The Book of Malachi presents God speaking back in answer to the proud cries of the self righteous. Despite all of the rebellion and unfaithfulness and smugness in their confidence in religious externals, God in His compassion still professes His love for His elect people and lays out for them the choice between blessing and cursing as He calls them to repentance. He takes up each of their outrageous denials in turn and blasts them with specific examples of their unfaithfulness in order to expose their self righteousness and shock them into repentance. He points them to the future coming of the promised Messiah who will be preceded by an appropriate forerunner. The time is now to get their act in order before they are laid low in judgment. Then God will fall silent for the next 400 years and not be heard again until the days of John the Baptist and the Messiah.
God Rebukes The Proud Cries Of The Self Righteous And Calls Them To Repentance
Malachi 3:13 “‘Your words have been arrogant against Me,’ says the Lord. ‘Yet you say,’What have we spoken against Thee?””
Answering 7 Key Questions
I. (1:1-5) How Has God Loved Us? — The Lord’s compassion gives hope and softens the blow of His rebuke of the proud cries of the self righteous
II. (1:6 – 2:9) How Have We Disrepected The Name Of The Lord? — The Lord rebukes the self righteous priests for offering sub-standard worship
III. (2:10-16) Why Have We Been Denied The Favor Of Our God? — The Lord rebukes the self righteous people for profaning the sacred covenant of marriage
IV. (2:17 – 3:6) How Have We Questioned The Integrity Of God’s Justice? — God promises to demonstrate His justice and purify His people when He sends His special messenger of the covenant to establish righteous worship
V. (3:7-12) How Can We Repent If We Don’t Know Where We Have Gone Wrong? — God rebukes the self righteous people for robbing Him of His due tithes and offerings
VI. (3:13-15) How Have We Spoken Arrogantly Against God? — God rebukes the self righteous people for denying the value of obeying and serving God
VII. (3:16 – 4:6) How Will The Righteous Be Clearly Distinguished From The Wicked? — God will remove the blurring of the distinction between the righteous and the wicked
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• To appreciate God’s love and compassion and faithfulness and offer of forgiveness in spite of our repeated failings.
• To focus on the heart of God which values internal righteousness rather than the routine performance of external religious functions.
• To draw us back to the heart of worship and elevate our sacrifices to the standard of excellence that befits our majestic God.
• To honor the holiness and jealousy of God by refraining from marrying unbelievers.
• To elevate our commitment to the sanctity of marriage as a divinely blessed union of one man and one woman for life.
• To reinforce our confidence in the value of serving God and remaining faithful.
• To increase our hope in the Second Coming as we wait with anticipation for the coming of our Lord and Savior.
David Malick: Yahweh’s repeated indictments of the postexilic people and their leaders of covenant disobedience prepare them for his future coming when they will either be blessed or cursed in accordance with their response.
Ray Stedman: This entire book is a series of responses on the part of the people to the challenges of God. Seven times you will find them saying, “How? How does this happen? Prove it.” As we go through them you can see how they reveal the state of this people’s heart. Here is an outgoing God — and God is always this way, pouring out love — but here is a callous people who have become so indifferent and so unresponsive to God that in perfect sincerity they can say, “We don’t see this. What do you mean? Why do you say these things to us?” Throughout the book, this is the theme.
Charles Ryrie: About 100 years had passed since the return of the Jews to Palestine. The city of Jerusalem and the second Temple had been built, but initial enthusiasm had worn off. Following a period of revival under Nehemiah (Neh. 10:28-39), the people and priests had backslidden and become mechanical in their observance of the Law. Though lax in their worship (1:7) and delinquent in their tithing (3:8), they could not understand why God was dissatisfied with them.
G. Campbell Morgan: The Complaints of Jehovah — This then was the spirit of the age. Formalism, ritual, ceremonial -everything so far as mechanical and outward observance – complete. A Divine messenger came voicing the complaint of God, and the people in astonishment and anger, and with marked impertinence, looked into the very face of high heaven and said, “We don’t see this thing at all – Wherein?” And all this because God’s appointed messengers have themselves, in life, and work, and conversation corrupted the covenant, and have passed into the region of baseness and contempt in the eyes of the people.
Goddard: The dread Day of the Lord shall come (3:2; 4:1,5), but the righteous need not fear, for God cares for his own (3:16,17; 4:2,3). The prophet ever pleads, directly or indirectly, with a people who are rebels against their covenant head. In loving tones of invitation he urges them to return to the God whom they have forsaken – lest they be destroyed in the day of judgment.