Posts Tagged ‘Malachi’

The Transition

…lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Malachi 4:6b

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew 1:1

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. ..
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

Galatians 3:10, 13

As we look from the Old Testament to the New Testament, I find it interesting to see how the Old Testament ends and how the New Testament begins.  I find it fascinating that, though separated by several hundred years, the place where Matthew begins fits perfectly with the place Malachi left off.  I supposed it shouldn’t be too “fascinating,” as the same One wrote both books, but I digress.

The word “curse” is the last word of the Old Testament.   The Old Testament ends with a curse.  The New Testament begins in Matthew 1:1 with “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.”  The Old Testament ends with a curse and the New Testament begins with Jesus Christ.

Galatians speaks of those under the law as being under a curse.  And in Galatians 3:13, we find this: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”  The Old Testament is about the law.  The New Testament is about redemption from the law through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

If that isn’t a perfect ending and beginning, I don’t know what is!

Turning the Hearts

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Malachi 4:5-6

These verses end the Old Testament.  I find it interesting that the Old Testament would end with a prophecy about the Lord sending the prophet Elijah back before the “great and dreadful day of the Lord.”  That day has not yet come and so this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.  But what is most interesting to me is Elijah’s ministry during this time.  He is supposed to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.”  He is going to right the relationship between fathers and their children.  The fact that this basic relationship would be so backward is probably a good sign of the end times.

One would think that fathers would already have their hearts turned toward their children and that children would have already have their hearts turned toward their fathers.  But, as basic as that sounds, it is sadly not often the case.  A father should love and cherish his children, but so many today do not.  A child should naturally love and respect his father, but again, many today do not.  It is sad and it is indicative of the breakdown of the family structure in our modern society.  There are many, many fathers today who need to have their hearts turned.  There are many, many mothers who need their hearts turned.  There are many people who need to have their hearts turned.  That is one of the things that any prophet, preacher or teacher of God’s Word will seek to do.  And that is one of the things that the Bible itself will do.  Let us pray for our families and for our nation’s families.  They need to have their hearts turned and God is the only One Who can do it!

They That Feared the Lord

Then they that feared the LORD spake often to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Malachi 3:16-17

The previous verses in this chapter dealt with the people who spoke out against God and who said that it was vain to serve the Lord.  They had questioned God, doubted Him and rejected Him.  They thought that the proud were happy and that wicked were good and honoured.  They had everything backward; God had implored them to return and they would not (vs. 7).  They were facing destruction and judgment and no one but themselves to blame for it.

These verses get a new subject.  Far from rejecting God, the people in these verses feared the Lord.  These were God’s people.  When they heard the blasphemy from those around them, they “spake often one to another.”  They were not lumped in with the blasphemers.  In fact, when they spake together, the Bible says that “the Lord hearkened, and heard it.”  When they spoke, God listened.  They feared the Lord, and these verses also tell us that they “thought upon his name.”  They feared God, they talked about Him, and they thought about Him.  God was so pleased with them that He wrote a “book of remembrance” for them.

Not only did God listen to them,  but He claimed them as His own: “they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts.”  What a great things to have said about you!  How did these people get to that position?  They feared the Lord, they thought about Him, and they talked about Him.  We can do these things every day.  How are we doing?

When Things Seem Backward

Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD.  Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

Malachi 3:13-15

Yesterday, we looked at these verses and pointed out the people who decided that it was vain to serve God and that there was no profit in obeying Him.  Today we will look at their “reasoning.”

They said in verse 15, “…we call the proud happy.”  Does that sound like our society today?  Pride is glorified everywhere you look.  The people who are full of themselves and full of pride seem to be the ones having fun and being “happy.”  But one quick look at Proverbs 11:2 will shatter that image: “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”  When the proud are called happy, there is something backward.

