1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Malachi, Lesson II, Malachi 1:2-5

Malachi 1:1,2, The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?

Can there be any more arrogant question to God from those whom He has brought into being than the question: Wherein hast thou loved us?

So from the beginning of this prophesy, it is easy to know where God will be taking his chosen people by way of His messenger Malachi.

Herein Malachi relates Godís words to Israel, especially Judah but we are all guilty of the indifference to Godís love displayed by the people of Israel so this book is so very pertinent to us also.

Malachi begins his message by using the word ďburdenĒ to describe the word of the Lord.

A burden is a weight that bears heavily on its carrier.

A burden is that which must be laid down speedily lest it bring hurt to the one who bears it. 

There is an urgency for its removal and when it comes to the word of God there is an urgency for its telling in obedience to the command of God.

God has loaded this burden onto Malachi, not to carry but to deliver to the nation of Israel.

In other words there is an urgency to this message from God for God who loves them is pleading with them in light of His coming judgment and their eternal destiny.

They had forgotten the urgency of His message and apathy and indifference had filled their lives to the exclusion of serving God and walking in His ways. 

This people was a people born into a world of religion, hearing and seeing the trappings and wrappings of it in every turn. 

They had heard and absorbed the Pentateuch, they had studied the Judges, the Kings, the Psalms, the Proverbs, and the Prophets. 

The temple was again prominent in their lives, sacrifices were being made, and the rituals prescribed by Moses were being observed.

But warning was needed for they were drifting into an habitual and routine religion instead of a personal relationship with the God who loved them today and yesterday and always.

It was all too familiar to them and they had adopted the trappings of the religion but had not received the God of their religion.

They were content with themselves but God knew their true condition, God knew their heart, and he therefore burdened Malachi with the plea to return unto God.

But they had forgotten the urgency of the message and their purpose and became indifferent to Godís love.

Has this changed in these last 2400 years? 

Has the nature of men and women improved through some miracle means? 

No, indifference fills the churches does it not, as we yawn and distract so easily as our pastors and teachers pour their hearts out trying to get others to help carry the burden!

We are to pray daily that God will keep us with a deep understanding of the urgency of the message that God has assigned to us and to also keep us deep in Godís love knowing that all He does is in our interest.

Can we sing a song like this and continue in our indifference.

Give me a passion for souls, dear Lord, A passion to save the lost;
O that Thy love were by all adored, And welcomed at any cost.

Jesus, I long, I long to be winning Men who are lost, and constantly sinning;
O may this hour be one of beginning The story of pardon to tell.

God declared to them I have loved you.

We are told the response to Godís declaration of His love for them was the question, Wherein hast thou loved us? 

This is an eye opener to their condition for they were focusing on their circumstances instead of Godís word. 

Can anybody who lives a life of devotion and dedication and faithfulness to God ask such a question as Wherein hast thou loved us? for to such a person Godís love is expressed in all things.

Every day lived for God is a revelation of Godís love.

Look up, look down, look sideways and look within and you will find that Godís love surrounds you.

But they only looked at circumstances and no doubt their circumstances were not entirely to their liking. 

They were not living the Israeli Dream.

Perhaps they were discouraged with the condition of Israel which had fallen on hard times. 

The temple was built, the walls also but they remained under the rule of a foreign king.

Their farms were not producing bumper crops and they no doubt thought of the promise of the Prophets about the golden age to come. 

Impatient and discouraged they became apathetic and cold. 

Focusing on their circumstances instead of seeing the wonderful age to come as Abraham, their father of faith did, For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

My, how the circumstances fade away when we look for that city.

Turning your eyes upon Jesus will always cause the things of earth, the circumstances of earth to grow dim in the light of His glory and grace!

What you think on makes all the difference.

Paul knew that plainly for he instructed that very truth to the Philippians in:

Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Malachi reminds Israel and he reminds us that it is easy to grow indifferent to Godís so great love to us by turning our eyes on our difficult circumstances instead of on Godís great purposes that He will fulfill through His Son Jesus Christ. 

