Summary: Malachi chapter 1. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: Malachi chapter 1 verses 1-14
The world’s easiest test.
(1). The books Outline.
• There are two main ways people look at the book of Malachi;
• You can take your pick as to which you prefer.
(1stway): By questions.
• The book of Malachi is constructed around six key questions:
• So you can divide the book by the six key questions it contains.
• Chapter 1 verse 2b:
• "But you ask, 'How have you loved us?'
"I have loved you," says the LORD.
"But you ask, 'How have you loved us?'
• Chapter 1 verse 6c:
• "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?'
"A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.
"But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?'
• Chapter 2 verse 14:
• “You ask, "Why?"
You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
• Chapter 2 verse 17:
• "How have we wearied him?" you ask.
You have wearied the LORD with your words.
"How have we wearied him?" you ask.
By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?"
• Chapter 3 verse 7:
• "But you ask, 'How are we to return?'
Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.
"But you ask, 'How are we to return?'
• Chapter 3verse 13:
• 'What have we said against you?'
"You have said harsh things against me," says the LORD.
"Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?'
• There are a couple of other secondary questions in the book;
• But these six primary questions are one way to understand the book.
• All these six key questions:
• Reveal an insensitive people and a sensitive God.
(2nd Way): 3 fold division:
• I think this is an easier way to get to grips with the book;
• The book divides into three sections.
(1). GOD AFFIRMS HIS LOVE (CHAPTER 1 VERSES 1-5)
Quote: Verse 2 in The Message:
God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
(2). GOD CONDEMNS THEIR SINS (CHAPTER 1 VERSE 6 TO 2 VERSE 17)
(a). Priests committed two main sins in the book:
• Cheap sacrifices (gave second best to God).
• Popular sermons (told people what they wanted to hear).
(b). People committed five main sins.
• Mixed marriages (married Gentiles).
• Heartless divorce (traded wives like some people trade cars).
• Doubtful questions (unbelief not taking God at his word).
• Unpaid tithes.
• Slanderous talk.
(3). GOD SEEKS THEIR REPENTANCE (CHAPTER 3 VERSE 1 TO CHAPTER 4 VERSE 6)
• The last three verses of the prophecy;
• Are built around the two greatest men in the Old Testament – Moses & Elijah.
• He calls the people to return to the Law that came by Moses;
• And he will send them one more prophet - an Elijah type figure.
(2). The Books setting:
• The background to the Book of Malachi is very similar to that of Haggai and Zechariah.
• Now if you are like me, that probably doesn’t help at all!
• The book was written 100 years after the return of Judah (southern Kingdom);
• From their exile in Babylon.
• The Persian king Cyrus conquered Babylon in 538bc.
• He was a benevolent dictator.
• He told the captives in the land that they could return to their home land;
• Providing they built a temple in which they would pray for him to their God.
So we are picking up the story 100 years after a remnant of Jews;
• Originally about 50,000 had returned to their homeland (Judah - southern Kingdom);
• The temple has been rebuilt and is now complete.
• But these 100 years have not been spiritually good,
• The nation was in decline. Spiritual apathy had set in.
Things were not good;
• The capitol city Jerusalem was still relatively deserted;
• And the farmland was largely barren and uncultivated.
• Recent harvests had been poor;
• And swarms of locusts and lack of food made life hard and precarious.