Saturday, April 23, 2022

Jacob Have I Loved

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

At the end of Jesus’ life on earth, we saw how cruel the Jewish leadership had become. They had no problem ignoring God’s command, “Thou shalt not kill.” But not only with Jesus, they also conspired to kill Lazarus because Lazarus stood as a living example of God’s power to restore life after death.

A living Lazarus gave credibility to Jesus’ claim that He was God-come-to-earth. Lazarus was therefore a threat to the Temple leadership’s control over all things Jewish, including the Jews themselves.

As we open the book of Malachi this morning, we will see earlier examples of the failure of humans in leadership roles. The people followed their examples, and did not follow the teachings of God. Indeed like many Believers today, they cherry-pick God’s teachings to adhere to, and those to ignore.

The Prophet Malachi was the last of the Jewish prophets chronologically, his times being 400 years before Christ. And his words to the Jews were followed by 400 years of silence from God. The silence ended during Christ’s time, with John the Baptist sharing a message from God for the people to repent and be washed clean from their old sins. Malachi’s words speak of one to be sent before the coming of the Lord. It is also Malachi who sees the Second Coming of the Lord. Both advents are taught of in this Book.

The four chapters of Malachi will carry us through the 40 days after the Resurrection (May 26th) before we return to the New Testament again for Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. But throughout this 40 day time period, Jesus was showing Himself alive after his Crucifixion on the cross. He died a very public death, and yet now shows Himself publicly to be alive as He continues to teach his followers.

Malachi’s words begin with Jehovah’s pronouncement of His love for His people, blessings for obedience, and judgment for sin. God’s Word to us has remained unchanged since the foundation of the earth.
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” - Psalm 89:34
Today's Audio Message:
Malachi 1:1-14 - "Jacob Have I Loved"


Malachi is the last of the prophets in the Old Testament. In fact, when his voice ceased, over 400 years passed before God spoke to His people again. His name means, "My messenger." He is God's messenger called to speak God's Word to Israel.

Malachi was sent to confront Israel, expose their sin and reprove it.  Also, to warn them of judgment and to promise the coming of Him who shall take away sin.  He preached about unrequited love: God’s unrequited love for Israel. He prophesied during or shortly after the ministry of Nehemiah, around 420 B.C. He was the last of God’s prophets for 400 years. He preached against many of the same sins that Nehemiah did, including the corruption of the priesthood (Malachi 1:6-2:9; Nehemiah 13:7-9). But his overall theme, which opens the book, is the indifference of God’s people to His great love for them.

The book of Malachi is a detailed dialogue between God and his hardened people. “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. Malachi 1:6

Out of captivity, brought back to into their land to rebuild once again, and it certainly  doesn’t take long for the sinful nature to take over thoughts and actions. God is looking for those who love Him, for those who walk in obedience to Him as children to a Father. Israel is a stark example of those who do not understand God's love, nor His relationship to them. Having been chastened and delivered throughout their history, here we find them once again cold and indifferent to their God, and falling back into the very things they were chastened for.

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