Summary: God’s love for His people is everlasting and unchanging.
The Book of Malachi is the transition link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It has been called, “the skirt and boundary of Christianity.” Malachi announces the advent of the Great Messenger of the New Testament. He supports the labors of Ezra, the priest, and Nehemiah, the governor of Judah. He addresses the profane and corrupt character of the priests, the people’s marriages with foreigners, the non-payment of tithes, and a lack of sympathy towards
Parts of Malachi are written in the form of a debate. God makes a statement of truth that is denied by the people. In His rebuttal, God refutes the denial in great detail, restating and proving the truth of His original statement.
Although the priests and people were violating God’s Law, negligent in their worship and delinquent in their tithing they could not understand why God was dissatisfied with them. They were claiming God no longer loved them. Through Malachi God reveals to the priests and people why He is displeased with them, but reminds them of the love He has bestowed upon them.
The debate between the Lord, the priests and the people opens with the Lord’s response to the doubting of the compassion of the Lord and a demonstration of His compassion.
God’s Love doubted
Verse two - “I have loved you, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have you loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? declares the Lord. Yet I have loved Jacob;”
This verse reveals the extent of the ingratitude of those who doubt the compassion of the Lord. The Lord, through Malachi, told the doubters He has loved the descendants of Jacob and still loves them, above all other people, even the other descendants of Abraham and Isaac.
In this one word, “love,” all the Lord’s gracious dealings with the sons of Jacob are summed up. Their doubting reveals a lack of a suitable response to the love the Lord has extended to them. Instead they question His love. They challenge the Lord to produce proof He loves them.
The foundation of the ingratitude of these people, as well as the people of this age, is the insensibility to the Lord’s love and to their own wickedness. They believed the taking away their prosperity was all the evidence they needed to doubt the love of the Lord. Rather than consider what has been given to them they were looking at what was taken away. They were blinded by their determination to accumulate the temporal comforts of life. They didn’t see the freedom to return to the land they loved was evidence of the love of the Lord. Today, there are people in the church who have lost sight of the great freedom that has been given to them through God’s love. Like the Israelites they have been blinded by their determination to accumulate temporal comfits and pleasures of this life.
When we are going through a troublesome situation and it appears we are alone and have no one we can turn to for comfort we must not let the enemy of our soul use our situation and feelings to get us to doubt the love of the Lord. Even when the Lord is correcting us for what we have done, are doing or are not doing, that is contrary to His will, we must not think the correction is a sign the Lord no longer loves us. If we only remember God’s love is not like man’s love. His love is unchanging. Instead of blaming the Lord for the problems and troubles we encounter in this life we need to recognize the proper source of the problems and troubles, our disobedience or the disobedience of others that often has negative effects upon the lives of the children of the Lord.
What is often overlooked when we read verse two is, both Jacob and Esau were objects of God’s love. The word “hated” is generally taken out of the context of the answer to the question asked by the priests and the people. They were gifts from God. They were an answer to prayer. Isaac had prayed many years, the Lord would bless him with a son. God blessed him with two sons.
When Rebecca realized she would give birth to two children she was greatly concerned because, “The children struggled together within her” (Genesis 25:22). She wanted to know why was this struggle taking place if this was the will of the Lord. Like Rebecca, we often experience problems and troubles we weren’t expecting when we are in the center of God’s will. This can cause us to be discontent and uneasy and ask questions.
There was much more going on in the womb of Rebecca. She was about to bring into this world two sons who will be the fathers of two nations. Like the two sons these two nations will be different in their manners and dispositions. The struggle between the two sons was over service. According to God’s will the elder will serve the younger. For many years the Edomites, the descendents of the elder (Esau) was subject to the house of David, a descendant the younger (Jacob), till they revolted and set up a king to rule over them (2nd Chronicles 21:8).