Jesus spoke so much to his disciples about our destination and not our circumstances for he knew that eternity filled our destination but only mortality filled our current circumstances.

I go to prepare a place for you was intended for you as a priority indicator of what you are to focus on in this life. 

Look up for your redemption draweth nigh; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump all tell us where to turn our eyes during this life.

God has saved us and included us in His great purpose as he has declared in His word. 

Strong faith will lead you to remember that circumstances always change but Jesus never changes and he will never forsake His own.

So in answer to Israelís question to God, Wherein hast thou loved us? God responds with this:

Reading from the last part of verse 2 through 5

Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.

 

The children of Israel looked at the nasty now and now, but herein God intends for them to consider the miracle of his sovereignty relative to their selection as His people.

He points them to two brothers, Esau and Jacob and says the astounding thing, that Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated. 

God in His sovereignty chose to love and He chose to hate and he speaks here of the nations that came from these brothers and His dealings with those nations based upon His sovereignty.

It is easy to see from scripture that God chose to choose not by anything pertaining to man or manís actions but He chose to choose only because He is sovereign and we as the result of that choice have no right to question His choices.

As Paul records in Romans 9:11, (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

He choose Abraham and in that choice He choose to chose the offspring of Abraham and to accept or reject Abraham or Isaacís or Jacobís offspring. 

He chose Isaac but rejected Ishmael, he chose Jacob but rejected Esau and in so doing brought forth a chosen people, a people who now were before Him indifferent and apathetic to that love God had extended throughout all the centuries of this process.

God had reminded them of this election long ago in Deuteronomy 7:6-9

For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

 

So to this truth, this truth of election, this truth given again to the apathetic children many will chime in, so many who are but clay formed according to a sovereign Godís desires will ask why have you made me thus. 

 

Will ask why have you excluded the multitudes from your chosen? 

 

But in that asking the Potter listens not, for his hands are working to bring to life clay suited to His purposes.

 

God determines fairness. 

 

God is not made in our image but we are made in His image and if he chooses to love Jacob and to hate Esau that is His business and we are to continue functioning as clay formed in the Masterís hands.

 

But Godís message to Israel in all of this burden Malachi is given to deliver is that ďWherein hast thou loved us?Ē is wrapped up in Jehovahís election of Israel as His chosen people, a unique position no other people of the world occupy.

 

This realization that God chooses only by His sovereignty must bring us to the deepest humility for it convinces us that there is nothing in us deserving of Godís attention and that anything we receive from God is pure Grace.

 

God through Malachi desires for us to focus on Esau and Jacob.

 

From reading about these two boys it is easy to see that Isaac preferred Esau over Jacob for Esau was a manís man and Jacob was a Mommaís boy. 

 

The scriptures show Jacob in a bad light, a deceiver who stole Jacobís blessing through deceit but it also shows Esau as a man of the world, not caring about a birthright that he could not see or touch or eat for that matter.

 

His mind was a worldly mind, caring about the things of this life.

 

So it is easy to see that both were sinners, both falling short of the righteousness of God. 

 

But for us to see the majesty of God, the greatness of God, the infinitely high and lifted up God, totally apart from sinners, we are given to see that God chose Jacob as the seed to the chosen people and rejected Jacobís choice, the manís man, Esau.

 

The Apostle Paul was bold in addressing this subject for it is easy to chime in and think contrary to this but he knows God is free to show mercy to whom He desires and to harden those whom He chooses.

 

All have sinned and if God chose to turn His back on all and offer no salvation that is His to determine. 

 

Does He offer salvation to those angels aligned with Satan? 

 

No! Is God not pure in this? 

 

But we who are simply Clay why do we ask such questions? 

 

Are we not as clay to simply be yielded to the touch of the Potterís hands? 

 

Paul so aptly wrote in Romans 9:11-24, (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?