Morning Bible Study
Announce: Supper Eight. Israel.
Malachi’s name means “my messenger”.
We think he might have been a priest because of his knowledge of the
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.
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)
We’ll see more of this next week.
The first was John the Baptist, who was kind of like Elijah.
Jesus Himself talked several times about John the Baptist, even quoting our
(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
: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
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.
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
But it’s even more special when it’s covered with snow. This was taken just a little over a week ago
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
:4 the offering … will be pleasant
God has always been wanting sacrifice to be a “sweet aroma” to Him (Ex.
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
:5 I will be a swift witness
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
A policeman from Dover Delaware was caught doing this by his “dashcam” –
Video: Dover Police
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.
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.
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
:6 “For I am the Lord,
I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
:6 For I am the Lord,
I do not change
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)
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
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
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
That’s not true. He’s not that far
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.
: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
Some of you are going to think that I’ve moved from “preachin’” to
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…
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
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,
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 tithes – ma’aser – tithe,
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)
When Jacob was leaving home and heading to a distant land, he made a
promise to God:
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?
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.
:9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this
: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
: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
: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
When Noah’s flood started …
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.
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:
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
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
try – bachan – 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.
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
This is the only place in the Old Testament where God actually invites us
to “test” Him.
If you are not a tither, perhaps you have some homework to think about this
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
This is something between you and God.