Summary: We need to accept the truth that God loves us.
1. Phillip Keller wrote about a border collie that he bought to herd sheep for him. The collie was inexpensive because it was an ill-tempered and unpredictable dog. The dog was less then friendly and did not trust him. At sometime it had been abused and badly neglected.
He had to keep the dog in a cage, but approached it will words of praise – the dog refused to even eat. He realized that if something didn’t happen the dog would literally starve to death. So he set the dog free and it took off. Phillip figured that was the end of that, but left food out for the dog just in case he wandered back.
The day came with he spotted the dog up on a ridge watching him, and he called out to it but again it ran off. That evening the food he set out was gone, and as time when on that dog allowed him to put his hand on its head and became a constant companion and reliable worker with the sheep.
2. Many of us feel like that dog, living in a Fallen place, among a Fallen race we not only hurt others but get hurt ourselves. We distrust people. But then God comes with unbelievable love, mercy, and grace through Jesus Christ. It takes time but we begin to recover.
3. A Declaration of Divine Affection.
Malachi 1:1-5 (NKJV)
1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have You loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" Says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved;
3 But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness."
4 Even though Edom has said, "We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places," Thus says the LORD of hosts: "They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the LORD will have indignation forever.
5 Your eyes shall see, And you shall say, 'The LORD is magnified beyond the border of Israel.'
In the opening of this book we have a Proclamation, the burden of the word of the LORD.” It was Weighty, a burden which can also be translated oracle; It refers to “a prophetical message of a threatening nature.” It was also with Authority, “the word of the LORD.”
The People, “to Israel” a title originally for all 12 Tribes until 931 BC when the Nation split 10 tribes going north called Israel, and 2 tribes going south called Judah. In 722 BC, the Assyrians took Israel captive, and Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians 587 BC, but returned under Zerubbable, Ezra, and then Nehemiah.
Malachi writing between 450-430 BC, once again addressed not Judah but Israel, referring to the entire 12 tribes revealing that he nation was not lost but still in existence.
(Ja. 1:1/Rev. 7)
The Prophet, Malachi meaning “my messenger” was the last prophetic voice of the OT prophets followed by a 400 year silence. We know very little about Malachi.
I. First, we have God’s love Documented. 1:2
I have loved you – a perfect tense in the Hebrew, indicating action finished in the past but continuing in its effects into the present. [Hebrew syntax Davidson]