“…they that work wickedness are set up.”  Again, Malachi could be describing our culture today.  It seems that there is much wickedness in high places.  It seems as though every new day brings some new, awful scandal in the life of a rich, famous or powerful person.  Things are not going to go well the wicked are “set up.”  Again, a simple look at Proverbs will set things straight: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

“…they that tempt God are even delivered.”  This is the mindset that says, “if someone sins and God doesn’t immediately strike them down with a bolt of lightning, they must be OK and God must not care.”  Wrong.  Ecclesiastes 8:11 gives us further insight into this line of thinking: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”

It is sometimes easy to get discouraged by things that we see and read.  It is easy to feel that, everywhere we look, things are backward and are the opposite of what they should be.  But we must remember that, just like in the book of Malachi, God is still in charge.  He is still on the throne.  And we need to continue to have faith in Him – even when things seem backward!


What Profit Is Serving God?

Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

Malachi 3:14-15

In these verses the Israelites ask a question that many, many people have asked themselves at one time or another.  In moments of despair, many people have wondered (often to themselves) whether or not it is vain to serve the Lord.  Sometimes a person will go through a trial and will begin to despair.  Their faith will begin to waver and they will wonder what profit there really is in serving the Lord.  Those are not uncommon questions.  Fortunately, the answers to those questions are fairly easy to find with a little prayerful Bible reading and meditation.  The answer is obviously that there is profit in serving the Lord.  It may be hard to see that profit in the midst of a storm.  And it may not be today or even tomorrow that we see that profit.  But there is always profit in serving the Lord.  There is always profit in keeping His ordinances.  There is nothing inherently wrong with these questions.  Jesus Himself spoke of “counting the cost.”  There is, however, something wrong with the attitude of these Israelites.

They were not asking these questions from an honest heart.  They were not asking these questions while crying out in despair.  They were, in fact, not even asking questions.  They were making statements.  They said that they had decided that serving the Lord was vain.  They had decided that there was no profit in keeping His ordinances.  They had already made up their minds and they had already hardened their hearts.  They had not kept His ordinances and they had not served Him.  They apparently found no profit in a half-hearted outward show of religion, and neither will we.  They never did fully submit to the Lord with hearts full of faith in Him.  We can.  How are we doing?

Stout Words

Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD.  Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

Malachi 3:13

Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament.  It was the end of God’s revelation to the nation of Israel for quite a long time.  God had some serious problems with His people.  They had rejected Him over and over again and judgment was coming.  Reading through several books of the prophets, you can see many times and many ways that God’s people have dishonored Him.  Even after reading all of those things, I was still a little shocked when I read the wording of this verse: “Your words have been stout against me…”

We sometimes use “stout words” with people.  Sometimes our children need some stout words, and sometimes the guy who cuts you off in traffic gets some stout words (whether he needs them or not).  But I can not imagine giving God Almighty stout words.  I can not imagine “giving God a piece of my mind.”  God is in control of everything and I would not want to be in the position of giving Him stout words.  But as terrible as talking to God like that is, the second half of the verse seems even worse to me.

“Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?”  They were rejecting God and blaspheming His name and they didn’t even know it.  They were speaking “stout words” against God without even realizing what they were doing.  Doing wrong is obviously bad.  But doing wrong while thinking that you are doing right might be even worse.  These people were bringing judgment down on themselves and they were clueless.  To me, that is sad.  These were God’s people – how were they so blind?  In my opinion, they were blind because they had rejected God’s Word.  The same thing happens to us as we reject His Word.  Each time we reject or ignore Him, our hearts get a little harder.  After a while, we can, like the Israelites, speak out against God and not even realize it.

Robbing God

Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:8-11

This is probably the most famous and most quoted passage in the Bible on the subject of giving  tithes and offerings.  I believe it is famous and often quoted for a reason.  The principle remains true today.

When it comes to our finances, one vital fact that we all need to remember is that all of our money is God’s.  All of the riches in the entire world belong to Him.  He graciously gives us some of those riches in order to meet our needs and to allow us to give to others.  But that is something that we sometimes forget.  We like to think that we worked for our money, and so it belongs to us.  But that is backwards thinking.  God gave us everything we have.  It is all His.

