"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"
Malachi – My Messenger (Part 1 of 2)
(Malachi 1:1 thru Malachi 2:16)
2. In 458 B.C., another group of exiles returned to Jerusalem, led by
a. A priest
b. His work was to teach the people the word of God – Ezra 7:10
3. About 444 B.C., a third group of exiles returned led by Nehemiah…
a. Who became governor
b. Under his leadership, the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt
(Neh chapters 1-6)
c. He, with Ezra, led the people to a great revival (Neh chapters 7-13)
4. Contemporary with Ezra and Nehemiah was another prophet, Malachi…
a. His name means "My Messenger"
1) Certainly Malachi was a messenger of God
2) But he also spoke of God’s messengers to come – Mal 3:1
b. Like Ezra the priest…
1) Malachi attacked the spiritual and moral decay that was
2) Among both priests and people
c. In so doing, he resorted to a new style of teaching
1) Known as the didactic-dialectic method of speaking
2) I.e., making a charge, raising potential objections, and then
3) Which later became common in Jewish schools and synagogues
[In this study, we shall consider several examples of this style of
teaching as we survey the first two chapters. In these chapters we
find Malachi addressing several problems…]
I. THEY WERE DOUBTING GOD’S LOVE
A. EVIDENTLY THEY WERE QUESTIONING GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM…
1. After years of captivity, one might understand why they felt
2. Their return from Babylonian captivity was not without
B. GOD REASSERTS HIS LOVE FOR ISRAEL…
1. Note the didactic-dialectic style – Mal 1:2
a. "I have loved you"
b. "In what way have You loved us?"
c. "Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Yet Jacob I have loved; but
Esau I have hated"
2. God is speaking of Jacob and Esau as the representative of
their descendant nations; God did not hate Esau personally,
but did hate what Edom as a nation had become
3. He goes on to illustrate what He means
a. Edom (the descendants of Esau) had become desolate; despite
their claims to the country, it would remain desolate
– Mal 1:3-4
b. But Israel would one day see the Lord magnified beyond its
border – Mal 1:5
[If the people only observed how Israel was being restored while Edom
remained desolate, they would know God still loved them as a nation.
But perhaps their doubting of God’s love had led to another problem
that was prevalent at that time…]
II. THEY WERE DISHONORING GOD’S NAME
A. BY OFFERING BLEMISHED SACRIFICES – Mal 1:6-11
1. Sons honor their fathers, and servants their masters; but they
were despising God
2. When asked in what way, they are told of their defiled
3. They were offering to God what they would be embarrassed to
4. The Lord would even wish that someone shut the doors so they
could not sacrifice
5. Despite their dishonor, one day God’s name would be great even
among the Gentiles
B. BY OFFERING HALF-HEARTED WORSHIP – Mal 1:12-14
1. They also were profaning God’s name by saying His service is
contemptible and a weariness
2. Those who continued to bring blemished sacrifices would fall
under God’s curse, for He is "a great King"
C. SUCH CORRUPTION WOULD NOT GO UNANSWERED – Mal 2:1-9
1. Addressing the priests directly, the nature of God’s curse is
2. Because they had failed to live up to what was expected of
God’s priests, He will make them base and contemptible
[As Malachi continues, we also learn…]
III. THEY WERE PROFANING GOD’S COVENANT
A. BY MARRYING HEATHEN WOMEN – Mal 2:10-12
1. They were dealing treacherously and profaning the covenant
made with their fathers by marrying pagan women ("the daughter
of a foreign God")
2. The nature of this problem is described in Ezra chapters 9-10; Neh 13:23-24
3. Malachi prays that the Lord will cut off from Jacob those who
do this – Mal 2:12; cf. Ezr 10:7-8; Neh 13:23-28
B. BY DIVORCING THEIR JEWISH WIVES – Mal 2:13-16
1. Despite their weeping, God was no longer regarding their
sacrifices – cf. 1 Pe 3:8
2. For they had dealt treacherously with the wives of the their
youth (i.e., Jewish wives) by divorcing them
a. Even though they had entered into a covenant (e.g., "Till
death do us part")
b. Even though God had made them one (cf. Gen 2:24)
3. Therefore God hates divorce – Mal 2:16
a. For it covers one’s garment with violence (e.g., against
the wife and children)
b. It is treacherous to so deal with one’s spouse in that way!
1. Israel was showing signs of spiritual and moral decay…
a. Failing to appreciate God’s love for them
b. Dishonoring God by offering second-best and half-hearted worship
c. Profaning God’s covenant by disregarding it and their wives
2. These versus are quite relevant for Christians today…
a. As spiritual priests we are to offer spiritual sacrifices
(1 Pe 2:9; Ro 12:1-2)
b. Is our service honoring God? Or do we:
1) Dishonor God by offering less than our best and with
2) Dishonor Him by offering only weak, unenthusiastic service,
refusing to actively participate; If qualified do we refuse
to sing, to lead songs or prayer?
3) Dishonor God by continuously arriving late, missing
part of His worship service?
4) Profane God’s covenant by disregarding the agreement we made
with Him and our wives when we married them?
5) Hinder our worship to God by our treatment of our wives?
c. By avoiding opportunities within the church are we
any better than the priests of Malachi’s day?
Let the book of Malachi be a guide as to when one’s religion is showing
signs of spiritual and moral decay! Certainly God is worthy of our
best, and we should do what we can to make sure these words prove true:
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.
– Malachi 1:11