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Summary: This message shows God's attitude towards casual and insincere worship...

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THE GREAT BURDEN OF GOD

TEXT: Malachi (selected verses) Dr. W. Max Alderman

INTRODUCTION: It was about four hundred years before Christ was born that the Book of Malachi was given. The Lord was greatly burdened by the way that Israel had turned from God in their affections and in their zeal for Him to the place of only satisfying themselves. Anytime ones affection is cooled towards God and increased towards something else, that something else becomes a god. He said: “Have no other gods before me”.

Perhaps more than turning to other God’s they were just going through the motions in their worship, and they certainly were not at all careful in their worship, but instead they had become casual. Staying casual long enough will then make you to become calloused. I want to examine “The Great Burden of God” and show how we should be careful and devoted in our worship of God lest we be or become casual and find ourselves just going through the motions.

I. THE REVEALING OF HOW GOD WAS BURDENED…

For one to have a clearer understanding of why God was burdened, one needed to understand what is really going on. It had been around 100 years since the Jews had returned to Palestine. The walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the second temple had been built, and then after the initial revival had taken place, the people were found to be worshipping God with great joy. Now, things are much different…the people and certainly the priests had only become mechanical in their worship, or as already stated, they were just going through the motions. This is a picture of where many of our churches are, and it is devastating. It is devastating because God has to be equally burdened at who we have become when we are only going through the motions. This describes the Laodicean Church Age, where many of our churches are neither cold nor hot…just lukewarm.

A. LOOK AT THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD BURDEN…

BURDEN.—The word so rendered in the OT is derived from a root which means to ‘lift’ or ‘carry.’ It has the two senses of an actual burden and a prophetic utterance. Instances of the former are 2Ki 5:17, Neh 13:19, Num 4:15. Related usages are frequent; in Isa 22:25 the word suggests the pressure of something hanging on a peg, or something heavy or something to be borne…as upon a beast of burden.

B. LOOK AT A DESCRIPTION OF THE WORD BURDEN…

I especially like this word picture of the word burden that I discovered in my studies. The word burden is described by the heavy weight that the donkey or burrow carries, and as he does, it is so heavy that it causes its legs to bend out. In our Text, God is carrying such a burden. It is just like the God of omnipotence is saying that this burden is so heavy that it weighs me down and I am like a little donkey carrying such a heavy load. That is such a graphic way of describing what God is feeling when He says, “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.”

II. THE REASONS FOR WHY GOD WAS BURDENED…

For these next sub points, I borrow from Warren Weirsbe and make minor changes. I do not know how I can improve on the way that he worded these points, but I am putting my own meat upon the skeleton. It was like one said, you may get your milk from a lot of different cows, but you need to do your own churning. So, I am churning my own butter.

A. The Doubting of God’s Love…(1:1-5)

In verse number two, when I see the questioning of God’s love, that tells me that they had become very selfish. Their selfishness had begun to consume them. A person who has a stingy spirit towards God is a very selfish person. The Lord gives a very good answer that reveals His electing love, that God is also sovereign, not in a fatalist sense as some would contend, but in the sense that He is God and He need not and should not be questioned, or be answerable to anyone, as these backslidden Israelites had done and supposed. The example given in our Text is that of his loving Jacob and hating Esau. This way of expressing such is a means where God chose by His own volition to show His covenant blessings upon whom He desired, and in doing so, showed that loving acceptance to the brother who was perhaps less deserving than the other brother. This is one of the ways that God shows us that His love is not based upon anything that we do, but upon His grace alone.

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