For God So Loved the World…

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We first examined the hope that God has provided to mankind, that will fill the void that exists in every human being. God has given us a hope of eternal life through the sacrifice of His Son. Last week we examined the joy that accompanies our found relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What greater joy can there be than to experience the forgiveness of our sins and the knowledge of eternal life that comes from our choice to receive God’s gift of salvation? Today, we will examine the love of God that both provided us with the means of salvation and keeps us from returning to our old ways and the ultimate separation from God that results from rejecting God’s gift of eternal life.

  • Malachi received a message from God in response to the Jews pattern of arguing with God.
    • Here, Malachi identifies their challenge of God’s character

2:17 – You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?” When you say, “Everyone who does what is evil is good in the LORD’S sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?

  • The Hebrew word for “wearied” literally means to be exhausted from labor
  • This phrase is figurative and not literal

Isaiah 40:28 – Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.

  • It is what happens when we (or in this case God) become weary with the continual barrage of those who dwell in words with no action. – This was the case of the religious Jews in Judah
  • Making things worse, when confronted with their lack of commitment to God, they ask “How have we failed?” or “What did we do?”
  • 1 – God responds to man’s attitude of complacency
    • See! – This encapsulates God’s answer to mankind’s attempt to make what is Godly wrong and what is carnal right – The Hebrew would literally be translated, “Just Wait!”
    • “My messenger” – This is God’s word and it is a response to the flippant attitude of humanity that is trying to dictate its upside-down agenda to God
      • The messenger here is Malachi himself, with a message that is not what the Israelites are looking for – a message of repentance
      • His message is to “prepare the way” for the coming of the true Messenger
      • In Exodus 23 God told Israel that He was sending an angel before them to prepare the path for THEIR arrival in the land that HE promised to them – Here God is preparing the way for HIS arrival to THEM
      • This will not be a coronation of a new ruler, but rather the coming of the One who has already been established to the throne of David
        • His throne room is the temple, which He will purify

Malachi 1:6, 7 – “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is your fear of Me? says Yahweh of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name.”

Yet you ask: “How have we despised Your name?” “By presenting defiled food on My altar.” You ask: “How have we defiled You?” When you say: “The Lord’s table is contemptible.”

  • Think about Jesus’ reaction when He saw the abuse of the sellers and vendors at the temple – Jesus was merely claiming what was rightfully His
  • The Lord that “you are seeking” will not come as they are expecting
  • 2 – “Who can endure the day…?”
    • It will be a refining fire
      • Describing the smelting process – obliterating the impure
    • Cleansing lye –
      • Describing the process used to purify fabric – removing soil and impurities
      • Along with purification comes restoration
        • God’s provision to mankind brings about both grace and justice
          • Blessing for the obedient; a curse for those who reject Him
        • 3, 4 – takes the metaphor of purification and applies it to the people
          • The result will be offerings to God that will be honorable and acceptable
          • God blesses and keeps those who receive His salvation
        • 5 – God specifies five groups that will be judged
          • Sorcerers – those who practice dark methods of false worship – misleading people and luring them into a path of condemnation
          • Adulterers – those who have attacked the very fiber of God’s basic foundation for mankind – the family
          • Swear falsely – lie about others to benefit themselves
          • Oppressors of widows and orphans and honest hard working individuals – taking advantage of those who are unable to take care of themselves
          • Those who take advantage of outsiders – slave labor
          • These are all symptoms of the “lack of fear” of Jehovah (respect for Him)

Fear of God is where wisdom in life begins – Prov. 9:10

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