to approach God.
The word for “honor” carries the idea of “weight”.
If you were to put God on one side of a balance scale and other
parts of your life on the other side, which side would be “heavier”?
The word for “reverence” speaks literally of “fear” or even “terror”.
As much as God loves us, when we realize just how big and
powerful He is, there’s a part of us that ought to tremble.
The words used to describe the Jews’ attitude toward sacrifice were “contemptible”
(vs. 7) and “weariness” (vs. 13).
The people were “sick” of what they perceived as an obligation to offer
sacrifice to God.
They were “tired” of coming to church.
In contrast, the writer to the Hebrews records,
13:15 NKJV) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise
to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
While the people were trying to get away with as inexpensive sacrifices as
possible, true sacrifice is something that ought to cost you.
Towards the end of his reign as king, David had done something quite
offensive to God.
As a result, a plague began to spread across the land.
David realized that he could end the plague if he were to
confess his sin and offer to God an appropriate sacrifice.
A fellow named Araunah stepped up and offered to give
David not only the place to make the sacrifice, but also the wood and the
animals, David realized this wasn’t the right solution. HE was the one who was supposed to bring a
sacrifice, not Araunah.
Samuel 24:24 NKJV) Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it
from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me
nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of
Note: We no longer need to sacrifice for the
purpose of paying for our sin.
That’s something that Jesus did for us.
Our sacrifices are more like that “dinner with God”,
fellowship with Him.
But when you set the table for God, don’t serve Him leftovers,
serve Him the best.