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

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.”


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