Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Have We Wearied the Lord? - A Study from Malachi
Verse 10 - Don't all of us have one Father? Didn't one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another . . .
• The prophet Malachi boldly confronted the bad behaviors that were prevalent in his society.
• One of those bad behaviors was that people treated each other treacherously.
• The word treacherous came from the Hebrew word begad which referred to deceiving someone on purpose.
• The Israelites were purposely deceiving each other in a variety of ways and it was destroying the fabric of their society.
• Malachi reminded the people that each person was created by God in His image.
• That means that all people deserve to be treated with respect because the image of God is stamped on each person’s soul.
• We do not have to agree with all the choices other people make, but we do have to treat other people with respect because they are created in the image of God.
• That image may be marred by sin, but it is still the image of God and that should mean something to those who follow God.
Verse 11 - . . . Judah has profaned the LORD's sanctuary, which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
• The word profane is from the Hebrew word chalal and refers to polluting something so that it no longer has value.
• This verse has both a literal and figurative interpretation.
• The men of Judah had literally married women who worshiped foreign gods. This was strictly forbidden in the Old Testament.
• The problem was not the ethnicity of the ladies. Malachi had just made the point that we are all created by God in His image and therefore all people are equal regardless of their ethnicity.
• The problem was that these ladies did not follow the true God of Heaven, but worshipped false idols.
• The people of Judah been swayed by the false religions that these marriages had exposed them too. Their faith in the true God had begun to waver as a result.
• How do we apply this ancient verse to our modern lives?
• We should only marry people who share our Christian faith. See 2 Corinthians 6:14.
• While there are marriages in which a non-Christian spouse will decide that they want to become Christian, it does not happen often.
• This puts tremendous pressure on a marriage because faith binds our hearts together. If we do not share the same faith, then we will be missing a key element in the bonding process.
• If we are unmarried, we should only date Christians.
• If we are already in a mixed faith marriage, we should earnestly pray that God will allow us to be one of those rare marriages where the non-believing partner will choose to believe.
• We can also apply this same concept to any area of life, not just marriage.
• Though it is fine to have non-Christian friends, we should be careful how they affect us.
• When we allow non-Christian ideas and concepts to begin to influence us more than our faith, then we have figuratively married a foreign god and it can only bring pain and hurt into our lives.
• The most miserable person in the world is the Christian who knows they are not living the way God wants them to live.
Verse 13 - And this is another thing you do: you cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because He no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands.
• Malachi also confronts the people’s attempts to emotionally manipulate God.
• They would come to the altar and weep and groan over their problems, but they were not willing to actually change their bad behavior.
• Acting sad is not the same thing as actually repenting of our sin.
• Repentance is turning away from sin and turning toward God.
• When we really repent, we can expect God’s blessings on our lives.
• When we are just sad that we got caught, we should not be looking for a blessing.
• God no longer received their offerings or prayers because they wanted the benefits of faith with out the responsibilities of repentance that came with it.
• If our prayers do not seem to be working, we should examine our level of repentance.
Verse 14 - Yet you ask, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have acted treacherously against her…
• Though there were many areas of the Israelites’ lives that did not please God, the one that most upset God was the way the men were treating their wives.
• In that time period, it was a male dominated culture.
• Women were completely dependent on men for their livelihood.
• When a man married a woman, he made a life-long commitment to provide for her.
• He if broke that commitment, the woman was in a mess because she had no other means of support.
• In Malachi’s day, men had made commitments to their wives when they were young, but as the women had gotten older, then men desired other women, presumably ones that were younger and prettier.
• God said He would not honor the prayers of a man who treated his wife this way.
• In our modern world, men and women are often considered equals.
• In our modern world, both men and women are guilty of lusting after someone whom they are not married to.
• Christians cannot expect to be blessed by God if they allow lust to control them in this way.
Verse 15 - Didn't the one God make us with a remnant of His life-breath? And what does the One seek? A godly offspring.
• Not only are we created in the image of God, but God breathed into us the breath of life. See Genesis 2:7.
• God’s breath is more than just oxygen. It refers to His spiritual nature which He breathed into human kind at creation.
• The primary difference between humans and animals is that mankind has a spiritual nature.
• What does God’s spiritual nature produce?
• People who also have a spiritual nature.
• What should our own spiritual nature produce?
• Other people who share our spiritual values.
• When we fail to produce spiritual fruit in our lives, we fail in the very essence of our faith.
Verse 17 - You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you ask, "How have we wearied Him?” When you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the LORD's sight, and He is pleased with them,” or "Where is the God of justice?”
• Malachi tells his audience that they had wearied the Lord with all their talk which was not backed up by action.
• God had grown tired of their bad behavior.
• The people asked how they have wearied God.
• They had done two things that wearied God.
• First, they claimed that people who were doing evil were actually good.
• Our own society often calls good things bad and bad things good. Is God tired of this?
• Second, they accused God of not being just.
• Our own society often accuses God of not being just when He does not do things they way we wish He would. Is God tired of us thinking we are smarter than Him?
• God has great patience.
• God has shown us love that we do not deserve.
• God has withheld judgment that we did deserve.
• But at some point, God will decide that enough is enough.
• What do we think will happen when God decides that we have wearied Him enough?
• The Day of Judgment will happen!
• When the Day of Judgment finally happens, will we be on God’s side or still playing spiritual games?
• None of us know when that day will be, but it is much closer for us than it was for Malachi.
• If we are purposefully deceitful of others, we should not expect God to bless us.
• We should be careful not to let anything draw us away from God, even our marriages.
• When we realize we have done wrong, we must repent of the behavior and change it.
• If we are living right before God, we should be producing spiritual fruit in our own lives and in the lives of others.
This post is part of a larger study of Malachi found in the book, "Malachi: Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity."