Giving God The Honor Due Unto Him
– Malachi One –
It is observed from Malachi one that this is a message from the Lord. Malachi is identified as a prophet of God. This is the last book in our Old Testament. A period of four hundred years passed between Malachi and Matthew, the first New Testament book. This little book contains a warning from God encouraging the Jews to turn back to Him. It is of note to observe that the Old Testament ends with a call for repentance and the New Testament begins with the cry of John the Baptist calling men to repentance. We read, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:1-2) The Jews of Malachi's day needed to repent because a son honors his father and a servant honors his master but the Jews did not honor God. (Malachi 1:6) The plea of Malachi was that the people would return to God.
Malachi's message was especially directed to the priests. They were offering polluted and defiled animals in sacrifice. God had commanded, "And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God." (Deuteronomy 15:21) However, even though the people had turned from God He still loved them and wanted them to return to Him. Let us learn that God is never pleased when we do not obey His commands. The principle is always true; God blesses obedience, but chastises disobedience.
God continued to love His people -- Malachi 1:1-5: The Jews had become disobedient in their sacrifices and in their living. Malachi pictured the fact that God continued to love them even in their rebellion. All that we know about Malachi is that he is God's prophet. His message is a very strong message of repentance. Malachi is the practical prophet writing about daily things like sacrificial worship, the work of the priests, marriage and divorce, tithing, and the coming of the Redeemer. Many of the things in Malachi correspond to the events described by Nehemiah. Malachi likely added to the work started by Nehemiah. Malachi used questions and answers as a great way of teaching God's message. This was a heavy message because it was described as "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi." (Malachi 1:1) Malachi reminded the people that God continued to love the Jews in spite of their rebellion. God's love for the Jewish nation was pictured by the prophet. He chose this people to be the nation through whom the Messiah would be born. The proof of God's love for the Jews was seen in that they were His chosen nation. God rejected Esau and the nations that descended from him and chose Jacob and his descendants. Descendants of Esau could be saved but they were not the chosen nation through which the Messiah came. God gave the Jews His Law, the Temple, priests, prophets, His care and finally the Messiah. The Jews were under God's care but the Edomites experienced His wrath.
Polluted sacrifices were rejected -- Malachi 1:6-8: Worship should be a time of genuine praise and thanksgiving to God. Israel sacrificed to God, not because of His need but because of their need. Psalm 50:12 says, "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof." Sadly, the Jews did not take their worship seriously. They brought less than their best to God. They brought polluted bread and animals that were blind, lame or sick as their sacrifices. When they brought God these inferior gifts they were saying that they placed very little value on Him. The attitude of the Jews in worship showed both selfishness and indifference. Their so called worship was disrespectful to God. God said, "And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts." (Malachi 1:8) The priests were directly responsible for the people being able to despise the name of God in such a disgraceful way. The priest did this and yet said, "Wherein have we despised thy name?" (Malachi 1:6) The animal sacrifices had to do with atonement for sin and a less than perfect animal would not do. Even their governor would not accept their worthless sacrifices. The attitudes and actions of the people were contemptible to God.
Seek the Lord and obey Him -- Malachi 1:9-11: It was vain for the Jews to seek or claim God's mercy when they were offering such inferior service to Him. This worthless worship was brought about by their own greed. The Jews were so greedy and so selfish that they would not even close a door without expecting to be rewarded for it. Gentiles would do better in keeping the New Covenant than the Jews did under Judaism. When the gospel was preached the sacrifice of Jesus reached all nations, including Gentiles. It is in vain to seek God's mercy while continuing in rebellion against His will. Malachi knew that the hope for the Jews was to repent and to ask God for forgiveness. (Malachi 1:9) The people were guilty and urgently needed to pray for forgiveness. It would be better to shut the door of the Temple and not allow any sacrifice than to offer worthless sacrifices to God. It would be better not to light a fire than to burn inferior sacrifices to the Almighty. True worship must be according to God commandments and it must come from our heart.
A change of attitude is necessary -- Malachi 1:12-14: The Jews were profaning the service of God. They were treating God’s worship as a common, everyday activity. God never asked more of a person than they were able to do. These Jews had fit animals for sacrifice and yet they refused to give God their best. Their attitude toward God was so bad that it was about to lead to their destruction. The priest said, "There is nothing special about the Lord's altar, and these sacrifices are worthless." The Jews were disgusted with God's requirements saying they were weariness and they snuffed at God or made vulgar signs at Him. They so disregard God that they brought stolen animals to offer to Him. God said, "Instead of offering the acceptable animals you have promised, you bring me those that are unhealthy. I will punish you for this, because I am the great King, the LORD All-Powerful, and I am worshipped by nations everywhere." God will not accept false worship. Observe, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)
Those who serve God are blessed and those that rebel are punished. Is it your desire to honor God? If so it is time to become a Christian now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)
f the Godly Man
– Psalm One –
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalms 1:1-6)
God’s people must live a godly life. Paul wrote, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Titus 2:11-12) Godliness has to do with reverence for God and living a life of holiness in the world. The godly person is committed to obeying God daily. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (1 Timothy 6:6-7) Psalm one describes this godly life both from a negative and from a positive viewpoint.
THE NEGATIVE VIEW:
The godly person does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. (Psalm 1:1) The ungodly have no fear of the Lord before their eyes so their counsel will consistently be incorrect. In contrast to the wicked the blessed man will avoid all appearances of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
The godly person does not stand in the way of sinners. (Psalm 1:1) When you take the road that sinners take you will be hurt by them. The way or road of sinners always leads to misery. "Sinners bear the fruit of unrighteousness and await condemnation, while saints bear the fruit of righteousness and await glorification."
The godly person does not sit in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1) The scornful are those that ridicule Christianity and laugh at those who fear the Lord. Proverbs 29:8 says, "Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath."
The godly person does delight in God's word as he meditates on it day and night. (Psalm 1:2) We must make God's word our daily delight. Nothing should appeal to us more than learning God's word. As we spend time with God's word we come to know Him better. "I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word." (Psalms 119:16)
The godly person does live a fruitful life. (Psalm 1:3) God's desire is that we bear fruit. "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." (Philippians 4:17) Those that we lead to Christ are our fruit. "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles." (Romans 1:13) Godly character is also called fruit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Jesus said, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away." (John 15:2)
The godly person will stand in Judgment, but the ungodly will perish. (Psalm 1:5-6) The habits of the ungodly are destructive. They lead to damnation. The righteous are promised success. The Psalm says, "His leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psalm 1:3) The greatest success of the righteous is salvation on the Day of Judgment.
Are you righteous? Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. Those that become children of God have reason to rejoice. (Acts 8:39) Rejoicing follows man's response to God's good news of forgiveness by the death of Jesus.