Key Verses: Malachi 1:14b, 2:10b
“For I am a GREAT KING,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“And My name is to be feared among the nations.”
…Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
Almost 100 years had passed since the Temple was rebuilt and since the people had heard the powerful preaching of Haggai and Zechariah. Malachi tells us that the priests had grown tired of the daily routine and that corruption was evident. This was manifested in the failure to pay their tithes and give their offerings (reading for tomorrow), as well as their marriages to wives who were not followers of the true God. Some had divorced their Jewish wives and married foreign women.The leaders in the Temple were going through the motions of worship, even showing strong emotions (Malachi 2:13). Covering “the altar of the Lord with tears” was not acceptable to God when at the same time they were living in sin as shown by their unfaithfulness in their marriages. The last four verses in today’s reading point this out. As shown in our key verses, the people no longer feared God as they once did. They were profaning, showing disrespect and irreverence for the Covenant (the most solemn and binding commitment possible between two parties), which their fathers had made with God. The evidence of this was in their disobedience to God, going through the motions of worship, even showing strong emotions, but living in sin continually.
The “love” and “hate” spoken of in Malachi 1:2 refers to Jacob (Israel) and the neighbouring nation of Edomites, descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. We know from many Scriptures that God loves the individual person but hates the sin represented by the persistent evil practised by nations in their culture and deeds. Yes, Israel sinned too, but the difference was that Israel repented of her sins on a regular basis and reversed corrupt practises, lining up with God’s Word every three or four generations. May God grant us another wave of repentance and obedience to His unchanging Word!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I confess You as my “Great King!” I recognize Your absolute authority over my life. My tears do not prove repentance; obedience does! I pray that the grace to repent, to turn away from living in sin, will be manifested 24/7 in my life. I ask this in the Name of the One who never sinned and, therefore, had no need of repentance, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
The “wife of my youth” (Malachi 2:14-15) was 19 and I was 22 when we entered what I regard as an unbreakable covenant, our marriage. She is sleeping as I write this in the early morning. We’ll be married 58 years this coming September 19th. She spends much time in prayer before she sleeps. I’m too sleepy then, so I have my prayer time when I awake refreshed most mornings (at my age, 79, an afternoon sleep is essential!). Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, summed it up in a humorous way when she was asked if she ever considered divorce from Billy. She said, “Murder sometimes, but divorce never!” When Norma-Jean and I gave our word (our most sacred possession) “until death do us part,” it meant just that. Obedience to our covenant with God means working through the problems and never giving up!
The other evidence of withdrawing from obedience to God is in the area of tithing…that 10% off the top of our entire income. Malachi points out that failure to PAY our tithes is actually stealing from God, as it is His, not ours. I’m jumping ahead here to Malachi 3 because of its extremely important message. These are almost the final words of the Bible which Jesus and His Apostles read and believed. We begin to GIVE back to God only when we give offerings over and above the tithe (alms for needy people, as well as for soul-winning ministries such as Crossroads, etc.). Obedience to God is a must, both in our marriages and in our tithes and offerings. Jesus and His disciples would have read Malachi and put into practice the teaching on tithes and offerings. I make no apologies for believing that these two areas of human behaviour represent the minimum level of commitment to God so that, as my father prayed in my hearing every day when I was a child, “O God, may the smile of Your approval be on my life this day.”
Yours for a revival of faith and obedience in every generation, not just every 100 years,