Nov. 7. Profaned Worship Condemned; Prophecy of the Coming Messenger

Mal. 1:1-2:17; 3:1-4:6

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.

Previous prophets had spoken of the coming King. Malachi spoke of a coming messenger who would prepare the way for that King. He was described as Elijah. Jesus referred to John the Baptist as Elijah, the one who prepared His way (Mt. 11:7-15).

The King was also pictured as a Messenger who would purify the sons of Levi as one would refine gold or silver by purifying it of its impurities in a smelter. Today under Christ, all Christians are priests just as the sons of Levi had been. We have been purified through the blood of Christ in baptism.

When pointing out the transgressions of the Jews, they asked the prophet in what ways had they committed those various acts. Their consciences were so seared that they did not recognize sin. In each case, he described their actions that had displeased God. One cannot question God’s love based upon current circumstances. Sometimes the wicked seem to be blessed while the righteous suffer. The Lord has remembered the faithful. He made note of them and stated, “They shall be Mine…”