Summary: God speaks. We listen. God will tell us what we need to hear, when we need to hear it.

MALACHI is last of all the Minor Prophets.

• His message is given about 80 years after Haggai and Zechariah, and 400 years before Jesus entered the scene.

• By now the Temple has been rebuilt, the people had their own homes, and most likely, the wall of Jerusalem was being rebuilt or had already been completed by NEHEMIAH’s crew.

Life has become routine. In fact, it has gotten into a rut.

• The people and even the professionals (the priests) have lost the joy of worshipping God and living as the people of God.

• God was not completely out, but neither was He really IN their lives.

• You know what I mean? They have the look of religion but no reality. There isn’t any close relationship with God.

And so God speaks! 1:1 says the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi (my messenger).

• The interesting part about this book is that each time God speaks, the people responded with a rebuttal – a question of defence or denial.

• And it happens EIGHT times. We will run through very quickly these 8 rebuttals and by the time we’re done, you’ll get a picture of the state of their condition.

Q1 - 1:2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. BUT YOU ASK, “How have you loved us?”

• God’s answer: “I have chosen to love you.” I have chosen Jacob, remember? Not because of his deed but by My grace and sovereign will.

Q2 - 1:6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor 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?’

Q3 - 1:7 "You place defiled food on my altar. BUT YOU ASK, `How have we defiled you?’

• 1:7b-8 - "By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 8When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.

Q4 - 2:13 “Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.”

• 2:14 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.

• They were divorcing their wives. Yet they flood the Lord’s altar with tears.

Q5 – 2:17 “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?"

• They were condoning evil, and they said it is fine with God, He will not be angry.

Q6 - 3:6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7Ever 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?’

Q7 – 2:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.

• "BUT YOU ASK, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”

Q8 – 3:13 "You have said harsh things against me," says the LORD.

• "YET YOU ASK, `What have we said against you?’

• 3:14 "You have said, `It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’"

Now you get a picture of their true condition?

• The questions aren’t sincere queries. They are denials. “What have I done wrong, tell me.”

• They have turned cold towards God and the things of God. God has lost His place in their heart and lives.

But that’s not the real problem. There will be times we fail God. Our hearts turn cold. We become indifferent about spiritual things, and we fail to honour Him.

• Backsliding does happen, but that’s still not the real issue. Why? Because God speaks.

• God spoke to the people many times, in this book. God spoke many times throughout the period of the prophets.

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