And He wants us to give to support His work.  In the New Testament, it is clear that He wants us to give cheerfully and generously.  If we will follow those two principles in giving, we will be blessed beyond measure.  Give cheerfully.  Give generously.  And thank the Lord that He has given us the ability to give and the ability to be a blessing to others.  I have seen God take care of me time and time again.  I have seen Him pour out His blessing on me.  I have seen His rebuke the devourer of my income.  His Word is faithful and true.  “Give, and it shall be given…”

The Refiner

But who may abide in the day of his coming?  and who shall stand when he appeareth?  for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:2-3

These verses ask an interesting question: “who may abide the day of his coming?”  That is a good question.  The obvious answer is that nobody will abide the day of his coming.  There is no person who can stand against the wrath of God.  But not all will be destroyed when He comes.  To some, He will come in wrath and destroy them.  But to others, He will come as “refiner and purifier of silver.”

Think about what He does in our lives when we submit to Him.  That is a perfect description: He refines us and purifies us as silver.  He purges the dross from our lives and helps us to come forth as fine silver or gold.  Sometimes it seems as though we are going “through the fire.”  But we can rest in the knowledge that He is simply purifying us and refining us.

Why does He want to purify us?  So that we “may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”  God wants righteousness.  God demands righteousness.  And, through His purifying and refining, He can get it.  Of course, the perfect example of God’s righteousness is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we accept Him as our Saviour, we receive His perfect righteousness.  From there, it becomes a matter of Him purifying us to better serve Him.

How are we holding up under the refining process?  Are we truly coming forth as purified gold or do we have to continually be put back through the fire?


For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.  Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.  Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.  But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Malachi 3:6-7

We looked at the truth that God does not change yesterday.  When we put it in context and couple verse six with verse seven, we get an even more comforting truth.  God does not change and He tells His rebellious people that, although they had “gone away from His ordinances, and had not kept them,” He was still extending His mercy and His grace to them.

He still calls them to “Return unto me…”  Despite the fact that they had “despised His name” and “gone away from His ordinances,” and had caused others to stumble, He still promised to return to them if they would turn to Him.  Of course, they would reject His outstretched hand, but the offer was still there.  God offered them mercy.  God made the way to mercy plain for them.  He had not changed.  He was the same merciful God Who had helped them in the wilderness.  He was the same merciful God Who had led them out of the land of Egypt.  He was the same merciful God Who had fought their battles and led them into the Promised Land.  He was the same merciful God Who had continually forgiven and restored them after their rejection of Him and their rebellion time after time.  He had not changed.

What had changed was the fact that these people absolutely refused to submit and return to Him.  They refused His offer.  They had changed.

That should encourage us.  We are going to fail from time to time.  We are going to have problems.  But God is faithful to return to us if we will return to Him.  Never let us fall into the trap of thinking that we are beyond the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness.

“I Change Not.”

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Malachi 3:6

There has been much made over this statement throughout history, and rightly so.  There are so many different directions you could go with this truth.  There are many applications that you could make from this verse.  It stands as a rock of comfort to those who have put their trust in God.

I am thankful that God does not change.  I can trust in that.  Did you ever stop to think that, if God were to change, all of our faith would be vain.  We could not put our faith in a God Who was constantly changing.  We would never know what He expected from us.  We would constantly be living in fear.  We could have no peace.

Other “gods” change.  Many other “gods” do things on a whim.  They decide to be merciful one day and destroy you the next day.  Imagine trying to serve a “god” like that.

Our God changes not.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is the eternal God.  And He has given us all of His instructions in His eternal Word.  We do not have to doubt what He has said.  It is written down for us.  We do not have to wonder what He will want from us.

It can be a comfort to us to know that He has said that He would never leave us nor forsake us.  And He is not going to change His mind.  He has given us a hope that will not be taken away.  We can rest in and take comfort in His promises because we know that He changes not.

We should thank God today that He changes not!