Drinking Deeply

Thursday, July 06, 2006 at 9:28 PM

Malachi 3

Malachi 3: The Lord will answer

Judgment will come (3:1-5)

Hear! I will send my messenger and he will prepare the way. Then the Lord whom you seek will come, the messenger of the covenant, he is coming. But who can stand his coming? He will refine you and purify you. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them, and they will bring pleasing offerings. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord once again. I will judge you, I will judge the sorcerers, the adulterers, those who lie, who oppress the hired worker an the widow and the fatherless, against all those who do not fear me.

It's very interesting how both John the Baptist (the messenger who will prepare the way) and Jesus (the messenger of the covenant), are both referred to as the messenger. After the ending of Malachi 2 with people asking “where is the Lord?” God responds, “The day of the Lord will come.” And judgment begins at home. It begins with the priests of Levi, then it moves on to those who do not fear the Lord. This includes all those previously referenced as well as those who oppress the weak.

Robbing God (3:6-12)

I am God unchanging, thus you have not been consumed. This is in spite of the fact that you have turned away from my statutes. Now, turn and I will turn to you! How? Return in your tithing! You have been robbing me, so you have been cursed by me. Bring the full tithes, so that there may be food in my house, and put me to test and I will rain down blessings upon you! hen all the nations will call you blessed.

Here's a key passage on tithing. Yes, we can't get legalistic about it, which I think is a good reason why God begins by rebuking the lack of fear and honor, and thus gets to the root of the matter, but returns to the promise. The reason Israel hasn't been consumed was because God was unchanging. (I have loved you!) Yet there is an obligation to tithe, so that there would be food in the Lord's house, food for the priests.

Stop Whining (3:13-15)

Your words have been hard against me. How? You have complained that it is useless to serve God, that there is no benefit to walk as in fear of me. And now you say that it is the unrighteous that are blessed, that evildoers escape.

All too often our own words sound like this. How often do we wonder if there is any benefit to serving the Lord. We can look out at the world and see wealthy and healthy pagans. But God rebukes them, and God rebukes us. Stop whining!

As to the rest (3:16-18)

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord. “They shall be mine, in the day when I call my own. I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not.”

God makes clear the contrast between the whiners and those who feared the Lord. The righteous put together a book of remembrance. God had been faithful! God is faithful! He just said that he loved us. He just said that we were not consumed in spite of our sins. And God promises that the distinction will be made, that justice will be served. Whoa.


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Blogger soulvitamin said...

Hi. How refreshing to find some fresh, clean air on the internet! I enjoy your commentary on Malachi. Check out my Prayer Power blog sometime and be blessed!
http://powerthruprayer.blogspot.com. God bless you and return His tithes because He loves you and has blessed you! *-)  


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