Summary: Like a prosecuting attorney, God levels accusations against the nation of Israel.

The Accused People

(Malachi 2:1-17)

1. It gives us great satisfaction when someone gets caught cheating. Bonnie Jones shares this story:

"I was in the express lane at the store quietly fuming. Completely ignoring the sign, the woman ahead of me had slipped into the checkout line pushing a cart piled high with groceries. Imagine my delight when the cashier beckoned the woman to come forward, looked into the cart and asked sweetly, ’So which six items would you like to buy?’"

(Reader’s Digest)

2. But it is not so funny when we are called on the carpet.

Main Idea: Like a prosecuting attorney, God levels accusations against the nation of Israel.

I. God States His CASE (1-17)

A. He Accuses the RELIGIOUS LEADERS (1-9)

1. This does not mean that all the leaders had major issues, but too many did.

Priests and Levites

2. "Life and peace," "reverence," "true instruction," and "uprightness"

3. As the Levites of old, like Phineas:

Numbers 25:1-13 (you can read these verses when you get home)

4. The priests in Malachi’s time were supposed to teach and model the law, but instead they were corrupt

5. This gave rise to the Rabbinic and Pharisaical movement under Ezra….Non-priests became Israel’s teachers…

6. How was this prophecy of God punishing the priests fulfilled? Collectively, as God’s wrath built through the centuries until finally in 70AD, almost 500 years later, the Temple was destroyed…

7. Much like God’s dispossessing the Canaanites (Genesis 15:16b)

B. He Accuses Those Who Have Married PAGAN Wives (10-12)

1. Deuteronomy 22:10 "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together."

2. 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…"

3. I Corinthians 7:39, "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord."

C. He Accuses Those Who Divorced Their Wives for Younger WOMEN (13-16)

1. How we treat our spouse has spiritual ramifications for us; you can cry all you want before God (14), but if you continue with an unrepentant heart, He will not hear you!

2. I Peter 3:7, " Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

3. Psalm 66:18, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…"

Central Focus: Repent (10-17)

Some people love to whine about their problems, but they really do not want them solved or corrected…Example: wife of an alcholic wants her husband to give up the bottle… but sometimes, not really; it excuses her from being the wife she should be; marriages often break up…

Because of this insincerity on a human level, some people do not think God really wants people to repent and change --they think it is just God gripe…

4. "Did He not make one?"

5. God took one rib from Adam…

6. Divorce allowed and regulated, but (somebody’s) sin is always at its root

D. He Accuses Those Who Have Become NEGATIVE Toward God (17)

Main Idea: Like a prosecuting attorney, God levels accusations against the nation of Israel.

II. We Draw PRINCIPLES from God’s Statements

A. Quality leadership is CENTRAL to a solid church (1-9)

1. Many view church as an "anything goes" proposition. One man reported this: "The other day, I passed a sign on a small truck with a pro-customer service motto: ’Gene’s Hauling—Satisfaction Guaranteed or Double Your Trash Back.’" Reader’s Digest

2. People measure a church by its building, names, or programs; but so many will settle for spiritual junk, as long as it feels religious

3. If the leaders of a church do not believe the Bible, seriously study the Bible, teach the Bible, and seek to obey the Bible, the church may prosper and perform many noble functions, but it does not meet God’s quality standards for a church…

B. Rear our children to marry only BELIEVERS (10-12)

Intermarriage meant excommunication (v. 12).

1. defining "believer" and "unbeliever"

2. begins with dating

3. "every date a potential mate"

4. notebook and the insanity of romantic love

Limerence [from Wikipedia]

Limerence can often be what is meant when one expresses "having a crush" on (or infatuation with) someone else although limerence, unlike a crush, can last months, years or even a lifetime. It is characterized by intrusive thinking and pronounced sensitivity to external events that reflect the disposition of the limerent object towards the individual. It can be experienced as intense joy or as extreme despair, depending on whether the feelings are reciprocated.

The physiological correlations of limerence are heart palpitations, trembling, pallor, flushing, pupil dilation and general weakness. Awkwardness, stammering, shyness, and confusion predominate at the behavioral level. There is apprehension, nervousness, and anxiety due to terrible worry that any action may bring about disaster.

C. Parental choices have IMPACT on children (vs. 15)

1. Often marital breakups are viewed as betrayals by children…and sometimes they are…

2. Some Jews understood the "godly offspring" to refer to the Messiah

3. But another possibility is simply that children from divorced homes are affected

4. Because God hates divorce does not mean that it is always wrong (vs. 16)

John Gill, "The Jews were very much inclined to divorce their wives upon very trivial occasions; if they did not dress their food well, were not of good behaviour, or not so modest as became the daughters of Israel; if they did not find favour with their husbands; and, especially, if they had entertained a hatred of them: so says R. Judah {k},

"if he hate her, let him put her away:’’

but this is by some of them restrained to a second wife; for of the first they say,

"it is not proper to be hasty to put away a first wife; but a second, if he hates her, let him put her away {l}’’

and R. Eleazer says {m}, whoever divorces his first wife, even the altar sheds tears for him, referring to the words in Mal 2:13 and divorces of this kind they only reckon lawful among the Israelites, and found it upon this passage; for so they make God to speak after this manner {n},

"in Israel I have granted divorces; among the nations of the world I have not granted divorces. R. Chananiah, in the name of R. Phinehas, observes, that in every other section it is written, "the Lord of hosts"; but here it is written, "the God of Israel", to teach thee that the holy blessed God does not put his name to divorces (or allow them) but in Israel only. R. Chayah Rabba says, the Gentiles have no divorces.’’

But some of them have better understanding of these words, and more truly give the sense of them thus, as R. Jochanan does, who interprets them,

"the putting away of the wife is hateful {o};’’

it is so to God, and ought not to be done by men but in case of adultery, as our Lord has taught, Mt 5:32 and which was the doctrine of the school of Shammai in Christ’s time, who taught,

"that no man should divorce his wife, unless he found in her filthiness;’’

i.e. that she was guilty of adultery; though this Maimonides restrains to the first wife, as before: but the house of Hillell, who lived in the same time, was of a different mind, and taught that

"if she burnt his food;’’

either over dressed or over salted it, according to De 24:1. R. Akiba says, if he found another more beautiful than her, according to De 24:1, he might divorce her"

5. So "easy divorce" in not unique to our day

6. Staying together for the kids IS important, but a better attitude is this: we signed up for life; since we are going to be in this together for life, we has best make the best of it!

D. Get real: BAD things happen to good people (vs. 17)

• Do not ignore this issue, but process it…

• Out of fear, many Christians presume that, if they behave well, nothing really bad will happen to them; the implication is that those to whom bad things happen must have somehow deserved it

• who sinned, this man or his parents…