Malachi

 

Cruising Route 66

Selective Ignorance

“A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.

“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.

“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’

“By offering defiled food on my altar.

“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’

“By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 1:6-8

We have traveled along the route of history, with the likes of Moses, Abraham, Joshua, David, Solomon, Ezekiel, and many more. We have witnessed such events as the Global Flood, the Plagues of Egypt, the destruction of Jericho, and the creation of the earth and the universe in which it rests. We have watched the nation of Israel move from revering the One true God Jehovah, to worshiping idols of wood and stone, and back again. Now we bring the books that gave both promise and rebuke to a close, now with the words of a minor prophet named Malachi.

God designed this book to close the old and open the new, providing words to pave the way for the coming Messiah. As the time of the old draws to a close, and the time of the new draws near God’s creation takes on a attitude of selective ignorance. Man asks God a question, not to gain understanding but as an accusation. “How have you loved us?”

“I have loved you,” says the LORD.  But you ask, “How have you loved us?” –“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.” Malachi 1:2-3a

For the Jew at the time of Malachi, life was hard. They were surrounded by enemies, suffering drought, bad crops, and famine. They began to doubt God’s love. They questioned His moral rule because they saw evil and the self-reliant prospering. Esau and Jacob were twins. God chose to love Jacob, even though he didn’t deserve it. He was a cheat and a liar. Yet God gives grace to those willing to accept it.

The statement that God chose to “hate” Esau, struck me as harsh, and unlike the compassionate, loving God, I have come to know. Doing a little research, I found that it is a descriptive term in the Jewish language used to exaggerate its meaning. In this case, it signified a drastic difference in a relationship. It could be said that we love one neighbor and hate the other. We don’t actually love or hate either of them, we’re just expressing a strong difference in our appreciation for them.

It goes on to speak of “Edom,” which is another name for Esau, “may build, but God will demolish.” –  In other words, those who reject God have no solid base to build upon. “How have you loved us?” By providing a firm foundation for our lives. By giving us a place that is sure in a world that has no absolutes left.

Consider Jesus’ charge to us regarding His Words and their application to our lives.

“But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”  Luke. 6:49  

Simply settling into the Christian life without living out Christ’s directives, can make for a beautiful house without a foundation.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me?  If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.  “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?” You place defiled food on my altar. But you ask, “How have we defiled you?” – By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.   Malachi 1:6-8  

The first action of God’s people was that they began to question God’s love, then they questioned His right to be loved. They failed to honor and respect His authority and position. A father who has no voice in his child’s life is just a figurehead, a token. He becomes someone to acknowledge, but little more.

When we say that Jesus is the “Master” of our lives, but don’t give Him mastery over every aspect of our lives, then “Master” is just a title without substance. How do we show contempt for God’s name? We place His name over the entrance to our lives, but we don’t allow Him in to take ownership. Jesus expresses His frustration with a simple question:

 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46  

Until next time,

Ben

Award-Winning Author of
Biblical & Historical Fiction

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