Aug. 23. Profaned Worship Condemned

Mal. 1:1-2:17

There are uncertainties regarding the authorship and date of the Malachi prophecy. Since the name is defined as my messenger, it is possible that the prophecy was written anonymously by an unnamed prophet. The time frame seems to blend in with a few years of letdown after the exiles from Babylon had rebuilt the temple.

As discouragement overwhelmed the people, they began to question God’s love for them. The prophet reminded them of the choice that He had made between Jacob and Esau. Esau’s descendants, the Edomites had continually interfered with God’s purpose with the Israelites.

God demands and expects reverence, respect and the best that one has. At that point, the Jewish priests had profaned their worship. His requirement for burnt offerings was for the best animals without any blemishes to be offered. BUT the priests had profaned His name and offered stolen, lame and sick animals that would have insulted the governor if offered to him. It was the responsibility of the priests, the sons of Levi to set the proper examples before the people as they led in the worship of the Lord. They had failed in that duty also.

The prophet turned his attention to the relationship of husbands and wives. God had forbidden his people from marrying foreign wives hundreds of years earlier. The prophet’s words perhaps carried a double meaning as he condemned their marital practices. In many respects, the nation Judah had “married” foreign gods instead of remaining faithful to her husband, God. However, Jewish men were divorcing their Jewish wives and marrying foreign women. Marriage is a covenant and they were breaking that covenant. God hates divorce.