Malachi prophesy occurred after the Zerubbabel’s temple had been build, so the temple issue had been settled, but God’s issue through Malachi regarded what the kind of offerings they were presenting to him and their attitudes during those sacrifices.
1. Book begins with a statement about God loving Jacob and hating Esau. That scripture can be understood better if you understand God is not talking about his emotions. He is referring to choosing Jacob (Israel) as his chosen people, therefore, he “rejected” Esau (Edomites). However He still did bless Esau by giving his descendants land just as he did Jacob. Even today headlines show efforts by the Edomites (various Mid East nations) trying to take land from Israel, but you do not see Israel taking over Mid East lands. That is the basis of strife between Israel and Palestine, however.
2. One of my favorite lessons is in verses 7-8 “Try offering that to your governor!” I often think of that when I see how people dress going into the house of God. Many would not go to the Governor’s mansion in such disrespectful clothing. Only God knows if you can make a better offering. He might ask for a lamb, but if you can’t afford one, he takes a dove (or any small token you can give him.)
3. Verse 11 “my name will be great among the nations …because my name will be great among the nations.” There was a time when I was frustrated because I could not “prove” some of my testimony. I wanted to prove that God had done such and such. Through a traumatic experience, he convinced me tat HE would bring honor to his name. I guess it was a bit like some Bible folk who asked for a sign. Jesus rebuked that request. But I still do it! 😀
4. Chap 2:1-9 Diatribe against the priests. God promises some pretty yucky action if they don’t straighten up their act.
5. Verses 10-16 Unfaithful Judah. His people have been intermarrying with “daughters of foreign gods.” Then they weep and ask Why, when things go wrong. God says it is because they have not been faithful to the marriage covenant. He states very plainly “I hate divorce.” He is speaking of earthly marriage/divorce but he uses that situation to indicate a spiritual truth. He does not want his people to be unfaithful to him.
6. Verse 17 “You have wearied the Lord with your words.” “How have we wearied him?” you ask. by saying, all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” Note, my Christian friends, you know how we always try to smooth things over for a wrathful God by saying, “Oh, he hates the sin but loves the sinner.” His grace and love abounds to all people but I’m not sure he does not get fed up with the continual, pre-medicated, in-your-face kind of sin and the people who do it. I would be cautious. I’d hate him to turn me over to a reprobate/depraved mind. (Romans 1:28) There is a God of Justice and when he punishes, he punishes people not the fishes of the sea! The fishes of the sea might feel some fall out. I guess those in Egypt did when the waters turned to blood.
7. Sins listed in verse 5 are interesting to me. Sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, those who defraud laborers of their wages, those who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, hummmm…… I could have made a longer list. Actually there are longer lists even in the New Testament.
8. Verses 8-12 God accuses them of robbing him since they are not paying a tithe. He offers a “test and see” if God does not “pour out blessings” on those who tithe.
9. Verse 16 People talked to each other and the Lord “listened and heard.” He liked what he heard so he ordered “scroll of remembrance” to record those who feared the Lord and honored his name. This might be the scripture upon which I based my journal called “Put me in Remembrance,” in which I recorded a lot of interactions between my God and me.
10. Verse 17 Is it worth while to serve the Lord? He says, “They will be mine…in that day when I make up my treasured possession.” …. Verse 18 “And you will see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked. Between those who serve God and those who do not.” Yes, it is worthwhile to serve the Lord? He takes account. He keeps the scroll. You will receive rewards. But quite possibly not as quickly as we would like.
11. Chapter 4:1-3 A look into the millennium. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall…
12. The last verse of the book, which is also the last verse of the Old Testament is a bit of a downer. …”or else I will come and strike the land with a curse” I would like for the OT to have ended with “leaping like calves released from the stall.”