Please Note: Due to problems with the recorder, this audio lesson is incomplete.
Have you ever forgotten something? We forget our keys and lock ourselves out of the house. We forget to call someone back and make them angry. We forget the things we have learned in school. But, how easy is it for us to forget major events in the past? September 11, 2001 is a date that almost all of us remember because it was a major event in our lifetime. Will we ever forget that day? But the next generation will more easily forget that day. Much like my generation does not remember major events like the Kennedy assassination or the events of Vietnam. I imagine none of us remember Pearl Harbor from 1941 because we weren’t living. Without someone reminding us of these things we are prone to forget about them. When we open our Bibles to the book of Malachi, we see that Israel has forgotten something very important.
We have been studying the exile period and seeing how God interacts with his people during a difficult time in Israel’s history. The Jews are living in a time where they are not popular. They are living in a time where the king that is over them is not their king, and God has not fulfilled his promise for another David yet. All of this waiting has made them impatient, and now they are starting to question God. Malachi is a unique book because it gives us ten questions from the people. These questions probably aren’t questions that the people would have asked. However, they represent the people’s attitude toward God, and they reveal people’s hearts.
In Malachi 1:1-6 we read something startling.
Malachi 1:1–3 (ESV) — 1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”
God starts this book by stating what should be evident to every exile everywhere by saying, “I have loved you.” In response, the people show their current condition. They are blind to the wonder of God’s love for them. Daniel saw that love. Ezra and Nehemiah also saw that love. However, this generation has wholly forgotten the love of God toward them. As we continue throughout this book, we see that this is the primary problem that leads to the sin of the people: They do not understand or see God’s love for them. In response to that, God says, “I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.” Esau’s land and people are destroyed and will remain that way, not so with Israel. God is painting a picture for Israel to see what it looks like when he does not love a nation.
Next, he goes into the first of two major sins that the nation has committed.
Malachi 1:6–8 (ESV) — 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
The audio picks up during the reading of this text and continues the lesson…