Explore the Bible Series
August 12, 2007
Background Passage: Malachi 1:1-14
Lesson Passage: Malachi 1:1-2; 6-14
Introduction: The Bible does not reveal much information about the identity of the Prophet Malachi.† In fact, the name Malachi, which means ďmessengerĒ, may be a title rather than a proper name.† Some ancient sources link this book with the scribe Ezra.† While Bible students should avoid dogmatism at this point, Edward J. Young points out that no other Old Testament prophecy comes to us as an anonymous writing, and it seems unlikely this book breaks that pattern
While we know little about the authorís life, we may make
several observations about the time of composition.† It appears, for instance, that the prophet
wrote after the rebuilding of the
The Reformation Study
Bible gives a helpful summary of the content of the book.† It points out that Malachi preached to a
disillusioned, disappointed, and discouraged people.† The promise and zeal of the early years after
the return to
This book, therefore, acts as a great correction and encouragement to those who find themselves in discouraging circumstances.† Malachi confronted these circumstances in a dialogical style; that is, he raised questions that revealed the heart-sins of the people.† After raising these problems, Malachi offered corrections to their errant thinking.† This wonderful book provides a masterful example of the importance of theology.† Moreover, it also describes well the connection between theology and behavior. The way people think influences the way they behave, and theology, rightly held, always affects the way people act.† The Prophecy of Malachi has great practical and pastoral value, and we should approach this study with great anticipation of Godís help and blessing.
I. A Dismal View of the Love of God (1:1-5): ďHow have you loved us?Ē
A. doubt concerning the love of God (v. 2a):† In this bleak circumstance, the Jews had come to question the love of God.† The prophets promised great restoration and renewal of his people; yet, the people remained in discouraging circumstances, and no help appeared on the horizon.† They made a horrendous charge against the Lord, a charge that grew out of their doubt and discouragement. These things seem evident:
1. The Jews were not exempt from the common sufferings of the human race.†
2. The Jews had experienced a severe chastening because of their persistent idolatry and moral indiscretions.
3. The Jews had, for some time, endured the ridicule of their enemies.† In particular, men like Sanballet and Tobiah had mocked and threatened them. Godís people will, according to teachings of Christ, experience these things.
4. The Jews were immersed in self-pity, and this attitude had twisted their theological understanding.
5. Above all, the Jews were not enjoying the presence and glory of God.† Their poor doctrine, as we shall see, produced a joyless, inadequate, heartless formalism in worship.†
had shown great grace by choosing
had remained faithful to his covenant despite the spiritual and moral failures
showed great mercy to
4. God invited these failing people to return to him and repent of their sins.
II. A Distressing Pattern of Perfunctory Worship (1:6-14)
cross-examination (v. 6): In this section, Jehovah went on the
motive for their sin (v. 7): They despised the Lordís table by bringing
infirmed animals.† This transgression
proceeded from a heart full of hate.† How
ironic?† They had accused God of failing
in his love, but
2. the effects of their sin (vv. 8-9):
a. They gave greater honor to men (the governor) than they did to God.† In a sense, they recreated the idolatry of their fathers; that is, they gave honor, due to the Lord alone, to a man.
offered ďleftoversĒ to Jehovah, and kept the best for themselves.† What a spectacle this must have been.† The Mosaic Law demanded that the people bring
the first and best of their flocks for sacrifice to God, but these people brought
whatever they did not want or need.† In
fact, good husbandmen would not want these informed beasts to reproduce.† What better way to enrich themselves and
strengthen their flocks than to offer these animals at the
Questions for Discussion: